By: Robert Stanley
When it comes to turkey hunting, the right firearm can make all the difference. While shotguns are the most commonly used type of firearm for this type of hunting, the gauge of the shotgun can have a significant impact on your success rate. In recent years, there has been a growing trend among turkey hunters towards using a 20 gauge shotgun instead of the more traditional 12 gauge. We’ll take a closer look at why a 20 gauge shotgun might be a good choice for your turkey hunting adventures.
First, let’s start with some background on the different gauges of shotguns. The gauge of a shotgun refers to the diameter of the bore, or the inside of the barrel. The smaller the gauge number, the larger the diameter of the bore. So, a 12 gauge shotgun has a larger bore than a 20 gauge shotgun. In general, the larger the bore, the more powerful the shotgun is and the more recoil it produces. This is super simplified because a gauge is actually the number of lead balls and the diameter of the bore it takes to equal one pound. So, 12 gauge is 12 for a pound, and 20 is 20 for a pound.
Now, let’s talk about why a 20 gauge shotgun might be a good choice for turkey hunting. One of the main reasons is that a 20 gauge shotgun is lighter and easier to handle than a 12 gauge shotgun. This can be especially important when hunting in thick brush or other difficult terrains. If you’re running ridge tops and river bottoms on public land a 20 can be a great choice. A lighter shotgun is easier to carry and maneuver, which can make a big difference when you’re trying to get into position for a shot.
Another advantage of a 20 gauge shotgun is that it produces less recoil than a 12 gauge. This can be a big deal for some hunters, especially those who are smaller in stature or who have shoulder problems. A shotgun with less recoil is easier to shoot accurately and can help reduce fatigue during long hunting trips.
Let’s face it with Magnum Turkey Loads either gauge kicks but a 12 in 3.5 inches can bring a tear to a tough guys eyes. This makes for more fruitful practice and patterning sessions. And the less any gun kicks generally the more accurately a shooter can be with it.
But what about the power of a 20-gauge shotgun? Is it sufficient to take down a turkey? The answer is yes, in most cases. While a 12 gauge shotgun does have more power and can shoot a larger shot load, a 20 gauge shotgun can still be practical for turkey hunting. In fact, many turkey hunters report that they have had great success with a 20 gauge shotgun.
So, what’s the best way to set up a 20 gauge shotgun for turkey hunting? Here are some tips:
- Choose the right ammunition: The type of ammunition you use can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your shotgun. For turkey hunting, you’ll want to choose a load that is specifically designed for this purpose. But let’s skip through the BS, to be most effective with a 20 gauge on Turkeys most guys have gone to some form of TSS. It is totally worth it for some folks to carry a lighter, slimmer, lighter recoiling gun that is very effective to 40 yards even though the price tag on TSS can be right outrageous.
- Use a good choke: A choke is a device that is installed at the end of the shotgun barrel to control the spread of the shot. For turkey hunting, you’ll want to use a choke that produces a tight pattern so that your shot will have a better chance of hitting the turkey’s head or neck. It used to be a foregone conclusion that a turkey hunter would be running a XX Full choke, but we’ve gone more the route of specific constrictions. .560 Is a good example of that in a 20 Gauge. Find a choke that your gun likes but moreover, find a happy spot with a choke and ammunition that your gun agrees with in unison.
- Aim: No matter what gauge shotgun you use, accuracy is key when turkey hunting. Make sure you practice shooting from a variety of positions and distances so that you’re comfortable and confident when it comes time to take your shot. We also encourage the use of at the very least a high visibility fiber optic sight and preferably some sort of optic, as all Retay Turkey Guns come with an integral mounting system. You’re sending less shot down range so it has to be more accurate.
In conclusion, while a 12 gauge shotgun has traditionally been the go-to choice for turkey hunters, a 20 gauge shotgun can be an effective alternative. A 20 gauge shotgun is lighter, easier to handle, and produces less recoil than a 12 gauge shotgun, which can be especially important for hunters who are smaller in stature or who have shoulder problems. With the right ammunition, choke, and practice, a 20-gauge shotgun can be an excellent choice for turkey hunting.