View Full Version : good load for turkey?

April 24, 2005, 08:04 AM
Planning to go turkey hunting in the last few days of spring turkey season. This would be the second time I've ever been turkey hunting. This time I'm bringing a shotgun.

Problem is I'm relatively new to shotguns. What is a good load for turkeys? Is #6 enough or do I need something bigger?

April 24, 2005, 08:21 AM
You are going to have to buy 3 or 4 different kinds and pattern them in your gun to have any idea of what the performance will be.

#6 shot is OK out to 40 yards IMO, I like #4 and #5 shot better though.

Al Thompson
April 24, 2005, 08:25 AM
IMHO, 6s will work, but so will #9 skeet loads if your close enough. :D

The most important thing (also IMHO) is knowing where your shotgun shoots. The target is the turkey's head and neck. You simply have to get on a patterning board to determine your pattern density and sight alignment. Different loads produce different patterns.


April 24, 2005, 09:16 AM
My personal prefference is Federal 3" Mags with 2 oz. copper plated #4 shot. It does the trick for me and never lost a bird or needed more than one shot. These are 4 Dram Eq. so you KNOW when you touched one off and I try not to have my shoulder against the tree either. I am sure there are a lot of opinions on the shot size available. I like #4's because they are small enough to pack a lot of pellets for a well filled in pattern and yet heavy enough to give me some range for the birds out on the fringes.
As posted above, you really need to sight in your gun and confirm it is shooting where you are looking. I have a 1.5 to 5 X power scope on mine,set at 1.5X. not that I need the magnification it is just so I can dial in the best accuracy and have a pin point aiming spot. My huntin' buddy uses a red dot on his, others use Tru Glo sights. They all work

April 24, 2005, 03:48 PM
More info- All I have is the gold bead on my guns, and probably wouldn't attempt a shot outside of 40 yards.

Also, when I sighted in my newest shotgun it was on a 18" plate at 50 feet. It seemed a little high. I don't have any place locally to shoot a shotgun out past that range. How much does shot drop at, say, 25 yards and 50 yards?

April 24, 2005, 11:30 PM
40 yards would be a long shot with a shotgun, even with large pellets and a tight choke. If your gun patterns high at 50 feet it will probably be close to point-of-aim at 25 yards. Range will depend on pellet size and choke constriction as well as powder charge. A 3" magnum with #6's will go farther than a 2 3/4" with #8's.

April 25, 2005, 07:24 AM
I shoot #2's or #4's. My gun doesn't like the multiplex shot so I stay away from them. With the above shells, I am extremely confident out to 45 yards. I've never had any other sights that what came on the barrel. With todays new chokes and new shells like hevi-shot or the new Federal wad restricting shells, the longer shots are becoming the norm. Do a little research on Remington's website and Federal as well. If you believe Remington, they put 11 pellets in the kill zone of a Turkey at 70 yards. :eek: I wouldn't shoot one that far away, but I do plan on doing a few tests on my own, on paper of course. :D
Pattern your gun and always aim for the Head or neck area.

Good Luck :D

April 25, 2005, 01:23 PM
I just got back from turkey hunting, my favorite hunting, I think.

If you have a 3 1/2" gun, I would pick the Fiocchi nickel plated loads containing 2 3/8 oz. of #4 shot.

For a 3" gun, I would take any purposely designed turkey shell with lead shot, my experience with Federal Premiums leaving no room to complain.

My all time favorite shell was the Active Penetrator, with 2 1/4 oz. of #4 shot in a 3" shell. Unfortunately, they are no longer available, although their hull design was superior to most others.

A lot of people swear by #6 shot, since they hope to be shooting at under 30 yards. I don't know of a #4 load that doesn't shred targets at that range, so I will take the bigger size shot and move my effective range out another 5-10 yards.

You might want to consider backing up your first shot with a Hevi-shot in #2 size shot. What would normally be the easiest shot in all of shotgun hunting can be complicated by shooting from awkward positions, nerves, and brush, so if something goes awry, it doesn't hurt to have a load that can snap a wing bone or drive through a bird from behind.

This advice on the #2 Hevi-shot only goes for birds that have been hit, and you are trying to bring them to bag. I used to have a primary flight feather from a gobbler that had a #2 copper plated shot from a Winchester Super Double XX embedded in the quill. A turkey that is standing or running broadsidehas his wings folded over his body, meaning you have to shoot through three layers of feathers before you even break the skin. If you can't shoot at the head/neck on the first shot, don't even shoot. I would rather take my chances with a cheap promotional #6 shell aimed at the head than with any super shell at the body.

I will post a picture of the birds soon, hopefully.

April 25, 2005, 08:56 PM
I am new to turkey hunting as of this year. I was driving to my dads farm and saw 8 turkeys each with at least 10" beards. So I decided to go turkey hunting. I bought a Mossberg 500 (Camo) from walmart for $230. I bought 3" Remington 1 7/8oz #5 shot. On the first day I banged a turkey at 47 yards. It dropped as soon as I shot. That was the first time I had shot the gun so I did not pattern it. I will always stick with this load for my gun. Again--- Remington "Nitro Turkey" #5 shot. I used the full choke that came with the gun. Maybe the Accu Choke?

Big Yac
April 25, 2005, 11:34 PM
I reloaded several different turkey shells and both seem to work pretty well. The first is using Hodgdon Longshot power and 1 1/8oz of hard #5 shot going 1585fps. This load patterns nice but I wonder is 1 1/8oz of shot alittle too light? The second reload is using Hodgdon Longshot and 1 1/2oz of hard #5s going 1260fps. Again this patterns nice too. My gun is a 2 3/4" 12ga and I have the full choke barrel on, also I limit myself to shots no where over 30 or 40 yards. I"ll try these out later this week as I"ll be doing some turkey hunting :)

Arizona Fusilier
April 25, 2005, 11:48 PM
I haven't bagged a bird yet, but I did do some extensive patterning with both my shotguns; a Remington 870 with super-full choke, and out-of-the box Mossberg 590 in Turkey-setup.

I found pretty useful patterns with # 4s, 5s, and 6s, of various makes. The best was the Fiocchi 4X6 duplex load, worthy of your consideration as well.

But the advice of others is sound; pick the one that patterns best in your gun. I would try to optimize for range though; given yours (and mine!) relative inexperience, you ought to count on a longer shot being the norm till you get better at calling them in.