The Decline of 10 Guage & 16-Gauge Shotgun

    It has been years since I last saw a 10 gauge shotgun. If I had not read Kyle Wintersteen latest article at Shotgun News it might have been a few more years before I gave them some thought. Kyle writes

    Americans have no qualms with purchasing an assortment of specialized firearms. In terms of rifles, what gun safe is complete without a rimfire, a bolt-action and a semiauto carbine? And who could do without a compact handgun for summer carry or a full-size model for plinking?

    Yet, when it comes to shotguns, so many consumers opt for one, do-it-all firearm — generally a pump or semiauto 12-gauge shotgun chambered for 3- or 3-½-inch shells.


    The 16-gauge enjoyed popularity into the early 20th century, perhaps not coincidentally in conjunction with the golden age of American shotgun manufacture.

    Perhaps the real nail in the 16-gauge’s coffin came in 1954, when Winchester introduced a Model 21 side-by-side chambered for its new 3-inch, 20-gauge Western Super-X Magnum shotshells. The 20-gauge was now capable of 1-¼-ounce payloads, which consumers — rightly or wrongly — perceived as an advantage over 2-¾-inch, 1-ounce, 16-gauge shells. So, the 16-gauge was essentially dethroned as the lightweight alternative to the 12-gauge.

    Read the full article here.

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!