Provided that you choose the right load, your home-defense shotgun is all you need to pursue the king of spring.
Check it out:
Sounds ridiculous, right? You won’t think so after reading this post. Even a home-shotgun with an abbreviated barrel and a fixed, cylinder choke is a good candidate for bagging these tough birds—given that the correct load is utilized, of course. If your place of pursuit has the potential for shots beyond 35 yds., forget most “standard”-type 3” turkey loads, as most of these are choke dependent for optimal performance. By “standard” I mean shotshells utilizing traditional-type wads in which several petals fold back on themselves—thus resembling a flower bloom—to slow the wad and enable separation from the payload. Absent a choke constriction “tighter” than modified, the patterns produced by these shotshells are insufficiently dense for distances beyond 35 yds.—especially if fired from a barrel with a cylinder or improved-cylinder choke. In testing several such loads in a Mossberg Model 500 fitted with an 18½” barrel with a cylinder choke and a BLACKHAWK! Knoxx SpecOps folding stock, at 35 yds. the best performance came from Environ-Metal’s 3” Hevi-13, which had 1 3/4 ozs. of the company’s tungsten-based No. 6 shot; it delivered 26 pellets into a 10” circle. No gobbler would escape the swarm of shot, but I’d still opt for the bird to be a few yards closer for additional pellets on-target. Know that this load does cost about $5.50 per shell, however. One load that technically fits in this category but could prove to be quite good in an open-choke shotgun is Winchester’s new Long Beard XR. Unfortunately, I had none to include in the testing phase.