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Old April 2, 2018, 07:36 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: June 15, 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 10,105
I started hunting turkey about the same time the specialized guns hit the market. At the time I had a 26" 870 as my primary shotgun and didn't see it as a real handicap. But over the years I've tried a few of the special guns with 21-23" barrels. Didn't keep any very long.

A Benelli M-1 with a 24" barrel popped up at a gunshow at a good price several years ago and I've come to use it for everything. One of those things that is hard to explain, but it just suits me, I hit better with it than any other gun I've ever owned, it is as reliable as my old 870 and lighter. Due to the length of the receiver the overall length and balance is virtually identical to my old 26" 870.

I've settled on 3" #5 shot and normally just use the factory full choke although I do have an aftermarket tube.

A couple of years ago I bought a youth 20 ga 870 with a 21" barrel and shorter stock. I wanted it around for the grandkids to use, but I did turkey hunt with it last season using 3" #6 shot and an extended super full choke. Maybe I need to experiment with more loads, but I didn't feel as confident in it on shots over about 20 yards. I read that some guys claim they are getting patterns that they feel good about out past 40 yards.

I've gone back to the Benelli for this year. It is just over 7 lbs and not terribly heavy. The 870 youth gun is about 1 lb lighter and is easier to carry. But I just have more confidence in the 12. Now if I find a 20 ga load that makes me feel better I'm open to changing my mind.
"If you're still doing things the same way you were doing them 10 years ago, you're doing it wrong"

Winston Churchill
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