Shotguns And Choke Tubes by Shane Hurkmans
With turkey hunting underway in most states, it’s a good time to start thinking of your spring hunt. You have most of your gear ready and the shotgun in the case sitting on the table ready to go, but have you been to the range to test your gun? I see this every year, someone calls me up and has a problem with his or her gun because they missed a turkey. Most of the problems are due to not shooting the gun before they hit the woods.
I shoot my shotgun every year before the season opens. I have a load that shoots great in my gun, the pattern is what I want from my gun and I know it works with the load I’m shooting. I make sure that my choke tube is performing the way it should too. This way I know that my shotgun is working well when I have a big old Tom standing out there.
I know what the pattern of my gun is going to do out at 45 or 50 yards, but let’s think of the short shots on one of these birds. What about the Tom that comes within 10 or 15 yards? Do you know the size of your pattern at this range? Always keep in mind, the closer you are, the smaller your pattern is going to be. You already know how far out you can reach with your choice of choke tube and shell but take the time at the range to take a few shots at close range as well. This way you’ll know where your gun is shooting the next time that Tom gets real close.
Now, let’s talk about shot size and choke tubes. There are more and more shot shells on the market now, for turkey hunting, than ever before. I believe shot in size 6 to 4 work the best for turkey hunting. Now, with all the different shot that is out there, it’s hard to make the choice between, lead, copper plate, nickel, heavy shot and others. What should you shoot? Well, I can’t tell you what’s going to work the best for your gun. I can tell you to test them in your gun and see how they work with the choke tube you plan to use.
Choke tubes are the business end of your gun, so you are going to be looking to buy one that works well. If you don’t know which one to get, go to your local store and ask, or look around on the internet for choke tubes that are manufactured for your gun. Not all choke tubes are the same, just because a friend of yours has a choke tube you like, doesn‘t mean that it’s the tube for you. I would pick one, however, that has a well-known name.
With your pattern as tight as you can get it, out to 40 or 50 yards, make sure that you know how small the pattern is at 10 yards as well. You could get old Tom so close that you dare not breathe for fear of him catching you. If you know where your gun is shooting, you have a better chance of killing that bird.
Good luck to you out there this spring and for the rest of you, non-turkey hunters, it’s time to get that old 22 and shoot a few cans over the summer, keeping your skills up so next fall you can shoot that buck with no trouble.
Remember to keep it fun, keep it safe.