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Turkey Shoots - Hot Barrels, Hot Chokes

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by ShunZu, Oct 8, 2007.

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  1. ShunZu

    ShunZu member

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    As a judge of a local meat shoot, and over 40 years' experience shotgunning everything from league trap & skeet, birds and you-name-it, I have a question I hope someone here will have the answer to. Let me explain to the best of my ability.

    Given that the shoot is a "legal choke (.675 and higher)" shoot as advertised, we get a great turnout by guys with everyday shotguns and it's hugely popular. It never fails that a few guys will show up, usually together, with shotguns that pass a (6 inches long) choke check, but shoot entirely too tight to be a standard barrel / choke combination. Sometimes a hot gun will be obvious to the eye and that's a no-brainer to disqualify them. BUT, we're seeing more and more guns that have been worked so professionally that you can't tell it with the naked eye, even when pulling the barrel off and doing a visual check. I'm not trying to offend anyone here with a "hot" gun, because I have a 34" 1100 myself that's been heavily modified -- and I shoot it in unlimited shoots because it won't pass a choke check and it's obvious the gun has been worked over by a pro. My fundamental problem is this: My gun is hot and I'm honest when talking about it at a shoot.... but there are these guys that effectively lie, playing everyone as idiots, trying to pass these hot guns off as unmodified, legal rigs. Not very honorable imho. To the hosts of a shoot trying to keep it a level playing field, the confrontation gets ugly as those guys get louder and louder (can we spell 'many beers later'?) and they're told their guns are being disqualified because they're hot. It holds up the shoots, and frustrates folks with regular shotguns -- honest guys go home while the cheats make a fuss. I'm tired of the lying, cheating and BS -- and next week when they walk on they're simply going to be told to go to another shoot and try to push off their hot guns to someone else less suspecting. We will accommodate them with an unlimited shoot if they want to shoot on another range, but we're not going to let them shoot against normal full choke shotguns owned by everyday guys just trying to win some pork steaks for the grill. Sorry that took so many words to explain -- I did my best. I just really dislike liars... and it seems that cheat guns trying to be passed off as a normal shotguns sets the owner up as something less than honorable.

    Here's my question: I know about chamber work, backboring, swedging and all those technical ways to make a shotgun shoot tighter... but how in hell are they making barrels shoot so tight that they 1) pass visual tests and 2) defy the common sense test that, at 65 feet, there isn't much left of the target card to even judge? How can you detect a heavily modified barrel? These guys were shooting patterns as dense as my tricked out 34" 1100 but there is NO way I could detect any work had been done on them. What am I missing? Thanks in advance for your thoughts and experience.
     
  2. jameslovesjammie

    jameslovesjammie Member

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    I have never heard of a turkey shoot! Do you have a link to a website about them?

    I have a late 50's vintage 870 that has the factory barrell. I got it from my uncle, who got it from my Great Grandfather. It's a 20 gauge that only accepts 2 3/4" shells. My Great Grandfather lived at an old shack by a small lake in North Dakota and it was his only duck and goose gun. He shot thousands of birds with that gun.

    The barrel is labled as Full choke, but every gunsmith I've taken it to has told me that the constriction is Extra Full. From what I understand, manufacturing was done more by hand then, and it just didn't get bored out enough to be full. It has never had any work done by a smith. I was checking to see if I could get screw in chokes installed, but the barrel was too thin.

    So I guess what I'm saying is sometimes you may be getting an actual factory gun that has a tighter choke. I would think this would be more common on older guns, but I could be wrong.
     
  3. jameslovesjammie

    jameslovesjammie Member

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    Wow, I just looked it up...maily a South/East sport. The nearest one to me is in Missouri! Looks fun though!
     
  4. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Hmmm...

    Now you could have a "factory" and "unlimited" class. But then you'd have to measure internal barrel dimensions and compare them to factory specs. Not hard for a few common guns, but there are many shotguns out there.

    Also, the forcing cones on my quail gun are reamed out. Otherwise, it's factory. I just did it to soften the snappy recoil. Is that "factory" or not? You'd have to decide for the purposes of the competition.
     
  5. sm

    sm member

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    ShunZu,
    Welcome to THR.

    Stan Baker's Bore Diameter Tool is the only way I know of to actually test and verify a "hot" barrel.

    Understand, I am 52, started young, and not currently in the loop on current "Card" and "Turkey" Shoots.

    Back then, with folks getting more into the Art & Science as Brister puts it, and folks were beginning to look more into and understand all this, with lengthing a forcing cone, patterning the gun, screw in chokes, tube sets...

    Card Shooters were having some custom barrels made with More of a step in the forcing cone [Huh!] totally against the grain of what was going on with other shotgun discipline shooters.

    These barrel makers were NOT putting any Stamps, markings, anything to give away.
    IF, one were to remove barrel, and look, one could see that "step" in the forcing cone.
    Then again, getting some folks to "comply" with rules and all was a headache.

    Make it known beforehand, ALL guns were going to have a Baker Tool run down the barrel...and some folks would NOT show up, or if they did, not shoot but raise all sorts of "grief".

    The other "headaches" was Requiring folks to all shoot the same Supplied Loading, All Reloads subject to cutting one open for inspection, and once Approved, sealing with signature and only cracked open in view of Judges.

    Quite a few folks reloaded #12 shot, to get an edge.

    Fascinating Sport , it has been sometime since I messed with it, or even hung around the shooters.
    I was around Great Folks and most of what they were up to, still being serious, was still having fun, and assisting with new shooters, including ladies and kids.

    Funny, and you will appreciate this, as Shotguns and all have a mind of their own it seems...

    Win 1400 20 gauge, Deluxe Walnut, with Winchokes.

    Bone Stock, not even sling swivel studs installed. I had Factory Winchokes, in SK, IC, Mod, and Full.

    That silly shotgun, just a "20 bore 1400" - shot really great patterns. Period.

    Kids day, Modified choke in, and Shoot-the-String, and Turkey shoot. Load was Supplied, Win AA Target Load in #9. [21 yds for the kids Turkey game]

    Soft shooting gun, these kids could shoot it and...
    It kept breaking the string, and getting the closest pellet.
    Hams, Turkeys and other prizes it kept winning that day.

    I had kids waiting to shoot that gun. "That gun wins stuff" *grin*
    Gun bigger than some kids, but we adults assisted with these kids and they had a great time.
    "MoOOm! I won a Turkey/ Ham!"

    40 yds, and with full choke, do the same thing.

    Folks with real guns set up for Card/Turkey just shaking heads.

    I get this 18month old cute as a button little girl.
    She wants to play too.
    Mom and dad having to keep ears and eyes on and we work as a team.
    She is looking at the index card, with the dot and the barrel of gun , when she thinks I am doing it "right" she taps my back.

    She won a teddy bear bigger than she was. :D

    Not bad for a 18 month old and using a 20 ga 1400 - huh? ;):D
     
  6. sm

    sm member

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    This thread got me to thinking. It has been quite awhile, and I just do not recall all the Rules and Regs of the day.
    Heck they could have since changed or been amended since then.

    I cannot recall any barrel makers of the day either.

    Quite a few H&R Toppers and Stevens Single shot shotguns were used.
    Fixed choked, still these were "set up" for Card/Turkey and "Slug" games back in the day. Change barrels, depending on "Game".

    Various ideologies on all this chokes, patterning at the time. Interesting times ...
    It was that obvious, in a break open gun, to see a Step, (one more than normal) or to see one lengthened.
    Different folks had different ideas on how to get desired results.

    Some barrels were what I will call "Russian Choked - like" meaning it was that obvious the barrel diameter increased, and then became smaller again...and I do mean Tight!

    Model 12, High Standard, Ithaca 37, 870, 1100 plus H&R Toppers and Steven/Savage are the Shotguns I recall , being set up...with Fixed Choked barrels.

    Mostly plain barrels, though a few were adding Ernie Sims after market vent ribs...
    [that dates me huh? ]
    Guns fit the shooter for sure!
    Paper shells Preferred! Oh these target loads "for sure" had hard shot, and less perceived recoil and not everyone was "into" the plastic AA hull or any other "plastic hull".
    Guns were set up with Paper shells!
    New shells, offerings "might" change everything, and did.
    Folks were real good about investigating, verifying and knowing what a shotgun would do, with a load.

    Some even had barrels "set up" so when they arrived and the Mandated load was Fed, Win, Rem, Peters...that knew which barrel shot which factory loading best.

    Serious Fun indeed when a person has like 8 barrels for a H&R Topper set up to shoot various "games".

    How about 5 barrels for a 870 "built" for the same reason?

    I met a machinist that played these games. He was an accomplished Trap shooter ( got his spending money hustling trap games).
    5'6" and I bet did not weight 110 #s

    His barrels were Short! 21" to be exact. Everyone else was using Long to Longer barrels.
    He joked about his being short, because he was and he did not want his muzzle to hit the ground.

    He did "something" to his barrels for sure. His patterns were tight, dense, and that good!
    He used a plain barrel, with two Gold beads, real Gold btw.

    Folks laughed at him and his set ups - Once.
    His results spoke for him.
     
  7. gp911

    gp911 Member

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    Here's my turkey shoot story.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=3612498#post3612498

    My 16 gauge barrel (and all the others) came in last week so I'll be patterning soon to see how it works out...

    I've heard so many stories about what people have done to their guns for turkey shoots and I'm sure most of it is BS to confuse people or entertain around the fire... Things like "I bought a single shot 20 with no markings on it and had it rechambered to 12 bore" and such. :rolleyes:

    When I was in a pawn shop not too long ago there were a few Model 12s and Wingmasters (2.75" only/2-3/4-and-shorter spec) for around $275, but I was cash-poor and didn't have the time to sort through 'em to check for bulging barrels and stock cracks. I keep hearing about these great finds, but I don't want to end up with an old gun that had too many years of steel shot run through it and has nasty stock cracks that one can't see until they take it down. All showed a good bit of wear, especially the couple Ithaca 37s there. Those looked like they'd been pulled from the bottom of the ocean! Still, I see those old guns and think "turkey shoot" immediately.

    gp911
     
  8. sm

    sm member

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    gp911,
    That is such a neat story! :)

    Oh granted there was and is some total bull that goes on about guns, loads, chokes and all...
    Heck I removed the "Improved Cyl" off a barrel once, did not do a thing to the fixed choked , plain barrel, just patterned the gun and supplied loads for Skeet, Quail, Doves and Squirrel/Rabbit and folks actually hit stuff.
    Whatever "they said" the gun was "really choked" or "had been done" -
    I just agreed. :D

    I mean that barrel was everything from Cyl to Extra Full and had been Custom tweaked from anyone from Thor, Zeus, to the Pope depending on whom you asked . :D

    Social Experiment if you will...

    Still...some folks really did get serious about barrel making, tweaking and changing up.

    Heck, they still do!
    As evidenced by folks buying "Special" shotguns set up to shoot Buckshot , Slugs, and other "reasons".

    Some have merit, some are Marketing BS using Buzzwords.
     
  9. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    It's been quite a while since I paid attention to the card shooters. This sort of stuff was going on in the 70s. Even back in the 60s people were tweaking Model 37 Winchesters and showing up at shoots in overalls. Gitover mentalities are not new.

    Recent tricks are to add steps, yes, plural to the forcing cone and slightly hone the rear portion of the barrel to give a mild overbore without messing with the choke. This can add 10 POC and be nigh undetectable without a barrel reader

    As for the OP's query, I'd make ALL winning barrels undergo a barrel reader and those found to not be stock in the opinion of three judges be eligible only for the unlimited class.

    And there will be conflicts. Good luck.....
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2007
  10. sm

    sm member

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    :eek::uhoh::scrutiny:

    Dave,
    Ain't it great you and I quit aging ?
    Otherwise some around here might think we were not young. ;)

    Whoa! Has it been that long ago...
     
  11. ShunZu

    ShunZu member

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    To JamesLovesJammie

    First, I appreciate the comments. Thanks.

    to JamesLovesJammie - who had never heard of a turkey / meat shoot, here is a link with basic rules: http://www.turkeyshoot.net/Rules.htm

    It -IS- fun. Briefly, you have a card with a circle and X crosshair bullseye, and you hope that at least one of your pieces of shot cuts the center X. It's essentially a target shoot for shotguns that are aimed (rather than pointed or moving, such as clay bird shooting) like rifles. In the Southwestern Illinois region, there are lots of shoots held on Sundays and turnout can be 30-50 shooters at each one -- sometimes moving from shoot to shoot to see who's offering the 1) best selection and quantities of meats to the winners, and 2) see who's moving along the best (usually based upon what type of a target changer is being employed). Nobody likes to stand around for an hour waiting for their shot -- so home-made target holders that increment after each shot moving the next target card in to place is a big help in speeding things up... as opposed to the "old" days where a guy stands behind hay bales and manually changes the target card after each shot.

    On a good day, using an automatic target incrementor (sounds like something requiring an acronym!) starting at noon, we can get about 30 rounds completed... with only 15 shooters in each round. We charge $2 per shot (and furnish the shells), and the winner of each round is awarded a package of brats, T-bones, rib-eyes, bacon, pork chops, pork steaks, sausage or ham valued at about $20. How fairly the cards are judged, based upon the judge's experience and how well they're known and respected by the shooters, can also make one meat shoot more popular than the others. We also offer free soup and mulligan, 50 cent bowls of chili and hamburgers... which hits the spot on chilly Fall days.

    You'll also find some shoots charge $3 or $4 a round, meaning they're making much more money from the shooters -- which have a problem holding enough shooters to sell out the round as the day goes on and the "lucky" shooters win over and over... turning off the guys who haven't won and simply decide to go home and hope next week they're a little luckiers. :) Having a TV on with the regional football team playing isn't a bad idea to hold your shooters there, also... :)

    It's a fun thing to do with the family on Sunday afternoons in the Fall in this part of the country. In the St. Louis area, there are unlimited shoots held that you can bring ANY kind of shotgun (nicknamed Outlaw guns) -- where you'll see 5 foot long barrels welded together, crazy chokes, scopes, and other combinations that defy description. Until you've seen a shotgun shoot a 4" clean hole in a 5" card, completely blowing out the center of the card, AT 75 feet, you haven't lived. You definately don't want to eat a rabbit that one of those shotguns have hit. :)

    I hope you get an opportunity to visit a meat shoot sometimes. It's really fun when kids and their Moms win -- and a safe, well-structured firing line for a Dad to start his young son in shotgun target shooting. I've seen 7 year old girls beat old experienced shooters... always bringing the hoots and hollers, laughs and celebration with the win -- and an ear-to-ear grin on the little winner.
     
  12. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    A couple things have gotten better, Steve, since they held lots of turkey shoots around here.

    One shoot was known for the amount of Mason jars circulating. I doubt much 'shine's made now in Howard County.

    Same shoot was known for being lily white. Last one I went to, that wasn't so any more.
     
  13. sm

    sm member

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    Dave,
    We do stuff different in the South; cigar boxes free up mason jars for other uses. :)

    ShunZu,
    I really appreciate you posting about these Turkey and Meat Shoots- Refreshing!

    Part of history, and brings back memories for me and others around here. We continue to get cycles of new to firearm folks, including shotguns, and this kind of sharing is important. Passing Forward as we say.

    You and yours do a more 'serious' game.

    I and others like me, do a more 'serious fun' game.
    Index card with a circle and "X" for side games, especially for Club Shoots, Ladies and Kids days, Invite New Folks out Days...whatever "reason" we can come up with.
    Fire up the BBQ and spoil everyone rotten.

    [Ticks off anti's too, darned old gun folks are not fitting the stereotype!]

    Skeet was primary game, so often set up the Card closer, 21yds.

    That 20 ga 1400 was a popular gun to use..
    28 guage with a short shot string was a neat gun to use too.

    Folks pay per shot, club furnishes the shells (whatever gauge 12, 20, 28, and even .410) and monies go for fun gun club stuff, like the prizes, BBQ, Fixin's ...
     
  14. tommyt11

    tommyt11 Member

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    turkey shoots>hot barrels

    A quick way to check if a barrel has been backbored to .750 is to drop a penny in the chamber end, if it drops down to the choke it is at least .750 bore
     
  15. anapex

    anapex Member

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    I went to one shoot at my club shortly after I moved to PA. It was an unlimited though so I kinda hid in a corner with what I had brought. I had taken what I knew was my tightest shooting 12ga (we were limited to that) and a Winchester 59 with a full choke just gets kinda dwarfed next to some of the custom guns I saw. It was fun but when you get people shooting multiple cards per round it kinda drags on. We started at 7pm and didn't finish until after midnight. The prize for the last round was a Savage .22 Hornet so I just HAD to stick around for that ;) . And no I didn't pull off some miracle underdog come from behind lucky pellet shot either.
     
  16. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    Man does this bring back memories. Going to the local volunteer fire department "turkey shoot" used to be an every Friday and Saturday night thing when I was a teen-ager. My dad was with the VFD and he'd help run the shoots. I do remember they gave out the shells. When it was your turn to shoot, the line guy was there to hand you a shell out of his nail apron.

    These thing were as much social occasions as anything. There'd be food and soft drinks, women and kids and dogs. I'm sure a mason jar was passed around but I was just a kid so I can't say for sure. On Saturday they'd start early in the afternoon, and go on well into the night. As long as there was a crowd, they shot.

    My dad had a Sears/Winchester pump gun with a full choke that won more than it's share. He used to "rent" the gun to other shooters. I doubt anything was ever done to it. There were a lot of ideas about how to make your gun shoot tighter. A couple I remember were tapping the front of the shell against the rail to "pack" the shot, and spraying WD-40 down the barrel before shooting to "stick" the pellets together. Things were a lot simpler back then.

    I might have to go to one of them again one day.
     
  17. sm

    sm member

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    I was born in '55 for a timeline.

    Turkey Shoot also included Real Turkeys when I was coming up. :)

    This was all legal and accepted back in the day, I am not sure about today and it would depend on where one lives and various regulations - so inquire for your area.

    Real Live Turkey, restrained [tied] where only the head could be seen above a Log.

    Black-Powder Rifle and Shotgun.
    .22 rilfes.
    Modern Shotgun.

    Various Events and degrees of difficulties.
    Some farmer donate a wild turkey he caught, or maybe he raised them.
    Fund Raisers for all sorts of things, churches, schools, small town wanting a ball field, volunteer fire departments, even assisting a widow with storm damaged home.

    One had to shoot behind a firing line of course and sometimes this line was straight, or slightly curved, and allowed one some movement left to right.

    I mean that Turkey is not going to always having head up, and not "still". :)

    Don't tell me a Youth Single Shot 28 ga is not capable of doing some things, like taking a Turkey - I know better.

    :D
     
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