Any suggestions for a new turkeygun?

Discussion in 'Bird Hunting' started by Mennoniteman, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    I'm working on some turkey loads and have a question for you: In the mid sixties there was a famous gun writer named Mason Williams (not the singer or the ballplayer) who wrote in an article about partridge loads that "lower powder reduces the tendency to blow the pattern" in #9 shot grouse loads. You mentioned that you've done a lot of turkey load testing in the past, and I was wondering if you have ever noticed anything like this? Is this true that heavier powder charges will open up the pattern?
     
  2. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    That's only partially true. If all other factors were the same, that theory might hold weight, but that isn't the case. There are too many other factors that affect the tightness of the patterns.

    Here is the best example I can think of. Years ago before all of the modern loads we have today, the shell of choice for shooting tight turkey cores was the Winchester High Velocity lead Turkey load. That was the black shell in the black box, and it is still available today as far as I know.

    At the same time, Winchester had the XX Magnum Turkey load which even had more shot and was slower than the black shell - yet the black shell would shoot tighter cores and was the choice of 90% of the still target shooters. Federal also had slower turkey loads at that time, but they also would not compete with the faster black shell.

    So, as you can see, even though there might be some truth in the theory you mentioned, it doesn't always work out that way. The wad, powder, buffer and other factors can have a significant influence.

    Also, when you slow a load down too much, you lose energy at the point of impact. So, it is best to find other ways to make a shell pattern tight rather than slowing it down too much - and some of the good shell loaders can do that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
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  3. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the enlightenment. I am enjoying patterning different factory loads and have had some big surprises on some big name loads. We've been shooting a lot of different shells in a three different guns with three different turkey chokes, including ported and no ported, and what we've learned is that we get very consistent results from the different chokes, with the big differences being from load to load. Very poor performers were 3rd Degree, Federal flight control, and the very worst being Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey, fairly decent results from Kent, WinchesterXX and some surprisingly decent patterns from thirty year old Remington Nitro Magnums, and by far the best groups from LongbeardXR shells. We shot mostly 3" #5 shot out of a leadsled at forty yards in a ten inch circle. We didn't shoot any TSS, I'm leaving that for next year, maybe the price will get cheaper...
     
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  4. g squared 23

    g squared 23 Active Member

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    I also did some pretty serious sighting in and patterning with 2 different guns. The biggest learning point for me was shooting at 10 yards and realizing the point of aim (POA) doesn't always match the point of impact (POI), even with just a bead sight at the end of the gun!!

    [​IMG]

    What was even more amazing to me was that the POI could be significantly different with a different load from the SAME exact gun!

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    Moral of the story, sighting in and patterning a shotgun is just as important as sighting in a rifle. Real eye opener for me.


    Regarding the Tungsten super shot, that stuff is supposed to be amazing, but I can't get over spending $9+ a round. Especially when the Longbeards patterned so well for me. Seems like a great load, hopefully I get a chance to scratch one this year.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  5. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Yes, just as important as sighting in a rifle.

    And if you change chokes in that same exact gun, the POI will likely move again - even if you don't change shells.

    Best wishes with your hunting.
     
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  6. g squared 23

    g squared 23 Active Member

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    So maybe I'm a bit slow, but does this mean I really should be patterning my Improved Cylinder choke and test out different target loads to make sure I don't have any POA/POI issues for when I'm dove hunting?


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  7. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    I say yes you should, but I am more of a stickler for a centered pattern than some people are. The improved cylinder pattern will be wider than the turkey choke pattern, so it will be more forgiving if it is not centering well. So, it is less of a factor, but still significant in my opinion.

    Your IC pattern could be 4 inches low at 40 yards and you won't know it unless you shoot it and see. Will 4 inches make you miss? Probably not often, but it could make you miss occasionally. I've seen guns that were 16 inches off. Will that make you miss? Probably more often than you would guess.

    I've also seen chokes that were accidentally threaded a little off center, causing a gun to shoot left, right, high or low.... I personally would want to know that if it was happening to me. I might just go get another choke and my problem is cured that easily. But, I won't know to do that unless I pattern my gun.

    Even the threading in the gun barrel can be off. One company (Briley in Texas) offers a service where they pattern guns like that and make "eccentric chokes" for just that gun to get it to shooting straight. Briley is a class act in my opinion.

    You will often hear the saying that you point a shotgun rather than aim it like a rifle. In some cases I partially agree with that. With a fast shot (like a rising quail going into brush) you probably do more pointing than aiming, because of how fast everything happens. That's why the cast of the stock and drop (to fit the shooter) is so important for a gun like that.

    With trap guns, the stocks are straight so that your cheek doesn't come down so low and therefore makes you shoot high, which is good, because the clay bird is rising. It is designed to be that way.

    Bottom line for me is: I want to know where my gun is hitting. I may or may not do anything with sights to correct it, but I may aim a little different to compensate for it. If I'm pass shooting at a dove with that high shooting trap gun, I may decide to aim a little low so that I will center my pattern.

    I don't like missing...and I sure don't want to miss because I don't know where my gun is hitting....

    If you've never missed a shot, just ignore everything I said, don't pattern the gun and keep shooting....;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  8. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    I second that Native. And you've done a lot more sighting in shotguns than I ever have. I've got a nice over and under that I decided would make a nice turkey gun, so I took it out and actually got a nice longbeard with it. The next season I sighted it in and decided I won't take it turkey hunting again, it doesn't pattern well and consistently shoots a foot to the right at thirty yards. Years ago people didn't sight in shotguns. Not sighting in a shotgun now seems foolish to me.
     
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  9. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Glad we see it the same Mennoniteman...

    Another thing about over and unders that most folks don't realize is that it's not uncommon for there to be a lot of difference between where the two barrel hit at 40 yards. I have one in the basement right now that has about 12 inches difference.

    A friend of mine bought a very expensive O&U and it had 18 inches difference between the two barrels. After months of bickering I think the company finally refunded him his money.

    I've seen some tests done by other people on guns going for as much as $15,000 that had a similar problem.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  10. Triple C

    Triple C Well-Known Member

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    Way above my pay grade to offer a comment other than how fortunate we are to have guys like Native Hunter with expertise on so many fronts. Great read in this thread.
     
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  11. Elkaddict

    Elkaddict Well-Known Member

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    This thread motivated me to finally pick up a dedicated turkey gun. I figured a 870 with 31/2” loads and a Carlton turkey choke ought to be a good start. Ordered some fiber optic adjustable sights. I’ll pattern with both Federal and Winchester loads this weekend (could find 5s). Nice thing is it will still function with the 3” loads I’ve used out of my Weatherby O/U.
     
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  12. Gator

    Gator Active Member

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    Is this due to a sloppy hinge? Or just the barrels not being parallel to each other?
     
  13. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    It has nothing to do with the hinge and everything to do with the barrel alignment. The goal is to align the barrels so that both hit the same POI at 40 yards. With mass manufacturing and imperfect tolerances, that is easier said than done. A tiny bit off at the gun can mean unacceptable POI alignment at the target. If anyone doesn't believe it, they can just use some simple right-angle trigonometry and calculate the change in Theta needed to make only a few inches difference in the POI at 40 yards.

    To complicate this, the bottom barrel is further away from the shooter's site plane than the top barrel. So, being perfectly parallel doesn't work either. Since the two barrels are some distance apart, there must be some angle difference in them to make the POIs coincide at 40 yards.

    Why 40 yards? Multiple reasons:
    • Because this is the traditional distance to evaluate patterns.
    • Because if they are good at 40, anything less than 40 will be plenty close enough in terms of barrel alignment. The shorter the distance, the less impact that barrels being off will have.
    • Because some distance for point of alignment has to be picked, and 40 yards is a good compromise for the typical shot distance taken with a scattergun.
    You will seldom see an over and under that is perfect - but they don't have to be perfect - they just need to be reasonably close. I can tell you the one I mentioned before that my friend had (18 inches difference) is not acceptable. This was from a high dollar manufacturer that everybody on this forum has heard of. I have one in the basement from the same company that has 4 inches difference. That one is okay. I can live with that.

    Bottom line - pattern your gun on paper and know where it's hitting. People go out and by expensive guns, expensive shells and expensive chokes and think they are good to go. That may or may not be true. You won't know until you make the effort to find out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  14. Gator

    Gator Active Member

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    Barrels are closer together than the 4" acceptable pattern you have. Surprised they even try to correct when it seems just getting them parallel is impossible. Thanks for the knowledge!

    On a different note you mentioned earlier about trap guns. I actually shoot a Browning XT "trap gun" on the skeet range. I just float the bird a little which actually helps see them better especially when the wind picks up and they start moving around a bit (or so I've convinced myself). It doesn't necessarily translate to shooting ducks with a completely different gun!
     
  15. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Floating the bird like you are doing is a good choice for using the trap gun as a skeet gun. That's what I would do too.

    I actually prefer for a shotgun to shoot a little high on about anything I do. Even when I use sights on a turkey gun, I set them up for the pattern to be a little high. I do that for the same reason you mentioned - I want to be able to see the target better. If a gun is shooting low instead of high, it works just the opposite.
     
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  16. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Go old or go home. Taken more turkey thru 4 generations than all of us probably , when turkey weren’t thick in numbers like today and no spring gobbler cheat season.
    Like been said zero at 40 if you have a side by side or overunder. Good ones shoot very close. This is a 222/20 ga and gets the job done when I decide to sit long enough for a turkey.
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    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  17. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    An old guy like you might even be able to kill a turkey with this 1897 Winchester. If that one doesn't fit, I will let you hunt with the 1902 Remington side by side. That one fits anyone.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  18. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Man I would like to shoot the Remy for sure. Do you still put fire in the chamber of those? If you haven't, you should go to the Winchester museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY. They have records and displays going back to the beginning of time. A person could spend couple weeks in there especially with your knowledge. I have early 1900 single shot 12 ga that I inherited that you have to keep tape wrapped around the barrel to the mini stock to keep it intact as that is how it was when I inherited it. Probably should fix it, but to me it adds character and was that way when given to me. I don't shoot it very often tho, kinda a moonshiners shotgun to me. I'll get a pic when get a chance.
    Back to the original OP question, I think like anything with opinions, need to shoot a variety to see what fits you best. For non competition shooting, hitting a turkey will work with most good choices.
     
  19. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Dogghr, I had forgotten about this, but that old Remington came from your state. Here is the story:

    I was walking around at a gun show in KY and this old guy was carrying the gun. I asked him about it and he said his grandfather bought it at a hardware store in West Virginia in 1902. After I heard this I tried to discourage the guy from selling it and told him he should keep it as a family heirloom. He said, "No, he never used it, was tired of it, and just wanted to get something else." I actually let him walk away and didn't offer to buy it.

    A little later, I meet him again and we talk. He is dead set on getting rid of it, so I buy it. I go home and start researching the serial number and found the gun was made in 1902, and this was the last year they made them. As a bonus, it is modern steel and not Damascus, so I can shoot modern loads in it with no issues. I've already shot it some.

    It is tight and the bores are like new as you can see below in the pictures. Come visit with me sometime and we will get this baby out and shoot it some. Barrels are 32 inches - full and modified.

    [​IMG]

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  20. Gator

    Gator Active Member

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    Mid season I decided to turn my old 870 into a dedicated turkey gun based on this thread. Really all I did was buy a camo stock and put some camo tape on it but it did a great job on my bird this past weekend. Before next season, I may get it dipped but I'm definitely going to add a better choke and also some adjustable sights! IMG_5237.JPG
     
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