View Full Version : 3" loads for deer & turkey

December 9, 2000, 03:44 PM
My son in law hunts both in N.W.Illinois and I want to get him some shells for Christmas for his 870 with an unrifled barrel in 3". What brands and loads do you fellows recommend for turkey. What for deer?

Dave McC
December 9, 2000, 04:16 PM
There's no universal answer here, different 870s shoot different shells best. You can take two identical shotguns, even 870s, off the line with consecutive serial numbers, and the chances are slim that any slug will shoot equally well from both.

I've been slug hunting for close to 40 years. This year is the first time I've two shotguns that "Like" the same slug.

However, you might start, for unrifled bbls, with a 2 3/4 slug,not 3 inch. No deer, not even those big, cornfed Midwest bucks, will be able to tell if they were shot with a 2 3/4" or a more costly 3 inch slug. Less kick with the 2 3/4" also.
The doe I took yesterday was taken with a 2 3/4" slug. A short blood trail Ray Charles could follow...

Good potential candidates for the slug of choice would include the Federal and Winchester Forster types, and the Brennekes. Bad choice, any sabot.They work best in rifled bbls.

Best turkey loads are equally capricious. One that's patterned well for me is the Remington Duplex, 4X6 load.
But maybe more serious turkey hunters may be able to help more here.

December 10, 2000, 12:12 AM
Ditto on the slugs. I like the Brenneke/Activ/Lightfield type slugs the best.
For turkey loads, you'll want a charge load of #4,5 or 6 shot. Denser patterns vs. a little more retained pellet energy at a distance. #5 is my favorite compromise. Get a 3" magnum using either 1-7/8 or 2oz of shot. Again those two choices represent another compromise-pellet speed v.s more pellets. (Then again I use a specially hoarded supply of Activ 3" magnums using 2-1/4 oz of shot, so you can see which side I take.) Federal,Remington and Winchester all make good turkey loads that fit these criterion and are available in handy wallet saving 10round packs.

December 10, 2000, 03:54 PM
i love the analogy on the slugs. Whit the power a 2 3/4 brings you, can't see why you would go with anything larger. But, the sabot are only for the rifled barrels, what do they do in a normal barrel?

Dave McC
December 11, 2000, 06:06 AM
Bob, sabots won't hurt the smothbore, they just don't shoot well, as a general rule.