Happy Thanksgiving! Since turkey is a staple for the holiday what is your go to Turkey Gun?



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  • JoshCalle

    As someone who’s not a big hunter, can someone explain why magnum shotgun shells are used to hunt turkey? Like if a two and three quarter inch buckshot load is good enough for a deer, why do you need a bigger round to hunt a smaller bird?

    • Robert

      That’s a great question. I’ve never even thought of why that is.

    • Twilight sparkle

      Probably so the smaller and lighter shot has more velocity to travel further incase you have to make a more distant shot

      • NnoMoodU

        Small and light is not what you want for turkeys. Feathers are an effective armor, and even a clean head shot requires a goodly amount of energy to solidly anchor a bird.

        • Twilight sparkle

          Small and light compared to buck shot

        • Dan

          I dont shoot my turkeys anywhere they have feathers if I can at all help it. Nothing ruins thankgiving faster than a chipped tooth from a BB

          • NnoMoodU

            Me neither, usually, but sometimes necessary.

    • iksnilol

      Something about distance.

      I always found shotguns against turkey stupid. Use a rifle, pop it in the head. Less meat damage, easier.

      • NnoMoodU

        Laws… In my state, we can take whitetails, and various furry varmints and vermin with center-fires, but come turkey season, it’s shotguns only. Given the number of accidental shootings, probably a good thing.

        • Dougscamo

          In Virginia, you can use a rifle on turkeys during any season….but yes, I cringe when I see one in the spring when everyone is camo’ed up and making turkey noises….bad enough to be shot for a deer….but a turkey? I shudder…..

        • iksnilol

          That’s depressing.

      • Dougscamo

        Nah….using rifles mean you’re a poor turkey caller….

        • iksnilol

          I’m a shooter, not a turkey caller.

          If I was a turkey caller, I’d be such a good one I’d set up an online dating service for ’em.

          • Dougscamo

            Bad form, suh!….Bad form….

          • iksnilol

            Hardcore gobble gobble action, amrite? 😉

          • Dougscamo

            Now THAT’S the idea!….

      • Dan

        We still aim for the head/neck with shotguns. Call them in close enough and damaged meat shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Only options we have to use are Archery or Shotgun, not allowed to use rifle in my state.

    • Dougscamo

      The magnums carry a larger payload of shot….anything larger than #2 shot is generally prohibited by the states….and really not needed….

    • Joshua Knott

      Actually there’s a big reason, with a turkey your shot placement is right at the base of the neck , using buckshot would diminish your hit ratio at distances past 30 yards albeit most birds are taken anywhere from 10 to 70 yards. With a 3.5″ magnum you have loads that are 2 ounces in weight (the weight of the actual pellets) so that’s why you see shot sizes from 4-6 for turkey. A number 4 shot is roughly a little over 5mm so 170 pellets of 5mm is going to give you better chances than 9 pellets of 00 buck .

    • d s

      You don’t use buckshot to hunt deer. You slugs to hunt deer. You use 3 to 3/12 inch mags to hunt turkey because you like to see them splatter.

    • Tassiebush

      That’s a good question. Basically it’s to try to create a dense enough pattern to hit the head and neck area. As others have pointed out it’s not a case of power so much as getting enough suitably sized shot to connect. Dedicated turkey guns seem to often use an extra full choke and seem to often be aimed rather than pointed. I’m not experienced in turkey hunting (I’m on the wrong continent) but I’ve read up on it before. Talking generally it seems a bit questionable as to whether the shells need to be so heavy. Pattern density is everything for hunting and outweighs velocity or load size. It’s actually pretty common for magnum loads to have unacceptably big holes in patterns because of shot deformation. Magnum loads are just trying to turn a 12gauge into a 10gauge.

      • Dougscamo

        Magnum turkey loads for the 12 gauge are actually shooting 50-125 fps slower than the standard target load with the idea of not “blowing” the pattern….plus, turkey chokes are ported to reduce the speed even more….giving you density on target….2 ounces of shot can ruin a turkey’s day….
        And yep, when you have a shotgun that can concentrate its impact at a fist-sized pattern at 35-40 yards, you definitely have to aim….that’s why the turkey woods in the spring are filled with shotguns topped with Aimpoints and other types of red dot sights….with attached hunter of course…..

        • Tassiebush

          This is why I love the comments section! That makes complete sense! You aren’t swinging the gun but rather aiming it so that load which would otherwise be prone to causing a long thin shot string just piles up on the one spot. That’s quite brilliant! Thank you for that rather cool bit of enlightenment!

          • Dougscamo

            You are most welcome, sir…..

          • Casper

            Buffering wise you’d probably get a kick out of the dedicated Turkey load from Winchester, the long beard XR loads which binds the shot together and shatters on the ignition, providing the best buffer imaginable.

  • roguetechie

    Distance issues

  • DanGoodShot

    Saiga 12, for those tactical turkeys! Happy Turkey day!

    • jcitizen

      Ha! I have used mine for pheasant once, just to get my fellow hunters unnerved. It wasn’t a well known arm in our neighborhood, and the lame jokes about having an “AK-47” shotgun were bandied about.

  • codfilet

    The first gun I ever bought for myself-an H & R “Topper” 12 ga. I paid $45 for it back around 1979, at Meijers Thrifty Acres. It was, and still is a quality, useful firearm, with a beautiful color-casehardened receiver. I got a duck with the first shot out of it.

    • jcitizen

      I ended up with a cheap skate Sears aluminum single shot 20 gauge; but I did the best I could with what I got. Ended up being one of the best hunting guns I used. Low recoil and light to carry. Every time I tried something I thought better, I ended up going back to my old boy’s gun. I could hunt all day and not get tired out hauling it around. Always kept two rounds in my left hand, and got so good at reloading on the fly, that I could generally get more than one shot off at pheasants and ducks!

  • Steve

    Old Mossberg 500 my dad bought on the 70s at caldors. Had the poly choke at one point now cut down to 22in .

    I’ve used that thing for turkey and deer (dif. Barrel) since I was 14. Beat to ever loving hell but keeps kicking

  • NnoMoodU

    Winchester 1300, turkey special, (full dip camo, short barrel, iron sights, factory extra full choke). Mine wears a Leupold fixed 2x power in low profile quick release mounts. I’m also running an aftermarket HS strut extra full, extended length choke. Very effective out to 50 yards or so with Winchester 3″ 5’s.

  • Joshua Knott

    My go to is a mossberg 535 a.t.s 22″ barrel extra full choke, 3.5″ 4 shot mag load

  • Brian

    I have a single shot H&R 10 gauge that I bought when I was 14. I have killed a pile of birds and pests with it. With the old Remington duplex loads it is pure death!

  • DW

    G3 and MPT762
    Oh wait, wrong “Turkey gun”

    • Dougscamo

      I shoot an M-3000 Stoeger…..which can be the right “Turkey gun” for this application…

      • DW

        A Turkey-made turkey gun, KEBABCEPTION!!!

        • Omerli

          baklavatastic and a great gun too.

  • nick

    kit built 1780 replica HBC Trade Gun, smoothbore with flint ignition . Most of my recreational hunting is done with blackpowder, when I’m guiding hunts (non-turkey !) I use a truly modern 6.5 X 55 CG made in 1912

  • Nashvone

    J.C. Higgins bolt action 12 gauge!

    • jcitizen

      That’s what all my buddies had, except one of ’em had the same thing in .410.