Turkey load performance

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Turkey load performance

Postby Joe Hunter » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:06 am

With the spring turkey season upon us and hunters discussing which turkey load is "best", I thought I'd post some of my turkey load pattern numbers. Hopefully, this information will allow hunters to make smart choices when it comes to turkey loads and encourage all turkey hunters to shoot a few patterns to determine the maximum effective range for their gun/choke/load combo!

I did much of this patterning several years ago, so some of these loads have been discontinued and there are several new loads are on the market that I haven't patterned. Anyway, you get the idea.

The 12-gauge 3-inch loads were shot through a Remington 870 Special Purpose shotgun and the 12-gauge 3 ½-inch loads were shot through a Remington 870 Super Magnum shotgun. A Remington Turkey Super Full Extended choke was used for all lead loads and a Remington Hevi-Shot Super Full Extended choke was used with all steel and tungsten-based loads.

Pattern testing was accomplished by using 48-inch x 48-inch pattern paper with a turkey head-and-neck target placed in the center of each pattern sheet prior to the patterning shot; yardages were measure with a tape from muzzle to target; and pattern counts, pattern percentages and Skull/Cervical Vertebrae (S/CV) hits were the average from five patterns.

In-shell pellet count averages were the result of cutting open and counting the pellets from five shells out of the same box/lot as the pattern loads. These in-shell pellet counts allowed for true pattern percentage calculations.

Remember, an effective turkey gun/load/choke combo needs to have enough pellets to provide sufficient pattern density and pellets with adequate penetrating energy to reliably penetrate a turkeys skull and/or cervical vertebra at the yardage used!

Here's my short take on this topic.
When using a 12-gauge for turkeys... out to 30 yards "most all" turkey loads with a full choke will be 100% effective, out to 40 yards "many" turkey loads with a full or tighter choke can be 100% effective, out to 50 yards "some" turkey loads with a tight full turkey choke may be 100% effective, and out to 60 yards "very few" turkey loads with a tight full turkey choke are 100% effective.

40-YARD PATTERNS
Win Super-X 3” 1 7/8 oz #6 lead (438 pellets) / 30” pattern 363 (83%) / S/CV hits 4.6
Rem Duplex 3" 1 7/8 oz #4 x #6 lead (385 pellets) / 30” pattern 305 (79%) / S/CV hits 4.2

Fed Hi-Velocity 3" 1 ¾ oz #5 lead (322 pellets) / 30” pattern 272 (85%) / S/CV hits 3.6
Rem Hi-Velocity3" 1 ¾ oz #5 lead (280 pellets) / 30” pattern 225 (80%) / S/CV hits 5.8
Win Hi-Velocity 3" 1 ¾ oz #5 lead (293 pellets) / 30” pattern 257 (88%) / S/CV hits 5.8
Win Long Beard 3" 1 ¾ oz #5 lead (305 pellets) / 30” pattern 295 (97%) / S/CV hits 11.0 / 10” pattern 118
Win Super-X 3" 1 7/8 oz #5 lead (317 pellets) / 30” pattern 276 (87%) / S/CV hits 3.4
Rem Premier 3" 2 oz #5 lead (328 pellets) / 30” pattern 258 (79%) / S/CV hits 3.4
Win XX Mag 3" 2 oz #5 lead (336 pellets) / 30” pattern 293 (87%) / S/CV hits 3.6

Hevi-13 3" 1 5/8 oz #6 Hevi-Shot (305 pellets) / 30” pattern 258 (85%) / S/CV hits 5.2
Rem Hevi-Shot 3" 1 5/8 oz #6 Hevi-Shot (381 pellets) / 30” pattern 341 (90%) / S/CV hits 6.6
Rem Wingmaster 3” 1 5/8 oz #6 Hvy Density (346 pellets) / 30” pattern 306 (88%) / S/CV hits 5.6
Win Hi-Density 3" 1 ¾ oz #6 Hi-Density (388 pellets) / 30” pattern 358 (92%) / S/CV hits 7.8

Fed Hvy Weight 3" 1 5/8 oz #5 Heavyweight (194 pellets) / 30” pattern 184 (95%) / S/CV hits 4.6
Hevi-13 3" 1 5/8 oz #5 Hevi-Shot (186 pellets) / 30” pattern 168 (90%) / S/CV hits 3.2
Rem Hevi-Shot 3" 1 5/8 oz #5 Hevi-Shot (280 pellets) / 30” pattern 240 (86%) / S/CV hits 5.2
Win Hi-Density 3" 1 ¾ oz #5 Hi-Density (284 pellets) / 30” pattern 262 (92%) / S/CV hits 4.8
Win Hi-Density 3 ½" 2 oz #5 Hi-Density (317 pellets) / 30” pattern 291 (92%) / S/CV hits 7.6

Fed Premium 3" 2 oz #4 lead (290 pellets) / 30” pattern 213 (73%) / S/CV hits 3.2
Rem Premier 3" 2 oz #4 lead (255 pellets) / 30” pattern 209 (82%) / S/CV hits 3.6
Win XX Mag 3" 2 oz #4 lead (258 pellets) / 30” pattern 243 (94%) / S/CV hits 4.6
Win Long Beard 3½" 2 oz #4 lead (255 pellets) / 30” pattern 247 (97%) / S/CV hits 11.6 / 10” pattern 126
Win XX Mag 3½" 2 ¼ oz #4 lead (300 pellets) / 30” pattern 242 (81%) / S/CV hits 4.2

Rem Nitro Steel 3” 1 3/8 oz #4 steel (256 pellets) / 30” pattern 209 (82%) / S/CV hits 3.4
Rem Nitro Steel 3" 1 3/8 oz #3 steel (220 pellets) / 30” pattern 167 (76%) / S/CV hits 2.6

50-YARD PATTERNS
Win Long Beard 3" 1 ¾ oz #5 lead (305 pellets) / 30” pattern 275 (90%) / S/CV hits 7.4 / 10” pattern 89

Fed Hvy Weight 3” 1 5/8 oz #5 Heavyweight (194 pellets) / 30” pattern 164 (85%) / S/CV hits 2.8
Rem Hevi- Shot 3" 1 5/8 oz #5 Hevi-Shot (280 pellets) / 30” pattern 212 (76%) / S/CV hits 3.8
Win Hi-Density 3" 1 ¾ oz #5 Hi-Density (284 pellets) / 30” pattern 218 (77%) / S/CV hits 4.0
Win Hi-Density 3 ½" 2 oz #5 Hi-Density (317 pellets) / 30” pattern 211 (67%) / S/CV hits 3.2

Fed Premium 3" 2 oz #4 lead (290 pellets) / 30” pattern 163 (56%) / S/CV hits 2.6
Rem Premier 3" 2 oz #4 lead (255 pellets) / 30” pattern 149 (58%) / S/CV hits 1.6
Win XX Mag 3" 2 oz #4 lead (258 pellets) / 30” pattern 170 (66%) / S/CV hits 2.2
Win Long Beard 3½" 2 oz #4 lead (255 pellets) / 30” pattern 234 (92%) / S/CV hits 7.2 / 10” pattern 86
Win XX Mag 3½" 2 ¼ oz #4 lead (300 pellets) / 30” pattern 162 (54%) / S/CV hits 3.2

Rem Nitro Steel 3” 1 3/8 oz #3 steel (220 pellets) / 30” pattern 117 (53%) / S/CV hits 1.4

60-YARD PATTERNS
Win Long Beard 3½" 2 oz #4 lead (255 pellets) / 30” pattern 206 (81%) / S/CV hits 5.4 / 10” pattern 54

Now you can be the judge, good luck!
Joe Hunter
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Posts: 647
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 6:49 pm
Location: Oklahoma

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