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Turkey Shoot Help

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by waynesan, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. waynesan

    waynesan Well-Known Member

    I need some advice about turkey shoot competition. I just went to my second turkey shoot and after a total of 40 shots I have only managed to get one pellet in the center ring and it wasn't even a winner. I am getting between 90 and 110 holes on the paper ( 8 X 10 ) at 30 yards. I am using a Remington 870 in 20 gauge. I used a full choke at the first shoot, and then bought a turkey choke and used it at the second shoot with no appreciable improvement in number of pellets hitting the paper.
    Should I be getting more holes than that with a 20 gauge at 30 yards?

    We have to use #8 shot.
    Out of about 20 shooters I am the only one using a 20 gauge. I think that is my first indication of my problem.

    Should I get a 12 gauge? Is there a lot more shot from a 12 than a 20?

    I am a newbie to shotguns and in spite of my poor turkey shoot performance I did have fun but would like to be a little more competitive. Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. lycanthrope

    lycanthrope Well-Known Member


    Have you patterned the gun? Some shotguns do not shoot to the center of the bead. You need to get a big piece of paper or painted steel and mark a small spot. Carefully aim and see where your pattern is centered. Then make your corrections at the shoot.
  3. kudu

    kudu Well-Known Member

    Welcome waynesan,

    If they require standars shells, then a 20ga will have 7/8oz of shot opposed to 1 1/8oz of shot in a 12ga hull.

    Do shoot at a pattern board to find center of impact for your gun as suggested.
  4. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    First, pattern. Chances are the bulk of the pattern is not going where you're looking.
    Second, pattern again. Figure out where the pellets are and adjust.....
  5. Bill B.

    Bill B. Well-Known Member

    Ditto on patterning your gun! One thing to remember at a Turkey shoot is that all guns are not what they may appear to be at a glance. Some of these guns used against you may have been sent to a gunsmith and had a sleeve welded in to make them pattern on paper with a certain size shot at a certain yardage. You could buy one of the best 12 ga. guns out there and still go to a Turkey shoot and not win a thing again one of these guns. It quite fun to go to shoots where everyone may be using a hunting shotgun and most everyone there winds up with a win. It quite different to go and one gun there wins every match and most go home wonderning why their gun doesn't shoot nearly as good as the winner. I will give you one tip that a lot of turkey shooters have gone to in our area is buying some of the older 12 guns that have a cuts comp. installed. They then buy several different constrictions of chokes till they find one that works with a certain size shot at a set yardage. It is quite common for a gun that shoots 8's at 30 yards not shoot 7 1/2's at 40 yards. You have to match the gun to the game being played. I have a friend who has a 11-48 Remington with the cuts comp. set up and it shoots better per him in cold weather. It will not shoot as tight a pattern in hot weather. They take the choke out between matches and put it on ice in hot weather. You will find out there is a lot of gamesmanship in turkey shoots and some will almost do anything to win. I like to win as much as the next but this is getting a bit extreme to my way of thinking! :)

    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    What you are describing is a 'card shoot' around here........

    If you are able to reload drop the velocity back, WAY BACK!!!!!!! About 1000 fps is as fast as you want to go. Slow powders are better than faster powders, AA wads are better than anything else you will find. Get a GOOD choke tube, and one with a gun makers name on it isn't going to be what you want. Get a Hastings, Briley or similar. It needs to be an extended choke too, with at least 1" of parallel constriction.

    If you can't reload buy turkey loads, 3" if you gun will chamber them, and the heaviest payload you can find since you remember that speed kills patterns. Play with chokes and you will find one that works.
  7. waynesan

    waynesan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for info. Still wondering.

    Thanks for the info you guys have already given. Maybe it is not the kind of question that many shooters would know off the top but I am still wondering if 90 to 110 shot holes at 30 yards with a 20 gauge would be considered good. Does anybody know or have any educated guesses?
  8. Bill B.

    Bill B. Well-Known Member

    I think the only way to answer that is to compare the 90 to 110 holes to the winning count. If you are getting beat on average by a count of 50 shot then it can't be good. If on some card's the winning count is 115 from a 12 ga. then you must have a pretty tight 20 ga. Most turkey / card shoots I have been to they supply the shells and generally the 12 ga. has 1/8 oz. more shot than the 20 ga. which makes it hard for you to compete right from the start. If the matches you are shooting are the shot closest to the "X" luck can play a big part there and I have seen several 20's that were winners. Dense patterns form 12 ga.'s generally make "their own luck". It really hard for the 20 ga. to win on shot count.
  9. waynesan

    waynesan Well-Known Member

    Thanks Bill B

    Thanks BillB. That makes sense. We will be shooting every Saturday night thru Feb. We do use the center x ring to determine the winner and last Saturday I did have one pellet in the center ring but one guy got his right on the cross in the x while mine was slightly low. Guess I need to start looking for a good used 12 gauge. Thanks again.
  10. Rob62

    Rob62 Well-Known Member


    If you do go out and purchase a new/used 12ga I'd suggest that you look for one right away with screw in chokes tubes vs. getting a deal on one with a fixed choke.

    From what you've said you will eventually have to get screw in chokes anyway and this alone can save you about $60-80 which is the cost of having screw in chokes put in a gun around here.

    You can hardly go wrong with a Remington 870. Used Express versions in excellent condition can be had in the $175-200 range around my neck of the woods. Most of these guns come with 28" vent rib barrels with the excellent Rem Choke system installed (screw in chokes).

    Something that hasn't been mentioned is having the forcing cone lengthened on whatever SG you get. I've found that it made quite a difference on a gun I've owned.

    As previously mentioned, some Card or Turkey match shooters spend lots of $$ to win but at the ranges that these targets are normally shot, 25yds at my club, plus using inexpensive shells, even guys who don't go all out win occasionally.

    At my club pellet count in the target does not matter. Except that the person who gets a pellet closest to the X in the center of the target wins.

    I've won a turkey before using a stock Rem 870 with a factory Rem. Turkey choke.

    Happy Holidays,


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