I really enjoy turkey hunting and eating wild turkey! In addition to practicing calling, scouting, etc., there’s another critical step to be a successful turkey hunter. That’s patterning and practicing with a turkey gun!
Turkey guns are usually 12 gauge shotguns with an extra full choke. Mine is a Winchester SX3 Long Beard and I use Winchester Long Beard Magnum 3” shells with #4 shot. I just patterned this gun and shell combo and was very impressed with the results! I prefer to call toms in close and enjoy their behavior, but sometimes mature gobblers will hang up 30, 40, and even 50 yards out.
It’s nice to know I can easily tag a tom at 40+ yards if he won’t come any closer.
Making a kill with a turkey gun can be easier at 30 yards than 10 yards. This is because the shot pattern of a turkey gun is smallest at close range. Check out the patterns on the targets in this picture. It would be much easier to miss a tom at 10 yards, due to the very tight pattern, than at 30+ yards.
This is why I use a scope on my turkey gun. The pattern is so tight that without precise aiming it would be easy to miss the tom in a moment of excitement without being able to aim more precisely than a bead might allow.
In addition to scouting and practicing turkey calls, make sure and spend some time patterning your turkey gun. Too – check out the new Winchester Pattern Board Application on winchester.com to assist in the process. It will certainly increase your odds of tagging a tom this spring!