Frank wrote:Santa is likely going to deliver a 870 compact jr. 20 gauge to my son for christmas. The gun has an 18-3/4" barrel and we will want to install an extended turkey choke tube on it for spring gobbler hunting. I would like to know if anyone has experience with this gun and a proven load and choke combination.
Welcome to T&TH. I know you'll like it here. Lots of good folks who'll be as helpful as possible. It's a friendly place.
We have both 870 and 11-87 compact guns. Doris usually uses the 11-87 but is an 870 shooter most other times. Over the last 11 years especially, we've really concentrated on 20 gauge shotguns, seeing what works to maximize their performance.
We developed the "Swarm"
turkey choke and introduced it at the 2006 NWTF National Convention & Sport Show after that design set a World Record at the World Championship Still Target Shoot in October of 2005. It was designed strictly as a hunting choke but the record was nice as well. Doris used that choke to set a Women's World Record in 2006 and win her first World Championship in 2007. It's one I'd recommend.
We also have great results with the SSX 20 Gauge Turkey Choke. It was designed by Roger Burrell and while the internal geometry is quite different from the Swarm, results are pretty much identical in Rem-Choke guns. Doris has won 2 additional World Championships using the SSX.
I can not find any shell that is more consistent than the Hevi-13 shotshells from Environ-Metal. Their 3" shells with 1.25 oz. of #6 or #7 shot, through either of those chokes will make your son's gun a true 40 yard turkey gun.
Just so you know, we shoot those chokes because they deliver hunting patterns, a good 10" core pattern and a fringe 20" that allows for some turkey head movement. They work at 20 yards and at 40 yards.
Short barreled guns can present some challenges but with either of those chokes and the Hevi-13 shells, he'll be ready to head to the range and then the turkey woods.
Lastly, I'd recommend that before that gun is ever fired, you "deep clean" the bore. Guns come from the factory with dirty barrels and if you shoot it prior to that cleaning, you just bake-in the gunk and make it harder to clean later on and may never see the maximum performance from your gun.
I hope that helps some and again, welcome to the site.