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Author Topic: Patterning and shot size  (Read 6328 times)

Offline 7mmstalker

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Patterning and shot size
« on: January 06, 2013, 11:20:22 AM »
Looking forward to bagging a Turkey someday soon.  Though I grew up in Spokane, wife from Yakima, we haven't lived on the east side for many years. Visit family in Yakima and Spokane pretty often, though none of my extended family hunts. In the mid 1980's, when I started hunting, seemed that nobody I knew hunted gobblers, and the whitetail herd wasn't as large either.
My young son, however, has the wide-open, anything goes plan when it comes to when and what we hunt.  So we are going to try to bring home one or two of those birds we see so often when in the northeast corner.
We put a proper choke on an 870 12ga. , now I'm excited  to check how it patterns.
Wondering what the experienced hunters are using for shot size. I see the regs. dictate #4 or smaller, trading more hits with #6 for bigger hits using #4 has me wondering.
He has been getting a few pintail and similar sized birds. Using steel, of course, #6 doesn't seem as lethal as #4.
Yes, I'm over-thinking this, but loosing  wounded game, or slow death are near the top of the list for fouling a hunt and the memories we are building.
     Thanx to all who can share some experience.

     7mmS
Hunting- 99% waiting walking listening and looking, 1% stalking and shooting.  Just do it!

Offline ellensburgpo

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 11:26:44 AM »
I use hevi-shot in either size 5 or 6. I did use remington lead turkey loads with good success as well. Hevi shot is expensive, but it patterns better out of my shotgun. It also has more energy than lead. Plus when you are only using one or two shells a year the price isn't so bad.
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Offline turkeyfeather

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 11:39:14 AM »
I use the Federal Premium magnum turkey loads in a #5 shot. With a Jellyhead choke in my 870 I put 13-14 pellets in the head at 50 yrds.
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Offline dawei

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 12:16:17 PM »
If I could only have one shot size, 12-20ga; it would be #5 Pb.
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Offline Dhoey07

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 12:33:58 PM »
Don't fall for the "turkey load" advertising. You will end up paying twice as much for the same thing. That being said, any high base between 4-6 will kill turkeys.  :tup:

Offline turkeyfeather

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 01:08:38 PM »
Don't fall for the "turkey load" advertising. You will end up paying twice as much for the same thing. That being said, any high base between 4-6 will kill turkeys.  :tup:
I have to disagree with you a bit. It's not a huge difference, but I do think a magnum turkey load packs a bigger punch than a standard shot load.
I refuse to have a battle of wits with an un-armed person.

Offline 7mmstalker

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 02:22:22 PM »
I use the Federal Premium magnum turkey loads in a #5 shot. With a Jellyhead choke in my 870 I put 13-14 pellets in the head at 50 yrds.

That seems pretty darn good.
Using the factory Rem. "extra full lead shot only" ported choke for starters. I'm quite happy to spend a few bucks more on shells, 1 box may last years! Getting a head start with some recommendations so I don't have a shelf full of expensive shells that give average performance. Nor a collection of tubes, though I have 2 870s so, again, hoping to find some shells that are good for both of us.
Sounds like a 3" load of #5 will be a good load to try couple of brands.
We don't bird hunt every weekend, I still get frustrated with the limits of steel shot performance, especially wingshooting. 3" steel loads don"t provide the "bump" that I remember from the days of old when lead was legal!
As rank amateurs at locating and calling, I need to be getting good range/pattern from our guns.
Maybe we will be lucky, and get great patterns from standard 3" lead loads..........surely my boy will have a good time testing!
Hunting- 99% waiting walking listening and looking, 1% stalking and shooting.  Just do it!

Offline packmule

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 07:54:30 AM »
Patterning turkey shotguns has turned into a sport unto itself with lots of opinions and beliefs, etc.  See the following site and you can drive yourself crazy!

www.oldgobbler.com

There are many downloadable targets on the web.  I like the following one the best because it is the closest in size to a real turkeys head and neck. 

http://nssf.org/hunting/news/turkey-target.cfm

I've read that studies have shown that at least 3 pellets have to hit the head and neck of an adult turkey to result in an instantaneous kill so once you shoot at this target a few times you'll get a good idea of how various load choke combinations are working.  Personally I look for a setup that will give me 10-12 head/neck hits consistently so that I'm certain to make a clean kill.  A lot of this has to do with range as well (i.e., 30 yards is better than 40 yards). 

Personally I've found 3" loads of 5 shot from Winchester and Federal to be perfect for my turkey hunting.  The 3.5" loads give you more shot, more recoil, and maybe a bit more range.  I'm happy to have less recoil and wait for closer shots. 

Shot quantity is also a variable that can affect your patterning.  I tend to like the 2 oz loads but testing last year showed that Winchester 1 7/8 oz loads and 1 3/4 oz loads also patterned very very well.  Less shot doesn't necessarily mean poorer patterns. 

Good luck!




Offline turkeydancer

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 08:40:26 AM »
 :yeah:

You want to try 4, 5, & 6's to see what patterns best with your shotgun and your choke.  Three identical setups can yield different results.  In addition one manufacturer will yield better results in one shotgun while another manufacturer yields better results in another identical setup.   Try at least every 5 to 10 yards between 15 yards on until you find out what works best in your shotgun and what your effective range is ... NWTF says 6 hits minimum, but I perfer 10 - 12 as mentioned above (never depend on the "BB gods" to guide a magic pellet into the brain pan).
 :twocents:

Offline 7mmstalker

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 06:54:03 PM »
Looks like a thorough job will leave a few extra shells left over,  kinda suspected that.
Hunting- 99% waiting walking listening and looking, 1% stalking and shooting.  Just do it!

Offline Lcl 66 Tinner

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 10:03:12 PM »
And start shooting from the position you will be in turkey hunting. Like sitting and across your body, etc. They dont always come straight at you.

Offline Gobble Doc

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 10:26:52 PM »
Fun stuff.  I tried lots of different brands and the Remington Nitro Turkey worked well for me. 

Offline yelp

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 07:29:53 AM »
There is a lot more to patterning a shotgun.  You must feel comfortable with it as well as your son.  Some loads and chokes kick.  I have seen adults cry patterning some loads.  :chuckle:  Also remember a good tip is once you figure your comfort range or best distance for kill.  30-35 yards.  put a stick in ground out that far or a decoy if you use one.  That way you know how far that bird is.   Concentrate on close effective shots.  My goal when I hunt turkeys is to see how close they can get.  Some gobbler will hang up and it is nice knowing I can shoot out to 50 if needed.  But to be honest most of my kills have been at 30 yds or less.  Another tip is use a sight that is adjustable so that you can be more accurate.  I use the Tri-Viz sight by Hi-Viz  on my turkey guns.  http://www.hivizsights.com/products/shotgun-sights/triviz.html     

It focuses your eye to the target and by inserting a different angled light pipe it will bring your pattern up or down and it has windage adjustment. 

I use #5's for all my hunting.  I shoot 3.5" however.
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Offline turkeydancer

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 01:54:16 PM »
Good stuff Yelp ...

I found my eyesight was starting to make either my front or rear sight fuzzy looking/blurry, so I went to an adjustable open reflex sight with 4 different reticles and 7 light settings.  I use the simple dot (that projects onto the "screen") which allows me to just put the dot on where I want to hit without any worry about parallax ... this is in lieu of lining up the front and back beads and then onto the turkeys head/neck ... it's fast and deadly accurate, only cost $50, and it allows me to watch the turkey walk into where I want to shoot (just like having a little TV sort of).  My friends daughter was missing a lot trying to get everything aligned, so I showed him what I had, he set her up, and now she's deadly accurate.

As far as shot size, better knock down power with #4's, more BBs with # 6's, and 5 is a great compromise between those two ... but I would still go with what patterns the best.   I have had really good luck with Federal #6 flight controls, but I had one close shot that left the shot cup sticking out of the bird's neck just below  his head ... that was definitely different.
 :twocents:   

Offline packmule

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2013, 02:54:02 PM »
but I had one close shot that left the shot cup sticking out of the bird's neck just below  his head ... that was definitely different.
 :twocents:   

That's funny!  I hadn't used those FliteControl Wads until last season, when I started testing them.  I can believe what happened to you.  They are very tough and are quite a projectile in and of themselves.

Offline turkeyfeather

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2013, 03:09:56 PM »
.             I have had really good luck with Federal #6 flight controls, but I had one close shot that left the shot cup sticking out of the bird's neck just below  his head ... that was definitely different.
 :twocents:   
That is funny stuff.   :chuckle: I have wondered if that wad would do that.
I refuse to have a battle of wits with an un-armed person.

Offline C-Money

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2013, 03:14:01 PM »
Patterning is important and so on........Like every thing els, make your shot count. #4s, #5s, #6s, all kill birds just fine. Just make a good shot with a good turkey load, I perfer Federal or Remington, 2oz, and you will be in business. Just dont jerk and flinch with the heavy recoil mag loads. Good luck!
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Offline gaddy

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2013, 03:22:18 PM »
i found that winchester supreme 3 1/2" #6 work best as far as pattern density goes
from a jellyhead in a benelli nova. has a slight curve to the pattern but is the best combo i have tried & as long as i shoot & pattern some before season i know where to put the shot. never let me down.

Offline turkeyfeather

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2013, 03:28:29 PM »
i found that winchester supreme 3 1/2" #6 work best as far as pattern density goes
from a jellyhead in a benelli nova. has a slight curve to the pattern but is the best combo i have tried & as long as i shoot & pattern some before season i know where to put the shot. never let me down.
I don't think I hate anything enough to shoot it with a 3 1/2 shell.  :chuckle:
I refuse to have a battle of wits with an un-armed person.

Offline gaddy

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2013, 03:51:11 PM »
the fact is that i tried a bunch of loads & chokes & this is what worked the best out of my gun. i dont hate turks. i love to hunt them & if i got a combination to put them down quick & clean at a varieity of distances, thats what ill use.
no offense ment but iv'e seen guys that thought thier stuff was better & i was overkill & the end result was a wounded, lost birds. i dont over shoot my range & i know that when i do drop the hammer i will have a pattern, shot density & load to dump that bird right there.
after chasing a couple of partners cripped birds, i dont want to do that with any of mine.

Offline turkeydancer

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2013, 04:36:27 PM »
 :tup:  Agree with that Gaddy ...

After counting the number of BBs in the vitals of my turkey target, I turn it around and look up at the sun or any light so I can see how even the shot was distributed (ie - no holes in the pattern) and whether I'm hitting high, low or dead on.     
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 04:52:52 PM by turkeydancer »

Offline turkeyfeather

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2013, 04:56:28 PM »
I was just joking with you gaddy. If my gun shot 3 1/2 shells I'd probably be using them too. I don't know if my shoulder would like it, but I'd be using them.
I refuse to have a battle of wits with an un-armed person.

Offline gaddy

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2013, 05:20:10 PM »
the one thing i do know is the first time i let a 3 1/2" fly with a choke & 2 oz with # 6s it rocked my world. but it was effective, & I still use em.
like said they work for me & i know where i hit & i hit hard.
i also know a guy that uses a 20g & says thats enough. another used a 10 one year & i was helping him chase.
i'll stick with what works for me.
i think that as long as you pattern & know your distances & practice a bit you will be ok.

Offline kevinlisa06

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2013, 08:23:43 PM »
I like the remington 3" 46 shoots great in all our guns out to 50yards.

Offline turkeydancer

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2013, 08:00:15 AM »
Although I can shoot them at 45+ yards, I like to get them in as close as possible ... had one at my left pcoket and one land on my boots, but that might be a wee bit too close.  :chuckle: :chuckle: :chuckle:

Offline turkeyfeather

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2013, 08:13:16 AM »
Yep, it's alot more fun to see how close you can get them. Had 2 jakes walk right past my feet 2 years ago.
I refuse to have a battle of wits with an un-armed person.

Offline mossy8352

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2013, 08:14:25 AM »
I use and like the Hevi Shot 3" mag blend loads for my turkey hunting. They pattern well for me recoil is okay and the birds are dead at reasonable ranges but I also use Hevi shot #6 with great results in my gun.

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2013, 08:34:00 AM »
I'm not a turkey hunter, so I won't comment on how effective 4's vs 5's vs 6's.

I have shot and patterned hevi shot, lead turkey loads and various lead and steel loads.

Hevi shot always patterned tight for me.  I have killed a pheasant or two with HS #9's.  That's not a typo, #9's are no longer on the market.

The main difference I've seen between turkey loads and PREMIUM lead loads is how heavy the shot load is.  Good quality lead and turkey loads have high antimony (5%ish) making the shot harder and load for load the shot is consistently round.  All lead (or steel) is not created equal.

Shot size #6 will have about 50% more shot in it for the same weight of #4's.

Shot size is the reason steel sucks.  Everyone knows you have to move up two sizes to get the same energy.  Most people ignore that you are hitting every bird with less than 2/3 of the pellets.

If I was going turkey hunting with a kid, I might steer clear of 2 oz turkey loads and look at something like Federal Premium 1-1/4 oz of #6 shot.  Or fork out the extra $ for hevi shot #6's.  Lead 6's will break heavy wing bones.  I would not be worried about them drilling a turkey spine or skull.
(Guess that last comment negates my intro  :chuckle:)

Offline passhooter

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2013, 09:40:28 AM »
I have been using HeviShot Hevi-13#6 shot for a while and it patterns really well out of my gun. Every year at the NWTF it wins the patterning competition so that's good enough for me as far as patterning goes. I also use a Hevi turkey choke and get extremely tight patterns. My last turkey was shot with Magnum Blend and I was very happy with the results. If you pattern your gun and feel comfortable with the round, you will have success with #5 or #6 shot.

Offline shotgunner

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2013, 11:23:27 PM »
I have also had really good results with Hevi-13 and it patterns well. I have shot several turkeys with it and it works great. Hevi-13 is heavier than the lead I used to use and therefore it is lethal further out than lead. This stuff works great.

Offline Wacenturion

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2013, 09:46:49 AM »
:yeah:

You want to try 4, 5, & 6's to see what patterns best with your shotgun and your choke.  Three identical setups can yield different results.  In addition one manufacturer will yield better results in one shotgun while another manufacturer yields better results in another identical setup.   Try at least every 5 to 10 yards between 15 yards on until you find out what works best in your shotgun and what your effective range is ... NWTF says 6 hits minimum, but I perfer 10 - 12 as mentioned above (never depend on the "BB gods" to guide a magic pellet into the brain pan).
 :twocents:

 :yeah:

Spend the time doing the above and you will see the difference.  My gun loves 6's (plain old 6's...not heavy shot etc.).  Coupled with a Gobbling Thunder choke, it is instant death.  I never shoot a bird over 35 yards...ever.  Most are under 15 yards.  Turkey guns, chokes, magnum turkey loads etc., does not mean you have a long distance killing tool.  Ethics are far more important.  There is already enough of what I would equate to being sky busting types out there.  Wounded birds are wasted birds. :twocents: 
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Offline Hangfire

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2013, 02:32:00 PM »
The above is very good advice. A good pattern and the ethics to shoot only the distance that your gun preforms well at. I have shot birds with high base 12 gauge to 28 gauge high base and several different 12 ga. muzzle loading shot guns. The 28 gauge was to honor my father with his old single barrel Iver Johnson. The birds (2) were less than 15 yards and did the job but I would have liked more pellets in the neck and head. I will not use the 28 any more.  Shoot combinations of loads and shot till you find what works very well.  I often set up a 12 oz. soft drink can and if I can put 10 to 15 pellets in it I have felt I had what would work. The turkey is a very great game bird and addition to this state. I followed the introduction of turkeys in this state and was present to see the first turkeys released at the Cowlitz Steelhead Hatchery, a great memory.

Offline Smossy

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2013, 02:45:32 PM »
Id use a samauri sword like they do on the show "Living in Alaska"
He just chops off turkeys heads with his sword, quick humane kill!
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

Offline turkeydancer

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2013, 05:03:52 PM »
 :bdid:     Sorry , samauri sword isn't on this states approved list of weapons - bows and shotguns only.   :dunno:

Offline shotgunner

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2013, 10:35:55 PM »
I would agree that the closer you can get a turkey to come in the better. But, I don't know anyone who is successful at getting their turkey to within 15 yards every time. 30 yards is even nice, but it's not always possible, especially when you hunt in an area where the birds are hunted hard. I have patterned my gun over and over and have a terrific pattern at 50 yards. I use HeviShot Hevi-13 #6 and a HeviShot choke tube. I feel confident shooting a bird at 50 yards and have done so many times without losing or wounding a single bird. It all comes down to using the best products and knowing what your gun will do.

Offline Limhangerslayer

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Re: Patterning and shot size
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2013, 03:17:39 PM »
I shoot #5's in a 3 1/2"  but always have my third shot a #4  for a little better range if I need it.  Haven't needed to for a little under a year now.    :chuckle:

 

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