If you watched the recent MeatEater Florida turkey episode, you’ll know that I shot my first Osceola turkey. And you’ll also know that it was a long shot. But I felt comfortable and confident in that 60-yard shot because of my turkey gun set-up and ammo.
The last two seasons I’ve used a Beretta A300 black synthetic 20 gauge. My A300 is a semi-auto with a semi-custom 24-inch barrel. Knocking off four inches from the normal 28-inch barrel makes it that much more maneuverable in the turkey woods, and I’m not worried about the slight loss in velocity.
I’ve topped the gun with a Vortex Venom red dot in 3 MOA. I’m a big fan of red dots for turkey hunting. The red dot allows you to sight in your load just as you would a bullet for a rifle. There’s no more holding a little left or a little high to adjust for the impact of the shot. Hot tip: all loads coming out of your shotgun do not hit the same spot. Adjusting a red dot is much easier than trying different load and choke combinations until you find one that you both like and hits dead center. The red dot also allows me to confidently take longer pokes at turkeys. Although the gun and ammo are capable of killing a turkey out to 80, I prefer to kill them under 40. But under certain circumstances, like my Osceola hunt, I’ll shoot out to 60 yards. The small-compared to a 6 moa-bright dot allows for precise aiming.
The gun is fitted with a Carlson’s turkey choke made especially for shooting TSS, which I use and love. I usually shoot #9 TSS. It gets me a super high pellet count, and those little 9’s have approximately the same velocity at 100 yards as #5 lead does at 40 yards. All this is a big reason that I’ve gone to shooting a 20 gauge for turkeys the last three seasons. It’s plenty of gun for any reasonable shot, is light as a feather, and has minimal recoil.
You’ll see in the episode that I also outfit the gun with a stock pack that has a cheek pad. I don’t need it for felt recoil reduction but rather to raise my head higher so that my eye better aligns with the sight. I have high cheekbones, which, with proper cheek weld, cause my eye to constantly sit below a sight or scope. This is important to me as there is no easier way to miss a turkey than not having your head down on your gun.
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