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Old March 30, 2020, 08:34 PM   #1
denvernoob
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Steel Shot for Turkey?

Spring turkey kicks off in Colorado on April 11th. I find myself without any decent turkey loads for the 12 gauge. Online, and two local stores appear to be wiped out from the Corona Virus ammogeddon. I got plenty of steel, including some decent 3" magnum loads in both #2 and #4 shot. Anyone use steel for turkey? Any reason not to? Thoughts?
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Old March 30, 2020, 09:02 PM   #2
reynolds357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denvernoob View Post
Spring turkey kicks off in Colorado on April 11th. I find myself without any decent turkey loads for the 12 gauge. Online, and two local stores appear to be wiped out from the Corona Virus ammogeddon. I got plenty of steel, including some decent 3" magnum loads in both #2 and #4 shot. Anyone use steel for turkey? Any reason not to? Thoughts?
Not quite as long range as lead, but it will work. I use Tungsten. I found a bunch of it on clearance several years ago. Its worth the $1 a shell I paid for it. Not worth its regular price. $6 per shell.
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Old March 30, 2020, 10:28 PM   #3
bamaranger
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steel

Steel shot has a deserved reputation of lacking range and penetrating power on waterfowl, which, if you are a duck hunter, you already know. The immediate solution for that was to shoot larger shot, and heavier payloads, hence the intro of the 3" and 3-1/2" magnums. Steel shot is quite hard, so patterns frequently can be tight for a given choke versus how the gun performs with lead.

All that said, I suppose, lacking any other loads, your magnum #4steel should perform about like #6 lead.......I think. Due to the hardness of steel shot, and the severe constriction of most turkey chokes, they are marked "FOR LEAD ONLY" so I would NOT run steel through a dedicated turkey choke.

Pattern your gun and see how it does with the #4steel, a modified choke might surprise you on how it performs. Given decent patterns, I'd say magnum #4 steel could reliably take a gobbler to 35 +/- yds, but I would not want to stretch it further.
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Old March 31, 2020, 01:43 PM   #4
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I hate having to use Steel for waterfowl and would hate to use it on Turkey's. Have you tried local sites like Armslist for Turkey ammo? If you have to use it I am not sure I would shoot past 30 yards.

Good Luck.
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Old March 31, 2020, 01:56 PM   #5
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It will work fine. It patterns well in most guns when used with the correct choke. Patterns are usually tighter than with lead shot. For turkey hunting that's a plus. Aiming at a turkey's head/neck, and putting pellets in that area, steel easily penetrated enough to get the job done. I don't know any turkey hunters who body shoot turkey on purpose.
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Old March 31, 2020, 05:53 PM   #6
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It wouldn't be ideal, but I'd not stay at home if that is all I had. I'd spend some time patterning it to see how it shoots and get some idea of how far you can take shots and still have a pattern dense enough for a kill.

Most gun manufacturers don't recommend a choke tighter than modified with steel anyway. I'd bet #4's would work better than you might think. Yea, steel is lighter than lead, but #4 steel shot is very comparable to #6 lead.

You could always spend $56-$63 for 5 shells if you want the expensive stuff.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1022007642
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Old March 31, 2020, 11:44 PM   #7
NoSecondBest
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I've shot a fair number of turkey with a Stevens 311 20ga SxS. It was choked IC/M. I never lost a bird with it, but I knew how the gun pattered and aimed for the head/neck. Using #4 and #6 1 1/4oz loads there was more than enough pellets in the kill area to get the job done. I wouldn't leave the house/camp with that outfit with the sole intent of hunting turkey, but I like to hunt grouse and if a bird becomes a target of opportunity I've always found that I had enough gun with me if I took the correct shot. I'd have no qualms about a 3" 12ga with steel shot. Just take your gun to a pattern board and see how your ammo is performing at various distances. You'll then know your limitations. FWIW, I've shot a lot of geese at some respectable ranges using steel shot and they aren't any easier to kill than a turkey.
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Old April 1, 2020, 08:32 AM   #8
big al hunter
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Check the local regulations. My state has laws that restrict shot size. We are limited to smaller shot. I can't remember what size is the largest, but it was smaller than #2. Other than that, I would not hesitate to hunt turkey with steel. Like others have said, pattern the gun with the shot you will hunt with. And don't push your luck on the long range shots.
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Old April 1, 2020, 12:45 PM   #9
Erno86
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Here in Maryland: #4 birdshot and smaller for turkey hunting with a shotgun

The main reason they limit the size of shot for turkey hunting: It is easier to put a human's eye out with #2 birdshot, than it is with #4 or smaller.

Don't forget to wear eye protection when you go turkey hunting...especially when you're walking around in the woods --- Though sun glare off of a glass lens might spook a turkey --- Since some of them will prefer to come in to your setup with the sun behind them.

I mainly use tungsten steel loads for turkey hunting --- Copper plated lead...my second.
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Old April 1, 2020, 01:38 PM   #10
jrothWA
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Use a shop magnetic pick-up tool, to locate the pellets when cleaning.

Sight -in at the range when shot density opens up n standard turkey neck target.

Good Luck. Call softly, avoid calling a Tom from next county.
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Old April 1, 2020, 03:41 PM   #11
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https://www.facebook.com/kentuckygun...4092609226093/

www.kygunco.com has turkey ammo in stock per video today if you need to order any.
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Old April 1, 2020, 05:13 PM   #12
denvernoob
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I appreciate all the responses. I needed some confirmation on using steel. I'm not old enough to have used lead on waterfowl, and steel has always worked on big honkers, so I couldn't see why steel wouldn't work for gobblers. I agree not ideal, but truth be told, right now I'd go hunting with a sling shot if it was all I had. I have seen some of the expensive, specialty ammo for sale online but beyond the price tag, most places like Midway are so backed up on orders I likely wouldn't get it in time for opening day. I'm going to head out this weekend and pattern some of the #4 steel shot. I do still plan on checking some local stores over the next few days as well.

Happy Hunting! Stay Healthy!
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Old April 2, 2020, 06:52 AM   #13
Erno86
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Cabela's has online sales of tungsten steel shotgun ammo --- With most, if not all...are in stock.

May I also suggest that you should purchase (if you have not already) a specialty shotgun turkey choke for tungsten steel. Cabela's sells them also.

I do not recommend using regular steel (not tungsten) shot for turkey. Check out the copper plated lead shot, or the lead and tungsten steel combination load.

Good luck...

Erno
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Old April 2, 2020, 07:30 AM   #14
buck460XVR
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First turkey I ever shot was with steel ammo. Back in the 80's it was the only 3" magnum shells that the local hardware store had. They threw 'em in with the purchase of the Mossberg 500 turkey gun I bought. Pattern the loads, and know your limitations as for effective yardage. No different than with lead or tungsten.
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Old April 3, 2020, 08:04 PM   #15
bamaranger
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honkers v. gobblers

Careful comparing shooting geese to shooting gobblers. A turkey is a far more durable bird. Yes, he can fly, but only "locally" so to speak. Waterfowl, being migratory, have much smaller bone structure to allow long flight at comparatively high altitudes. When you shoot a goose on the wing, often his breast is exposed, along with his slender neck. If a goose is in flight, he may have a long drop to the ground that will not do him any good either. And there is not a goose around that can run off crippled like a gobbler. No Labs to recover your gobbler either.....usually.

A ground hugging gobbler, whose breast is covered with a dense fatty layer to allow him to pursue breeding in the spring and not have to feed as much. the rest of his body is covered by those massive wings and feathers as he strolls along, is a much tougher target. About the only vulnerable area on a gobbler is the head and neck, and they are protected by denser bone structure than waterfowl. Gobblers are not bullet proof, of course, but I am certain they are "tougher" than a goose.
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Old April 4, 2020, 08:36 AM   #16
buck460XVR
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Careful comparing shooting geese to shooting gobblers. Gobblers are not bullet proof, of course, but I am certain they are "tougher" than a goose.
...just by shear size and weight alone. Add to that the body armor they wear(their wingfeathers) and shooting for the body broadside is a big no-no. While hunting them both entails calling them into range, it is there the similarity ends. They sporting way to shoot a goose is in the air while flying....ground swatting one is considered poor ethics. While in flight, geese rarely give one a good head shot and the target is the body, primarily the wings to bring them down. Hunting turkeys is completely different. Shooting a flying turkey is considered poor ethics and a sure way to lose a wounded bird. Exception would be an already wounded bird taking off flying. Seeing as how a turkeys head and neck is basically free from everything but some skin, it don't take much to kill them if you hit their pea size brain or spinal column. That is why it is the primary target, even with a rifle.

None of this has anything to do with the type of ammo. Again, know how it patterns and know it's effective range. Body shots, regardless of pellet construction, are going to lead to a wounded and most likely, a lost bird. If your pellets can still penetrate a pop can on both sides, it's enough to kill a turkey, if you ht them in the neck/head. Don't matter if it's steel, lead or tungsten.
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