Good Turkey Shells?


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ldlfh7
March 1, 2013, 06:13 PM
I will be using a single shot nef 20 ga with 3" modified choke for spring turkey season this year. This gun kicks like a mule and I wanted to know the lightest load that could be used and considered humane. I have plenty of federal #6 shot hi brass which im sure could take a turkey at close range. Is this too weak? Suggestions? I am not a big turkey hunter so I am not going to go out and get a new gun for hunting.

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matrem
March 1, 2013, 06:31 PM
Close range is rather broad amongst turkey hunters.
If that 20 is patterning multiple 6s on paper in the head /neck area at your idea of close range?
You're good.
Those hard kicking -super costly shells just make it possible to do it from a bit farther.

Mobuck
March 2, 2013, 10:41 AM
My Son has killed several turkeys using common HV 2 3/4" one ounce of nickel plated #6 ammo. Ranges under 35 yards were total slap down.

Sav .250
March 2, 2013, 11:06 AM
Put you big boy pants on and use the "Hevi" load. It`s only one shot!:)

mnhntr
March 2, 2013, 11:17 AM
The best shells for turkey are the ones that pattern the best in your gun/choke combo. That is the hard truth. There is no way to know how a certain load will act in your gun without shooting it. I always shoot at least 3-4 different turkey loads in a gun to see what works the best before hunting it. I have found 3 1/2in Fiocci #5 turkey loads are the best in my wife's BPS and 3in #4 Remington turkey loads in my Winchester 1300 are the best. You would be suprised at the pettern density btween shells and chokes and guns. Take your shells and gun and pattern it from 30- 60 yds in 10yd increments and see what it does

buck460XVR
March 2, 2013, 11:22 AM
The best shells for turkey are the ones that pattern the best in your gun/choke combo.


^^^ this. Knowing where your gun shoots and how it patterns at different ranges is more important than the load itself. Once you know the guns capabilities, you stay within those parameters.

303tom
March 2, 2013, 12:00 PM
I will be using a single shot nef 20 ga with 3" modified choke for spring turkey season this year. This gun kicks like a mule and I wanted to know the lightest load that could be used and considered humane. I have plenty of federal #6 shot hi brass which im sure could take a turkey at close range. Is this too weak? Suggestions? I am not a big turkey hunter so I am not going to go out and get a new gun for hunting.
Turkey is a tough old bird, you know here in Missouri we can`t use anything larger than #4`s, so I would suggest you use 3 in. 4`s, I do.................

splattergun
March 2, 2013, 12:47 PM
Put you big boy pants on and use the "Hevi" load. It`s only one shot!:)
That ^^ I really don't notice the recoil when I'm shooting at game, whether with my 12 ga on birds or my 30-06 on 4-leggers. It's more of a problem when target shooting.

Your 2 3/4" 6 shot will kill a turkey if you do your part. I prefer 5 shot.

kbbailey
March 2, 2013, 08:25 PM
I like my #4s for their bone-breaking/feather-penetrating ability. plain old 2 3/4" 3dr; 1 1/8oz (target load)reloads. They pattern well. I have taken birds out to 42yds.

rcmodel
March 3, 2013, 01:12 AM
Truth be known??

If a 12 ga 1 1/8 oz #8 trap load out of a full choke will pulverize a blue rock target at 35-40 yards?

It will do the same thing to a Turkeys head & neck bones at the same distance.

Methinks we have all been way over-advertised and over-sold on the guns and ammo it takes to kill a turkey!

We killed farm raised 25+ pound turkeys on the farm for the freezer with a .410 single-shot or .22 rifle when I was a boy.

Todays wild turkeys don't have armor plated heads & necks due to global warming!

You shoot'm in the head / neck area with a dense patterning #8 trap load?

They will fall over dead and flop around just like they would have if you hit them with a 3 1/2" mag "kills at one end and maims at the other", $3.00 bucks a pop Turkey load.

rc

twofifty
March 3, 2013, 11:37 AM
Yeah, in 1610 Jamestown they didn't use 3 1/2" depleted uranium shells on turkeys.

kbbailey
March 3, 2013, 05:04 PM
With all due respect.....don't use #8s on turkeys lol. They're really hard to blood-trail when they fly away.
I don't even use #8s on late-season quail.

303tom
March 3, 2013, 05:47 PM
Yeah, in 1610 Jamestown they didn't use 3 1/2" depleted uranium shells on turkeys.
No, they probably used buck shot...............

matrem
March 3, 2013, 06:06 PM
No, they probably used buck shot...............

They didn't have a modern 20ga with modern high brass(federal I believe?) #6s.
If they had?
They'd have used em & been impressed .

buck460XVR
March 4, 2013, 11:03 AM
Turkeys are not hard to kill if you hit them in the head/neck. One BB will do the trick many times. Shoot an adult Tom in the body and odds are the turkey will fly/run away and become coyote bait. IMHO, There are three reasons folks miss or maim turkeys and the type of gun/shell they are using ain't one of them.

1.) The hunter does not pattern his gun with the shells he is using. This means he does not only not know exactly where the gun shoots with that ammo, he also is not aware if there are holes in his pattern. Pattering a shotgun is a learning experience to those who have never done it. Patterns with different loads can be like day and night and many times do not shoot to POA. One reason why sights on turkey guns as opposed to just the bead are so popular.

2.) Folks do not shoot at, or do not have a clear shot at the head/neck area. Shooting a turkey in the body, even at close range with birdshot is fruitless. Their wings are like body armor and many times even when mortally wounded will fly or run a good distance. Unless they go down in a green field, their natural camouflage makes them tough to find without a dog. Folks many times make the mistake of shooting right at the head which gives them a very small margin for error or a good chance the head will be in a hole in the pattern. Shooting at the neck gives more margin for error, especially if the bird is above or below you. Other mistake many make is shooting at the bird when in full strut. When in full strut and the head and neck are pulled tight against the body, the target area is not only very small, but protected by those body armor wings. Straight on is a little better, but waiting till they at least come partially outta strut and raising their head/neck is better. Waiting till they come fully outta strut and extending their head neck in search for the calling hen is preferred. A single cluck works well for this.

3.) Misjudging distance. Watching a strutting Tom out in an open field, dancing for his hens, is an awesome sight. Calling one in and having them do this makes one's heart pound and excitement level jump. But a strutting Tom is purposely making himself look LARGER. Larger objects appear closer to us than smaller ones at the same distance. This means a strutting Tom looks closer than the hens with him and looks closer than he actually is. With a rifle on a deer, misjudging distance by 20 yards is a moot point. Misjudge a Tom by 20 yards at the outer limits of your range, means a miss or wounded bird. This is where those super duper turkey artillery shells with the death match widow maker choke tube SOMETIMES help by giving one an extra 5-10 yards of range. Using them as a crutch or an excuse to take shots at birds outta legitimate range again, means wounded birds. Scopes on turkey guns also give the impression they are closer than they are. Watching one come all the way across the field without taking you eye outta the scope means you really do not know how close he is unless you have marked the range. I've been turkey hunting for over 30 years and probably have more than twice that amount of beards in a coffee can. I still take the time on every set-up, even those that catch me off guard and I need to sit right now, to judge and make mental marks of where the bird needs to pass before I have a legitimate shot. On set-ups where I have time and set up decoys, the decoys are a good mark. Sometimes a stick stuck in the ground works. Many times it's just a mental note of a particular cornstalk of patch of dandelions, or a bush next to the lane. I know tho, before the bird comes in, what it has to go past before I take the shot. Every time. Better to let the bird walk for another day, than to wound and lose him or screw the spot up for tomorrow's hunt. Knowing the effective range of your particular gun and ammo and knowing where this is when the bird is in front of you, is paramount.

appalachian hunter
March 4, 2013, 12:05 PM
turkey got almost wiped out with 2¾ paper shells.....and back in the days they didnt wear 400$ of camo either.the whole turkey thing now his blown way out of proportion. ive been using my singleshot 12ga 2¾full choke and they all flapped on the ground... no need for those nuclear shells.big news..... turkey cant read ammo boxes!!!!!!!
i use number 5 high brass game loads

appalachian hunter
March 4, 2013, 12:15 PM
Yeah, in 1610 Jamestown they didn't use 3 1/2" depleted uranium shells on turkeys.
they probably used blunderbuss or just baton

buck460XVR
March 4, 2013, 01:49 PM
turkey got almost wiped out with 2¾ paper shells.....


Around here, most were wiped out with muzzleloading black powder guns and baited hooks long before paper hulls became common.

shaggy430
March 4, 2013, 06:03 PM
I really like the Federal shells with the FliteControl wad. It makes a huge difference with patterns.

A box of 10 Federal turkey shells usually last me about 3-4 seasons. I don't mind spending $15 for something that will last me for four seasons and will likely increase my odds of success.

Whatever you use, pattern them in your gun. After you find your "brand" pick up a box here and there in the off season or when they are on sale.

03Shadowbob
March 6, 2013, 09:15 PM
I agree shaggy. That load patterns the best in my 870 supermag

sage5907
March 11, 2013, 11:04 AM
Just buy 2 3/4 inch high brass turkey loads with #4 shot. I personally like the Winchester XX Magnum. Shoot at the turkey's body, not the head & neck. I went looking for 20 guage ammo this weekend and found it kind of funny that the shelves were abundant with 3 inch turkey loads but all of the 2 3/4 inch ammo had been sold.

mnhntr
March 11, 2013, 12:02 PM
The problem with using anything other than 4, 5, 6 are in most states it is illegal. I agree with the fatcs that these birds have been killed by other sizes of shot but I hope we strive for ethical hunting practices in this day and age. The indians killed buffalo with a horse and a spear but I would prefer a 45-70 any day.

buck460XVR
March 11, 2013, 12:23 PM
Shoot at the turkey's body, not the head & neck.


:what:

powell&hyde
March 11, 2013, 02:13 PM
:what:
+1

I agree, I hope he got it backwards.

sage5907
March 11, 2013, 08:39 PM
Hey guys, I know it's fashionable to shoot a standing turkey in the head at 20 yards with a 3 inch magnum 12 guage but not everyone does it that way. In the past 45 years I've taken over 100 goblers and I never intentionally shot one in the head. I have never found a gobbler to be hard to kill, and a half dozen #4 copper plated shot through the lung heart area will turn their lights out rather quickly. I use a 12 guage with a 2 3/4 inch chamber and shoot them standing, running or flying, at ranges from 20 yards to past 50 yards. Occasionally I use the wife's 20 guage lightweight and wouldn't have a problem shooting a turkey with it either. I would limit the shooting distance on the 20 guage to about 30 yards. The post was how to reduce recoil and still be effective. A novice turkey hunter is far more apt to come home with a turkey if he shoots at the bird with magnum #4 shot instead of the head. It's all about making a solid hit on the bird.

Todd1700
March 12, 2013, 11:46 PM
Wow.

First of all unless you plan to call turkeys in to 25 yards before you open fire forget the nonsense about using number 8 lead shot. Not even sure lead 8's are legal in most places but no matter. Just forget that horse pucky.

Second, for the love of God don't body shoot them with 4's either. Can you kill a turkey that way? At very close range, sure. But at very close range it would be like hitting him with a slug and would destroy the edible meat. Which is the reason we are shooting him in the first place, right? And at a longer range? Well I'm sure the turkey would die......eventually. The question is where and when. Possibly close to where you shot him. Or possibly after he runs a 1/4 of a mile through a thicket and crawls up in the middle of a downed tree top with no blood trail between where you shot him and where he finally expired. Or depending on the range of the shot he might die a week later from infection. Horrible, horrible advice in my opinion.

But back to your original question.

Does your gun accept screw in chokes? I would not hunt turkeys with a modified choke tube unless I had to. You don't have to go out and spend 70 bucks on an after market tube either. Any extra full turkey choke out there will out shoot that internal modified choke and some of them cost less than 20 bucks. As for shells, it just depends on how much you want to spend. Hevi-13 denser than lead shells combined with a choke safe to use with denser than lead shot will give you awesome patterns but are expensive. With lead shells I have always had the best luck with Winchester Supreme shells. See what patterns best between 5's and 6's. Never been a fan of lead 4's. The individual number 4 pellets will kill way out there if they hit the right spot but I have never seen what I would call a good pattern with them at even 40 yards. And I seriously doubt you will get a good pattern with them out to 40 yards from a 20 ga using a modified choke.

When you pattern forget the turkey head targets. Shoot at a dot in the center of a large sheet of poster paper. That way you can see what the whole pattern is doing. It will also allow you to see exactly where the center of your pattern is hitting. Trust me it is not always perfectly in line with the bead or sights. You may need and adjustable sight to get your point of aim and point of impact together. I would consider 100 pellets inside a 10 inch circle an acceptable pattern. The farthest your shotgun will give you at least that pattern density is your maximum range.

buck460XVR
March 14, 2013, 02:06 PM
Hey guys, I know it's fashionable to shoot a standing turkey in the head at 20 yards with a 3 inch magnum 12 guage but not everyone does it that way. In the past 45 years I've taken over 100 goblers and I never intentionally shot one in the head. I use a 12 guage with a 2 3/4 inch chamber and shoot them standing, running or flying, at ranges from 20 yards to past 50 yards.


I help teach hunter safety to new hunters. When we talk about turkey hunting there are several points we try to drive home. First, always shoot at the neck/head area, avoid shots to the body....especially broadside. We also stress that you never shoot at a bird running or flying, unless you have already wounded it. I also am involved with the NWTF and the youth mentoring program. We educate young hunters on hunting turkeys and then we take them to the field for their first hunt. We also stress the same points to these hunters. The reason is, that regardless of what you claim........adult turkeys are hard to kill unless hit in the brain or other part of the CNS. They can run/fly too far and are hard to, if not impossible to retrieve when hit only in the body. One reason many states have banned hunting turkeys with rifles is for this reason, not just for safety as many think. Even with half their chest blown off,they are able to run and hide....and die, without being able to be recovered.

Shooting a turkey in the head/neck is not fashionable......it is being responsible and ethical. Shooting instead for the body is being irresponsible and unethical. Same with shooting at a running or flying birds. You wish to hunt turkeys this way cause it works for you and it's legal, go for it. But don't suggest others do the same. I wonder how many birds that you shot in the body while running or flying, ran or flew off only to die a long lingering death or became coyote bait. I wonder how many of those birds you thought were clean misses were mortally wounded birds you never even went and looked for. I suppose your next post will be you never have missed or never lost a wounded bird, eh?

nathan
March 14, 2013, 04:39 PM
A friend of mine who was a bench shooter said he shot gobblers using his superaccurate 2506 caliber hunting rifle that shoots dimesized at 100 yds. Of course , this is off topic .

JohnBT
March 14, 2013, 05:09 PM
"Same with shooting at a running or flying birds."

Some people are good enough wing shots to consistently kill flying turkeys. Some people can even learn to walk up close on feeding turkeys and kill 2 with 2 shots when they take wing between the trees. My father even did it with a 20 ga. Model 12 and #6 shot in front of witnesses. The turkeys loved roaming the edges of my grandparents' huge apple orchard.

Can everybody do it? No.

John

buck460XVR
March 14, 2013, 06:39 PM
"Same with shooting at a running or flying birds."

Some people are good enough wing shots to consistently kill flying turkeys. Some people can even learn to walk up close on feeding turkeys and kill 2 with 2 shots when they take wing between the trees. My father even did it with a 20 ga. Model 12 and #6 shot in front of witnesses. The turkeys loved roaming the edges of my grandparents' huge apple orchard.

Can everybody do it? No.

John


I know folks that claim they shoot at a brown blur in the woods and they occasionally get a deer. I certainly wouldn't suggest that to a new deer hunter. I know folks that claim they shoot at geese 70 yards over their head. They occasionally get a bird. Would I suggest that to a new waterfowl-er? No, would you? I've seen folks post all kinds of stories about their hunting prowess on the internet, but I don't believe everything I read. Some folks may be good enough shots that they consistently hit flying turkeys, odds are, just as many that they hit fly away to die somewhere else as fall DRT. We as responsible hunters owe it to our quarry to make quick clean kills using high percentage shots. While all of us have taken a shot or two that we ain't proud of or would rather have back......to recommend these to a new hunter looking for the correct and ethical way to hunt is just plain foolish, to brag about them is something else all together. Shooting at a running/flying turkey is a low percentage shot, regardless of who you are.

JohnBT
March 14, 2013, 07:02 PM
Now, now, what did I say?

"Can everybody do it? No." - me


"Some folks may be good enough shots that they consistently hit flying turkeys"

May be? Do you think I am lying? It sounds like it to me.

John

sage5907
March 14, 2013, 09:43 PM
What I got out of this thread is that there are a lot of turkey hunters who aren't confident in their ability or anyone's ability to shoot a shotgun. These same hunters also don't realize the penetrating power of a charge of #4 shot at long range. I think that any good wingshot can confidently kill a flying turkey because they are much easier to hit than a flying quail or duck. If you read this thread you would think that good wingshooters are a dieing breed and I think this opinion depends on the region of the country where the comments originate. When I grew up it was easy for a good wingshot to take a limit of 10 quail in about an hour. Those days are gone but my shooting ability hasn't. With a full choke shotgun I wouldn't shoot a turkey at 20 yards if I had the opportunity to shoot him at 30 yards or further. I hold a big tom turkey in high regard and I'm lucky to live in a part of the country where turkeys are abundant, in fact where I hunt they are considered a nusence by some of the farmers because they crap on the round bales of hay that are used for livestock feed and it makes the animals sick.

JohnBT
March 15, 2013, 12:44 AM
"#4 shot at long range"

Used to work just fine on Mallards and small geese and some of them seemed to be armored.

You can actually kill an angry black bear with #6 shot. My father, uncle and grandfather had an encounter with one while climbing a logging trail next to a creek one afternoon. They were on their way to bird hunt a high pasture when the bear came down the track. Using two 12s and my dad's 20 ga., it took 30 to 35 shots to kill it at contact distance. It was unfortunate, but there just wasn't any passing room on the path and my grandfather's little dog stirred things up some and lived up to his name - Sparky.

John

shaggy430
March 15, 2013, 09:54 AM
it took 30 to 35 shots to kill it at contact distance.

Now this thread has officially jumped the shark. How do you justify self defense when three people had to empty and reload their shotguns at least 3 times. Posting stuff like this does nothing to help our cause as hunters. I hope the new hunter who started this thread disregards your posts or looks at them as an example of "what not to do".

To the OP: Shoot standing turkeys in the head at a reasonable range with a shotgun you've patterned.

ldlfh7
March 15, 2013, 04:20 PM
I don't see the problem. A bear was in their way and they did what they had to do. Were they supposed to let the bear attack them?

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