Scope your turkey gun
All shotguns are created equal, except when they are not. A shotgun is very good at a few things, mainly shooting a whole bunch of pellets in a pattern to hit moving objects like clays, upland birds, or waterfowl. Such activities require nothing more than a small bead at the end of the barrel for reference when swinging the gun. Since the gun is shooting a spread of pellets large enough to hit the fast moving target at distance, the shooter does not need any precision aiming device like a rifle would. Now what if you are not shooting clays or waterfowl? What if your needs require shooting an extremely tight pattern of pellets precisely into a small target at ranges up to or beyond 50 yards?
Our grandparents, and even their parents did not venture into the woods with extra full ported choke tubes, precision sights, cutting edge digital camouflage, latest and greatest 3.5″ magnum ammo, and lifelike decoys, yet decades of hunting success has shown that a regular old shotgun with a front bead can kill plenty of turkeys. However, like many things of old, turkey hunting has evolved over the years, and firearms technology has made the task of killing that big tom a bit easier.
With modern shotguns, choke tubes and ammo, turkey guns can consistently shoot tight enough patterns at longer range that missing the turkey entirely is a strong possibility. The photo above shows a turkey target shot at 30 yards using Winchester Long Beard 3.5″ #5 2 1/8 oz turkey loads. With a scope mounted, but not yet zeroed, you can see that the majority of the extremely tight pattern missed the targeted neck area. By using a scope, you can easily dial that pattern down and to the right a bit to be in the perfect spot. With a tight pattern like this, the effective range is pushed out significantly. At 50 yards, the gun is able to hold consistent patterns that perform well for bagging a turkey at long range.
The scope that was used is a Leupold 2-7×33 utilizing their Turkey Plex reticle. The reticle made it easy to pattern due to the circle around the cross-hair. The mounts used were Warne Maxima quick detach rings, and a Maxima weaver style base. A great feature of this setup is the ability to remove the scope if needed and still use the fiber optics sights on the barrel. Quick detach rings can add versatility to your shotgun, especially if your state or season does not permit hunting with a magnified optic. The scope can be detached for the use of another sighting system, and re-attached for later use without loss of zero. Technology for turkey hunting has certainly come a long way, and by mounting a scope on your shotgun, you may just be able to reach out a little further to fill your tag. Warne scope mounts can handle even the most punishing recoil those big 3.5″ shells can dish out, and you can be confident that they will perform every time. That confidence in your gear is especially important when a gobbler is in your sights.