4 Best Turkey Shotguns for Beginners

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4 Best Turkey Shotguns for Beginners
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Dedicated turkey shotguns did not become popular until the early 2000s. At the time, turkey populations were booming—there were an estimated 7 million birds inhabiting the U.S. and Canada—which ushered in a new era of optics-ready, short-barreled shotguns that catered to turkey hunters.

Truthfully, any shotgun can kill a longbeard. Browning Auto-5s and Winchester Model 12s were used to punch plenty of turkey tags. But, to kill a gobbler, you must aim a shotgun—not swing the barrel like you do on a flushing rooster or cupped up mallard—and specialized turkey guns increase accuracy because they are intentionally modified to be shot like a rifle.

They generally have a short barrel like a rifle and are either drilled and tapped, or come with a Picatinny rail already affixed to the receiver. This allows for scopes and reflex optics to be mounted and extend the range of a shotgun—when you pair it with the proper shotshell—so that you can deliver the payload with precision.


It’s a daunting task to choose the right shotgun off the rack because you can’t test its accuracy before you buy it. Plus, every gun fits differently. What’s nice about turkey guns, though, is you can mount an optic to most of them, which allows you to fine-tune how the gun shoots. The shotshells’ pattern won’t change dramatically, but the point of impact will with proper sighting in the scope or red dot. So, if the gun feels comfortable when you bring it to your shoulder at the gun counter and has a mounting system, it's likely to shoot well for you.

In terms of functionality, there are manufacturers that have a proven track record for building great turkey guns. The four gun makers I selected all fall into this category. In particular, Mossberg and Remington have done an exemplary job of filling the turkey gun niche and it’s why you see so many veteran turkey hunters taking those respected shotguns afield. Like cars, some shotguns are bound to be lemons, so before you buy, research the return policy. And, if you don’t like the gun, you can always trade it in for something else.



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