Turkey hunting in North America is a time-honored tradition, and it was being observed by the natives of the continent well before anyone sought to mistake it for India or settle it. A quick anecdote: I have such vivid memories of my father, all dressed up, lying down, making turkey calls. Oh, we weren’t hunting; he was just funny like that. But seriously, folks…
Turkey shotguns come in many gauges, sizes, and calibers. Turkey-oriented models – often ones with camo finishes – are available from a wide range of manufacturers. Why? Because when you are hunting these big birds, you may find that while a turkey can be harvested with any ol’ shotgun, the situation would greatly benefit from a firearm that is more than just up for the task. The turkey-models are designed to facilitate quicker and easier target acquisition and allow you to take that shot and make it count. Many companies feel they have the secret to creating a great gobbler gun, and here are our top five turkey-hunting shotguns, not ranked in any particular way.
This is another shotgun manufacturer owned by Beretta. They have done an amazing job acquiring some of the finest firearms makers out there, and the Stoeger is another example of that. Chambered in 3” (there is also the 3500 at 3.5”), it has a 24” barrel, and is designed to maximize stability with a pistol grip.
This shotgun comes with 3 choke tubes, so you can get very close and personal with it, in accordance with your preferences and conditions. One of the advantages of being a part of Beretta Holdings, is that you have the technology of Benelli and Uberti at your disposal. This is how Beretta has managed to innovate continuously, and they are still doing great work. MSRP $559.
Remington 870 ShurShot Turkey
This is a variation on Remington’s classic 870, and it stands out as being an accessible and affordable system. This shotgun can chamber 3-inch loads, and it comes with a standard extra full Remington choke. The shotgun’s finish is a classic mossy oak and will keep your targets from scattering. Turkeys have very sharp eyes, which is why
Ideal for those who want an affordable, dependable turkey gun, the 870 Express ShurShot offers Remington’s classic 870 action with a short (21-inch) barrel and a comfortable ShurShot synthetic pistol grip stock. The matte finish on the metalwork and Mossy Oak Obsession camo dip on the stock won’t scatter the flock, and the receiver is drilled and tapped if you elect to mount an optic. The chamber accommodates shells up to 3 inches and a Turkey Extra Full Rem Choke comes standard. MSRP $536
Browning – whether we’re talking about the man or the company – needs no introduction. The BPS, which stands for Browning Pump Shotgun, is now over 40 years old. But you know what they say: the classics never die. And in the case of this shotgun, that is certainly true. There are many variants of this weapon, and most of them will fit the bill. Some have been discontinued, but the most turkey-hunt-oriented of the bunch is probably the NWTF (National Wild Turkey Federation) model.
This 10-gauge model, chambered in 3.5”, with a 24” barrel and 3 chokes included (M, IC, and EFT), is a real viable option. It is expensive, true, but Browning has the right to charge that much, because they deliver. You get what you pay for, you know? And in this case, what you get is one of the most efficient and field-tested shotguns in the industry. MSRP $1029
Riding on the wave of its predecessor Sx3, this newer model (from 2017-2018) is faster, more reliable, and physically lighter. It is an autoloading shotgun, and it makes for quicker handling and shouldering when time is of the essence. The Sx4 has several variants, and the one best suited for gobble-gobble getting is the NWTF version.
A 12-gauge shotgun, chambered in 3.5”, along with a 24” barrel – the NWTF model comes with an invector-plus extended choke system as a standard, and an extra full turkey choke. The front sight on this turkey gun is fiber optic TRUGLO, and it is designed for quick cleaning and maintaining. The controls are accessible, the materials are rugged and durable, and the entire system is built for hunting these big birds. MSRP $939
I saved the best for last. I say this is “the best”, but obviously I am being biased. Benelli will always have a special place in my heart, and I am pretty sure that that is not going to change anytime soon. However, high prices don’t always equal high-quality nor high-performance. It is a matter of taste and experience, more than anything. Hunting turkeys is an art. I know, I know, all hunting is an art. But I feel that with turkeys, there is more to it.
Benelli’s Performance Shop M2 Turkey Edition is a shotgun that people have been requesting for a long time, though they were probably not aware of it. When Benelli came out with this model in 2017, it was alongside two other hunting-oriented M2 editions. Available in 12-gauge and 20-gauge, this model has everything you could ask for in a gobbler: 24” barrel, Burris sight, 3+1 capacity, variety of included chokes, and the Benelli standards – ComforTech and SteadyGrip stock, and Benelli’s Inertia Driven system. If you can afford it, it is a powerful asset and a great addition to your hunting arsenal. MSRP $3,399
Hunting can be a lot of fun, and should be a lot of fun, regardless of your success or failure in the field. A lot of it has to do with simple traditions, with bonding, with the lifestyle, and with the energy you have running through your veins, your heart, and your mind, as you zero in on that Tom, let the air out of your lungs, and pull that trigger. Turkey hunting doesn’t need to make a “comeback”, since it never really left. In recent years, the wild turkey population has been growing rapidly (thanks to conservation efforts), and the NWTF has been doing great work in that area.
The shotguns on this list are by no means the only options. Get out there, do some hands-on research, and see what fits you best. Even the most expensive shotgun in the world is not worth it, if you are not feeling comfortable with it. It is never about the price, and always about the level of confidence and comfort you have. From shotguns that cost several hundred to those costing several thousand, it comes down to you. It is all about you, your chosen gun, and your style of hunting. No matter what weapon you use, make it your own.
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