Giving a Turkey the 3rd Degree

3RD Degree Turkey Load

Federal Premium will introduce a new turkey hunting shotgun load in 2015 called the 3rd Degree. The new 12 gauge loads are designed to extend the hunter’s effective reach while making close range shots more forgiving.

The company designed these loads to have three “stages.” The top-most stage – accounting for 20% of the load – uses #6 nickel-plated lead. Inside of 20 yards, these pellets create a wide pattern.

The middle stage accounts for 40% of the load. It uses #5 copper-plated lead shot. This is supposed to create a dense pattern at medium ranges.

3RD Degree Turkey Load

For the final stage, Federal uses #7 tungsten-iron Heavyweight pellets. At 40+ yards, these pellets have more energy than the medium stage pellets.

The muzzle velocity of these loads is 1,250 fps. The 3rd Degree shells will be available in 3″ and 3.5″ versions with 1.75 oz and 2 oz shot loads respectively. The MSRP will be $21.95 and $24.95 for a five round box.

Federal did not provide a shipping date, however, the new loads have started to appear on several retailer websites.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Don Ward

    Just in time given the state of The Great Turkey Menace.

  • noob

    with calipers can you tell the difference between a #5 hole and a #6 hole on paper?

    It would be interesting to see the distribution on targets at different ranges, you might even get a cool effect where you have a figure 8 distribution of pellets with tungsten hitting on target at range and a wide spread of the others hittng lower maybe

  • gunsandrockets

    Five dollars a round? Yikes.

    • phuzz

      Be fair, it’s only $4.99 per round, just think of all the things you could do with that cent!

    • Tim Pearce

      Well, you’re going to fail at hunting turkey with that attitude! Next you’ll be telling me I don’t need a 10 gauge with mass reactive explosive rounds to hunt turkey. Psh. Amateurs.

      • USMC03Vet

        No EO Tech optic? Never going to hit the side of a barn with irons!

  • USMC03Vet

    Because why not pay $5 a round. How did humans ever hunt turkeys previously?