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Compatible ammo for the SA-20

Discussion in 'Mossberg SA-20' started by Jaxson, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. Jaxson

    Jaxson Copper BB

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    Hello,

    I'm new to the forum and to shotguns in general. I was wondering if anyone here can direct me to some threads here or elsewhere pertaining to ammo for the SA-20?

    I purchased some Winchester "Game & Target" 3/4 oz shells for some skeet shooting. They worked great: fired 60 rounds without any problems at all. I also bought some Winchester Dual Bond "sabot" slugs for other targets, but after I brought those home I read on the box "For use in fully rifled barrels only". From what I can tell there's no rifling at all within the SA-20 barrel.

    Am I able to use those sabot slugs? Is there any type of ammo that I am unable to use?

    Thanks in advance!

    Jaxson
  2. BrianJ

    BrianJ .270 WIN Supporter

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    First of all, welcome to the forum. There is a lot of good information here and many very friendly and helpful people.

    I am very glad ( and surprised) to hear hat you were able to operate the shotgun with 3/4 oz shot. I am curious, was this bird shot (what size) or a 3/4 oz slug?
    Was the gun able to eject and load the next shell using the 3/4 oz shot?
    As far as I have seen, noone has been able to cycle the gun with less than 7/8 oz shot and even then it is hit or miss operation. You may be the first.
    3/4 oz slugs will cycle it easily.

    In general, my SA-20 owners manual says that 15/16 oz is the minimum recommended for the gun. I have never actually seen 15/16 oz anywhere. 1 oz is what is generally used.
    I have been able to use 7/8 oz very dependably by using high velocity shot (1300 fps Winchester AA sporting clays).

    What length barrel do you have and does it have chokes?
    Someone told me not to use slugs with anything smaller than a modified choke. Improved modified, full, extra full and turkey chokes are NG for slugs. Other members have said you can go smaller and I will defer to them. Cylinder bore, improved cylinder and modified are OK.
    You also have to confirm if your barrel and chokes are rated for steel or tungsten shot if you are using that.

    The sabot slugs are not recommended for the smooth bore as nothing will "spin" the slug and it may not be accurate down range. I do not know if there is a rifled barrel available for the SA-20.
    Rifled slugs have their own "grooves" that cause the slug to spin. I have used sabot slugs several times before I knew the difference. The sabot slugs will not damage the gun I have been told and it seems correct. They would be a waste of money though.

    I use Winchester AA # 7.5 and #8 shot for trap and skeet but I have the 20 inch barrel. They have 2 types 1 oz 1165 fps and 7/8 oz 1300 fps. both seem to cycle the gun well.
    I use Remington Express long range #6 high brass (more power) for steel targets and 3 gun competition. I recently found that the 7.5 and 8 shot AA will also work for steel targets. (save some money)

    Hope some of this helps.

    Have fun and be safe.
  3. old mossy

    old mossy Global Moderator Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator

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    12,503
    @Jaxson Welcome to the forum from NY and congrats on your new Mossy. You get a chance post a pic or two.:)
  4. Jaxson

    Jaxson Copper BB

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    2
    Thanks for the reply. I bought the ammo prior to my shotgun getting shipped. I didn't have an owner's manual to refer to and had no idea idea as to the varieties of ammo out there for the 20 gauge! I'm just know starting to read up on "chokes" and "bores" and trying to get an understanding as to what they are and what they do. When I went to purchase the sabot slugs, the sales rep at the sporting goods store asked me about the choke of the shotgun and I told him I was unsure. He looked up the SA-20 (Model #75781) and after a few minutes said "Well, they should work".

    The Winchester Super X ammo I was using (not the sabot slugs) is 2.75" long, 1325 fps, 3/4 oz "6 shot" (Does that mean there's 6 BB-like shots in there??) and the shell itself actually weighs out to be 31 grams. Maybe the 3/4 oz weight is the weight of the shot itself? When I initially fired it, it twice jammed: The shell simply did not load into the barrel. After that it was flawless. I got 60 rounds in it total. Btw, I was surprised that the gun would only allowed 3 shells loaded until consulted the manual and found out that there was a magazine plug! I have since removed it, and we'll see if that has any effect on the feeding of the ammo now.

    According to the Mossberg spec, my gun has a 20" barrel and a "Cylinder Bore" choke. Again, I'm unsure of what that means.

    I purchased this particular shotgun because I thought everyone in the family would be able to shoot it fairly easily. I purchased the slugs as home defense rounds only, but was going to burn through a couple boxes at short range to test my accuracy. They were expensive and I'll probably not shoot them now.

    Thanks again to the both of you for the reply and the welcome! I'll keep checking out the forums in an effort to learn some more!
  5. BrianJ

    BrianJ .270 WIN Supporter

    Messages:
    115
    Bought mine (same gun) for the exact same reason. My wife has yet to try it. The 3/4 oz loads technically should not cycle the gun but I believe that the extra power (more powder) from the 1325 fps more than made up for the lower weight. The #6 is the size of the pellets in the shell. the higher the number the smaller the pellets. Two groups of shot shells bird and buck . The common bird shot ranges from #5 to #9, and the larger buck shot from OO (double ought) to #4. if the weights are the same, whether 1 oz, 7/8 oz or 3/4 oz, for a given shot size, the higher number = smaller pellets = more pellets in the shell = better chance of hitting target. there are some very good charts and explanations about shotshells on the internet. A good start is http://www.shotgunworld.com/amm.html .

    I have the same barrel. It is considered a tactical gun (and barrel) as opposed to a target or hunting barrel because of the shorter length and no chokes. That leads to the second item "cylinder bore" means the barrel has no chokes and the diameter is decided by the gauge of the gun (.410, 28, 20, 16 or 12 gauge). the higher the gauge, the smaller the barrel diameter. The shot will come out in a pattern as large as it can for the diameter of the barrel. Chokes narrow the spread and make the pellets hit in a smaller area (group). Google shotgun chokes to get some details.
    Yours has no chokes as it is a tactical and home defense (HD) barrel and generally the wider the pattern the better.

    In order to put a choke on your barrel, machining and threading would be necessary. The gun will work fine for Home Defense (HD) and practice just the way it is. One point however, using a slug for HD can have some drawbacks. You must be fairly accurate as it is a "bullet", a very big bullet with a lot of power, but it still only hits one point. The second drawback is that a slug will easily penetrate walls like wood, sheetrock, plaster, tile and I am not sure about cement block. A missed shot could easily end up in a neighbor's house even several houses away. third drawback, they have a lot more recoil than shotshells.

    Most sources agree that shot shells are considered better for HD as they leave a little more room for error. NOT A LOT! at indoor distances of less than 10 - 20 feet, the shot from a cylinder bore barrel might only spread to 4 to 10 inches if that. Still easy to miss in a stress situation. It was recommended to me to use #1 buck shot. Even that can be hard to find. I opt for #2 buckshot in a 3 inch shell (more but smaller pellets). There is no such thing as the famed "OO buckshot" for a 20 gauge as it will not work well with the barrel diameter. The RIO #1 Buckshot is the biggest shot I have been able to find and not readily available. These "buckshot" shells have larger pellets about 1/4 inch and larger diameter and less pellets for the same weight. In the case of the #2 buckshot, 18 pellets in a 3 inch 1 oz. shell.

    Lots of great info here and on the internet, just google it, but verify all information (especially mine) from several sources to confirm.

    Good luck
  6. MarinecoatMarine

    MarinecoatMarine .270 WIN

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    I have the SA-20 "Turkey Thug " with a turkey choke so it can not shoot slugs . It will not cycle cheap birdshot, Rio Buckshot ,or any low brass I put in it .
    All I got it to eat was the 3" Turkey loads . Anyone else get their "Thug" to run on 2 3/4" shells ??
  7. BrianJ

    BrianJ .270 WIN Supporter

    Messages:
    115
    Are you using 1 oz shot? They are really hit and miss with 7/8 oz shot. I am surprised about the Rio Buck though.
    I think Bobster has a Turkey Thug but I'm not sure.
  8. Bobster

    Bobster .30-06 Supporter

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    Welcome to the forum, Jax! In case you haven't done a search, I'll put a link or two of mine that will enlighten you on your SA-20. I have a newer "easy-load" Turkey Thug I affectionately call "The Thug". The Thug comes standard with a 22" barrel and ported super-tight extended vented turkey choke. I have installed an aftermarket flush skeet choke which is the next size tighter than cylinder so I won't tear up the OEM turkey choke, the only choke it came with. I think I paid $13 to my door.

    LINK1 is of my adding the +3 mag extension from Choate. With a 20" barrel you will only want the +2 because it really isn't a good idea to have the tube hanging out in the line of fire.

    LINK2 is a little more of my experience with The Thug and there is more choke info and pics at the end of the thread.

    LINK3 is a troubleshooting thread you should read...

    LINK4 has a link to a take-down video.

    I used a box of Federal Target Birdshot (#8?) "blue box" at one range outing and they fired flawlessly. 25rd pack was $6-$7 at Walmart. I haven't seen it on the shelf lately so I'm a little bummed. I also have a couple hundred rounds of a variety of "old" ammo, #4, #5 and #6, some of it even has paper casing! I've fired about 50-60 rounds of the old stuff and I have yet to have a FTF or FTE with this gun while some have, so go figure.

    Lots of good info here at MO! Enjoy!
  9. MarinecoatMarine

    MarinecoatMarine .270 WIN

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    I knew the SA-20 needs at least a 1 oz. load ,and yes-I too was surprised at the Rio not working . I had read somewhere that it wouldn't work in the "Thug" as the Rio shells have that 1/4" lip that interfere with cycling .............the Rio shells wouldn't run in my Saiga 20 ga. either .
    And as always Bobster - your input and links are most welcome
  10. BrianJ

    BrianJ .270 WIN Supporter

    Messages:
    115
    Thanks Bobster.
    I have used RIO 7.5, 1 oz shot in my 20 in. tactical and it worked fine. Real dirty though. I added a Trulock choke, Improved Modified for trap shooting.
    The RIO did not pattern as well as the Winchester AA but good enough and cheaper.
  11. MarinecoatMarine

    MarinecoatMarine .270 WIN

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    107
    I found that my 20 ga Thug eats the Remington Express Buckshot just fine and @ less then .60 cents a shell I stashed away several hundred rounds !
  12. Illini Bird

    Illini Bird .410

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    What would be a good HD 20 gauge shotgun shell to use? The manual says no slugs. I'm not sure what 7/8 or 15/16 means; is this the weight of the powder charge? I think the manual also says no steel balls; what is buckshot made of? Lead? From previous posts it looks like #2 buckshot; would this be a good HD load?

    Sorry, don't know much about shotguns.
  13. Bobster

    Bobster .30-06 Supporter

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    1,596
    What kind of gun do you have? The only reason you should not use slugs is if you had a "tight" choke in it like a turkey or full choke. If your barrel does not have removable chokes and is one of those sizes I can see why they don't want you to shoot steel or slugs out of it.

    7/8 or 15/16, etc. is the combined weight of the projectile(s) in oz. #2 buckshot is lead and would be a good choice for HD, IMO...
  14. Illini Bird

    Illini Bird .410

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    31
    It's a Mossberg SA-20. Barrel has no rifling. Manual states NO slugs/steel shot. Also NO choke in barrel.

    So a one ounce 2.75 or 3" shell with #2 buckshot would be a good choice for HD? It would be most probably be a pretty tight shooting distance between me and any intruder/aggressor (10-15 feet). I am also concerned about a bullet penetrating my walls and going through them with the 9 mm from my Glock 19; I don't think this would be as much of an issue with #2 buckshot.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  15. BrianJ

    BrianJ .270 WIN Supporter

    Messages:
    115
    Depending on distance, buckshot will easily penetrate Sheetrock. Slugs can only be used with cylinder bore or improved cylinder chokes. I have 4buck in my SA-20 tactical but 2 or 4 will get the job done.
  16. Illini Bird

    Illini Bird .410

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    31
    Thanks. Do you use a 2.75" shell or a 3"? 15/16 or 1 ounce? The magazine only holds two shells; I thought it was supposed to hold 4. Is there a plug I need to remove? How?
  17. Bobster

    Bobster .30-06 Supporter

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    1,596
    I thought the Tactical was cylinder bore which would mean you could shoot anything out of it? o_O You sure you're not reading the instructions for another model (like the Turkey Thug)?

    Take the mag tube end cap off and there will be a "T"-shaped plug in it. After you remove the plug, you should be able to fit 5 and 1 in the chamber.

    PS: you should take the rounds you are interested in to the range and make sure they cycle...
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
    BrianJ likes this.
  18. BrianJ

    BrianJ .270 WIN Supporter

    Messages:
    115
    Absolutely correct Bobster. The tactical is a 20 inch cylinder bore and it is chrome lined too. I had mine threaded for a Win choke. I use the Trulock Precision hunter extended IM and IC. Keeps the pattern a little tighter for heavy steel targets and works well for trap. I have 2 3/4 inch #4 and 3 inch #2. that is what was available. I am not sure of the weight, the buck does not seem to have a weight but it never fails to cycle. I have never actually seen 15/16 oz. T have used 7/8 oz AA winchester 7.5 and 8 shot Sporting Clays at 1300 fps with no problems.

    There is a video for removing the mag tube block.
    Illini Bird and old mossy like this.
  19. Illini Bird

    Illini Bird .410

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    The SA-20 Tactical is a cylinder bore (which I think means there is no choke but being a newbie I'm not 100% sure). What it says in the Owner's Manual for 20 gauge autoloading shotgun is:
    This 20 gauge semi-automatic shotgun is chambered for 3 inch magnum shells. It is designed to be used with factory loaded shot shells between 2 3/4" (15/16 oz) and 3" (1 1/4 oz).

    Under warning it says: "Never shoot slugs with a full choke. Use only the most open (improved cylinder) choke. Never shoot steel shot with a full choke. Use only a modified, improved cylinder or skeet choke tubes." I think these ammunition requirements do cover different models of the SA-20 and the Tactical Cruiser does have a cylinder bore so I'm not sure what restrictions it has. I also read that slugs require a rifled barrel and the tactical SA-20 appears to be smooth bore. Bottom line, I'm not sure what ammunition Ammunition SA-20.jpg restrictions it has. Ammunition SA-20.jpg
    Ammunition SA-20.jpg Ammunition SA-20_0001.jpg I will take the mag tube end off and remove the plug.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  20. Illini Bird

    Illini Bird .410

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    31
    Thanks, this helps a lot!

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