Successful hunters know that a key ingredient to spring gobbler success is tuning your shotgun to deliver maximum shot performance. TRUGLO® makes that process easy with their comprehensive line of turkey shooting products.[/caption]
From pre-game to game day, TRUGLO® is the one-stop source for all your turkey-gun tuning needs
by Rob Reaser
Many hunters prepare for spring gobbler season by purchasing a new call, buying a fresh box of shells, and pulling the spring-pattern camos out of the storage bin. Essential steps, to be sure, but they represent only half of the equation. Once calling skill and good hunting craft put you in the gobbler zone, it is shooting technique and equipment that seal the deal.
Unfortunately, this is where casual turkey hunters often fail to prepare. Too many hunters take the “spray and pray” approach to turkey hunting. They head for the woods with their favorite turkey gun and a pocketful of #4s, never giving real consideration to the shot and choke combination or the downrange performance of this combination.
The folks at TRUGLO® understand that setting up a well-tuned turkey gun is a daunting proposition to some. The TRUGLO crew also knows a thing or two about extracting maximum performance from off-the-shelf shotguns. The company’s more than twenty years of history providing innovative and quality products for the shooting sports industry has led them to produce a comprehensive line of products designed to help turkey hunters overcome the perceived challenges of developing efficient and lethal turkey shotgun platforms. By offering soup-to-nuts solutions, TRUGLO has become a one-stop source for turkey hunters looking to obtain that extra edge.
The National Wild Turkey Federation has established a shot performance benchmark for turkey hunting. According to the NWTF, the optimal turkey shotgun system will deliver 100 pellets into a ten-inch circle at 40 yards. Using these parameters, the serious turkey hunter’s goal is to adjust his shotgun system to deliver this performance standard.
So, how do you get there?
Enter TRUGLO’s turkey-specific choke tubes.[easyazon_image align=”none” height=”648″ identifier=”B013DXK7ZS” locale=”US” src=”https://www.huntdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/61kMSLXSDlL.jpg” tag=”huntdailycom-20″ width=”1500″]
[easyazon_cta align=”none” identifier=”B013DXK7ZS” key=”small-light” locale=”US” tag=”huntdailycom-20″]
The TRUGLO line of turkey choke tubes [easyazon_link identifier=”B013DXK7ZS” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”huntdailycom-20″]Truglo TG174AX XT Gobble Stopper[/easyazon_link]s includes two award-winning series covering both 12- and some 20-gauge applications for the most common shotgun models on the market today. All are precision CNC-machined to exacting tolerances, include porting, and come with an internal profile to produce the kind of tight shot patterns veteran turkey hunters demand. What’s more, all TRUGLO turkey chokes accommodate both turkey loads (surprise!) and the Hevi•Shot ammunition so popular with today’s turkey hunters.
Although each TRUGLO choke features a unique external design and porting configuration, the more significant distinctions between the two series are in their internal diameter. For 12-gauge shotguns, the [easyazon_link identifier=”B013DXK7ZS” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”huntdailycom-20″ cart=”y” cloak=”y” popups=”y”]TRUGLO Gobble•Stopper Xtreme[/easyazon_link] provides A .665-inch internal diameter while the [easyazon_link identifier=”B013DXK7ZS” locale=”US” nw=”n” tag=”huntdailycom-20″ popups=”n”]TRUGLO Strut•Stopper Xtreme[/easyazon_link] has a .643-inch internal diameter. As you can see, the Strut•Stopper Xtreme is the smallest diameter, and the Gobble•Stopper Xtreme the largest. Additionally, the Strut•Stopper Xtreme comes with internal grooving for improved patterns, has taken numerous NWTF Still Target Championships, and, like the Gobble•Stopper Xtreme, is endorsed by the NWTF. All of the TRUGLO choke tubes deliver tight patterns at the far end of the turkey killing range, but as with any setup, the key to tight, predictable shot patterns is finding the ammo that works best with your gun and choke combination.
TRUGLO Gobble•Stopper Xtreme
See “DEEP DIVE – Shot Performance” below for a more in-depth look at the relationship between shotgun chokes and downrange shot pellet dispersion.
Now that you’ve upgraded your shotgun with one of TRUGLO’s premium turkey chokes, it’s time to check your ammo pattern. Once again, TRUGLO offers a solution with their anatomical Tru•See Splatter Target Turkey. Available in six or 12 packs and measuring 12×12 inches, these point-of-impact high-visibility targets produce a bright fluorescent green halo around each pellet hole, making it easy to see not only the pellet groupings, but also how the pellets impact the virtual kill zone on a turkey. Ideally, you want to see a shot pattern that puts at least 12-15 pellets into the head and neck area, the objective being to penetrate the spine and/or skull. You can experiment with equivalent (i.e. #4 or #5) turkey loads from different ammo manufacturers until you find the one that offers the tightest, most lethal pattern at 40 yards.
See “DEEP DIVE – Shot Selection” below for easy shotgun patterning techniques.
Once you have identified the optimal load and choke combination for your shotgun, you are ready to do some fine-tuning. Too many turkey hunters come home empty-handed because they fail to take the same care when sighting down the barrel of a shotgun that they do when shooting a rifle. That is a big mistake, especially when you are dialed-in to shoot a tight pattern at the outer edge of the gun’s range. Because there is less expansion of the shot at closer distances, shooter accuracy is just as vital (and arguably more so) at close range as it is at long distance. This is why upgrading your turkey gun’s sight system is so important. Clear, precise, and properly adjusted sights or optics, especially those that utilize fiber-optics for dim, early morning light conditions, can spell the difference between a hit or a miss when a gobbler closes to within spitting distance of your setup.
Selecting a sight system comes down to personal preference, and TRUGLO makes that selection easy by offering eight different light-gathering open-sight options that mount to your shotgun’s rib. From the Gobble•Dot Universal Dual-Color [easyazon_link identifier=”B004Z5C4EG” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”huntdailycom-20″ cloak=”y” popups=”n”](see product specs here)[/easyazon_link]
For those hunters who would prefer an optical-style system, TRUGLO makes the Gobble•Stopper 30mm Dual-Color. This is a very unique red-dot sight with a specially-designed 3 MOA center-dot and an illuminated circular reticle that equals 24 inches at 30 yards. Shooters can choose between a red or green circle reticle, depending on the hunting conditions.
Once you have your new sight system installed, it’s time to zero-in. For this step, TRUGLO’s Tru•See Splatter Target 100-Yard is an ideal target choice. Measuring 12×12 inches and available in six-, 12-, or 50-pack, these point-of-impact high-visibility targets make it easy to not only see the pellet pattern, but the target grid contains a perfect 10-inch circle. This allows you to count easily the number of pellets contained within the NWTF’s 100 pellets/10 inches at 40 yards performance benchmark.
See “DEEP DIVE – Sighting In” below for shotgun sighting basics.
As you can see, there are no mysterious, arcane secrets to turning your shotgun into a reliable gobbler-knocker. By tweaking your choke and shot combination, adding an accurate and easy-to-see sighting system, and learning the effective range and performance of your equipment (pellet cluster and point-of-impact at varying ranges), you can create a no-excuses platform for bringing down a strutting tom. Moreover, with a company like TRUGLO offering everything you need to get that job done, you have no excuses not to!
DEEP DIVE – Shot Performance
As with most ground-hunted species, there is no guarantee where your gobbler will be when you take the shot. Some toms will come close enough for you to tug their beards; some will hang up on the ragged edge of your shotgun’s effective range. This is why the ideal turkey gun and load combination is one that holds a tight, lethal shot pattern to at least 40 yards distance. Key to this is shot pattern management.
The shot column is the cylindrical mass of pellets traveling down and exiting your shotgun’s muzzle. Once the shot column leaves the barrel, the pellets begin to expand away from the center of the column and continue this expansion as they travel downrange. Several variables can influence this expansion, including the barrel choke.
Choke refers to the decreasing (tapered) bore diameter of the barrel toward the muzzle end. When the shot column travels down the barrel and reaches the choke, the decreasing bore diameter tightens (or increases the density of) the shot column. This denser pellet grouping typically allows the shot column to remain tighter for a greater downrange distance than it would if it were exiting a barrel without a choke.
Unlike older shotguns with fixed-choke barrels, such as improved cylinder, modified, and full choke, most modern shotguns accept screw-in chokes with varying choke profiles designed for different applications. With the variable choke system, hunters can choose a choke profile and shot load to match a wide range of hunting options…all from the same shotgun. But we’re talking turkey here, and when it comes to hunting toms, we want to reach for what is generally referred to as a turkey choke.
DEEP DIVE – Shot Selection
After selecting a choke tube for your turkey gun, the next step is to find the perfect load for your developing system. If we keep to the NWTF’s optimal shot pattern for turkeys, the goal is to identify a load that will produce the greatest pellet density within a ten-inch circle at 40 yards.
Obviously, with so many ammunition manufacturers producing turkey loads, it would be impossible for most of us to test every ammunition brand and size available. Instead, pick one or two different shot sizes (say, #4 and #5) in a turkey load from a manufacturer or brand you are familiar with, or pick one shot size and try different turkey load brands.
[Keep in mind when choosing your shot size that although larger and heavier shot (i.e. #4) equates to fewer pellets than smaller, lighter shot (i.e. #5), the heavier shot retains more downrange energy at longer distances. This is why many veteran turkey hunters select #4 shot, and then work to find the choke and ammo brand that produces the tightest pattern.]
With the target set and the distance marked at 40 yards, it is time to find out which load will achieve the best pattern. After shooting each round, locate the center of the pellet cluster on the target and mark a ten-inch circle around it. Count the pellet holes inside the circle. Repeat this process for the next load to be tested. Do this several times for each load you are testing to ensure an accurate average. Again, you are looking for a minimum of 100 pellets within the ten-inch circle. The winning load will be the one that consistently delivers the most pellets with the tightest pattern within that ten-inch circle.
DEEP DIVE – Sighting In
The basic principles of sighting in are the same for a shotgun as they are for a rifle: adjust rear open or optic sights left or right to change windage and up or down to change elevation. Since most turkey hunters want to be spot-on at the far end of their system’s lethal range, you’ll want to adjust your sights so that the center of the pellet mass is on target at around 40 yards. After you’ve dialed-in your shotgun for this distance, spend some time shooting at closer distances. Note any patterning and elevation changes at these varying distances and embed them in your brain. This will allow you to adjust your point-of-aim, if necessary, and ensure a clean, quick kill no matter where that gobbler takes his last stand.
Article copyright 2015 by HuntDaily.com; promoted by TRUGLO®
TRUGLO Strut•Stopper Xtreme