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Turkey hunting with mod choke 20 gauge?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Guvnor, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Guvnor

    Guvnor Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    I have an H&R pardner single-shot 20 gauge in mod choke. Ive been modifying it into a turkey gun by swapping the wood furniture with a black synthetic stock and forend, and put a sock full of BB's inside the stock to bring the weight up to around 8 pounds to lessen turkey load recoil.

    I realize now that the full choke model would have been a better choice. But what do you guys think is the max effective range for a humane kill with the mod choke?

    Any suggestions on a load? I was thinking #5 or #6's.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    The only way to tell is pattern test it yourself.

    No two guns will pattern the same, or pattern the same with various brands of shells.

    They make turkey pattern test targets to determine how far a gun will put a killing pattern in a turkeys head & neck.

    You can draw one of a blank sheet of packing paper for a lot less money.
    Or just print some on your computer printer.

    In general, I think #6 will run out of penetration before it runs out of pattern density.
    #5 will run out of pattern density before it runs out of penetration.

    But again, it all depends on how well your gun will pattern each size.

    PS: If it all doesn't pan out, send your barrel to Carlsons and have them install choke tubes of your choice (including X-full & turkey) for $125.

    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  3. chas08

    chas08 Senior Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    South Central Texas
    Buy some 3" Hevi-Shot #6 It patterns tighter than lead in all the modified chokes I've tried it in. I've killed crippled Ducks swimming at 60yds with it. I'm not a Turkey hunter, but I have killed a few, and I wouldn't be afraid to take a shot at a Turkeys head at 40yds with it.
  4. bejay

    bejay Member

    Aug 2, 2008
    would try some number 4 and 6 to check the pattern, effective range you probably dont lose much if any from going to a full to mod after you find out what patterns best, but would try to call them in as close as possible but your would be better off buying the same gun in a 12 or 10 guage with the full choke for a dedicated turkey gun if you want to increase your range significantly.
  5. MCgunner

    MCgunner Senior Elder

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    Hevi shot works from a mod choke just fine. It's expensive, but you don't need much ammo for turkey hunting. One or two for patterning, the rest of a 10 round box for the hunt. :D
  6. jbkebert

    jbkebert Senior Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    For the past couple of years my boys have been using a old 870 wingmaster 20ga with a mod choke. It is a 70's model with a fixed choke and 2 3/4" only barrel. We have been using Federal Copper plated lead in #4 shot. They come 25 to a box for about $7 dollars. Between my boys and myself and the three kids I took on youth hunts last year for Hunters Ed. This combo has claimed around 11 birds. Call them in fairly close and leave the Turkey howitzers at home.
  7. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Senior Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Don't rule out the use of #71/2's.

    For the 20ga, the 1-1/4oz load (3"mag) with #7.5 @ under 25yds, will knock them dead right there.

    I've killed several turkeys with the 20, and prefer it over the 12ga. My 20 weighs 6lbs even, and recoil is tolerable with either the 3" 1.25oz or the 1-5/16oz Winchester Supreme loads. Much easier to hold the gun in shooting position while waiting for the bird to come into range. Try holding a 10lb 10ga on a bird for 5min while waiting for a clear shot. Not fun! Think shooting sticks!

    For second or follow-up shot, if needed, I back the first shot up with a #5 load. More penetration at ranges over 20yds.

    A dense pattern at your point of aim is what counts most. I know one hunter who's used 1.125oz of #8's from a 12ga to kill them. But, range was under 20yds. (It was in Alabama during the fall season, where there is a fall season- he was hunting other game at the time.....)

    Turkeys don't wear kevlar vests.. Just center a dense pattern on head/neck. Shot size is secondary. 6's would be my choice if it patterns well, but do try some 7.5's. You might be suprised at the difference in the pattern count. But you MUST get them inside 30yds, regardless of what you've heard. Even with a 2oz load from a 12ga.
  8. shaggy430

    shaggy430 Active Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Me as a kid. 20 gauge. Mod Choke. 1 shot. About 25 yds.

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  9. TEAM101

    TEAM101 New Member

    Aug 7, 2009
    Looks like you shot your weight in turkey that day, Shaggy. LOL

    To the OP, pattern your gun to determine effective range. Max it out, then subtract 5 yards to be certain of a clean kill.
  10. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

    Nov 14, 2007
    Shaggy, nice. Hey guys, I've got a Savage 24l in 20 ga (and .22lr) with a fixed choke on it, that I'm thinking of putting my girlfriend on for her first turkey hunt - anyone know what the fixed factory choke is on these old Savage 24s?
  11. shaggy430

    shaggy430 Active Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Thanks guys. I'm not sure about the Savage 24. Maybe you could call Savage? I'm not sure about where you are hunting, but here you couldn't use the 24 because of the rifle barrel (I think).

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