Turkey shells

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
Just curious to know what shells all of you are using for turkey hunting?

I shot Nitro’s for 6 or 7 seasons. At the end of 2017 I made several phone calls, left messages & emailed Nitro without a response for months. I ended up switching to Apex & started hunting with their 12ga 3”, 2.25oz 8 shot load. I’ve taken 4 birds with them & have been completely impressed.
The new TSS loads are crazy devastating!!!
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DW

Long Time Member
Messages
13,722
Hit em in the head, dove loads will work just fine. That said, I use 3.5in #5 Kents.
 

Tristate

Long Time Member
Messages
6,397
12 ga. #5 in 3 inch. I'm not picky about manufacturer. I shot 3.5 for awhile but I don't think I was needing it so I went back to 3 inch. Honestly 3 inch is probably overkill. Pretty rare for me to shoot past 30 yards these days.

Interestingly enough my boy shoots a 20 ga for turkey. I always tell him not to shoot unless I say and I call the shots within 20 yards for him. About 2 years ago we had a bird strutting in. All of the sudden I heard him shoot. The bird was at 35 yards. I guess he decided to call his own shot. Bird was stone dead.
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
12 ga. #5 in 3 inch. I'm not picky about manufacturer. I shot 3.5 for awhile but I don't think I was needing it so I went back to 3 inch. Honestly 3 inch is probably overkill. Pretty rare for me to shoot past 30 yards these days.

Interestingly enough my boy shoots a 20 ga for turkey. I always tell him not to shoot unless I say and I call the shots within 20 yards for him. About 2 years ago we had a bird strutting in. All of the sudden I heard him shoot. The bird was at 35 yards. I guess he decided to call his own shot. Bird was stone dead.
I know a few guys, my dad included that have switched over to 20ga. I’ve even read where some are hunting with .410’s. With the improvements in both the shell options and chokes over the past 10 years or so, it’s not surprising.
 

Joe2Kool

Very Active Member
Messages
1,636
For years I shot Winchester Hi Velocity #6's in 3.5", Consistently put 90+ pellets in a 10" circle at 40 yards. After missing two birds at 40, I checked the pattern again. Only 40 in a 10" circle. Hmmm.

Tried some Longbeard XR's, 3.5", #6, 1200 fps and haven't looked back!
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
For years I shot Winchester Hi Velocity #6's in 3.5", Consistently put 90+ pellets in a 10" circle at 40 yards. After missing two birds at 40, I checked the pattern again. Only 40 in a 10" circle. Hmmm.

Tried some Longbeard XR's, 3.5", #6, 1200 fps and haven't looked back!
Many years ago I shot the XR’s & I would have to agree with you. It’s definitely a top notch turkey load. Had I not switched over to TSS, I’m sure I would still be shooting them.
 

bogey

Active Member
Messages
665
Do most of my turkey hunting with a youth 20 gauge. Mostly hevi **** 7s or 8s, federal hevi weights do very good also. It's a 50 yard gun easily, i prefer much closer. Do think the tss 9s are best going, but expensive. Same types of shells goes for any gauge you can get them. Have shot turkeys with basic lead in 410, grandpas old single barrel 16 gauge, just need them closer. In my tk2000 muzzle-loader shotgun i typically just cut a hevi shot shell open and use those pellets. I had modification done to the tk to use traditional chokes.
Only a little over a month away!
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
Do most of my turkey hunting with a youth 20 gauge. Mostly hevi **** 7s or 8s, federal hevi weights do very good also. It's a 50 yard gun easily, i prefer much closer. Do think the tss 9s are best going, but expensive. Same types of shells goes for any gauge you can get them. Have shot turkeys with basic lead in 410, grandpas old single barrel 16 gauge, just need them closer. In my tk2000 muzzle-loader shotgun i typically just cut a hevi shot shell open and use those pellets. I had modification done to the tk to use traditional chokes.
Only a little over a month away!
I almost went with a youth 20 when I bought the new Stoeger because I like the shorter LOP on the butt stock.
When Stoeger released that 22” barrel 12 ga last year I had to have it. Lol
One day I will pick up a 20 though for sure!!! 👍🏻
 

bogey

Active Member
Messages
665
Mine is the weatherby sa o8 youth. First set it up for our youth hunts, i know use it most of the time. Razor red dot and sumtoy choke deadly, light and handy. Guns killed about 40 turkeys in the 5 years i have had it
 

DoubleDropMuley

Very Active Member
Messages
1,057
I’ll let ya know when I get the chance to hunt the thunder chicken!!! I’ve got the long beards on hand for the just in case!!
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
Mine is the weatherby sa o8 youth. First set it up for our youth hunts, i know use it most of the time. Razor red dot and sumtoy choke deadly, light and handy. Guns killed about 40 turkeys in the 5 years i have had it
How long have you been shooting the Sumtoy choke? I’ve read a little on them, but don’t personally know anyone that uses or has used one. I have been using Indian Creek for maybe 10 years or more & really like them with the TSS loads.
 

bogey

Active Member
Messages
665
I have used sumtoy for 8ish years, they work great for me and he is good to deal with. If you don't like how it shoots send it back and he will send you another. The tk muzz shot gun used female threadschokes, he made me a tube/barrel extension with both female and male threads so it can take standard chokes. I stopped by his place on way to hunt osceolas, we grabbed a handful of chokes and went to his range to find what we liked. It was the first tk he had done. I shot a slam with the tk that year
 
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3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
Interesting... I might give him a shout and try them out. This being a new gun, I would like to try a few different chokes to see what it likes with the shells I have. Thanks! 👍🏻
 

eelgrass

Long Time Member
Messages
26,249
Here in California I used to use #6 lead but now we have to use non lead. I'm shooting #2 steel for ducks and geese that patterns well in my Briley choke. 12 gauge.

What would you recommend for turkeys in non lead?
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
Here in California I used to use #6 lead but now we have to use non lead. I'm shooting #2 steel for ducks and geese that patterns well in my Briley choke. 12 gauge.

What would you recommend for turkeys in non lead?
I would recommend that you take a look at the tungsten loads as they are non toxic. Many of the shotgun shell manufacturers make them now. I personally switched many years ago from shooting the HEVI brand to Nitro’s TSS loads, then a few years back I again switched over to Apex. Tungsten super shot is much denser & heavier than lead. The average consensus states that shooting TSS # 9’s is equal to # 4’s in lead. The biggest benefit you get is the pellet count. In a 3” 12 ga TSS shell there are approximately 635 pellets vs 255 pellets in the same shell loaded with lead.
That being said TSS is expensive... very expensive. They will cost you from $8-$10 every time you pull the trigger. I encourage you to check them out or at least research them & form your own opinion if they would be beneficial for you.
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
I have used sumtoy for 8ish years, they work great for me and he is good to deal with. If you don't like how it shoots send it back and he will send you another. The tk muzz shot gun used female threadschokes, he made me a tube/barrel extension with both female and male threads so it can take standard chokes. I stopped by his place on way to hunt osceolas, we grabbed a handful of chokes and went to his range to find what we liked. It was the first tk he had done. I shot a slam with the tk that year
I just contacted Sumtoy & ordered 2 chokes from them. A tight constriction for the top barrel & a slightly more open option for the bottom barrel.
After I get them I will take the gun out to see how both the Indian Creek & Sumtoy chokes pattern & post the results. Thanks for the info & feedback on them.
 

eelgrass

Long Time Member
Messages
26,249
Thanks 3TOE. I'll check the TSS out. That's not too expensive once you do the work to find the load that works in your gun and choke. That process can be a little daunting and expensive. I have several chokes. Pattern Master, Carlson, Rem Choke, Briley. It took a long time to get a steel load I like. I sure miss the lead days when I did all my reloading.
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
Thanks 3TOE. I'll check the TSS out. That's not too expensive once you do the work to find the load that works in your gun and choke. That process can be a little daunting and expensive. I have several chokes. Pattern Master, Carlson, Rem Choke, Briley. It took a long time to get a steel load I like. I sure miss the lead days when I did all my reloading.
No problem at all. I can honestly say that unless they do away with TSS I would never go back to lead let alone steel. I joke that TSS kills turkeys MORE dead. Lol It’s the real deal & the patterns are ridiculous.
 

deerkiller

Very Active Member
Messages
1,130
The hevishot magnum blend with #4,5,6s are pretty devastating on birds out to extreme ranges with a full choke. Expensive, but if you are only shooting your gun once a year, it’s worth it
 

kilbuc

Very Active Member
Messages
2,131
Agree with using hevishot blended (5,6,7), kills at 50plus yds. Expensive, 5-6 bucks a shot.

and I put 3 rounds into Kate Mccannon
 

Joe2Kool

Very Active Member
Messages
1,636
I dabbled with the Hevi Shot blends for a while. You'll have to try different ones to see which patterns best in your gun.
 

DH56

Active Member
Messages
362
TSS Loads are hard to beat. I know of a few that have their youth hunters use them in their .410 and they shoot turkeys out to 40 yards with no issue.
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
I have used sumtoy for 8ish years, they work great for me and he is good to deal with. If you don't like how it shoots send it back and he will send you another. The tk muzz shot gun used female threadschokes, he made me a tube/barrel extension with both female and male threads so it can take standard chokes. I stopped by his place on way to hunt osceolas, we grabbed a handful of chokes and went to his range to find what we liked. It was the first tk he had done. I shot a slam with the tk that year
So I received my 2 new Sumtoy chokes yesterday. The upper barrel is a .660 & the bottom barrel is a .675. I’m looking forward to going out to see what they can do compared to Indian Creek. Thanks for the info!!!
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Rumpot

Member
Messages
22
I have been shooting a 20 gauge with Federal Heavyweight 1 1/2 oz 7's for years. Never had any problems laying out birds. Going to the 410 with TSS this year. Yes expensive, but you are only going to shoot a handful of shells. 3 birds $25. We spend more on duck loads.
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
I have been shooting a 20 gauge with Federal Heavyweight 1 1/2 oz 7's for years. Never had any problems laying out birds. Going to the 410 with TSS this year. Yes expensive, but you are only going to shoot a handful of shells. 3 birds $25. We spend more on duck loads.
Let us know how that .410 works out. I saw in a magazine a few days ago that Mossberg just released a new pump .410 for turkey hunting. It’s a cool looking little gun. 👍🏻 Good luck to ya.
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Bluehair

Very Active Member
Messages
2,892
I'm not a turkey guy, but I'm surprised you guys are using light shot. I shot a bunch of trap from the back, and pretty much everyone used 7 1/2 because it was the heaviest we were allowed.

A famous trap shooter named Leo Harrison said it best when was once asked in an interview why he used 7 1/2's - "because they wont let me use 6's".

Interesting.
 

HuntnProf

Active Member
Messages
117
Hevishot Magnum blend 5,6,7. 3.5" in for my 12ga berreta, and 3" for my daughters 20ga (pure gold choke for 12ga, carlson for 20ga). Overkill for birds at distance I prefer to shoot, but I like the extended range if needed.

Case in point- my daughter doesn't shoot birds further than 30yds (most are @ 20), but yesterday, tried doubling with another youth, and her bird jumped after his shot went first, she broke wing/leg and he made it to just over 50 yds before stopping to allow a follow up shot, she folded it with those 20ga shells (we'd never shoot that far if it wasn't to stop a cripple).

Expensive shells, but typically only need to shoot 3/yr.
 

bullskin

Active Member
Messages
994
If my state had not recently prohibited lead, then I would still be shooting Winchester Double X's. I am a big fan of lighter loads traveling at high speeds when it comes to producing a pattern without a lot of fliers--at least in my Winchester 870 Special Turkey. I hunt the woods, not open fields, and so seldom take shots over 40 yards. In thirty five years I have lost only two birds, and those may have been the result of poor shooting. I once hit a gobbler in the head with the wad while spun around trying to shoot left-handed.

As an alternative I tried hevishot, but it did not pattern well. I am trying TSS this season, but recognize that it is ridiculous to pay $7 a load. Might as well hunt ground squirrels with my '06.
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
3TOE, Just got back from my turkey hunt using the 410 with #9 TSS. If you have any interest what a kick in the pants. All birds went right down. The gun is deadly. Longest shot was 32 paces and he tipped face first. May never go back to the 20.
That’s awesome man! Congrats on your birds and thanks for the report on the .410. I’m a true believer in the TSS rounds. I seriously need to consider a new project gun for next year to get away from the 12. It just isn’t necessary with the TSS loads. Not to mention toting a lighter gun would be really nice too.
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
Do most of my turkey hunting with a youth 20 gauge. Mostly hevi **** 7s or 8s, federal hevi weights do very good also. It's a 50 yard gun easily, i prefer much closer. Do think the tss 9s are best going, but expensive. Same types of shells goes for any gauge you can get them. Have shot turkeys with basic lead in 410, grandpas old single barrel 16 gauge, just need them closer. In my tk2000 muzzle-loader shotgun i typically just cut a hevi shot shell open and use those pellets. I had modification done to the tk to use traditional chokes.
Only a little over a month away!
Well I skipped over the 20 & ordered one of the Mossberg 500 turkey .410’s a few days ago.
One of my buddies up in Maryland bought a .410 also.
I killed a bird on UT’s opening day of their general season with my newest O/U. Looking forward to trying out the new .410 next year. It should work great loaded up with some TSS.

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3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
You will enjoy it. No noise, no recoil, lightweight and smacks them good. That's a very nice bird right there.
Yeah I’m excited to get my hands on it. I already ordered a choke & waiting for Apex to get the ammo in off of back order.
Thanks! That was the only gobbler I saw in a day and a half of scouting & half of a day hunting. I was happy to get him.
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
a buddy has killed a couple this year with his single shot 410
That is super cool. I never would have thought 28 years ago I would be switching over to a .410. I started out with a single shot 10 gauge. It didn’t take me long before I said to heck with the 10ga & stepped down to 12ga. Lol
 

ColoradoBob

Active Member
Messages
348
I guess I'm old school. I use 12 gauge 1 1/2 oz of #4's. We called them "Baby Mags" back in the day. Still use a Quaker Boy "Grand Old Master" box call-----it's probably 25 years old but still brings them in.
 

diablo

Active Member
Messages
313
Just started shooting TSS last year. You’re right. Unbelievable!!! Nothing else come close in performance - especially if you have to stretch out the range a bit. Not cheap but well worth the price. Killer on waterfowl as well.
 

3TOE

Active Member
Messages
681
warning....... graphic!!! TSS #9’s at 5 yards through a factory modified choke. Dang near missed him!
At that distance it would be extremely easy to miss one. I’ve shot a few under 10 yards that got on me before I knew it, but I try not to let them get in that tight if I can help it. That’s awesome!








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MrDoe

Active Member
Messages
116
Yeah, I was up on a river bank and called him across the riverbed, didn't have a shot until he popped up on the bank with me. Later that afternoon shot another at 20 yards and he didn't flop until I touched his leg.
 

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