Question By: Jay Carson
Question: Gear Guru, with so many different turkey loads available, making the right choice can be confusing. What do you recommend for my 12-gauge shotgun this spring?
Answer By: The Gear Guru
Answer: Jay, from my experiences turkey hunting, I always go with the bigger, the better. I prefer 3 or 3-1/2 inch loads of number 5 shot in my 12-gauge, Model 870 Remington pump shotgun. A word of warning, however, the 3-1/2 inch shells can pack quite a wallop with the recoil. Every turkey gun patterns differently so experiment with several different brands and loads at various distances on the gun range, until you find the one that works best with your gun. If you do not already have an extra-tight turkey choke, I also recommend you pickup one of those as well when making your next ammunition purchase. My favorite shotgun ammunition manufacturers are Remington and Kent. Here is a brief description of what each has to offer the turkey hunter.
New for 2001, Remington Ammunition offers the Premier High Velocity Copper-Plated Magnum Turkey Loads. Chambered for 12-gauge shotguns in 3 or 3-1/2 inch shells, it pushes 1-3/4 or 2 ounces of shot at a blistering 1300 feet-per-second and is available in shot sizes 4, 5, & 6. Developed for the serious turkey hunter, this ammunition was engineered to deliver consistent knockdown, penetration, and dense shot pattern performance at the limits of normal scattergun range. I have tested this new load myself and found very good results in the 40- to 50-yard range. However, I normally reserve my own shots on live birds to under the 40-yard mark. These new loads by Remington are expanding the effective shooting range and will definitely help hunters bag more gobblers this spring.
Several western and plains states in recent years have gone completely “no lead” for hunting ammunition as well as for waterfowl. Steel also has been proven not to be as effective as lead for energy transfer, effective range, and knockdown power. Hunters in these “no lead” areas using steel have been demanding better performance from these lead substitutes. To meet this demand, Kent Cartridge America for 2001 has introduced the Impact TungstenMatrix. This non-toxic turkey load is featured in 12-gauge with a 3-inch shell with size 5 shot only. This load pushes 1-5/8 ounces of shot at 1330 feet-per-second. The patented TungstenMatrix technology provides resilience, malleability, and downrange lethality that is equal to or even surpasses premium lead ammunition. From my own field test with this new ammo, I can testify to the fact of excellent dense patterns on paper out to almost the 40-yard mark consistently.
Jay, depending on where you’re hunting and the rules/regulations, check out the new Remington and Kent turkey ammunition. I know you will be happy with the end results.
The Gear Guru