A Turkey Shotgun

News & Tips: A Turkey Shotgun

A turkey shotgun is more rifle than it is shotgun. Sure, a shotgun is designed to throw as many pellets as possible in a 30-inch circle to hit flying birds or fast moving small game — the exact opposite of turkey hunting — in which your goal is to put as many pellets as possible into a tight 10-inch circle.

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If aiming for a bird several yards away, consider using a scope on your shotgun.

However, there are a few similarities between the two firearms. For instance, when preparing for turkey season, I spend a lot of time patterning my shotgun. My favorite load is a 3 1/2-inch, which generates a lot of recoil; therefore I make sure to use a quality recoil pad. The pad has a concaved face which sits well in my shoulder pocket and in the identical place each time I put the shotgun to my shoulder. Like a rifle shooter I want to replicate each shot time after time and the concaved pad helps me accomplish this.

Shotgun Scope?

I catch a lot of flak for having a scope mounted on nearly every firearm I own, including my turkey gun. Many question the rationale behind having a scope on a shotgun, but to me it makes perfect sense. The shotgun is already on my shoulder and I'm looking through the scope. Many turkey scopes have a range-finding reticle that subtends the size of a gobbler's head at 40 yards. Put the turkey's head in the circle, if it fills the circle the turkey is in range. All the while by moving the crosshairs you can center the pattern to hit where you prefer the center to be.

However, sight-mounted shotguns aren't for everyone or every situation, for example, hunting in the Ozarks. I often remove the scope and use open sights as the terrain does not lend itself to long open field or open hardwood shots. Often the shots taken in the Ozarks will be measured in feet rather than yards — a hindrance with a scope mounted shotgun. 

Taking Stock

Since I am always on the lookout for the latest and greatest, when I found a buttstock with interchangeable cheekpieces I was stoked at the possibility. No matter if I am shooting open sights or a scope, I don't want to move my face over the stock trying to find the sights, crosshairs or the turkey. By using an elevated cheekpiece your eye remains on the same plane as your sights, you bring the shotgun to your shoulder you are looking through the scope.

Are you still skeptical? Call your hunting buddy and have him bring over his favorite shotgun, ensure it is unloaded, close your eyes and bring the shotgun to your shoulder. Put your face on the stock in a familiar but comfortable shooting position. Now open your eyes. Are you looking at the back of the receiver instead of down the barrel? A well fitted stock will help.

Sure you can use the same shotgun with plain barrel but there is no need to sacrifice. Put a few rifle characteristics on your shotgun and you will be surprised at how well it will perform.

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