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Old May 29, 2011, 10:48 PM   #1
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Best Gun to Hunt Pheasant & Turkey

What is the best gun for hunting pheasant? What is the best gun to hunt turkey? Feel free for there to be two answers. If there is a "universal" solution I'm open, but don't want to limit your answer.

I'm asking this question on two levels. 1) What guage? 2) what mechanism (pump, side by side, etc.)?

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Old May 29, 2011, 10:55 PM   #2
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Im sure theres better choices but I use what I have and what works, a Benelli Nova in 12 gauge with a 26" barrel and a Patternmaster extended range choke. I use this gun for everything litterally everything from birds to coyotes to HD. The 3.5 inch shotshells are nice for snow/canadian geese.
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Old May 30, 2011, 09:22 AM   #3
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If you have a 12 gauge no matter what brand, use it.

If your going to buy a new gun, go with a 3" 12 gauge Remington 870 express. You can get it in 3 1/2", but you dont need it even for geese. I've actually killed more geese with 3" than 3 1/2"

It will come with a modified choke for pheasants, and you can pick up a good turkey choke almost anywhere.
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Old May 30, 2011, 10:37 AM   #4
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If you intend to hunt both turkey and pheasant with one shotgun, then make it a double. One barrel with modified and the other full choke.

I have a 3" 12ga side by side Zaballa that I have used for 40 years. It works well for pheasant, ducks, geese, quail, rabbit, dove, turkey, sagehen, and the occasional crow. If it sports feathers, it can be readily taken by this type of shotgun.
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Old May 30, 2011, 12:22 PM   #5
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I grew up hunting pheasants with a Ted Williams (Sears-Roebuck) 12 ga. SxS shotgun. One bbl mod. other full. For squirrel and rabbit hunting I used "low brass" for pheasants "high brass", didn't worry much about length back then.
Now wield an 870 in 12 ga.
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Old May 30, 2011, 02:52 PM   #6
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You might consider getting a 12-ga combo gun -- a pump or auto, like an 870 or 11-87, with two barrels. One for pheasants and the other set up for turkeys.
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Old May 30, 2011, 04:14 PM   #7
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I started with a Montgomery Ward 20ga pump. Later I got a used Remington 870 12ga.
Both worked fine.

I've never hunted turkey they'd probably do ok for them.
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Old May 31, 2011, 03:21 PM   #8
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My Benelli Nova 12 gauge has never failed me. I have fancier, lighter semi-autos, but my Nova never jams and always goes bang!!
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Old May 31, 2011, 03:55 PM   #9
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Pretty much any shotgun 20 or 12 works for me. One of the best hunts I've ever had was when I shot my Grandfathers Remington model 10 that my grandma gave him for Christmas in 1928 the year before my father was born. I never got to hunt with grandpa and this is as close as I'll ever get.
The most memorable shot was a long crossing shot perfecct for the 30" full choked gun bang shuck bang shuck bang pheasant just keeps going. I swear I could hear him laughing.
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
originally posted my Mike Irwin
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Old May 31, 2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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Best gun for pheasant would be a light 12 guage double- must be very well balanced.

For Gobblers I would want to use a heavy load in a semi auto.

I have not recommended brands because with shotguns fit is one of the most important criteria and that is personal to the individual.
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Old May 31, 2011, 08:26 PM   #11
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A good 12 ga. pump with a 20 inch barrel and a screw in choke system. Will work well for both birds. Pick your own brand.
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Old June 1, 2011, 11:18 AM   #12
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Success in hunting is rarely determined by the gun taken afield. Find a shotgun that goes to the shoulder easily and aligns your eye naturally and the rest won't really matter. Fit and feel are king with a hunting shotgun.

I have used both 12 and 20 gauges for pheasants and turkey, but the 12 gauge has more choices in ammunition from which to choose.

I have seen a lot of turkeys killed with chokes less than ultra full. Even hunt with a guy who has killed several 20+ pound birds with a single shot 10 gauge slug gun (no choke). I would take a modified over a full for all around hunting if choke tubes aren't available for the gun you finally decide to purchase.

My personal favorite is an Ithaca Model 37, especially the new ones coming out of Ohio.
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Old June 2, 2011, 11:43 PM   #13
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I luke warm about a pheasant gun, but I've got some opinions and ideas on a good turkey gun.

Twelve gauge for sure. I'm not sure you need 3.5" chambers though. The 3.5 guns are a tad longer and some guys report short stroking a pump as a result. Modern 3" turkey loads are grim death and the extra cost and wallop of a 3.5 are likely overkill w/ patterns that may or may not be superior. I would avoid a 20 as a turkey gun. Yeah, it'll kill, and you can hunt elk w/ a .243, but why handicap yourself? And you do not want to be asking yourself this question as a turkey you just shot gets away ....." would I have killed him clean w/ a 12?"

Action- likely a pump, cheaper than an auto, maybe lighter, and the advanage of a repeater. The rifle type receiver will allow mounting all sorts of sights or optics as you so choose. A double does not have that option, at least most of them. I thought I might want a short double as a turkey gun but have now decided against it, as it would not easily take sights/optic and beads are getting dim at 50 plus. I have had to shoot very few gobblers more than once, and never have missed one then killed it w/ a second shot, but.......a repeater is a nice edge none the less. I do know some old die hards that hunt with a single shot, cause its light and easily carried, but not for me. They will also rattle your teeth with a turkey load.

Barrel-short, say 22" or less,with 24 being max. Turkey gunning is like short range rifle work, and you will not need weight for a smooth swing, or a defined sight radius like w/ pass shooting. The short tube will hang less brush as you hike, and you will hike alot., it will handle easier in a blind, and weigh less too.

Sights- Plan on something other than a traditional bead. My turkey gun has a rifle sighted slug barrel (w/ screw in turkey choke) and I am considering other options as my eyes finally start to act my age.

Weight. I would opt for for an alloy receiver, like the Mossberg or a Nova. There may be others. Mine is an old REm 870, steel, and it could be lighter. I'm reminded of that every year I go past 50. Off set the sharper recoil of a lighter gun with a good pad like the Kick-eeze.

Camo. Might as well buy a camo gun, to avoid the hassle of taping or painting.

Choke-some type of screw in turkey choke.
the skys the limit

Stock-after coming out against a pistol grip, I hunted all season this year w/ one and found I like it. NOt traditional in appearance, clunky to sling, but they hold up easier, longer, than a traditional butt stock for me. Synthetic is a no brainer.

Together, these things add up to a better gun than your grandad's old shotgun. My first turkeygun was the very thing, a 28" full choke, wood stocked, solid ribbed, 2-3/4" chambered old timer. It would put about 65- #6 pellets on a sheet of typing paper at 30 long paces. It weighed a ton, even to a teenager (me).

My 870, evolved over the years, is lighter, handier and shoots tighter and hits harder. It will put 165 #5 pellets on the same sheet of paper, and their going way faster Its best #6 load, no longer made, would put over 200 pellets in that space!

Pheasants? Take off the turkey barrel, put on a 26-28" modified barrel and go hunting I guess.
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Old June 6, 2011, 05:48 PM   #14
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Old June 6, 2011, 09:23 PM   #15
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Im not sold on "specialty" shotguns except maybe target shotguns and slug guns. And Ive never seen anything that needed to be shot with a 3.5" shell. All a marketing scheme IMO.

A semi auto will soak up some recoil from the turkey loads, and a 26"-28" barrel will make a good wingshooting/turkey gun.
Ive killed everything you can kill in the SE with a 28" Beretta AL390. From marsh hens, ducks, geese, dove, quail, turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, deer and wild hogs. Ditto for a 28" Wingmaster Ive had forever. Ive never felt over barreled with a 28" tube or undergunned with a 3" shell.
Ive got several shotguns, but I could do everything I do including skeet and sporting clays with my AL390. Throw in a scoped slug barrel and I'm set.
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Old June 6, 2011, 10:44 PM   #16
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What's your favorite 12 gauge shotgun shells for turkey and pheasant hunting?
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Old June 6, 2011, 11:34 PM   #17
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I use an 870 and change out the chokes as needed. I have multiple barrels but typically stick with the 18 inch one because I don't see much difference in the 18 inches and the 24 inch ones especially in hunts because at least here you are limited to 3 rounds but the 18 inch saves a little weight and is a little more moneverable. Mine will take 3.5 inch rounds but I typically feed it 2 3/4 for upland game and 3 inch for water foul. About the only time I use the 3.5 inch is for shooting deer when I use to live in Alabama.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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Old June 7, 2011, 06:08 AM   #18
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Ive had success on turkeys with Winchester Supreme #5's. They have worked so well Ive never used anythng else.
No much of a pheasant hunter, but on the few occasions I've hunted them I used #6's.
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Old June 22, 2011, 01:23 AM   #19
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After shooting #6 shot in heavy loads, (1-7/8,then 2, andfinally 2-1/4, the old Activ shell) ozs for years, I have switched to Win Supreme #5 hi speed, the 1-3/4 oz/1300 fps load.

This hi-speed #5 load will put as many pellets of heavier #5 shot, which are going faster, on a sheet of typing paper at 30 long paces, as the older heavy payload # 6 shells were doing, and the lighter #6 shot was going slower. Course this is in my gun. I seriously believe I see a difference in the birds I shoot.

I have not shot the high dollar space metal loads, but they are all the rage for the guys that can afford'em.

I ran up on a deal on the Supreme #5's HIgh vels shortly after I decided they were for me, and have bought a lifetime supply
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Old June 22, 2011, 09:01 AM   #20
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What's your budget?

A nicely used Belgian Browning about 50 years old will balance nicely and kill pheasant all day, assuming it FITS. But then, FIT would be paramount for any type of gun.

I prefer O/U and SxS for upland birds for several reasons:

They are typically lighter than pumps and semis;

I have the choice of two different choke constrictions, which can help;

When I hunt with friends, it is easy to see whose gun is "safe" from a distance, as we rotate lead shooter;

I don't have to worry about feed jams when quickly reloading;

I have never seen the need for a third attempt at an upland bird

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Old June 22, 2011, 09:09 AM   #21
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What is the best gun for hunting pheasant? What is the best gun to hunt turkey?
Why, the one you already have, of course!

You can't buy skills.

If I could change anything about my shotgun to make it a better turkey gun, it'd be to make it camoflaged. That said, if you have some calling skills, understand turkey behavior, and have a decoy or two, any shotgun capable of throwing a tight pattern to 30 yards and is not brightly colored/have a whoopie light and a siren on it will work.
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Old June 24, 2011, 02:31 AM   #22
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I would suggest a pump or semi auto 12ga. ( I prefer a pump) Whatever brand you get is up to you. A good 26" barrel with screw in chokes is ideal.

I favor a Mossberg 500 for my-self, but a Remington 870 is bulletproof as well. I have never shot any of the higher dollar shotguns so I can not comment on those.

As far as ammo goes for pheasant I have always used 2 3/4" shells in #6 shot. For turkey I would say #4 shot either 2 3/4 or 3".
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Old June 24, 2011, 08:56 AM   #23
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I use a 12 Ga. Rem 11-87 or a Rem 1100
Pheasant 12 Ga. 2 3/4 or 3" #6 shot works well,for the turkey I use 12 Ga. 3" mag. in #4 shot....A 3 1/2 12 Ga. for Turkey would also be a good choice
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