© By Othmar Vohringer
As I prepare for my upcoming turkey hunting seminar on March 28 in Keremeos, BC, I realize it is only a few short weeks until turkey season opens. It seems each year before the season opens I receive the same questions about what guns and loads to use. This year was no different which motivated me to write this post for others with the same questions.
What gun and load is best for turkey hunters?
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as some may think or would have you believe.
My turkey gun is a 12 gauge Mossberg 535 ATS pump action, chambered for 3 ½ inch shells with a full choke screwed into the front of the barrel. The load I use is Federal Premium Mag-Shok, High velocity turkey load, in 3” stuffed with #4 shot. Now before you run out and make a purchase because of what you just read keep on reading first.
The gun/choke/load combination I mentioned above is the result of many hours spent on the shooting range. By trying out different load and choke combinations I found a pattern that consistently performed a tight shot grouping from 10 yards and out 45 yards. Not that I ever needed to shoot a turkey at 45 yards, but it is nice to know that I could if needed. The reason why it is important to spend time at the shooting range and pattern your gun lies in the fact that every gun likes something different, no two guns are alike.
Turkeys are though critters. Studies have shown that at least three to four pellets must hit the vitals (brain and spinal cord) of a turkey’s head and neck to guarantee a kill. The kill zone of a turkey is incredibly small, the brain is about the size of a man’s thumbprint and the spinal cord is pencil thin. This gives you some idea how dense and evenly spread the pellet pattern has to be. The mistake some hunters make is to pattern their gun using a paper dinner plate. Don’t do that instead spend a few dollars and purchase life sized turkey targets. It’s money well spent and it will give you the confidence you need when the time comes to pull the trigger on that tom this spring.
(Images courtesy of © Heidi Koehler Photography)
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Tags: Turkey Hunting Tips, Turkey Targets, Turkey Loads, Mossberg Shotguns, Turkey Gun, Federal Premium Turkey Loads