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 Need some advice
HeliBoy  [Member]
1/16/2010 10:22:58 AM EST
Going to try Turkey hunting in the spring. I have never done it before. Have an 870 express 18" slug barrel. What would I need to do to make it good for turkey hunting?? Thanks in advance.
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supremeweasel67  [Team Member]
1/16/2010 3:03:25 PM EST


Originally Posted By HeliBoy:
Going to try Turkey hunting in the spring. I have never done it before. Have an 870 express 18" slug barrel. What would I need to do to make it good for turkey hunting?? Thanks in advance.


Not enough information.

Is it a rifled slug barrel or a smoothbore barrel.

Rifled slug barrel =s get a new barrel

Smoothbore barrel=s
1. Get a new barrel.
2. Use current barrel, buy several different boxes of ammo (brands and shot). head to range and pattern your gun.
Determine which brand and shot works best (gives best/tightest pattern). Determine max distance your
pattern holds. 50 yards is a good thing, although hopefully you will be shooting less distance


I hope that you are going with someone that has hunted turkeys before.
It is not necessary, but can save you alot of aggravation.
Do not wait until a week before season to start trying to learn to call.

Pattern your birds (from a distance), and the afternoon/evening before you plan to hunt them, "put them to bed" (watch where they roost. If you pattern them in advance, and they are undisturbed, you should be in the right place at the right time when they come off roost.

Do not try to get right up on them when going in the 1st morning, as you may flush them off roost, and no telling where they will end up. I do know someone that will intentionally flush/bust them up, if the do not respond to his calling in the morning. That way he can try to get them to regroup by doing the dominant hen call. Have seen it work, and not work. But same with other tips. Never know unless you try.

If a bird starts responding to your calling, SHUT UP! Especially if you can see him.

If you keep calling and the bird can't see you, but can see 200 yards past you.
He knows there is no hen there, so something is up, and they depart quickly.

Good luck. Hope you have a successful hunt.


I am no expert, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night
HeliBoy  [Member]
1/17/2010 8:01:04 AM EST
Sorry about that. It is smooth bore. Basically I was wondering if I needed to get a different barrel length wise? I am going with my friend and he has alot of experience. He's been trying to get me to go for years. I have hunted before but it was always with a bow. Thanks for the help... (any good books on turkey hunting out there)?
supremeweasel67  [Team Member]
1/17/2010 11:03:08 AM EST

Originally Posted By HeliBoy:
Sorry about that. It is smooth bore. Basically I was wondering if I needed to get a different barrel length wise? I am going with my friend and he has alot of experience. He's been trying to get me to go for years. I have hunted before but it was always with a bow. Thanks for the help... (any good books on turkey hunting out there)?


A new barrel (longer) isn't critical necessary, but would increase your shooting distance, and better pattern.

If you have the dollars, I would get a new barrel with a screw in choke.
(although a full or modified choke barrel will work just fine.

There are way to many screw in chokes out there, and your brain will go numb doing the research on them.

For the most part, Remington Turkey barrels come with a pretty decent screw in choke.
However I am also pretty fond of the Kicks chokes. I have a Duck choke and a Turkey choke one for my 11-87.


The difference between: will work, and will do just fine, and then the high dollar stuff is like anything else in the world.
Just comes down to how serious you are about whatever you are doing.

I started as a kid with a Remington 870 wingmaster 12 gauge.
Got older and came across a Winchester 1300 with a Turkey barrel. This became my dedicated Turkey gun.
Then picked up a NEF 10 gauge Turkey gun. (Very Heavy).
2 years ago, came across a Remington 11-87 SuperMag Special Purpose. Was just to good of a deal to pass on.
(also doubles as my waterfowl gun).


If you don't have the funds, go with what you have now.
If decide you like the sport, maybe pick up an extra barrel for cheap (100-200).

Then if decide you are hooked, well your wallet will suffer.




Ar-Bandit  [Member]
1/23/2010 5:51:10 PM EST
What he said plus a couple things....

Ammo- Again you don't "need" anything special BUT it makes a world of difference to buy a box of turkey loads. If your gun takes 3 inch shells, get the 3 inch ones (or biggest your chamber can hold). They will say turkey loads on them. Normally there is 15 rounds in a box. The reason these are better is because they have higher density, shoot at faster speeds making your patterns hold, and have higher penetration.

Camo- get as much as you can! RealTree, Mossy Oak, or even generic brands but the better camo job you do the better chance you do have of not being seen. I've hunted them with and without camo and I can tell you I have much better luck getting closer in camo.

Shot placement- I'll assume you have never turkey hunted. Aim for their face/neck. It is about the only way to kill them. I have personally shot a turkey at about 15 yards and hit it center mass and it didn't even lose its balance, although it did lose feathers. Thankfully my friend knew about the whole shooting in the neck thing and he bagged it. Upon cleaning, there was zero penetration to its backside from my direct hit in his back. It didn't phase him, nor injury him. After that I knew better.

Oh yea, by the way. It is a LOT harder to spring turkey than fall. So, if you don't fill your tag don't give up, (i get 2 a year in fall and have yet to fill my spring tag ever). Just be sure to do fall turkey before you throw in the towel. It is about the hardest thing to hunt in iowa, these birds have the best sight and hearing than any other game we hunt in iowa.

Good luck and get ready for turkey fever.
HeliBoy  [Member]
1/25/2010 7:54:39 AM EST
Thanks Guys. So my 18" barrel is fine? Just use some Turkey loads camo myself well, and shoot for the head/neck area.
supremeweasel67  [Team Member]
1/25/2010 8:05:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By HeliBoy:
Thanks Guys. So my 18" barrel is fine? Just use some Turkey loads camo myself well, and shoot for the head/neck area.


Wish it was that easy.


Again, pattern your gun prior to season.
Try different Makes/brands and shot size to see which is going to give best pattern.
(Just go ahead and plan on buying another barrel, or even a dedicated turkey gun, the sport is addictive)


Camo is KEY.
Ar-Bandit  [Member]
1/25/2010 2:47:46 PM EST
Originally Posted By HeliBoy:
Thanks Guys. So my 18" barrel is fine? Just use some Turkey loads camo myself well, and shoot for the head/neck area.


Maybe.... I've seen some turkey barrels that are the same size as the deer slug barrels with the addition of a choke. Now if it is a slug barrel it probably don't have a choke and I'm not too sure what birdshot would pattern like. You just need to buy some ammo that you plan to use hunting (turkey loads or whatever) and shoot them at the distance you plan to shoot at to see if it has a very tight pattern. It might not pattern well, but again you don't know until you try. Do you have something in mind if this don't work? Different barrel maybe? For what they want for an 870 barrel you can almost but a complete model 870 so replacing the barrel is almost a waste of money.

On a side note, the one I bagged this year I used a 20 ga. 870 wingmaster with standard high brass game loads #5 (aka heavy field loads). Standard barrel, no screw in choke, just built in modified choke. It was in midflight and it stopped instantly like it hit a brick wall. Dead before it hit the ground. Shot placement is the key. Yeah ammo, camo, and having the best gun in the world for turkey all help tons, but shot placement is very important. Also knowing how to be really quiet is important.
Ar-Bandit  [Member]
1/25/2010 2:53:03 PM EST
Originally Posted By supremeweasel67:

Originally Posted By HeliBoy:
Thanks Guys. So my 18" barrel is fine? Just use some Turkey loads camo myself well, and shoot for the head/neck area.


Wish it was that easy.



Yeah, you and me both lol.
Mak  [Team Member]
2/20/2010 6:53:50 PM EST
We took 3 turkeys last fall with my old Remington 870 Express with a aftermarket extra full turkey choke using Remington 3" magnum #5. Killed each of them dead. Tried the over/under one day with full choke shooting high brass 2 3/4" #4 shot and both barrels didn't put a bird down to stay.

I patterned the shotgun with the turkey targets you can print off online. I think I was shooting at 40 yards to the target. In real life I don't think one of the turkeys was farther than 15 to 20 yards.

Took the 88 year old father out and got him his first turkey.




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