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 Post subject: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:10 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:03 pm
Posts: 20
Hey guys. I'm anxiously awaiting my first turkey hunt in a few months. I'll be hunting with a Remington 1170 12 gauge. I've seen turkey loads on shelves before but have never needed them. I've also seen turkey chokes while shopping for target chokes and such. My question is... do I need both turkey choke and turkey load? I'm guessing so but figured I could ask the experts here. Thanks for all the help. I've learned so much from this forum. Cheers!

Please feel free to include your suggestions on brand of choke and loads, btw. I could use the help. Thanks again.




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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:51 am 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:08 pm
Posts: 1234
Location: minnesota
I have not hunted turkeys with a shotgun for about twenty years, but I have shot some very successfully with 1 1/4 ounces of #6 and #5 shot out of a 12 ga with a Mod choke. The turkeys that I shot were dead quickly.
In my view the fancy chokes that are extra full, ported, extended, titanium, etc and the specialty shells that are multi shot size, nickel plated, buffered at super velocity are all marketing and un needed.
If I were hunting turkeys with a shotgun today, I would use a 12 ga Full or mod choke, and 1 1/4 or more of #5 or #6 shot, and it would be a velocity of 1250 plus.
Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:39 am 
Presentation Grade
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Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:39 am
Posts: 754
Location: NC
The biggest mistake most folks make at this juncture is skimping on the shells, and not patterning their gun.

Whatever choke and ammo you choose, take a big piece of paper (36" square is good) and see how far it will put 100 pellets in a 10" circle. And assuming you're using pellets with sufficient energy, stay within the range you get 100 pellets in a 10" circle.

Turkey shells are a low volume proposition, and the cheapest part of the hunt, so it doesn't make much sense to pinch pennies on the one component that will make the biggest difference at the moment of truth.

Get some high quality turkey shells, and pattern them, and stay within the gun/choke/ammo limitations, and you and the turkeys will be much better off. A good choice is usually Hevi-13 2 oz #6s, or the Hevi-13 Magnum Blend. The Winchester Longbeards are another good choice. If at some point you want the best, you'll have to load your own 18g shot.


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:20 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:46 pm
Posts: 270
Location: Western NY
As in most shooting sports, patterning your gun is really important.
From my experience it is equally important to try different shells in your gun and to pattern at different ranges. It is simply amazing to learn how poorly some shells perform at 20 yards that may perform better at 30 or even 40.

I strongly recommend a turkey choke. The core target on a bird is a tiny vital area the size of a walnut. Most turkey loads will only put 10 to 15 (if that) bb's in the vital area at 30 yards. If you use a looser choke that number could be reduced to 3 or 4 or even none.

Last year I bought several 3 inch and 3 1/2 inch boxes of turkey loads and I tested them on a turkey target at 20, 30 and 40 yards. In my gun with my turkey choke (key point!) I found that most turkey shells do a lousy job. The Hevi-Shot was actually the worst in all cases. Winchester 3 1/2 were the best at 40 yards (but not by much, a couple bb's), Remington 3 inch were the best at 30 yards, Federal were the best overall.
I tested all of the shells first with my SX3 (3 inch and 3 1/2 inch mag) and then the 3 inch shells with my 870 (3 inch mag). The patterns were better in my SX3 so for the first time last year, my 870 stayed home. I also tested some 2 3/4 shells I had...just to round out the picture.

From my experience every bird I had shot (until last year) had been 20 yards or closer so if I had just tested to 30 yards I should have been able to set myself up for success. I swore I would never shoot farther out than that.
Last year was one of the most challenging I have encountered. I passed on several close opportunities on jakes but I hunted 23 days to get a shot at a tom. I shot him at about 40 yards. Because of the patterning I had done, when I pulled the trigger I knew that I was as likely to make a kill at that yardage as I would have been at 15 or 20.

Next season I will pattern only a few more boxes of shells, new ones that have come out since last year. I saved my results from last year so it should not take me long to compare results and see if any of the new loads live up to the hype.
You will be shocked with the results if you take the time to do this....
I gave all of the loser shells away.


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:05 am 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:32 am
Posts: 1195
{hs# excellent response.


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:45 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:52 pm
Posts: 501
Spring turkey is my favorite time of the year. By all means experiment with different loads and chokes. I have been having good luck with the Winchester turkey loads in both 3" and 3.5" with a fairly tight full choke. I usually don't run the extraordinary tight chokes because it is pretty rare that I can't get a bird to 30 if I already got him to 50. Last year's average was sub 15 yards, and I worry more about missing than not killing.


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:10 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 5:27 pm
Posts: 3054
Location: southern Ohio
hawglips wrote:
The biggest mistake most folks make at this juncture is skimping on the shells, and not patterning their gun.

Whatever choke and ammo you choose, take a big piece of paper (36" square is good) and see how far it will put 100 pellets in a 10" circle. And assuming you're using pellets with sufficient energy, stay within the range you get 100 pellets in a 10" circle.

Turkey shells are a low volume proposition, and the cheapest part of the hunt, so it doesn't make much sense to pinch pennies on the one component that will make the biggest difference at the moment of truth.

Get some high quality turkey shells, and pattern them, and stay within the gun/choke/ammo limitations, and you and the turkeys will be much better off. A good choice is usually Hevi-13 2 oz #6s, or the Hevi-13 Magnum Blend. The Winchester Longbeards are another good choice. If at some point you want the best, you'll have to load your own 18g shot.

Absolutely great advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:31 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:27 am
Posts: 2890
Location: North Central West Virginia
Of course "turkey" shells are better. They are made usually with hard, plated shot and buffering. They have a bigger payload, especially in 3" and 3.5" lengths. But the funny thing is, us "older" folks remember when you used paper 2.75" shells out of whatever fixed choke guns you had.

I only had Modified choked guns, I didn't own a full, or extra full choke until I got shotguns with interchangeable choke tubes. And I always killed turkeys. Mostly 1 1/4 oz of #5 shot.

That being said, why not take advantage of the newest technology. The shells cost more, and the chokes are tighter, but if they give you an advantage at longer ranges, or put more shot on the bird at normal ranges, why not use them. I've bought the shells and the turkey chokes. "Older" gentlemen need all the advantages we can get!


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:19 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:09 pm
Posts: 703
Location: Valdosta GA
Please pattern the gun. I've personally love #5 lead


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2003 9:14 pm
Posts: 2032
Location: 35 miles from Normal, Illinois (as close to normal as I'll ever be)
I would say yes, go with some heavy payload turkey loads. I like #5's or 6/s. And, pattern your gun. You want a VERY dense pattern. Remember, you are basically trying to put several shot into a kill zone that resembles a golf ball on top of a piece of garden hose. The maximum range your gun/load will consistently do that is your max effective range.

_________________
"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." - Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941)


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:55 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:45 am
Posts: 8
Location: Southern Piedmont Virginia
Good advice above. Re: your question "Do I need turkey chokes and loads," what these give you is more range. Standard full choke 12 ga and 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 oz #6 lead shot is fine to about 30 yds. Most of us turkey fanatics increase our range by using a tighter choke and heavier loads (I favor 3" shell with 2 oz #6 hevi-shot). IF you use a turkey choke, it is critical not only to pattern the gun but make sure it shoots to point of aim, preferably with something more than the standard bead. I use adjustable tru-glo front and rear sights, but many like a red dot or low power scope. The tighter the choke, the more important it is to have a sighting system.


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:37 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:46 pm
Posts: 270
Location: Western NY
playin' hookey wrote:
Re: your question "Do I need turkey chokes and loads," what these give you is more range.


From the testing I did with 2 3/4, 3 and 3 1/2 turkey loads (11 different types) with two different guns at different ranges is confirm that the shot pattern was also better at shorter ranges. So yes, the turkey choke does indeed increase your range but it also increases the pellets on target at shorter range

You make a solid point about accuracy...the first time I missed a bird was after switching to a turkey choke from a full. I did not aim well enough and what should have been a dead bird ended up being a loose feather on the ground.

As some posters have noted, it is a fact that you can kill birds with a looser choke and 2 3/4 shells.... I still hunt like that's what is in my gun and get birds under 20 yards and usually 10 to 15 yards before I shoot... aim is not as critical.

Agree on number 5 lead although I have also used number 6 a few times.


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:01 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:58 pm
Posts: 1140
Hugh -- Here's a link to a turkey load article that might be helpful. It's a little out of date now since some of the tungsten based loads aren't available anymore and the Win Long Bread load isn't listed (the LB load is the tightest patterning load available), but it gives you an idea of what to be looking for when thinking about turkey patterns.

http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunti ... _loads.htm

As playin said, a hunter with a normal full choke and a 12ga 2 3/4" 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 load of #6 lead could be very effective on turkeys out to about 30 yards. What 3 or 3 1/2" turkey loads and tight turkey chokes do is give you the possibility of a longer effective turkey kill range. This is where patterning comes in. You need to confirm your load/choke combo's max effective distance.

So... you don't really need turkey loads and chokes (there have been many, many turkeys killed with lesser loads, chokes, and gauges), but you many need to limit/restrict your shot selection more if you don't use them.

Enjoy your hunt, good luck.


Last edited by Joe Hunter on Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:10 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:40 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:09 pm
Posts: 703
Location: Valdosta GA
I agree with Joe. Learn your gun and round. I have killed many turkeys with a single shot 20 and a 12 from 1926. No big shells


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 Post subject: Re: Spring turkey hunting
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:03 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:46 am
Posts: 69
Really looking forward to using my new Super Vinci
with my Magnum Blends....the turkeys better
watch out




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