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TOLLEFRY

Guns & Ammo

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I just put in for my first turkey tag. The shotgun I own is questionable at best for a first time turkey hunter. I have a 20ga savage pump, with a modified choked barrel. I do have the option of using a Beretta O/U 12ga.

Why is an O/U not used by many turkey hunters? In my case, the Beretta is a no brainer, I'll use that and choke it for turkey. Would I be better off trying to borrow a 12ga semi auto?

Also, is Federal Premium a good round for either, 20ga, or 12ga?

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I currently use a 20ga O/U for hunting turkeys. Most people don't own double guns so that's the main reason you don't see them used for turks. I think the second reason is most people like the option of a pump gun or semi to get multiple shots.

I purchased several choke tubes and tried them out. I also tried several different loads in my guns to get the best possible pattern out of my 20ga. I am deadly at 30-35 yds and at 40yds it hits the limit. I get the min amount necessary for a "lethal" pattern. The rule is to get at least 5 pellets in the head area of a target.

Federal Premiums have been good in my gun, but that doesn't mean anything. Most guns prefer one or two loads more than others. You'll have to pattern them and see.

The advantage of having a 12ga is more power, more pellets, and better choice of hunting loads. Downside is the size, weight and the punch of shooting turkey loads.

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I agree that the 20 can be a great little turkey machine. My son has been shooting his 870 Youth with an Undertaker choke tube, Federal Premium #5 turkey loads.

Whatever gun you settle on, you need to pattern test a few different loads. You'll be surprised at the differences in the various loads.

Deadly out to 40 yards.

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Pattern both guns and use the one with the best pattern. There is no difference in power between 20 ga or 12 ga A #5 pellet moving at 1300 fps has the same knockdown power whether it came from a 10 ga or 410. Larger gauges have more pellets per shell that is the only difference. In fact most 3 inch shells are slower than there 2 3/4 inch counterparts and are actually weaker. They just have more shot in the pattern. Paterning is the only way to decide on which gun for turkeys. Don't rule out hevi shot or other non toxics as they pattern very well and have heavier than lead pellets so more knockdown at longer ranges.

Mwal

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Oh boy, someone new to talk turkey with! Welcone Tollefry!

If your 20 has a fixed modified barrel, then yes, it is a no brainer. Go with the 12. Get a good XFull Turkey Choke and try a few different loads. My 870 shoots Fed Premium very well, but like Powerstroke said, that doesn't mean anything.

BTW, a good friend has shot several birds with his O/U.

Good luck drawing that tag and welcome to the addiction.

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Welcome to the adrenaline rush of turkey hunting. The 12 gauge is the no-brainer, but as a first timer I would want the confidence of being able to take a second shot. I've seen birds flinch at the last second. Sometimes when you miss they'll be momentarily confused and you'll want to chamber up and get another shot off. If you have access to a gun that you can get two shots, whether it is the O/U or the semi-auto, go for it. Like Powerstroke said, you can kill turkeys just fine with a 20 guage, but when you are trying to get a couple pellets in the neck or cranium, I'd rather have more pellets than less, so the 12 gets the nod over the 20 given the choice.

Good luck drawing your tag, don't be afraid to get in line for a surplus if it doesn't work out, work hard (scout a few spots you have access to, practice your calls, make sure you have your gear laid out and ready), put in your time, and pattern your gun with a few different loads. You'll be happy you did when your hands are shaking holding that bird up for the camera.

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The flexibilty of the removeable chokes tips the scale to the 12 gauge as you can pick up a good turkey choke for it. Plenty of good ones out there from $15-$45.

Believe it or not the new rage in turkey guns is the 20 gauge and all the new loadings for it. Guys are getting tired to getting pounded by heavy loads in 3 1/2 guns. My dauhter's 20 gauge 870 youth with no work done to it patterns Hevi Shot densely out past 45 yards with plenty of knock down power to that range. Guys are getting much better results than that when they work on the gun, choke and ammo combo.

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I am somewhat suprised that the O/U aren't more popular in the turkey woods. Most are nice and short but still have a nice sight plane and the option of having one barrel tightly choked and the other with a Mod. choke for when birds get in tight would be nice as well.

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I don't know for sure why they aren't more popular. Some thoughts ar that guys like to camo up their guns and many of the O/U are shiny and pretty. Also they tend to be lighter and there is no recoil releif like you get with many of the pumps or autos.

Those turkey loads pound on both ends of the gun!

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There definately is no recoil relief in a double gun.

My gun is not selectable barrels so I keep them both tightly choked, but I feel its perfect for the job and being a 20ga makes it even easier.

I'm glad to see the trend moving more towards 20ga guns now. I know you will never get away from the 12ga, but for a while there was too much push for 3.5" loads and even some 10ga guns.

Like was said before, a pellet traveling at 1300FPS doesnt fly any faster or harder from a 20ga or 10ga. So even if you're shooting a 10ga you still cant take 60yd shots at turks. And just cause you can get a bynck of pellets in the circle doesn't mean that they will have enough energy to kill the bird. These physics are really coming around and people are learning the lethal range of the loads rather than just using a patterning board and counting pellets.

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That's right. Punching holes in paper is not the same as breaking bone in a turkey's head and neck.

I'll repost a patterning article within the next month or so.

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Thanks for the ideas. I'll keep my eye on the Borch Blog for the article. Now I wait to here from the DNR and practice my calls. crazy

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