View Full Version : Turkey ammo and equipment....

Dave McC
March 6, 2001, 08:59 AM
I've gotten a pair of inquiries asking about the best load for turkey hunting, along with the usual stuff about chokes and so on. So, here's a bit of info that may help some folks out, and infuriate others. I may step on some toes here, so be warned.

First, I don't do all that much turkey hunting. My deer leases aren't much on turkeys, and I use up most of my discretionary time each year pursuing those wascally whitetail in the fall and winter. Spring season hits here right as the good fishing is kicking off,too. So....

But, what I do is tinker and test.Here's a few suggestions for finding that Magic Load for your turkey gun that will help take that 25 lb King tom....

To begin, not patterning is unconditional surrender to the Laws of Chance.Using any of the targets that duplicate the head/neck region, test some loads for both pattern and POI at first 25 yards and second, 40. If you cannot find a decent load patterning well at 40 yards, keep your shots inside 25, just to make sure.

As for custom chokes, not necessary, but a darn good option AFTER you've tried standard tubes and found them wanting, if you do.Sometimes the regular choke tubes or a fixed choke will raise some eyebrows at turkey shoots. A long, gradual taper forcing cone may do more than a trick choke tube, so I'd suggest fixin' that before any major cash outlay on tubes or loads. And I never heard of a shotgun giving worse patterns/more recoil after a cone job.

Now, buy some 10 packs of varied loads and set up that turkey target. Hopefully, your turkey gun hits a bit high, so you can aim at the neck and expect hits in the head. Fire at least 3 rounds of each candidate at 25 yards and eliminate all of those that fail to put 8-10 pellets in the vital areas. Repeat at 40. Now, go for the load that runs densest right at POA if possible. Adjust sights(if any) now and reshoot if there's any ambiguity.

BTW, leftover loads can help someone else find their Magic Load, so pass them on to your buds.

And as for loads....

Shot size most places is restricted to something like from 4 to 6, lead being much preferred. 4s have lots of energy, 6s pattern density,5s a nice compromise.

Contrary to the basic American Myth of More being always Better,it ain't so. When I started testing loads for Frankenstein, the best patterning load was a Remington Duplex load, 1 5/8 oz of both 4s and 6s. It beat out all of the barnburner 2 oz loads hands down. The next best load was,believe me or not, a 1 1/4 oz of 6s, the older Remington Long Range pheasant load. But your results will vary, guaranteed. I would try out some of the lighter loads(by turkey standards) before investing in the heavy stuff.

One small thing, since I tested Kent's KO slugs and was impressed, I'd be interested in seeing how their new "Ultimate Diamond shot" turkey loads do.

Hope this helps...

March 6, 2001, 10:31 AM
that new remington strait rifled turkey tube is the stuff...

52 pelets at 40 yards in my shotgun.

Dave McC
March 7, 2001, 06:48 AM
Gunmart, I've heard good things about the various straight rifled tubes.

Could you be a bit more specdific? Were those 52 pellets in a turkey target, a turkey, a 30" circle, or a pie plate?


March 7, 2001, 07:50 AM
they are in the head of a birchwood caseys turkey target.

i cant imagine how many there are in a pie pan at 30 yards.(its a bunch)

at twenty yards the hole load is just about inside your fist.i blasted 3 turkeys with it at ranges of 7 yards 21 yards and 35 yards and they just crumbled to the gound.(the 7 yarder looked like his head was going to come off.

the great thing about it it is not ammo sensitive like every other choke i tried.i shot everything i had with great results.i found the federal #5 gave me what i was looking for.(long range plus a heavy payload)

i am going to try to kill one with a 20 gauge fowler flintlock this year just for the fun of it.i will be wearing rev war period correct clothing when hunting these bad boys just like our 4 fathers did.i get enough time off during turkey season to do this and the past 5 years i have gotten my limit so i am trying to add some spice back into it...

Dave McC
March 7, 2001, 01:18 PM
Sounds like you've earned bragging rights, Gunmart. That performance is commendable, both yours and the shotgun's.

That 20 ga fowler sounds like fun. Of course, leave the diaphram and push button calls behind and make do with slates, box calls and maybe a wingbone yelper to be in tune with the historic aspects of all this.

March 7, 2001, 08:42 PM
yep!thats all i am taking is the the wingbone.i might take out my faithfull gaskins if i run into a streak of bad luck.