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Old 02-28-2010, 03:39 AM
InRut's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: NW WI
Posts: 74
Turkey Load

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I was at the Hodgdon Data Center looking over some trap loads and started wandering around like what usually happens to me.

Came across two loads I thought might be the ticket for turkey hunting:


Lead Shot 12 1 1/4 oz. Longshot Win. 209 WAA12F114 35.4 11,300 PSI 1495
Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Longshot Win. 209 WAA12 37.8 10,400 PSI 1585

I was talking to a relative who knows people using pheasant loads in their O/U with great success. They have some very nice patterns he was saying.

I have come to the point that I dont think the loads I use for turkeys are necessary anymore.
Been using the Fiocchhi 3 1/2" Turkey Thunders. Pop off a 2/14 ounce load wakes you up you could say.

Any opinions?
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Old 02-28-2010, 03:06 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Hickory, NC
Posts: 109
Smile I've come to the same conclusion.....

YES YES YES.... I've used 3 1/2" shoulder busters for the past few years on turkeys.

They leave real big bruises!!! Especially when you are trying to hurry into position, and
the turkey slips in so you can't move while the buttstock is tucked nicely against your
bicep. Been there, done that one a couple times.....

I finally bought a turkey choke last year, and compared the pattern of the 3 1/2" to
Fiocchi 3" nickel plated #5's. I was totally amazed at the pattern of the turkey choke.
Now I know why some guys put scopes on their turkey guns because the choke I used
put roughly 80% of the shot into a 10" circle at 35 yards.....

Anyway, I am definitely swiching to those 3" shells because the pattern went exactly where
I put my bead....

Now, I am gonna finish off the rest of the 3 1/2's that I have on grouse huntin'.

Back to your question.... I'm not sure about the reloading, but the 3" or 2 3/4" will work
just fine. Know where the pattern goes and your limitations.....

My buddy in NY state that taught me how to turkey hunt uses 2 3/4" #6 lead shot. He
never shoots beyond 35 yds, and he tags out every year.

I am new to this forum. I will leave some personal info on the general discussion thread
sometime soon. Right now, I better get off here since it is my wife's B-day, and I would
like to stay married.

Happy hunting.... I know here in NC youth day starts in a little over a month!!!!!!... awesome
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:24 PM
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Then there are us old dinosaurs who have been using 2 3/4" shells and #4 shot in a 20 gauge for 10 years and never had a complaint. Never met anybody at the weigh in registration station who ever admitted to using anything but 3 1/2" mag loads. I think its a testosterone thing. Turkeys are tough but not that tough.
Roman Catholic, Life Member of American Legion, VFW, Wisconsin Libertarian party, Wi-FORCE, WGO, NRA, JPFO, GOA, SAF and CCRKBA
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:24 PM
DMC's Avatar
DMC DMC is offline
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Originally Posted by InRut View Post
Any opinions?
Opinion #1: Turkey Thunder is a real catchy name.

Opinion #2: In 12 Gauge, if you're shooting Lead shot, a 2 3/4" shell will do for 99% of all your needs. A 3" shell will fill the other 1%.

I've been using what is essentially the same Turkey load for 50 years. Powder has changed (AL-7 was discontinued), Hull has changed to a Federal Game Load Hull (or Federal paper Hull if I have some on hand) and I use #4 sometimes now if the laws prohibit the use of #2 shot. Started as a 4 1/4 DE (1,370 FPS) 1 1/2 Ounce load with AL-7, dropped back to a 4 DE (1,315) load with AL-7, now a 4 DE load with Herco. My sons and some of their friends use the same load with great success. 32 Grains of Herco, .135" Nitro Card + split 3/8" Fiber wad. 1 1/2 Ounces of shot.

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Old 02-28-2010, 06:29 PM
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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 26,945
I just use any basic clay bird load to be honest. There is always a half of a box of shotshells around here that a grab a few out of. Sometimes I'm not even sure what they are! They are all birdshot of some sort or another.

Works for me.....

Originally Posted by faucettb
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:50 PM
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Location: Elk Grove Ca
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I've tried that 1-1/8 oz load with the Longshot powder and it hammered the turkey. I had a #5 lead pellet go clear through the meat shoulder-to-shoulder on the last tom I shot. Some of the shot completely penetrated the neck bone. It was the quickest smack-down I've ever put on a turkey. About 30 yards. I got on the idea of lighter faster loads for turkeys from my readings on this site. I have since found the BPI "Hammer Load" and I think it just might be the ultimate turkey buster with 1-3/8 oz of #4 copper coated lead at 1480 fps.
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:59 AM
InRut's Avatar
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Location: NW WI
Posts: 74
Sounds good to me then.
I will have to give one of those loads a try this spring; leaning towards the 1 1/8 ounce.
Maybe a duplex of 4 and 6 shot.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:27 PM
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Location: Kentucky
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Originally Posted by Old Grump View Post
Then there are us old dinosaurs who have been using 2 3/4" shells and #4 shot in a 20 gauge for 10 years and never had a complaint. Never met anybody at the weigh in registration station who ever admitted to using anything but 3 1/2" mag loads. I think its a testosterone thing. Turkeys are tough but not that tough.
I'm glad to hear you say that. In my area I've been impressed with the absolute howitzers everyone seems to assume are required for turkey. I'm not a believer. I've never killed a turkey with a smokeless gun, all 18 or so have been with black powder flintlock smoothbore in 20 gauge. Loads are 1 1/4 oz. of #6 shot over 80 grains of black powder, equivalent to 3 drams. That's a popgun compared to the average gun used around here, yet I've only ever had one turkey get out alive. I think the marketers are doing a wonderful job.

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Old 03-12-2010, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Spence View Post
I think the marketers are doing a wonderful job.
If you can call, you can shoot them with a bow. I have for the last few years here in NJ where there are lots of turkeys, and houses.

But in NY/PA I use the 12Ga, and the Winchester and Remington 3", 1 3/4oz loads are almost unfair. This year, a banner year in my hunting career of 45 years, I'll be calling for my daughter. She just bought herself a 870 Youth 20Ga. I installed a Primos Xtra Full choke up front, and we have patternedWinchester 2 3/4", 1oz 5's, Winchester 3", 1 5/16oz 5's, and Remingthon 3" Nitro 1 1/4oz 5's. Even the 1oz load will put 8-10 pellets in a turkey target at 30yds, the 3" loads out to 35yds.

I guess if you're call challanged the 3 1/2" loads might get one from time to time, but most times probably not.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:20 PM
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I like big shot, too. #2 lead will roll one a "fur piece".
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:32 AM
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Location: SC
Posts: 2,999
The "turkey load war" between ammo makers over the past couple of decades has been entertaining to me as loads have gone from a level appropriate for birds to something adequate for downing low-flying aircraft.

If the gun patterns, I almost don't care about load details. Last turkey I bagged was with a 3" .410 #6 load from a Winchester Model 42. I am sure the turkey would have been embarrassed to be dispatched by something so puny, but he couldn't tell the difference between the .410 and a super-magnum 3.5" 12 ga.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:22 AM
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Posts: 3
Big shot

I am a fan of big shot for turkeys. I enjoy the hunt, but if one hangs up out there at 50 yards, I like turkey dinner. With #2 lead, 50 yards is not a problem. It works for head shots inside 30 yards, and beyond that #2 shot will down one every shot with body hits. The added benefit of wing bone breaking ability of lead #2 is a benefit as well.

I learned this from an old man in WV who had probably killed more turkeys than any 4 of us put together. He only used #2 and always took body shots except at close range.

I understand that for many the game is to get the bird under 40 yards, but I am a meat hunter. Lead #2 is a great meat load. I use reloads, a recipe from the aforementioned old man.
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