Turkey Guns
Shotguns for turkey hunting have come a long way. "In" in the new millennium are 12-gauge semi-autos and pumps with 21-inch barrels threaded for full and extra-full choke tubes. Many custom chokes with even tighter constrictions will fit these threads. Most new guns have rugged synthetic stocks. The fashionable ones have Realtree®, Advantage® or Mossy Oak® finishes.

Four models from the "big two" turkey gun manufacturers are trendsetters. If you're a pump-gun man check out Remington's Model .870 SPS-T Turkey Camo or Mossberg's Model .835 Ulti-Mag. Autoloader fans can go with a Remington .11-87 SPS-T Turkey Camo or a Mossberg .9200. I've shot gobblers with all these guns. Patterned properly with loads that they like, the magnums are accurate and hard-hitting out to 40 yards.

Most hunters are well served with a 12-gauge magnum chambered for 3-inch loads. But the Mossberg .835 Ulti-Mag, introduced in the early 1990s, started a mini-trend in turkey firepower. The 12-gauge pump can handle 3 ½-inch shells, which provide pellet payloads and energies that rival 10-gauge loads. On the downside, 3 ½-inch loads kick like a mad mule.

The Mossberg .835 has proved to a solid performer in the turkey woods. That's a big reason why other manufacturers now chamber shotguns for 3 ½-inch shells. Remington has a 3 ½-inch option for its Model .870 SPS-T pump. And Browning has gotten into the game with its new Hunter/Stalker autoloader chambered for 3 ½-inch loads. Check out these guns at your local sports store.

You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the 10-gauge. Well, in my opinion a 12-gauge with a super-full choke (and shooting a good load of course) can do everything a 10 can, with less weight and recoil to boot. As for the 20-gauge, it can be a good choice for young and recoil-shy hunters, though shots at gobblers should be limited to 25 or 30 yards.

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