There are now a few years that I follow closely the events of 16 gauge, first as a neutral observer and then as President of the Italian Club that represents it. This gauge wasn’t ever produced in the world in important quantity, but that production is anyway very significant. And it is always in the limelight because its continuity and the talking about it. And this is a big factor of merit because, as said the lawyer Gianni Agnelli, founder of FIAT, “About Juventus, good or bad, it is important that we speak.”
Has been said a lot and always about this gauge, with the balance that has been, at least in the past, to criticism. But those days have passed and the minimum level of popularity has been reached, unable to delete it permanently, as it happened to the 14 gauge. Critics were not in the industry of arms, but in the public opinion, which passively go along with those who were the choices of the industries that had created expensive machineries for specific products.
The modern industry, in fact, decided to remove from the huge production the middle gauges as 16, but also 24 ga, 32 ga, leaving anyway a sufficient “diversity” of gauges for the hunters. This is a an historical fact, also if leaves a lot of things to think. But the world is changing and the industry in other sectors teaches, always in search of new or revision of the old if not yet fully exploited or if the society is again interested. On this second point, the gauge 16 may be best weapon of industry in the years to come.
For cars and motorcycles an happy customary
There are a lot of examples of review and success. In the automotive sector, the historical review of the Mini Minor had amazing success with audience; today it is one of the cars of most commercial liking. Equivalent satisfaction for the industry is giving from the new Fiat 500, which is reviving the glories of the old Fiat car. Both entered into a new business created by the industry and defined as “utilitarian chic car”. Even they are penetrating the USA market where this kind of car was never conceived.
The same applies to the motorcycle sector. After spending decades in testing fairings in the wind tunnel in search of performance, today many bikes back to the past. The legendary Vespa has allowed its modern reinterpretation with the modern scooter. For both recent achievements, the consensus is very high.
The industry of weapons is not behind compared to these concepts.
This is demonstrated by the investments of Browning with the production of the A5 where, although it isn’t necessary from a technical point of view, it was desired to revive the “hump” that has made the company famous with the immense “Auto 5″, and the large number of round body side by side shotgun (with the rounded receiver as in the nineteenth century), also produced by leading companies, as the Beretta 486 Parallelo. These products have a very modern technical level, but with a vintage look. So there’s an high level of attention by the companies.
The 16 gauge in the future
We start from the assumption that the 16 gauge, in its standard configuration, is designed to shoot an ounce of lead. But this has to be considered only the first data. Its range of loading is between 26 and 30. But today the hunting powders, already tried to strengthen the charges of 12ga and 20 ga, have a level of progressivity and containment of pressures such as to allow for the 16 charges of 32.34 gr. That is, in other terms, a modern shotgun in 16 gauge (not those of the grandparents of course, which moreover does not provide any advantage to the economy industry) is able to overlap the 12 almost completely. From here the step towards the codification of a magnum might be a short step.
But we mustn’t exaggerate in the optimism; on the other hand, even the current success of 28 gauge is related to its standard configuration, enhanced in the charge compared with the past, thanks to the increased efficiency of the current materials for the metal-working.
This binds to practical considerations: a range of loading from 26 to 32 gr is able to meet all the needs of modern hunting for which is delegated the smooth bore barrel. The only exception is the duck hunting, where we Europeans continue to insist with big cartridge, while in the United States the hunters are showing us that a good gauge 16 of adequate weight (I mean for example the 16 gauge mod. Remington 1100), is able to accommodate ammunition particularly suitable also for the ducks.
But more than to satisfy this aspect of actual practical use, there is another aspect to which the 16 gauge is oh for a modern hunting. The reality is that the current and future international hunting will be an ever more connected to the leisure and the pursuit of personal satisfaction to those who practice it.
We’ll not hunt for hunger and this is also a wish for all of us, but we’ll do it for a good food. In the research of satisfaction, the industry will be particularly attentive to all those segments that promise potential and, it will try to stimulate where it believes to have possibility. The medium gauges 12 and 20 already amply fill the racks of hunters in the world, while the 16 gauge is a production potential of which the hunter is poorly equipped.
So there are good chances of selling that are what the gun making industry rightly pursues. So is possible to push on this gauge to revive markets and related productions. We have to do this not only producing weapons but also reviving the culture of the caliber, alongside a Club as our that perform a work of sheer passion. In the USA there is the “GA Society 16″ (www.16ga.com) that is very active.
Also there is another factor of positivity. As was the case in all areas of the world, there is an increasing growth of women becoming more prominent and effective role in business and politics summit. And so it is in the hunt. This factor, in itself positive, it is also related to the caliber 16, which makes them equal to mans for its effectiveness and for its reduced weight.
We believe that the 16, the in-between gauge, put aside too soon, will may represent the top weapon in which to invest in the years to come.
The Club Calibro 16, with its fiercest supporters, is ready for the challenge.
President of Italian Club 16 Gauge