Turkey hunters can be successfully using many varieties and gauges of shotguns, even archery equipment, but most hunters stick to scatterguns because they offer a better chance of success and can be fitted to different hunting approaches.
Marshall Collette began turkey hunting with a Remington 870 12-gauge that shot 3-inch magnum turkey loads.
“When I could afford it, I bought a Benelli Super Black Eagle auto-loader that could handle 3 1/2-inch shells, but I still use 3-inch shells because they pattern better in that gun,” he said.
Collette recommended hunters practice with different chokes and note their shot patterns.
His Benelli, fitted with a custom-made 655 Rhino choke, has an effective range of 40 to 45 yards with No. 6 Winchester Long Beard shotshells. That’s his “woods” gun. He prefers a 660 Rhino, a more full choke, for open-field shots out to 60 yards with Magnum Blend loads.
“The only reason I use a Truglo Red Dot scope now is because of my eyesight,” he said. “If not for that, I wouldn’t use one.”
Cox carries a 12-gauge autoloader or a 20-gauge pump gun.
“The 12-gauge patterns No. 5 and No. 6 shot the same, and the 20-gauge patterns No. 5s the best,” he said.
His choice of weapons depends upon his hunting technique. He uses the 12 gauge for open fields and the 20 gauge in the woods.
“I like 35 yards or less, but I have killed turkeys at 55 yards with no obstacles,” Cox said. “But if I walk a lot or go as a backup when I take youngsters hunting, I use the 20 because it’s lighter to carry.”