As with most things these days I can’t decide if I’m ahead of the game, or running trying to play catch up. It’s certainly true when it comes to technology, I’m definitely at the back of the pack, at the back. I still have a main line telephone, although I do have a portable walk about phone linked into the same line. I do have a mobile, which I purchased when the model was being discontinued, to be superseded by the latest thing. This mobile is so old, it is actually a phone with text facilities and nothing else. I was recently spotted using it by some 20 something, who exclaimed “wow, that’s so cool. I wish I still had mine. It was my first phone in junior school. Do you want to sell it?” why would I sell it, it still does what I want it to do, and even with its original tired battery, still lasts longer than my sons latest, all singing and dancing phone.
Anyway I digress, what I wanted to find out was if I was a trend setter or otherwise. You see in recent years and months there has been an explosion in small gauge/bore shotguns. It started with the 20g 3” cartridge being made more widely available. This in turn led to an interest in all things 20g, so new side by sides, over and unders, pumps and semi-autos all began to appear from makers for this relatively new cartridge. Since then there has been a surfeit of 28g and .410, again on a range of platforms. I myself recently acquired an as new Marlin lever action .410, what a marvellous little gun to shoot, and such fun too.
However, in all of these new, and resurrected guns, in all of the aforementioned sizes, there is one missing, the sweet 16. The 16g, is almost the perfect, and in some eyes, it is the perfect gauge, and it appears to have been overlooked. All the big makers are producing new models and variations each year, but it appears not in 16g. Smaller makers to produce many fine guns, some in 16g, but these are out of reach of many, including me. Sure there are a number of second hand 16’s out there, but these are, pretty much without fail, side by sides. What I would like is either a moderately priced over and under or a semi auto.
It’s said that the market dictates what you get to buy, but how do you get to buy something if no-one makes it. So next time you go into your local gun shop, and are looking around at all the nice new 12g and 20g shotguns, just ask if they have any 16g’s.
Until you have used the 16g you won’t understand; it has all the cartridge you will need, but without the wallop. It has the lines and grace of a 12g, but without the weight. In other words, it’s all the things you like about a 12g but dislike in a 20g, and all the things you like in 20g but dislike in a 12g. There are very few things in life that are perfect, but the 16g, in whatever format you find one in, is as close as you will get on this side of the mortal coil.