Lets cut right to the chase. If you’re going to kill a gobbler this spring, chances are you will need a weapon. Most turkey hunters grab their favorite shotgun and hit the woods. In some cases, hunters may only get one opportunity during a season. Here are some simple tips to insure that one shot finds the mark.
Selecting a Choke and Ammo
I’ve shot an HS Undertaker extended choke through my Remington 870 for the past twelve years. Three-inch Winchester Supreme number 5’s are the load of choice. One spring we did an experiment to see how my choke and ammo would perform out of a different gun. My friend brought over his Mossberg 535 and replaced his choke with mine. After shooting several times at various distances, we compared the two. The results were night and day. The Mossberg had roughly 20% less shot in the head and neck area of the target than the Remington. We switched the chokes back and both guns performed much better.
The gun won’t be nearly as crucial as the components and the load. Extra full chokes and large shot sizes like #4’s, 5’s, and 6’s are common choices. Today’s market offers several options in choke tubes and ammunition designed specifically for turkeys. There is no right answer for every gun. You need to try several chokes mixed with various types of shot to find the right one. What works for one may not work for another.
Sights and Sighting-In
Once you choose the choke and the ammo, you’ve got to sight-in the gun. Modern choke tubes will throw out extremely tight patterns so the gun needs to be dead on. Red dot scopes, front and rear sight combinations, and adjustable front beads are available for most guns. These will help you take maximum advantage of the tight pattern. Once again, whichever combination works for you is the one to use. There are no wrong answers.
Start out by drawing a dot on a box. Place the box out in front at ten yards. The goal is for the wad out of the shell to hit the box. Find out where the wad hit and move your sights accordingly. Once that wad hits the dot, you can try shooting at turkey targets at longer distances. The adjustments will get much smaller after this point.
Patterning the shotgun will usually take several attempts. High brass turkey loads will be quite loud and kick fairly hard. It’s a good idea to have a rest and solid hearing protection. The muzzle blast of a shotgun can damage your hearing, so use caution.
Try some of these simple tips this year when you dust off the old turkey gun. You might be surprised at how well you can shoot with the right combination.
Patterning Shotguns was last modified: January 27th, 2017 by Bill Winke