Best barrel length for turkey


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shaggy430
February 12, 2013, 10:46 AM
I have a Remington 870 Super Mag that I've had for several years and have used to take quite a few turkeys and a couple deer. The gun is dedicated only to turkey and the occasional slug deer hunt on a local WMA. It has a scope on it. The problem is that it has a 28" barrel. This long barrel length has cost me two turkeys over the years by being too long to adjust in the brush while seated when incoming turkeys have flanked me. Also, I'd like to cut down on weight as I am a run-and-gun turkey hunter.

I have contacted Mike Orlen to cut the barrel down and reinstall the choke tube for me. What do you consider the best barrel length for turkey hunting? I am leaning between 21"-23".

P.S.- I have other shotguns for waterfowl and migratory birds with longer barrels. This shotgun will only be used for this one purpose throughout its entire existence.

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Sav .250
February 12, 2013, 11:44 AM
For me there is nothing wrong with the length. Sounds like from your comments it`s more your fault. You could have waited for a clear shot or even passed.
Your in camo,well hidden, Unles you move they don``t know your there. You say you took,"quite a few turkeys."So I`d say you know how to hunt them. I`d just re-think my strategy.
I hunt turkeys as well. Have made mistakes but try not to do it again.

shaggy430
February 12, 2013, 12:36 PM
Thank you for the lesson, but does anyone want to answer the question?

I've been turkey hunting for over 25 years. Are you saying that you haven't once had a turkey gobble his head off at 100 yards then clam up and suddenly reappear 20 yards behind you?

I am going to cut the barrel down. I am looking for input on what THR members feel is the best length.

Thanks

osprey176
February 12, 2013, 04:55 PM
I like short(18-22")barrels for Turkey hunting.They handle better in a blind than a longer barrel.Carlson' s in Attwood,Kansas does great work,fast,for a reasonable price. I recommend them highly. A short barrel won't make the gun invisible,of course,so I try to have it pointed in the right direction before the bird shows up.

topher89
February 12, 2013, 08:47 PM
I am in the same boat you are. I am going out for my first turkey hunt this year and am using my 28" Wingmaster.

I have had my eye on some the Mossberg dedicated turkey guns. The majority of them have 20 or 24" barrels. I think your 21-23" range is perfect

natman
February 13, 2013, 06:15 AM
I started with a bone stock 28" barrel Mossberg 500. I found the long barrel to be awkward in the woods, so I swapped it for a 20". This has worked out very well, you can carry the gun slung on your shoulder without the barrel extending over your head.

A 20" barrel will be louder than a 28", but I wear electronic muffs regardless of barrel length so it's not a problem for me.

jmr40
February 13, 2013, 08:28 AM
The longer barrel is a handicap, although it can work if you modify your tactics some. I don't like to go too short. My dedicated turkey guns are either a 21" 870 or my 24" Benelli M-1.

herkyguy
February 13, 2013, 09:36 AM
For what it's worth, I just picked up Remington's 1187 Turkey gun and it comes with a 23" barrel. I also have hunted turkeys up until now with an 870 and a 28" barrel. Shooting the 1187, 5" makes a good bit of difference in maneuverability. It patterns very well at 30 yards with the Remington Turkey choke.

adelbridge
February 13, 2013, 02:17 PM
Its way cheaper to buy an off the shelf barrel. It is even cheaper to cut the brush from your shooting lane.

MCgunner
February 14, 2013, 01:01 PM
Anything over 18.5" don't add to ballistics. I have this, but hunt geese with it. I've shot one turkey in my life, did that with a 28" SxS 12 gauge. This gun would be my choice now, other than I'd rather use a .22 mag rifle in Texas (legal on Rio Grandes).

10 gauge H&R Turkey....

http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/hh305/goose150/PICT0240.jpg

Husker_Fan
February 14, 2013, 04:37 PM
I've had a pair of birds do something similar. I was with a buddy and I was doing the calling. We set up after we first heard them, only to realize the birds were on the other side of a ravine. I still called them a bit and they came straight toward us.

Then they got to the ravine and clammed up. They didn't make a sound and I figured they were not interested enough to go down and back up the ravine. They did, though, and gobbled once they got to the top of our side of the ravine. Eventually they popped out of the woods on the other side of me where they started gobbling. We managed to get both birds.

joeschmoe
February 14, 2013, 05:59 PM
Anything over 18.5" don't add to ballistics.

:confused:

I thought the whole point of longer barrels is ballistics? I thought longer barrels can give tighter pattern control at longer distances, especially for turkey and geese.

Was I wrong?

MCgunner
February 14, 2013, 08:02 PM
Was I wrong?

You weren't too wrong in 1813, but in 2013, yeah. :D Black powder worked better in longer barrels. Modern shotgun powders burn fast, indeed I use many as pistol powders. The dots, red dot, blue dot, and green dot are very fast powders. They do all they're going to do by 18.5". If the barrel is properly choked, it'll pattern as good in 18.5" as it will in 36".

What longer barrels do is give the shotgun more of a weight forward balance which is a good thing when wing shooting at ducks or such, but turkey are stationary targets. Swing and follow through is a non-issue with a turkey gun. So, folks opt for a shorter, handier barrel for turkey shooting. This does NOT mean, however, that your 28" 870 won't work on turkeys properly choked.

That 24" H&R Turkey patterns over 90 percent on a 30" pattern board at 40 yards, at least with steel Ts and a modified choke. It does pretty close, high 80s, with lead 6s and the turkey choke it came with. It's the best patterning shotgun I've ever owned. It is DEADLY on snow geese out to beyond 60 yards shooting steel Ts. And, being 9 lbs, it has plenty of weight forward, no need for more.

My favorite dove gun, especially in close action, is a 20 gauge 20" SxS coach gun choked I/C-Mod. I've taken doves at 40 yards with it, but it's very quick and deadly on doves over mojos, tanks, or in woods clearings where quick shots are the rule.

natman
February 15, 2013, 02:56 AM
:confused:

I thought the whole point of longer barrels is ballistics? I thought longer barrels can give tighter pattern control at longer distances, especially for turkey and geese.

Was I wrong?

The effect of barrels on velocity is much more powerful in rifle barrels than in shotguns. A change from a 28" to a 20" shotgun barrel will result in a velocity loss of about 50 fps. Not 50 fps per inch, 50 fps TOTAL. Not worth worrying about IMO.

It is a common belief that longer barrels shoot tighter patterns, but despite extensive searching and discussion I have been unable to find a reasonable explanation of why nor any published data that addresses the issue. Lots of opinions, no proper experiments.

IMO, the turkey will never know the difference.

MCgunner
February 15, 2013, 09:06 AM
Choke controls pattern density. The choke screws into the end of your barrel, the last inch or two of barrel. Length of the barrel has no affect on pattern density. I guarantee you my 10 will pattern with anything out there, or better, with its 24" barrel. My 29 with its 20" barrels kills dove to 40 yards with a modified choke, as good as it needs to be. It patterns on the pattern board in the high 70s with the modified choke, and into the 80+ percent range with full choke which I don't use because it's TOO tight for what I'm doing.

I think many folks that try hunting or shooting with a short barreled shotgun have swing and follow through problems and don't realize it. These guns, if butt heavy, are erratic in swing, hard to swing smoothly. It takes a bit of concentration, but you get used to it. They'll tend to blame the gun never having put the gun on a pattern board. Well, it a way, it IS the gun in that they need more weight forward what a longer barrel will give them. This smooths up the swing and makes the follow through easier. However, none of this swing and follow through stuff matters shooting at a stationary turkey.

Pattern the gun first. Don't just assume because it has a turkey choke, it will pattern right. If you pattern enough guns, you'll figure out that barrel length doesn't matter far as pattern density goes.

Fat_46
February 16, 2013, 10:15 AM
Pattern the gun first. Don't just assume because it has a turkey choke, it will pattern right. If you pattern enough guns, you'll figure out that barrel length doesn't matter far as pattern density goes.

This is the correct answer. My 28" DU 835 kills turkeys just fine, but I did have to play with choke tubes anf shells from a few different manufacturers to get it right. And now I'm starting that process over, as I acquired a new shotty.

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