Turkey hunting requires very tight chokes that deliver dense patterns of pellets to the neck and head areas of the turkey. Special "Turkey" chokes are highlt desirable for turkey hunting, and greatly extend the range of distance you can cleanly kill a wild turkey. Although heavy loads of lead shot has been the traditional choice of turkey hunters, "heavier-than-lead" shotshells can extend the range even further.
Note that "heavier-than-lead" shotshells like Hevi-Shot Hevi-13 or Winchester Xtended Range loads pattern differently than lead shot, so make sure that you have a choke designed for the type of shotshell load that you will be using. Chokes such as the H. S. Strut Hevi Shot Undertaker can be used for optimal long-range shooting with
"heavier-than-lead" shotshells, but can also give slightly more open patterns using lead shot, which can be especially useful for optimal patterns when hunting in thicker cover.
View Undertaker Choke Tube Application Chart
Just as particular rifle hunters try different loads to find out what specific round shoots best in their particular rifle, turkey hunters
can experiment with different shot sizes, shot composition, and specific turkey chokes.
Just because a particular shotshell has been found to work best in a friend's shotgun, it does not mean that your turkey gun will pattern exactly the same simply because you are feeding it the same ammunition or using the same choke tube.
Things to keep in mind when selecting turkey hunting chokes:
- "Extra-full" or "Super-full" turkey chokes have a greater degree of tapered restriction of the shot charge than the traditional "full" choke for shotguns, and are designed to create extremely tight patterns at long ranges. However, keep in mind that super-tight patterns can also make it easier to miss when shooting at close-in birds!
- NEVER fire steel shot of any kind through a turkey choke: steel shot is considerably harder (less malleable) than lead and can create dangerous pressures when going through the turkey choke, leading to possible personal harm and/or equipment damage.
- Non-toxic high density shot such as Hevi-Shot® can be harder than lead but softer than steel. Therefore, a turkey choke designed for high-density shot will typically have less constriction than a "lead-only" equivalent for the same pattern density.
- Virtually all "true" turkey chokes are designed to extend out beyond the end of the barrel - making installation and removal easier, but also giving the shot column the benefit of a gentler constriction with lessened pressures and reduced shot pellet deformation as it travels down the barrel.
- Lead shot sizes in turkey loads are typically #4, #5, or #6. (The smaller number represents the larger shot size.) Larger size shot pellets have greater retained energy per pellet on target, but smaller shot sizes give greater pattern density. Your choice..... Keep in mind that smaller "high-density" shot pellets can have equal or greater energy per pellet than lead, so make your shot size selection accordingly.
- "Ported" turkey chokes vent some gasses to side and can reduce felt recoil, but will typically make the shotgun blast much louder to both sides of the barrel. This can especially be an important issue if your caller or family member is sitting along your side against a nearby bush or tree.
- Choke tube constriction measurements (.665, .695, etc) are relative to the internal diameter of a particular barrel's internal measurements. Therefore, "overbored" barrels such as found on Mossberg 835 or Benelli Super Black Eagle shotguns will measure slightly wider for a comparable level of choke constriction.