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Best turkey loads for 870 12ga

3112 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  varmit_master
Can anyone tell me which 3" shells would be the best to try first.Hevi-shot,federal,winchester,or kent.I like 5'-6's the best.

I've always used federal 5 or 6 shot with good luck.Would one of the other manufactors shells be any better or not.
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I've shot several different brands in the past on the patterning board (Rem. 4x6 duplex, Remington premium #4,6, Federal premium#4,5, Fiocchi #4 and Activ nickel plated #6- good ones if you can still find any) but for hunting I've always shot Winchester XX copper plated 5's out of my 870 with a Hastings .665 Turkey Choke and the factory 28" barrel. At least that was my set up for the past 12 years . I changed some things around this past season. I still use the 870 but I replaced the factory 28" barrel with a 19" barrel. I replaced the cantlever rib mount and simmons pro-diamond 4x scope with an Aim-Point saddle style receiver mount and a BSA red dot sight. The local sporting goods store gave some of the more regular customers two Hevi-Shot rounds apiece to try. I had shot some at waterfowl the past season and was highly impressed which led me to try them on turkeys. Out of that short barrel 870 with the factory full choke, results were outstanding. I won't shoot anything now but Hevi-Shot #6's. I pulled the trigger three times and killed three birds with it this past season. My best was a triple bearded 21lb bird at 26 yds. The most impressive was a 16lb jake I shot at 36 yds as he was walking away from me. He bowled over deader than a hammer. When I cleaned him I found where some pellets had penetrated his back, went through the chest cavity, and came to rest in the breast muscle. This was at 36 yds with #6's. I still have half a box left over and I'm already looking forward to March to get back at 'em. Some distributors are now offering trial boxes that have two shells of the most popular sizes and brands enclosed for testing purposes. Check around and see if you can find these at this is usually the most economical. Good Luck. Play around a little and see what works.

Frog :D
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I've used an 870 for years to hunt turkeys, and 6's have been the best load hands down for me. I do agree with the above poster that getting a long beard into gun range is far more important than the gun or shot. However, I've had good success using blinds early in the year when the birds have not started to gobble good. I set them up overlooking logging roads or field edges where I know turkeys travel. Basicly, its just an ambush.
Excellent post Splendid HaHa.

I think either Winchester or Remington 2 oz premium copper plated will work just fine. I have mostly used Remington, they certainly do the job. 6's give you more shot...4's will go further....decisions decisions...I finally bought a box of 5's last year to try, they worked just fine. Myself, I dont use a blind or decoys, all that stuff can be a bunch of trash if the turkey's aint where you thought they would be when the sun comes up. I like to stay mobile just in case. I would say that 50% of the birds I have taken have been while hoofing it over the top of a hill, but the perfect hunt is when you call them down out of a tree, and they come zig-zagging in to you. If you are lucky, there will be more than one bird and they will get competitive. If you are real, real have gotten set up in the dark, you do just a couple of quiet tree calls, the birds Gobble like crazy and come down 60 yds in front of you, and behind you, you hear another hunter working his call. At that point....SHUT UP AND WAIT. No more calling necessary. BOOM.
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Hello jake,

I jsut started patterning my 870 with Nitro and Remington Hevi-Shot. I'll be testing more ammo and chokes too to see what works the best.

The pics of my patterns and other info are here.

Rem 870 Test Patterns
:D I use am 870 express for all my turkey hunting. It's painted camo and no scope. I had a partial box of remingto 3' #4s that patterned real well out of my full choke tube. I've taken about 6 turkeys with that box of shells. I only have about 5 left. That heavy shot sounds nice . Maybe I'll get some in a few years when my remington box runs out. :)
Try out some different rounds to see what patterns well. I would use 5's or 6's.
hevi shot

Hi my friend shot some out of a custom .650 choke and a Ben. Super 90 12ga and it pattern good with Hevi shot 3 inch # 6 and he put in a H. S. Strut Under taker choke .665 and shot it and it pattern the best i have just about ever seen at 40 rds get u a under taker choke and a box of 6's and try them for a 3 inch it does one fine job and there wasnt any gaps in the pattern it was a good pattern good luck :D
I vote for #4 3" magnums as well. They may not have as much shot but if I miss the head, I count on them having more knock down power.
Hi 5's get my vote there r alot of turkeys killed with 6's and when i first started turkey hunting that is what i used was 6's and made some old tom's meet the end of the struting zone :) when Win came out with High Ve. shells and lucky my gun likes 5's it will put a few more 6's in the zone But i will stay with the 5's But it is what your gun shoots the best good luck VM
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