I have a shotgun that I shoot deer with. It has a 3 power scope on it, and I was thinking about shooting it for turkey. I thought I would be able to use my gun as an optic to ID whether the incoming bird was a tom or not (sorry, eyes are failing after 40), and keep my gun up in case he was going to present a shot. My barrel for deer hunting is a 28 inch smooth-bore, that shoots right on at 50 to 100 yards. I figured, how far off could the gun be looking at the bead versus the scope? Well I'll tell you. It was left at least 12 inches, and right on the money for height? Strange how ballistics are? I can shoot the bead on that gun, and hit the mark with either a slug or with a turkey load, but the scope is off that much for my turkey load in comparison with a slug even at thirty yards? Either way, I would rather use a bead, for easier second shots, and for fear of reflective lenses that turkeys may see with those sharp eyes of theirs. The choke I find that works the best is a modified with a federal 3 inch mag shok load. I've used the super chokes, I've used the 3 and 1/2 inch, I've used all different types of loads, but for some crazy reason, this load and choke combination dumps them? I've turned a few other friends on to it, and they are finding the same success. I will add one small item. I don't shoot at anything beyond forty yards. I don't care if someone else does, I just don't. I have a 10 gauge with a super-full 32 inch barrel, that can shoot 2 and 1/2 ounces of shot from a 3 and 1/2 inch shell. I used to think that this gun could reach out and shoot those long-range birds, but I rolled a few at the longer ranges, only to watch them regain their composure and get away. Now do they live, or do they die a horrible death? I don't know? So for me, I have pulled in the reigns so to speak, and now limit myself to shots that present the most lethal opportunities......preferably at 5 feet!
I really find it strange to believe that a gun would pattern so poorly as you guys describe, unless it was due to one of those super chokes checking up the wad or cup? If I had a new gun that was off to that degree looking down the rib, you can bet that it would be going back to the manufacturer, no matter if it was a Benelli or a Stoeger. Have either of you thought about seeing if your dominant eye is the problem? I shot sporting clays with a guy for two years who shot miserable numbers. We do the simple finger check with him, only to find he was right handed, and left-eyed dominant. Point your finger at a target out in front of you with both eyes open. Next, close your left eye. Your finger should seem like it stays on target. Now close your right eye, and the finger should move ever-so-slightly to the right. This is normal, and the opposite holds true for left-handed shooters. Anything other than this, and you're going to have a problem. May or not be the problem, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
Again, congratulations on a good bird!