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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 15 years of not spring turkey hunting I’m planning to devote some time to it this year. Before I was casual at best, basically taking the gun for a walk. I’ve got a Remington 870 that I’ll be using and I just got back from the range shooting. For choke, I’ve got the factory full and the shells were Remington nitro 3” in #5s. I shot at both 30 and 40 yds. I’ll put the pics of the targets below. Certainly not impressive?? So should I try maybe some #6s? Or get an aftermarket choke? If so, which one?

Also how many pellets should I be looking for inside the circle?
 

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I would suggest trying Winchester longbeards in any shot size that you prefer. I shoot #6s with an extra full choke. It shoots an extremely tight pattern that will probabaly cause me to miss a close bird eventually. I think that they would do just fine with your factory full choke.
I shot Remington nitros for years. I would never use them again after seeing what a real Turkey load can do.
I would not focus on a certain number of pellets in your circle. When you get a good pattern you will know.
 

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Shotgun shells are cheaper to buy, different chokes can start costing you in the longrun. I use Winchester LB no. 6 shot as someone else mentioned you dont have to get into that circuit of 300 pellets in a 10" circle at 40 yds just remember 3 in the head hes dead. :turkey_track:
 

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You will get lots of answers on this But if want a quick and immediate improvement just go get winchester longbeards.
If you want the very best out of your gun then go get some tss and different chokes til you find what you like best. The federal or Apex ammo or Nitro ammo co.
You can look on Nitro ammo company web site and they will give you recommendations for your gun. Loads and chokes.

Quick immediate and cheap improvements is the Winchester longbeards. They make all other lead shells obsolete.
 

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Remington Turkey loads are the worst I've ever patterned by far. They are just awful.


The next category would be Winchester Supreme or Federal loads. I've killed a bunch of birds with of them. The flight control was from Federal never impressed me, nor did it make a negative difference while shooting ported chokes.


I next tried Hevi shot loads and wasn't impressed with them at all. They were very inconsistent on the patterning board and I can't tell you how many shell leaked buffer all over the place.



Then the Winchester Longbeards came along and totally dominated in the pattern density category. 4s 5s 6s.....doesn't matter. My 870 with a cheap ($29) truglo ssx choke tube eats them up and spits them out with beautiful consistency and I've killed quite a few birds with them as well.


Now, I don't even know why, but I just ordered a box of Federal TSS #9s. Mostly because I have a bunch of Cabelas bucks to use up I guess.


There is no doubt those TSS loads are the best you can buy. Period.
But if you don't want to spend $8 every time you pull the trigger, get some Winchester Longbeard #6s. I'll bet they will shoot just fine out of your factory choke. They are a fantastic shell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Remove the trial and error.

Get a box of Longbeard XR shells in #5 or #6 and an Indian Creek Black Diamond choke tube. You'll thank me.
I see the Carlson longbeard xr is designed to be used with the Winchester xr’s. Any experience with that combo? I was just about to pull the trigger on that but I gotta look at Indian creek now...

Thanks everyone for the recommendations.
 

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If I were you I would change both get 3" Federal`s or their TSS #6`s and get a good Turkey choke, one that is .660 to .690 ported. That will give you the pattern your looking for. You will be glad you did...Good Luck, be safe and have fun...
 
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the least expensive, solid advice on the winchester longbeard XR loads and a carlson longbeard choke. i use that in my mossberg 930. deadly as heck at 50 yards (if i ever have to).


the most expensive, is the TSS advice....awesome loads, big dent in the budget.


no matter what advice you follow...pattern YOUR gun.
 

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Have not shot the Carlson's, but have heard good of them. The Indian Creek in my Super X3 with 2 oz loads gives me 95 35's in the 10" at 60 yards !!! 60 #4's in the 10" at 60 yards !! I don't shoot turkeys at 60 yards. But what it's doing at 40 yards is BRUTAL...…………..

The heavier loads are 1000 fps, IIRC and the lighter loads are 1200 fps. Which one your particular gun likes best is up to your gun.
 

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TSS is probably going to get you past 40 yards with your factory full choke, you might not need another choke for your set up.

The extra money for TSS is not that much in the big picture, Brown bag your lunch and make your own coffee for a week, that saved money will buy your TSS and now you have as good as it gets for turkeys

second choice, google Rodgers Sporting goods.
the Federal heavyweights are on sale for 15.00 a box, in 3" 12 gauge they have #6 shot which hits like a hammer and again will probably get you past 40 yards with your factory full choke
 

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To the OP. I would just change shells first....anything but the Remington Nitro as they are horrible. I've been shooting an old 870 SP fixed factory full choke since the mid 80's. Haven't tried the Longbeards, but the federal flight control stuff always pattered great. When I went to the Heavy shot blend, I had a true 50 yard gun and yet a decent (bigger) pattern at 20-25 yards, where most of my turkeys are shot. Full chokes like 2 full oz. payloads also.
I never bought into the super, super tight patterns that most seem to be shooting for these days and it has served me (not the turkeys) very well.
 

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I have a Rem 870 with the standard bead sites. When hunting fields or big open woods I use a rem super full choke with long beard XR's. That is a 40 to 50 yard gun.


When hunting thicker woods were most of my shots will be around 20 yards I think the above combo is a hinderance since it produces too small of a pattern at close range. I switch to a rem extra full choke with standard 3 inch turkey shells like Winchester Supreme. I think the bigger pattern is better for those close range shots with bead sites.


Someday I would like to switch to better sites like a scope or red dot and use the field set up everywhere.
 

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What ever rounds tested I would recommend a larger target with a small bulls eye in the middle that will better help determine just where the center of the pattern is hitting. What one sees on the turkey head target may only be the edge of the pattern requiring a sight adjustment. Are you using the 870 sight plane? A red dot or similar sight tends to be a little more accurate for aiming. Sight correcting can usually be brought close with cheaper field loads before fine tuning with the more expensive hunting load.

The accepted standard I commonly hear is 100 pellets in a 10" inch circle. The distance where that number decreases determines ones max. distance for a sure kill. Also one needs good consistency and an even density of pellet in a circle around the POI as pellets do not fly in the shape of a turkeys head and neck.

The difference of BB's in the load is not as important as the number of hits in the 10" circle. More pellets do not guarantee more hits in the circle.

Remember every gun is different and it will take some testing to get the best group, but it will pay as it will make the difference between returning home with a trophy gobbler vs returning home with just a story.
 

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I see the Carlson longbeard xr is designed to be used with the Winchester xr’s. Any experience with that combo? I was just about to pull the trigger on that but I gotta look at Indian creek now...

Thanks everyone for the recommendations.
Yes we have 2 Carlson chokes designed to shoot longbeard XRs. One for a 12 ga Benelli Montefeltro the other for a 20 ga Montefeltro. They are outstanding in both guns. I misjudged the distance on a gobbler a couple years ago with the 20 ga and killed one at 54 yds.
 
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