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I need to get a turkey gun for this year, but I have no idea where to start.
12 or 20 gauge?
3" or 3 1/2" chamber?
Semi-auto or pump?
Does the barrel length matter for anything besides preference?
What would be an average weight of a good turkey gun?
I've looked at a whole bunch recently, but I've been going 100% just off of looks. Any and all advise is greatly appreciated.
 

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If you can handle the recoil go with the 3.5", you can always use the 2.75" or 3" in it. In 12 gauge......
Barrel I think is more preference because of the availability of after market chokes to achieve a good turkey pattern.
Weight.... if you run and gun, lighter is better. Sitting in a blind for hours.... I doubt it matters.

Good luck!
 

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My first and only one is a rem. 12g. super mag, with a 26" barrel, i only shoot 3" hevi-shot, no need for me to shoot 3.5". On my gun i tried an indian creek .665 choke tube, but found the jelly head .665 shot a better pattern, using size 6 shot.
 

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Get yourself a nice 20 ga with 3" chamber and with different chokes you can hunt anything in Pa.
 

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Good advice all.

I would add that, your budget should dictate your purchase. Decide what you wish to spend on the gun. Remember.......you will be laying out some more $$ for accessories. Go handle as many different 12 or 20 gauge guns (that accept choke tubes) in your budget that you can and pick the one that fits you best. Then spend a few bucks more on a quality extended turkey choke and a box of good turkey loads. Some combinations of gun/choke/shotshell are better than others. But nearly ALL of them (in 3" or 3 1/2" 12 ga.) will reliably take turkeys to 40 yards. IMHO, the tube/shotshell combo is more important than the brand or action type of gun.
 

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The goal in spring turkey hunting is to call'em in close, 30yds or less. And within that range just about any 12 or 20 will kill one. The rub comes in if you add fall turkey where shots can be a bit longer ideally less than 45 yds, or if you misjudge the yds on a spring bird, and IMO a 12 would be better. Don't overlook 2 3/4" 12 gauge loads for spring birds if the 3" seems a bit much at first. You can move up in size later as long as your gun is chambered for it. Nothing against 3 1/2" guns but you really don't need more than a 3" for turkey with today's guns, loads, and chokes. As for specific guns if your budget allows check out the browning maxus, winchester SX3, and beretta A400 Extreme, all are touted as soft shooting semi-auto gas guns. I really like benelli guns but their system has more recoil than the previously mentioned to most people. Not that you can't handle the recoil, but the more pleasant to shoot the more you'll shoot it and practice. Good luck, half the fun is finding that new gun. You'll get lots of opinions but with shotguns fit and what feels good when you shoulder it is more important than make and model.
 

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Hands down ill be using a 20ga from now on for running and gunning. Weighs a lot less and kills just as dead!
 

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I use a mossberg 535. Its a 12 gauge pump. I use the 3.5“ shells in it but i use a slip on recoil pad cause the gun is very light so it kicks pretty good. I had some custom chokes made and i can shoot a turkey out to 50 yards with no problems. I never have but its nice to know. Gun can be found used for only around $200. Worth every penny in my book.
 

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Honeydoe, A 3" 20 Ga. that fits you well and patterns well will be fine. Plenty of barrel lengths, choke tube and shell options to make it a very deadly turkey gun. You don't need to beat yourself up with a 3 1/2" 12 Ga. just to kill a gobbler.
 

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I would agree with many here that you don't need a 3.5" 12 gauge just for a turkey gun. Those 3.5" loads are absolutle punishing.

With all the new "heavier than lead" types of ammo out there and the newer speciality chokes, a 20 guage with a good choke and good loads will kill any turkey, at responsible range. The bonus is it is light to carry and doesn't leave a 3 week bruise on your shoulder.

The absolute most important thing is that it fits you well and that you are confident with it and that you know the limitations of the gun, the load, and your shooting ability.

I've been using a Browning BPS pump 12 gauge with 3 inch shells for the last 10 years. Only pulled the trigger 1 time without killing a bird...and that was completely my fault trying to shoot too far. But every year I cringe when I pull it out of the case because I know I'm in for a bruised shoulder.

This year I picked up a mossberg 500 bantam youth combo for my little girl when she starts...but I'm gonna try it out this year myself
 

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Twenty years ago, I bought the H&R single shot NWTF gun of the year, dipped in MO Bottomland camo. It was chambered for 3.5" 12 gauge shells. I shot it four times with the 3.5" shells, was black and blue across my chest and all down my arm. Because I couldn't load a second shot in it, the gun seemed to me to be inadequate as a single shot.

I traded that for a new Mossberg 500 simply so I could carry 3 rounds. That gun's pattern centered 3-4 left and 2-3 low at 40 yards with every shell and choke I tried. Aftermarket sights barely got it straight.

Traded that gun for a Winchester 1300 NWTF edition dipped in MO New Breakup. I shot a Hastings .660 with Supreme #5 lead for a long time with good success. Sweet gun.

Couple years ago I moved to a Jellyhead .660 and Hevi #7, averaging 270+ in a 10" circle at 40 yards. Awesome pattern.

Great gun with a great pattern. But, a pump gun has some weight to it, and last year I started hunting the state forest on a mountain bike, so what did I do?

I found the ol' NWTF edition of the H&R 12 gauge single shot dipped in original Bottomland camo from twenty years ago. Stuck that Jellyhead .660 on it instead, got a similar pattern with the same 3" Hevi #7 shells.

Kicks lot less with the 3" shells, awesome to tote and sling over the shoulder when on the bike. Its just the perfect little gun for hunting the big woods.

To do all over again? I'd go 20 gauge single shot with the Hevi #7. No question. But I like this little 12 H&R a lot, so that will be the gun for a long time coming.

Every gun is a good gun, but it has to match what you want to do and your style of hunting.

 

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If you can hanle the recoil, I'd go with a 12 gauge, but a 20 will do the job if you call them in close enough. Again, as long as recoil isn't a problem, I'd get something that handles 3 1/2" shells, but 2 3/4" or 3" shells will work fine. I'm not suggesting this for everyone, but I like knowing that whatever I'm shooting at is getting wailed just as hard as I am when I pull the trigger, LOL.

The most inportant thing is doing the field work & finding the best turkey choke/shot shell combination that shoots from your gun, it can be frustrating. A lot of the "X-full" chokes that are included with a dedicated turkey gun are decent, but if you want a tight pattern out to about 40 yards, you might want to look for an after market turkey choke.

I'd stick with a pump gun, most of the time you're only going to need one shot, and semis can jam at the worst times.


Some guys like a shorter barrel on their guns, since they're easier to maneuver in tight spots, but a 26-28" barrel works fine. Lots of guys like a camo pattern on their gun, but a wood stock/blued metal barrel gun works just fine.

A lighter gun will be a blessing if you plan to do a lot of running & gunning, but if you plan to hunt from a blind, it won't make a difference. Like another poster mentioned, a Mossberg 535 is light as a feather, I just bought one for my youngest son, he loves it. Remington 870 is another tried & true classic.
 

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The choices you ask about are all personal ones that in the end you will have to decide on for yourself. The feel of the gun and how it fits your shooting style and if money is no object get yourself a semi-auto 20 gauge with hevi shot more then enough power to harvest the biggest gobbler you can find.

The barrel length again is your personal preference , and I have shot all of them over the years and still prefer a shorter barrel. Will you only be hunting turkey's with the gun will dictate the length also.

Don't go just off of looks , the correct weight and length and camo will come down to what is comfortable for you to shoot and carry chasing them frustrating birds.lol
 

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Denny Emery said:
If you can handle the recoil go with the 3.5", you can always use the 2.75" or 3" in it. In 12 gauge......
Barrel I think is more preference because of the availability of after market chokes to achieve a good turkey pattern.
Weight.... if you run and gun, lighter is better. Sitting in a blind for hours.... I doubt it matters.

Good luck!

Totally agree plus if you opt for a gas operated semi it really cushins heavy loads recoil.
 

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Mossberg 535 Turkey Thug in 12 or 20 gauge you can't go wrong.Adjustable stock and trigger and light to.
Been huntin long beards going on 35 years and have had 5 turkey guns.The 535 in 12 gauge is a great gun and thinking about buying a 20 gauge in the same gun.

Scott
 

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get a 12 gauge 3 1/2 semi .. like a 1187 ,,the semi will cushion any heavy loads you choose ,, also by getting 3 1/2 you can shoot 2 3/4 or 3 inch amd 3 1/2
 

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great white hunter said:
You would be fine with a 20 gauge and 3 inch shells.The shorter barrel is easier to maneuver.Like said above pick one that fits you well.
My thoughts exactly
 
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