Help me pick out a turkey gun

nuevo_eph

Active member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
442
Location
Socorro, NM
I've decided picking up turkey hunting would be fun despite central NM not being a turkey hotspot (that I know of). I had hoped to use my old Stevens 77C (hand me down) 12G but after parterning it with a few different loads with its "superchoke" fully choked down I am not too confident in getting a decent pattern beyond 25 yards. It also shoots really low so I do not like the idea of aiming at the top of a tom's head or above as I start out.

So, long story short: I'm up for buying a new turkey gun and would appreciate your comments on what to get for a turkey gun now that should be decent out of the box, and be usable for quail, rabbits or doves in the fall (I can get a different barrel for this later if needed). Budget in the $400-600 range. I'd prefer to get one choke and pattern different loads vs. trying out different chokes. I also plan on using 3" shells so a 3.5 chamber is not a must but not ruled out.

I shouldered a plastic stocked Mossberg 535 and a wooden 870 express yesterday. I much prefered the 870's build quality and was surprised by the low quality of the 535. I could go either way on camo finish. Neither one fit since I have long arms and a longer than standard LOP. I figure a limbsaver will close that gap.

My candidates are the following and would get a turkey version of them if I can find them locally:

Rem 870
Mossberg 500
Mossberg 835
WinSXP

I don't know much about the Stoegers or Benelli Novas.

Any thoughts or recommendations on these based on recent model performance?
 

Curtis.mullin

New member
Joined
Apr 4, 2012
Messages
102
Location
Bozeman Mt
I have a Rem 870 express with the sure shot stock and a red dot. It is a short barrel, will take 3.5" mags and is reliable because its a pump. Plus the gun is nice and lite to handle.
 

Hem

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
1,918
Location
Three Forks, Mt
I have killed a lot of toms with my 870.BUT, i have heard that the quality of the latest productions doesn't hold to the older ones.I think I heard the barrel quality has gone down hill.The Benelli Nova I also owned.Killed plenty with it, but its a funny weapon with inconsistencies of its own....trigger pull needs adjusting, and the cycling mechanism to unload the gun is funky.A friend had a Nova that mischarged....I am not certain he didn't fall asleep with the safety off...he denies it. The Mossberg seems to be the consistent candidate but kicks like a mule( I have been told).You might look at the shotguns promoted on this site by Legacy.Nice looking budget weapons that I trust if Randy Newberg likes them they are A-OK.
 

7mm08mo

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 24, 2015
Messages
1,888
Location
Lake of the ozarks Missouri
I have owned a Benelli nova and had no issues it was an older model before they came out with the supernova. I also own a mossberg 500 it has been good to me also, killed ducks geese and turkey. I would pick any of those with no hesitation. A buddy has a 835 original model and has had no problems with it. I also know people with 870's that love them, so I guess it's a time toss up IMO. You might consider a weatherby they make a budget pump gun that is very good also.
 

BrokenWing

New member
Joined
Nov 4, 2015
Messages
57
I'd go either 870 or Mossberg 835.

I've owned and shot both.

The mossberg is appealing for a turkey gun because it is back bored and will throw really consistent patterns with a tight choke. The con is that it will kick you, but if it is for a few turkey loads and a few boxes of light dove loads each year, no problem

The 870 is a great all around gun and may meet your needs best. The latest don't seem to have the quality feel of the ones from the 80's but I'm not sure what that means in the performance of the gun. There's a reason its the number one selling shotgun.
 

10Dogs

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2015
Messages
148
I have a couple 870 Wingmasters (1) from the 1960`s and (1) from 1995. Both are absolutely bullet proof and work every time. There are more accessories available than any other shotgun made.
No experience with Mossberg needed.
I do have a Stoeger 2000 that came as camo dipped top to bottom for $350 new.
Only issue with this gun is shooting trap loads it becomes a single shot at times.
Any high brass or full power loads will cycle every time, Turkey loads, buck shot no problem.

10Dogs
 

JDH

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 18, 2013
Messages
943
Location
Indiana
I use a Mossberg 500 for turkey hunting. I got it as a combo with a slug and shot barrel. I put a red dot on top and use a rhino extra full choke. Patterns good out to 35 yards with the federal turkey ammo - #5s I think. This year I patterned the long beard xr and would feel confident out to 45+ yards. It has never misfired or malfunctioned in any way. It does kick pretty good though. It doesn't take 3 1/2 " shells but IMHO that's overkill anyway. I have basically turned it into a dedicated turkey gun.
 

Kaitum

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Messages
633
Location
New Mexico
I've had an 870 Express for awhile that has worked well on turkey. 18" barrel with extra full choke. When I moved to Alaska I swapped out the choke, took the plug out of the tube, and carried it for bear protection. That short barrel was a blessing in the alders. This spring it'll go back on turkey duty. I don't like the 'rough' textured finish on the metal (not sure on the technical term for that finish). Seems it'll rust even if it threatens to rain. But I've beat the hell out of that gun and it still works great so can't complain.
 

jims

New member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
317
If anyone knows me I usually don't go with the "norm" unless it truly works! I have been using an old model 870 full choke 3" mag hand-me-down from my Dad for the past 4 seasons. I've harvested 13 turkeys and have only missed a couple birds. Some of the toms were likely longer distance than I should have shot. I've been using Winchester Longbeard shells in 5 and 6's, 3" mags. Not only is shotgun important but finding a shell/shot size that patterns well in your particular shotgun!
 

nuevo_eph

Active member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
442
Location
Socorro, NM
I forgot mention that I thought this would a useful thread for the future, since I couldn't find a similar one in the search!

Thank you all for the great suggestions. I think I'm going to lean towards an 870 or 835 next time I can shoulder a few (which is probably not for a few weeks).

Another question: Should I worry about getting a camo one or is plain wood and blued steel ok?
 

GAbearclaw

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2015
Messages
217
Location
Socialist Republic of Kalistan
I was looking for a 3" older model 870 for years as I didn't dig the new models in comparison to the old .20ga 2 3/4" wingmaster express I have. I got a H&R Excel 3" and sprayed it camo. It has been killing ducks, turkey, dove, quail, and small game since I got it without an issue. Think it was $320 or so.

It is pretty light as well and I have not had an issue carrying it all over hell and Tibet chasing quail here in the mountains. You don't hear much about H&R, but thus far my cheap investment has paid off in spades and with a Carlson turkey choke it slings 3" #2 heavi-shot (no lead in a few spots I hunt) with great patterns out way past where I would shoot a thunder chicken.
 

GAbearclaw

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2015
Messages
217
Location
Socialist Republic of Kalistan
A few cans of the flat krylon paint will make anything camo enough to be easily misplaced in the woods!

But you can hide anything very well if you don't move it around. Camo hides movement more than it does anything else.
 

cedahm

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
877
Location
Colorado
Do y'all think camo is a must?

I've not run into a situation where I believe camo would have made a difference.

To the original question, my new "go-to" versatile shotgun is a Weatherby SA-08 in 12 (matte black - sually around the $550 mark). I've been dragging it through the mud for a few years now on blue grouse, waterfowl, pheasants, clays and turkeys and it's replaced every other shotgun I own as 'what I reach for first'.

- Easiest Autoloader I've ever seen in terms of field-stripping and cleaning
- Built on a 'dual valve' system to optimize the recoil portion of the action (which also helps moderate felt recoil as well, beyond making the action cycling more reliable)
- Comes with 2 pistons for heavy/light loads
- In probably 2000 rounds, it's jammed 1 time, and that's only because I forgot to change to the heavy piston when shooting doves (and a light load of #8's didn't fully cycle the action)

All I've added to it is one of the magnetic lightstick sights and a ported super-full turkey choke from Carlson. It patterns consistently @ 40 yards (and probably out a bit from that, but I've never had occasion to try).

My only knock on it is that I don't like the win-choke type chokes where you need a tool to put them in and out (they ride flush with the muzzle), but that's easily fixed with aftermarket knurled chokes.

Others will knock that it's made in Turkey, but in my experience, it has the same quality I'd expect from Weatherby on their high end rifles...
 
SITKA Gear

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
94,509
Messages
1,408,409
Members
29,645
Latest member
Markleathers
Top