View Full Version : 20 ga modified choke for turkey?

December 22, 2010, 09:17 PM
Just got a 20 gauge with a modified choke. No idea what this can do but I typically shoot a twelve gauge. I was thinking of having my girl carry this for turkey with me.

Can someone provide some insight on the limitations of the 20 gauge in general?


December 22, 2010, 09:22 PM
My eldest daughter got her first turkey with her 20 guage this fall....... a load of 6's, 35 yards, polychoke set to "full" knocked the old boss hen over, and she nearly decapitated it with a second shot when the bird tried to right itself as she walked up to it.

December 22, 2010, 09:22 PM
Killed my first bird at 56yds running with the 20gauge. Since I have shot 2 others and one them was at 45yds. They are a great gun and are just as deadly as a 12gauge and they hold about the same size pattern imo but they just have less pellets in the air.

December 22, 2010, 09:28 PM
I do not have the full choke option with this piece because it is a modified choke that is not adjustable. Hopefully the pattern is decent we will be shooting the gun when she opens it for christmas.

December 22, 2010, 09:46 PM
Steel shot will give a tighter pattern.
Plated or hardened or buffered lead shot will give a more uniform and tighter pattern.

December 22, 2010, 09:48 PM
What model of gun is this, Im sure someone can tell you nearly how it will perform. Usually those tappered guns like that shoot great. I have a Ithica 16 gauge thats a modified and it unbeatable at the local turkey shoots.

December 22, 2010, 09:53 PM
i killed one at 30 yards with a 20guage mod choke no prob

December 22, 2010, 10:47 PM
Its a rossi single shot on a combo gun.

December 23, 2010, 06:47 AM
Your good to go then, it will shoot great for you but Ill go ahead and warn you so it doesnt scare your girl, it will kick. And when I say kick those little rossis will do damge. I got one for a friend and before they shot it I took a few shots and loaded up a high brass and its got a thump. Just tell her to hold onto it and she will be fine. They were 9-10 when my friend got theirs

December 23, 2010, 03:21 PM
ya my h&r 20 kicks like a mule

SumToy Custom Barrel
December 25, 2010, 08:56 PM
With the new shells that are out for the 20ga you can make them shoot as hard at 40 yards as alot of 12ga do now. We have saw 180 rang at 40 yards in a 10 inch circle

December 26, 2010, 08:32 PM
Just got a 20 gauge with a modified choke. No idea what this can do but I typically shoot a twelve gauge. I was thinking of having my girl carry this for turkey with me.

Can someone provide some insight on the limitations of the 20 gauge in general? My wife uses a NEF® 22" barrel fixed MOD choke 20ga Ladies/Youth gun. To get the best possible FULL CHOKE pattern for turkey hunting she uses THIS LOAD (http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/shotshell.aspx?id=835) in #6 Pb. This load produces amazing full choke patterns from a fixed MOD choke barrel!

December 30, 2010, 03:00 AM
I'm gonna get scorched for this, but here goes.

A twenty is not the equal of a 12, similarly loaded and choked. Period. A 3" mag 20 is the near equal of a std 12ga field load (1-1/4 oz of shot), but not a 3" mag 12 w/ up to 2 oz of shot.

The fact that your gun is a mod choke is working against it for turkeys. Turkeys are a head shot proposition and different from all other shotgunning. TIGHT chokes and sighting systems rule. Think "a short range rifle that shoots a gob of pellets".

Selecting a turkey gun for a youngster is a pickle. Not only is a 12 to much gun recoil wise, but it it often to much gun period, as in too heavy. And a 20 ga single bbl, with a load in it suitable for turkey, and properly choked full or tighter, will rattle a youngsters teeth.

There are two options: buy a dedicated youth gas operated 20, which the youngster will grow out of as a turkey gun, but could still be useful as a GP shotgun, OR a lightweight alloy/polymer 12 ga pump, loaded down with field loads, as in 1 0z, or 1-1/8 of shot, and a real turkey choke. The NOVA comes to mind. Shorten the butt on the 12 and add a space rubber recoil pad.

As the youngster matures, the 12 can be incrementally loaded up.

BAmaboy started w/ my 20" 12ga., loaded w/ 1-1/8 of shot. It was a bit heavy and he could not support if for extended periods of time as a 12 yr old. He was lanky enough that a factory length of pull worked OK.

Despite these stories of killing turkeys at 40 yds plus w/ a 20 ga. A full choked, heavily loaded 20 is a 35 yd and under turkey gun. Loaded w/ std lead pellets and an oz of shot, it is a 30 yd gun

The down loaded 12's are the same deal 30 yd or so turkey guns (assuming full or better chokes)

December 31, 2010, 07:30 PM
I'd never shoot a 20ga with that choke at a Turkey.

December 31, 2010, 11:17 PM
Try some different loads in the gun you have with the wife shooting. When you find what she likes to shoot recoil wise, go buy some shoot nc turkey targets and shoot them at 20, 25, 30, and 35 yards. This will give you the yardage max for a clean kill provided the Mrs. makes a good shot.

Then practice, practice, and practice judging the distance and don't let her shoot at a turkey out of range.

Michael Waddell says "all turkeys should be killed at 20 yds and under" and you don't need a 12 guage 3 1/2 inch magnum with max loads with a turkey choke to do that:D

January 1, 2011, 08:03 AM
michael waddell shoots tame turkeys and other tame animals, on pay to hunt game farms with 1000,s of acrer of posted lands where they feed them all year, i could kill a turkey there from a blind useing a sling shot. eastbank. ps have you ever noticed that most tv hunters use thompson contender and encore rifles, in the normal world of hunters maybe 3 percent use them,i know if i see 5 a year in the field i,m shocked.

January 1, 2011, 04:26 PM
Michael Waddell says "all turkeys should be killed at 20 yds and under"

Who's he? Not that it matters much what he says. Have you ever hunted Turkeys? Good luck getting them to come in within 20 yards of you.

michael waddell shoots tame turkeys and other tame animals, on pay to hunt game farms

HAR!! Yeah, now I know why he'd make a stupid statement like the 20 yard Turkey kill!

January 1, 2011, 05:18 PM
A 20 ga. at 30 to 35 yards is fine. Don't let anybody tell you differently, especially the ammo dealers and gun makers. :) It doesn't take a 12 ga. to kill a turkey.

Prior to the invention of plastic hulls and wad cups, paper shells and a full choke were used - and they threw a fairly open pattern - and a 20 ga. worked then. And everybody I knew used plain old #6 high brass shells.

Why are Mod and IC guns more in demand now? Because modern shotshells throw tighter patterns than the old-style ammo ever did. Probably 80% of the old shotguns had full chokes.

January 2, 2011, 04:17 PM
I guess all the turkey hunters buying turkey chokes (including myself) are simply mis-informed. Nobody I hunt with would go into the woods after Turkey with a modified choked 20 gauge. You're asking to injure a bird and they deserve to be taken ethically and cleanly.

January 2, 2011, 05:06 PM
well guys maybe I'll tell her to beat the dam thing to death with the butt stock.

January 2, 2011, 07:26 PM
sounds like a wounded and unrecovered turkey to me.. gotta stick with large payloads and superfull chokes..

January 2, 2011, 07:30 PM
well guys maybe I'll tell her to beat the dam thing to death with the butt stock.

That would work....You better hope she's fast though, I chased a gobbler through the woods one time and those puppies can flat out haul butt. I'd say they would give a Cheetah a run for his money in hardwoods!:)

January 2, 2011, 07:43 PM
sounds like a wounded and unrecovered turkey to me.. gotta stick with large payloads and superfull chokes..


Either you can call them into shotgun range or you can't. Their heads and necks are pretty fragile. A 20 guage stoked w/ 2 3/4" game loads of 6, 7 1/2, or 8 shot that will put a suitably dense (no head sized holes in it) to the distance you want to shoot them at will work.

Pattern your shotgun. You might be suprised at the number of gaps you have, particularly if you use those ridiculously powerful T-shot loads. Deformed lead pellets don't make for any sort of uniformity in your pattern. ......and at the prices they sell them at, most folks are reluctant to shoot them at cardboard!

January 2, 2011, 07:56 PM
Then again, folks find it easier to buy firepower (even if it is inneffective- they can always tell themselves they need even MOAR firepower- How's about that 3 1/2" 10 guage, Cledus!) than learn a skill.......... Any idjit with a minimum wage job, a credit card and a Cabela's catalog can sit in the woods waiting for a turkey to wander within 50 yards of them..... It takes some thought, time and effort and a little trial and error to get them to come to where you want them to.

SumToy Custom Barrel
January 2, 2011, 09:49 PM
Well I think the 20 is good out to 40. The 12 you can get out to the 70 rang. Have saw one taken at 80 but that was one of them deals the stars was all in a row for that. lol If you can call you can shoot the 20 with a good after market choke and shell. If you not good at calling you need to go with the 12 and grit your teeth as you pull trigger.

January 2, 2011, 09:59 PM
I killed my first few turkeys with a 20 gauge. It had a full choke, but as long as the turkey is relatively close, it should be fine.

January 2, 2011, 11:10 PM
I did not realize how much of a debate this would be. We have not shot the gun yet so I will pattern it and see if I can get a gobbler to voulenteer for some real feild testing this spring.

Thank you all for your input. Hopefully she will not have to resort to the beating and chasing of the bird. Or I could jusf follow up with the 500 full choke 12 gauge that is my turkey gun.


January 3, 2011, 03:27 AM
Did I read 70 yds for a 12 ga on turkeys???????? Even w/ "space shot" tungsten loads, that's a long way to try a gobbler, like 25 yds to long

Also, I would not generally recommend any lead shot smaller than #6 from any turkey gun. A turkeys head and neck is not a quail, dove and it takes a real pellet to bust same much past 25 yds.

That said, I know of at least one fine old turkey hunter who used 1-1/4 of #7-1/2 from a std 12ga full choke single bbl. That was near thirty years ago, there were few turkey hunters, and fewer birds, and calling one close seemed more common if you located one and got an answer.

Now, the advent of "space shot" the heavy metal stuff, has changed the rules a bit, and I will admit, I know little of it, have never shot it, and don't intend to. (at least at turkeys) A tungsten 7-1/2, that has the weight of a lead 6, might be another critter all together.

The guys who shoot tungsten are much excited about it, but I cannot abide the price. From 35 yds in, plain old lead (#5 for me) works fine.

Finally, I cannot pass up a chance to use a line from a great turkey booK......"there's been many a footrace in the spring woods lost by the hunter" or words to that effect.

SumToy Custom Barrel
January 3, 2011, 09:01 AM
When I say you can kill them at the 70 yard mark that is with the heavy shot stuff. With lead I don't like to see more then 45 yards. With the good shells and a good choke you can kill at 70. I have stuff that will blow holes at 25 to 30 yards. :eek:

January 3, 2011, 09:20 AM
"I guess all the turkey hunters buying turkey chokes (including myself) are simply mis-informed."

Or overgunned. I didn't say it wouldn't work, just that it's not absolutely necessary.

As a kid 50 years ago, I remember the utter joy of finally having a store-bought turkey at Thanksgiving. We could chow down without worrying about breaking a tooth on a stray #6 pellet.

That's also why we hunted squirrels with .22s and not shotguns. That, and we didn't want lead pellets sitting in the jars with the meat after it was canned.


January 3, 2011, 12:01 PM
gotta stick with large payloads and superfull chokes..

Horse hockey !

Either you can call them into shotgun range or you can't. Their heads and necks are pretty fragile. A 20 guage stoked w/ 2 3/4" game loads of 6, 7 1/2, or 8 shot that will put a suitably dense (no head sized holes in it) to the distance you want to shoot them at will work.

Don't think i would use 7& 1/2's or 8's but I have killed quite a few with 5&6's in a 20 ga Rem 1100 with a fixed mod choke.

January 3, 2011, 01:32 PM
You are getting some bad info on this subject.
Don't worry about is it as good or how good it is.
And secondly, I don't know how close you can kill a gobble but I know you can kill them at about 7 yards(my personal shortest kill) and call them to about 12 feet.
You need to concentrate on making it shoot as good as it can.
First Polish the barrel until it shines like a new penny.
go to old gobbler forum to learn how.
Next get a 3 foot by 3 foot target and make sure Point of aim and point of impact are the same. If not you can't kill birds with it reliablely.
Third get several different loads to see which patterns best.
Try 6 lead or 7 heavy or 9TSS if you reload.
Only let your daughter pratice with 7/8 oz loads until she shoots at a bird.
She won't notice the difference then.
Put a good pad on it.

January 3, 2011, 02:38 PM

If TSS is Tungsten Super Shot, they're out of business. I don't know if anyone else is selling the stuff. They couldn't make a go of it financially.

The guns I own came with polished barrels, except the hardchromed ones and I'm not trying to polish it.


P.S. - "old gobbler forum" Aren't the old ones tough? :)

January 4, 2011, 04:37 PM
I killed a quail at 40 steps with my 870 youth with a modified choke this weekend, and there were plenty of pellets to kill a turkey. I'd shorten that to range to 30yds. and let her put a whoopin on any turkey that was legal. Get the choke that nitro shell company reccomends and there 20ga. load (5.00+ each round), and you'll have a 45-50 yd gun no problem.

January 5, 2011, 10:12 PM
Wow am I impressed.

This patterned well.....



This was at 25 yards I believe within 30 we will be all set on Tom and the boys.



January 5, 2011, 10:21 PM
P.S. - "old gobbler forum" Aren't the old ones tough?

They are not as good as the young ones taken in the fall, that is for sure!

January 7, 2011, 10:09 AM
I'm looking for an 1187 20ga. right now. With the jelly head choke I have and shooting nitro shells I don't think 40-50 will be a problem for that gun. But you have to stay dead on with them in close it will shoot like a rifle.

January 9, 2011, 03:26 AM
A dead quail at 30 yds, is not a 20 lb gobbler at 40-50, with bigger neck and skull. And seldom do you get a shot w/ the bird dead in the open, w/o foliage, branches, leaves, stripping pellets out of your pattern. A bird perfectly in the open, you plan for it, strive for it, but you take the best first shot you can get if you want to kill many gobblers. Things can go wrong fast on a gobbling turkey. Coyotes, other stupid hunters, other birds, heck, a squirrel or deer, name it.

You don't plan to shoot though stuff, sometimes you just don't see it. A bigger gun/bigger payload, lets you get away w/ it (sometimes anyhow) when it happens.

Finally, a dose of 7-1/2 will kill a turkey no doubt, Ol' Walt, one of my mentor's, proved that. There weren't even any short magnum shells in those days. But those were different times, when there was little pressure, birds came running, and you could hunt all season and not hear or see another hunter, or even their vehicle. Ol'Walt could hunt him again tommorrow if he didn't get the shot he wanted, but he usually didn't have to, 'cause the birds just paraded on in 9 times out of 10. Not so today. Not where I hunt anyhow.

I don't recommend anything smaller than # 6 lead for turkey, minimally an ounce and a quarter, and full or better choke. And a good feel for what 35 yds looks like in the spring woods.

February 12, 2011, 04:57 PM
Hey john
When I say "TSS" in mean 18grm/cc shot that was being imported by the guy that went out of business with the web sight of the same name.
The shot is still being manufactured.
You can still find it.
I only have personal experiance with Mossbergs,Remingtons,Brownings and New England Firearms. These guns need polishing. I have heard that Benellis also need polishing.
As far as chromed, don't polish them. Chroming is a way to smooth the barrels without polishing.

As far as gobblers being tough..Buy a butter ball for eating.
Wild turkey can't compare. It does make good jerky.

February 17, 2011, 10:27 PM
you can surely use a modified choke for turkeys. My NEF pardner shoots great patterns of #6's with copperplated through a modified choke. Full is best for most hunters wanting a head or neck shot.

February 21, 2011, 09:52 PM
A head and neck shot is the ONLY shot on a turkey w/ a shot gun, well on a standing, healthy bird anyhow. Those great wings are folded across the breast and sides and their is a huge gob of flesh and a fat glob to boot on a spring gobbler, and the crop. The "vitals" of a grounded turkey IS the head and neck, not the heart lungs. The bird is not a goose in flight, breast exposed and built for transcontinental flight.

A gobbler wears a flack jacket around his chest. If one is searching for a pellet to drive through the body of a turkey as a primary turkey load they are going down the wrong path.

Now, this is a different story on crippled/escaping birds. Lots of guys, myself included, use as large and heavy pellet as possible/legal as a followup load, to hit flopping, crippled birds and finish them. But........I've only had to do it a handful of times, usually since I misjudged range and shot to far. A tight load of #5, in range from my 3" 12ga, seals the deal.

February 21, 2011, 10:02 PM
The only way you will really know is to shoot a pattern board.

March 1, 2011, 10:16 PM
Pattern, pattern, pattern...

March 5, 2011, 08:58 AM
I am glad I wore my boot into this thread.

First, the 20ga is plenty for turkey. Same as .243 is plenty for deer. You do not have the range of a 12, but that doesn't mean you can't kill turkey with it. There are lots of guys and gals that turkey hunt with 20ga guns. I have the same youth 20ga NEF single shot and the fact is, you have to pattern your gun. Hevi Shot makes some 3" Magnum blend loads that should give you good results. Try some duck hunting loads too. Anything #5 or #6 should do her well. You probably need to keep her shots at 30 yards or less to be safe. My daughter uses a Mossberg 20ga pump with a turkey choke and I make her keep her shots within 30 yards. It ain't that hard to get turkeys within 30 yards of you. Just like with archery hunting for deer, you have to be a better hunter and get the game closer. Usually it just takes being a more patient hunter.

It is going to kick. Do not be mistaken. That little gun is a handful for my 12 year old with field loads. However, you can let her practice with bird shot, and then she won't notice when she is shooting a turkey.

Old Grump
March 5, 2011, 04:56 PM
20 gauge, IM choke, 2 3/4" Fiocchi ammo in either #6 or #4 works for me. I set my decoys at 35 yards and don't shoot till they are even with or closer than 35 yards. Dead is dead no matter how big and tough that turkey is. A pellet in the neck from a 20 gauge will kill him as dead as a pellet from a 3 1/2" magnum out of a 12 gauge.

I have yet to meet anybody at a weigh station under 40 who has used less than a 12 gauge and 3" or 3 1/2" shells but I have yet to see any of their turkeys any deader than my turkeys and I don't have a bruise to show for it. Us old dinosaurs who hunt in our farmers coveralls and old shotguns from back in grandpa's day aren't as fussy yet we somehow seem to get the job done. Not sure where we went wrong but so it goes.