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  1. Default 20 gauge turkey choke and shell recommendations

    I just ordered a Tristar Viper Youth semi-automatic 20 gauge for my two daughters. They completed their hunter education course this past fall and are dead set on starting turkey hunting this spring. I'm looking for recommendations on a compatible, high-performance turkey choke and turkey loads to get them shooting and ready for April.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frigid Ohio
    Posts
    2,602

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    Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

    A 12ga hits no harder than a 20ga does, it can just throw more shot.

    A tighter choke does not necessarily mean a better, tighter pattern. (given any particular load)

    Smaller shot size won't guarantee a denser pattern.

    So, with that said, hit the pattern board and find what works out of your shotgun. My Moss 500 20ga likes 2 3/4" Fiocchi #5 with a mod/full choke & 3" Herters #6 with a mod choke. Either shoots a nice even pattern and will put multiple shot into a turkey neck kill zone out to 35 yds.
    "Talent, hits a target, no one else can hit... Genius, hits a target, no one else can see."

  3. #3

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    Congrats to the kiddos! I went through this with 8 and 10 year olds last spring and ended on a 20 gauge 870 compact youth. A 20 gauge is still a lot of shotgun for a small kid. My 8 year old (9 now) shoots 4H rimfire a couple times a week, shoots his own compact .222 centerfire, and has no problem touching off my .243 occasionally. But, he's scared of the 20 gauge. We run a Carlson's turkey choke for it with Browning 2 3/4 #5 pheasant loads, nothing hot. Those loads just patterned well and produced recoil that both kids could handle.

    My two cents - be very careful mitigating recoil depending on the size and age of your kids. A good recoil pad on the shotgun and a thick jacket on the kids. I found it better to run a light load that the kids were OK with, and work on calling the birds in closer.

    Good luck, be safe and have fun!

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    Hevishot plus the Hevishot brand turkey choke is a good place to start. #5 hevishot has long been a favorite of mine but the mixed shot size patterned quite well when I tried it too.

  5. #5

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    I also run a Carlson's turkey choke on my 20 gauge. However if the gun came with a set of chokes I am sure the factory full or mod will work just fine. I have been getting along well with 3" Winchester #5 shot with my Carlson's. Just the regular cheaper winchester turkey loads you can buy at anyplace that sells shotshells.

    One thing I would note on the gun is check the pitch of the stock. If you set the buttpad of the gun on the floor and the barrel isn't close to a 90 degree angle with the floor the chances are the gun will recoil upwards into your face instead back into the shoulder. If that's true loosen the screws on the butt pad and stack some quarters in the bottom side and tighten it. 75 cents could really help the kiddos not get punched in the face and it could sure help them keep their eyes open and not flinching. Between this and the gun being semi auto recoil should be controllable.

  6. Default

    Thanks for all the input and suggestions. I went with a gas operated semi-auto specifically to help mitigate recoil and chose the Tristar over the comparable Remington 11-87 in hopes that the extra 3" of barrel will help a bit with muzzle lift. I will definitely look at shimming the stock to square it up and was considering getting a cheek pad for the stock as well.

    My girls have shot a .223 numerous times with no recoil issues, but I definitely plan to ease them into it and be very cognizant of both recoil and muzzle blast.

    If anyone has additional suggestions or ideas for making their turkey gun more suitable, please do chime in.

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    Federal Heavyweight Turkey load through an extended goose/waterfowl choke. Using the extended range waterfowl choke is more versatile then a lead only choke.

  8. #8

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    Indian creek choke tubes work well for grandson’s 20

  9. #9

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    Primos jellyhead with win superx #5 or Kent diamond shot #5

  10. #10

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    Practicing with reduced charge shotshells (powder and shot) will help build confidence that they can handle the force of discharge.

    In an active shooting situation, making sure good form is used to properly position the gun's buttstock to the shoulder, with the body full prepared for the impact, make sure the cheek is snug, and for my girls I used shooting sticks........after "making" my youngest shoot in a twisted, free handed position. If only I could do that one again. It was years before she showed any inclination to overcome her anxiety and shoot again.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  11. #11

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    I may be looking into the same thing for this spring as well. I've read glowing reports of the Federal Heavyweight turkey loads. They also have a low recoil version and is what I'll probably start my testing with for my 10yo if he can hunt turkeys this spring.

    http://federalpremium.com/ammunition...tecontrol-wad/

  12. #12

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    This is the exact gun my son uses. Hes, been using it for 3 yrs now, never had a single issue. For turkeys. pattern the factory full first...works exceptable in my sons gun or get a good turkey choke (trulock makes one specifically for this round) and I highly recommend u use federal hevi weight 3" #7. Its a little pricey at $5 a shell, buy it works very well. It turns a 20 in to a 12ga without the recoil.

  13. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by phutch30 View Post
    This is the exact gun my son uses. Hes, been using it for 3 yrs now, never had a single issue. For turkeys. pattern the factory full first...works exceptable in my sons gun or get a good turkey choke (trulock makes one specifically for this round) and I highly recommend u use federal hevi weight 3" #7. Its a little pricey at $5 a shell, buy it works very well. It turns a 20 in to a 12ga without the recoil.
    I'm very glad to hear you've had such good luck with the gun. I will give the factory full choke a try first. I'll likely let them break the gun in using light target loads, then move up to shooting turkey targets with turkey loads as the season approaches. And I already have shooting sticks for them specifically for this purpose.

    Is the factory fiber-optic sight good, or did you upgrade that is some way? Have you made any after-market additions to the gun to make it more kid friendly?

  14. #14

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    Id have to check but I think we put a aftermarket red bead on it. We got a truloc choke for it last yr, and it does pattern better than the full, but he killed 4 birds with the full with no trouble out to 45yds...saves some$$$
    Last edited by phutch30; 01-23-2018 at 01:17 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Boise,Idaho
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    1,165

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    I have taken 30 + youth hunters on their first or second turkey hunts.........I'd recommend against a tight aftermarket turkey choke, it's the real reason for many misses. Any better 3" cartridges with 5's or 6's will work. By all means put some after market fiber optic sights on the gun. And shooting sticks are a great option.
    Good luck. I look forward to your reports.

  16. #16

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    Every gun/choke will shoot different. Depending on how old your daughters are, you may not want to shoot a turkey load with a turkey choke. Recoil might be to stiff. So for my son last year he took his first bird with a rem full choke and 3" #5's. It was a high brass field load. His bird was at 25 yards. Year previous we didn't get a shot, but had him practicing with low brass #6 to help with recoil.

    With a lot of the heavy shot you can get away with a more open choke.

  17. #17

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    Very good point Wally Dog and I agree. It’s relative to the place you hunt also. If you are on private land and bait them in to ten steps like Missouri or Nebraska where they have 100 birds for every hunter getting one close is no problem and a factory choke is ok. However, if you hunt Pennsylvania public where they have been called to for a month before season comes in and there are 7 people hunting one bird you need a good choke because 30yds is a close shot. I assumed because the question was asked that he needed a extended choke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ol_spark View Post
    Very good point Wally Dog and I agree. Itís relative to the place you hunt also. If you are on private land and bait them in to ten steps like Missouri or Nebraska where they have 100 birds for every hunter getting one close is no problem and a factory choke is ok. However, if you hunt Pennsylvania public where they have been called to for a month before season comes in and there are 7 people hunting one bird you need a good choke because 30yds is a close shot. I assumed because the question was asked that he needed a extended choke.
    We will be hunting public land, though I doubt the hunting pressure will approach quite the level discussed above. That said, I will start by patterning the factory full choke and see how it performs with quality turkey loads. If it patterns well out to 40 yards, I'll call it good for now, as that would be a long shot for my girls.

    Does anyone have a recommendation on a cheek pad that will attach well to a synthetic stock? I was thinking something along these lines, but the reviews indicate they might not work well on synthetic.

    https://www.amazon.com/Kick-Eez-Chee...tgun+cheek+pad

    https://www.amazon.com/Beretta-E0037...tgun+cheek+pad

  19. #19

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    The recoil on that gun is not bad at all even with turkey loads. BUT if u want one cheap ive done this in the past. Take a 8" section of round foam pipe insulation and just super glue it to the stock..its not gunna last forever but it will last for the season. By yr 2 they wont need it.

    The factory full was plenty good enough for birds from 15yds to over 40 with the federal heavy weight 7s. We only upgraded the choke because he wanted a "turkey" choke. LOL

    The pic is an example of using the pipe insulation (on different turkey setup). Its fast and cheap and comes off with no hassle.
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    Last edited by phutch30; 01-25-2018 at 12:56 PM.

  20. #20

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    Good luck to the girls and hope to see some pictures with smiling faces and longbeards.

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    I highly recommend Federal Heavyweight turkey loads in 3" #7. Make sure it's the 1.5 oz. and not the 1 1/8 oz. Pretty big difference in the two. You might try a couple different good turkey chokes.

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    I have been using a Mossberg Silver Reserve II 20 gauge for several years now. The top barrel has a .571 Trulock choke and 11/2 of #7 Federal Heavyweight in it for longer range. The other barrel has the Mossberg improved modified choke in it with a #6 game load of some sort for closer range. Both barrels have killed turkeys. The Federal Heavyweight load is awesome.

  23. Default

    Any turkey shell will have stout recoil in that light gun. People seem to not make the connection between rifles and shotguns when it comes to recoil. We would never hand a child a rifle that kicks like a lightweight 20 gauge. The only way to get good turkey power performance with low recoil in a light 20ga is to roll your own shells with small tungsten shot.

    If you don't want to handload, my advice is get a Sumtoy 562-5 and the heavyweight or TSS shells from Federal. Use it yourself. If you're used to a 12 gauge with lead shells you will be astonished. Also get a .410 and a SumToy choke and Federal TSS shells for the kids. Put a red dot on it to help place the tight pattern.

    Otherwise, get some low recoil 3/4oz shells for practice with the 20 and only allow shooting of the turkey loads at the turkey. If the kid is trained to hold the gun correctly and is appropriately excited, recoil will go unnoticed. Training means holding it tight into the shoulder, off the collar bone and with the thumb held to the side to avoid a bloody nose.

  24. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by howl View Post
    Any turkey shell will have stout recoil in that light gun. People seem to not make the connection between rifles and shotguns when it comes to recoil. We would never hand a child a rifle that kicks like a lightweight 20 gauge. The only way to get good turkey power performance with low recoil in a light 20ga is to roll your own shells with small tungsten shot.

    If you don't want to handload, my advice is get a Sumtoy 562-5 and the heavyweight or TSS shells from Federal. Use it yourself. If you're used to a 12 gauge with lead shells you will be astonished. Also get a .410 and a SumToy choke and Federal TSS shells for the kids. Put a red dot on it to help place the tight pattern.

    Otherwise, get some low recoil 3/4oz shells for practice with the 20 and only allow shooting of the turkey loads at the turkey. If the kid is trained to hold the gun correctly and is appropriately excited, recoil will go unnoticed. Training means holding it tight into the shoulder, off the collar bone and with the thumb held to the side to avoid a bloody nose.
    Everything Howl said multiplied by 100. I was thinking this as soon as I read the thread.

  25. #25

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    My son has the shotgun mentioned in the original post. The recoil is nothing. Its a semi auto....The tricked out 870, I posted has even less recoil. My 11yr old daughter went through a doz 3" lead 5s on sat with it and was laughing at the end......only restating this so people aren't discouraged from buying a the right 20ga for their kids.

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