When I walked into the turkey ammo aisle at Bass Pro Shops a few weeks ago, I was floored. I couldn't believe the incredibly vast selection of turkey ammunition available to hunters. I honestly think that there are more turkey ammunition varieties and selections than any other ammo for a single species on the market. If that isn't enough to confuse turkey hunters, factor in all the variables like gun type, barrel length, choke tubes . It's enough to make a grown turkey hunter want to cry. But hopefully this help simplify things for the confused hunters out there.
First of all, plain old lead shot rounds like Remington's Nitro Turkey perform pellet-for-pellet as well as any of the copper-plated or alloy loads inside of 20 yards. So if you are confident you will have a bird in that range, and you're budget-minded, then lead is the way to go. It's 25 yards and out where the high-dollar loads show their value.
Winchester's new Longbeard XR is all the rave this spring. It uses new patented Shot-Lok technology that keeps the buffering compound intact until the pellets leave the barrel, thus providing a tighter pattern at longer distances. Sounds good to me. I bought it, literally. Although they throw a wicked pattern, my pattern started to "drift" to the left after 40 yards (fired through my Franchii 12-gauge with Redheads' Blackout choke tubeBut with a Browning BPS 12 gauge using an Indian Creek Choke tube, the results were impressive.
Although I can't resist the new and "improved" loads that continue to hit the shelves, my tried and true favorite load for turkey is Magnum Blend. It's a duplex load using #5, 6 and 7 shot. Since I value my shoulder and don't really want a detached retina from recoil, I still shoot 3" shells. The Magnum Blend packs 2 full ounces of turkey killing wallop into this 12 gauge round. However, at roughly $5 per shell (that's right, PER SHELL!) this is one round you might want to use sparingly. But I've killed birds with this round for years, anywhere from 23 yards to 74 yards. The old saying "you get what you pay for" holds true in this case.
Here's my recommendations:
1. Get a choke tube
2. Buy a couple of different brands of ammunition
3. Fire both or several loads at 25, 35, and 45 yards
That will give you all in facts you need to choose the best ammo for your gun.
Also, pay careful attention to the ounces of shot in the load. The simple truth is this: the more load you are throwing the better chances you will kill your bird.
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