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Joined: January 06 2017
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Posted: April 18 2017 at 8:38pm | IP Logged Quote Engineer

Hello all,
I am in need of some internet gun expert wisdom. My
basic question is; What is the effective range of a
long barrel, chocked any way you choose, 12ga,
shotgun? The reason I am asking this is that I am
considering picking up a low cost single shot shotgun
for the purpose of turkey hunting. I currently have a
model 37 that is a 20" barrel 12 ga and is more of a
defensive gun. I could possible hunt with it using
federal's new flight control loads, but would expect
better results with a modified choke long barrel
hunting style gun. I have never turkey hunted before,
so I don't know what is reasonable in regards to
expected ranges.

Any input would be great, thank you.


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Posted: April 19 2017 at 3:14am | IP Logged Quote JD45

You could buy a single like a old Savage-Stevens, or an H&R Topper and do just fine.

Just pattern it and see how it looks. Most full chokes do well at 35-40yds. Tighter screw-in chokes can add a few yards. And I'm talking about a solid killing pattern, not a luck shot.
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Posted: April 19 2017 at 5:08am | IP Logged Quote Rex

Get the tightest choke if it's fixed it will be full.
Take a few sheets of computer paper and draw a turkey head and neck on it and start out about 35 yards, shoot a pattern and keep moving back until the pattern gets too thin for a good kill shot.
Different shells pattern different also. Practice with what you will hunt with.
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Posted: April 19 2017 at 5:13am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Look around, cheap, good used shotguns abound. I like break open single shots and they'll do you well, but pumps are common and the extra weight makes them recoil less with heavy loads.

The H&R singles are the standard but I really like the older Savage/Stevens 220 and 94 series. Someone posted a thread review on here about the new Hatfields Wal-Mart is selling now in the hunting forum, I've looked at them and they seem quite solid. Might even use choke tubes too which is an advantage.

"The secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage."
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Posted: April 19 2017 at 6:26pm | IP Logged Quote joed

Never hunted turkey but have friends that do.   About all I can tell
you is they use full chokes.   Not sure of the load used but for duck
and geese I used #4 shot, so I imagine a turkey load would be

The 6 gun was once as common as the cellphone is today, and just as annoying when it went off in the theater.
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Posted: April 19 2017 at 6:32pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I believe in Kansas the biggest shot that's legal on turkey is #4, but most guys seem to use #6s and though that may seem odd for such a big bird, remember, you're trying for head shots.

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Ham Gunner
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Posted: April 19 2017 at 8:10pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

I killed my first turkey (21 lbs.) with a Mossburg .20 gauge bolt using #4 shot and full choke. Pattern is what is important rather than the amount of shot. However, more shot gives you much better odds of getting some shot into the bird's brain or nervous system of the neck. They are tough birds, but shot in the head and neck kills. If shot anywhere else they just run off.

I now use a 12 gauge pump, but have never needed more than one shot. I have used high dollar turkey loads and they work great, but my 1 3/8 oz. handloaded pheasant load at 1,350 fps with #5 shot works just as well. I prefer a lighter load with a good pattern at a higher velocity rather than 2 oz. or more of shot at a much slower velocity. The 3 1/2" chamber is not needed. I have a 3" chamber but use 2 3/4" handloads.

Shoot for the head only and if you are no more than 40 yards away it is likely a dead bird if you know where your gun shoots. It is important to know where it shoots as every shotgun is different and believe it or not, you can miss. Some shoot high and some shoot low. Left and right needs to be determined as well because it is critical that the turkey's head is in the center of your pattern.

Good luck and good hunting.

An after thought. Do not try to grab a turkey while it is still flopping around. I learned the hard way on my first bird. Almost got a black eye from the wing.

Edited by Ham Gunner on April 19 2017 at 8:19pm

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Posted: April 20 2017 at 7:31am | IP Logged Quote The_Shadow

Yet another reason to shoot them in the head, is you
don't want to mess up the edible meat.


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Posted: May 05 2017 at 6:38am | IP Logged Quote Kirk357

The first turkey I shot was at a about 55 yards. He came in to my call
but hung up and wouldn't come closer. I was too excited to pass up
the shot. I was using a 12 gauge with a 28 inch field barrel with an
aftermarket full turkey choke. (Sorry, but I forget the brand).

It rolled him and incapacitated him but I had to run out and finish him
off in hand to hand combat...

Since then I have never shot one at that distance - never had too.

Most shots are much closer and any shotgun can serve.

I would think you just have to pattern the gun and shell you are using
and check the distances to be sure your groups will be deadly on
head shots at that distance. Determine your maximum hunting
range by patterning your gun. I like to use those turkey head and
neck paper targets that are life size so I can see how many pellets
are going to hitting the head and neck.
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