Shot Size ?

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Jrhunter25
 
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Shot Size ?

Postby Jrhunter25 » December 10th, 2013, 8:59 pm

What is a good general shot size for turkey at 10-40 yards ? I know the bigger the shot the less amount of pellets, the smaller the shot the more pellets. I have heard 5 is the best compromise between shot size and amount of pellets. Is this true ? What is your opinion is the best shot size ?

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kygobbler
 
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Re: Shot Size ?

Postby kygobbler » December 11th, 2013, 12:01 am

If you scroll down in this section and read "effective range of #6 shot on gobbler ". It has some good info on the different sizes of pellets and the effects of them.

Basically it comes down to what works best in the gun and choke that you are using. For me, I like using #5's because its in the middle. Although my state law says you can only use 4,5, or 6.
Image

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hawglips
 
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Re: Shot Size ?

Postby hawglips » December 16th, 2013, 5:04 pm

What's the best shot size? It's a good question, and the answer isn't really that straight-forward. Because a lot of factors come into play, not the least of which is what type of shot you'll be using.

This question has been around a long time. Lovett Williams in his book Wild Turkey Hunting and Management dedicates a few pages to this question. Perhaps counterintuitively to new hunters asking the question, he says that bigger is not better. He says, "If you use [lead] 4s by force of habit, testing [lead] 5s, 6s and 7-1/2s will be enlightening - the smaller shot size has greater effective killing range." And based on my personal testing, I'd tend to agree with him, generally speaking.

To some folks, that may be counterintuitive. But to those who have spent much time at the range, I don't think it will be. And the reason for this is what I tend to call the pattern/penetration gap, for lack of a better term.

In his book Williams has an illustration on page 168 that goes a long way to help us visualize it. He compares lead #6s with lead #2 (but don't get hung up on his opinion of what constitutes a "good pattern"):

Image

You can see that in his opinion lead #6s are better than lead #2s, because you have longer effective killing range based on pattern density, while at the same time you have a shorter range at which the pattern is too sparse for effective killing. But yet individual pellets still retain enough energy to harm the turkey without killing it immediately so you as a hunter can recover it.

That gap between sufficient pattern density and range at which individual pellets still retain a sufficient penetration energy is what I'm calling the pattern/penetration gap. IMO, in order to maximize your shotshell's effectiveness, the hunter should consider his combo's pattern/penetration gap, and take that into consideration when he's deciding what to shoot at live turkeys.

So, what is the optimal shot size for turkeys? Well, of course the first piece of information we need to know in order to answer that is what type of shot you are shooting. Because the answer will vary greatly depending on that.

Everybody knows I prefer to shoot the 18g/cc shot, but what size 18g/cc shot I prefer varies depending on what kind of payload and gauge I'm shooting. For the twelve gauge, I lean towards 8-1/2s as being about optimal for heavy 2 oz loads. If I'm shooting a lighter 12 gauge load or 20 gauge, I tend to lean towards #9s. And if I'm shooting a small bore (28 or .410), I like 9-1/2s. In each of these cases the reason my shot size preference varies is due to the pattern/penetration gap. Any pattern that has sufficient density but lacks sufficient pellet penetration energy, is wasting potential. And any pellet size that has has sufficient penetration energy but lacks sufficient pattern density, is wasting potential.

So, what shot size is optimal for turkey? Here's my 2 cents, assuming a typical heavy 12 gauge load unless otherwise noted, and keeping in mind that the effective killing performance of the "optimal" sized pellets will vary greatly from one shot type to another:

steel shot: #3
lead shot: #5-#6
Hevi shot: #6
Heavyweight: #7 (#7-1/2 or #8 if they had it)
TSS: #8-1/2 (heavy 12 gauge); #9 (light 12 and 20 gauge); #9-1/2 (28 ga and .410)

Pattern density can be easily and objectively measured at the range. And pellet penetration energy is easily made known with the available ballistics programs like KPY. So, in order to make the choice, it's just a matter of deciding on the minimum standard for both pattern density and pellet penetration energy, and you're ready to go.

There you have it - brought to you by the pattern/penetration gap.

air leak
 
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Re: Shot Size ?

Postby air leak » December 26th, 2013, 11:27 am

Number 4 shot hits with more power than number 6 shot, @ 40 yards. That is the only thing that matters to me.

10 years ago, when I started turkey hunting, I bought a box of 12 gauge, Remington Magnum Turkey Loads, 3 inch mag, 2oz of # 4 Copperplated shot. Set a turkey target at 40 yards, and fired one shell..nice tight pattern. I haven't wasted another minute trying anything else. I have killed more than a dozen birds real dead with these shells, some out to 45+ yards.

My 2 sons use this same load, and between the both of them, add another 1/2 dozen birds.

Turkeys can't count, and turkeys don't care how many pellets are in a 10 inch paper circle @ 40 yards.

Just my 2 cents.

spurs202
 
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Re: Shot Size ?

Postby spurs202 » January 16th, 2014, 7:23 am

I've been shooting 3" 12ga Duplex 4x6's for years. First (and foremost)- they pattern superbly with my BPS factory Turkey choke. Second - very consistent. I test it each spring and haven't found they need to change anything. "One shot-that's all".
I have confidence in the load. I stocked up the inventory.
Never had to play "find the choke" game. Patterns better than 4's or 6's. I've tried 5's, heavy shot, etc just as an experiment. Just personally, I never engaged in the "long range" chase. Just find the load that patterns best.
I'm experimenting with the Knight TK 2000 to work up a load of "duplex" this spring. Should be interesting. I did learn that the max charge on this puppy is like shooting a 300 Win mag without a recoil pad.

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retranger
 
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Re: Shot Size ?

Postby retranger » January 16th, 2014, 7:55 am

I have a mossberg 935 turkey and have been shooting winchester turkey loads, 3 inch #5 and have never had a problem and killed birds out to 40 yards. Guess everything just worked right for me. :D
What works for me may not work for you and what works today may not work tomorrow
Doug <- <- ~<- <- <- ~ <-

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allaboutshooting
 
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Re: Shot Size ?

Postby allaboutshooting » January 18th, 2014, 10:37 am

As I've read these replies, I'm reminded again of how important it is for each of us to pattern our guns and find what works for us. Once we've settled on a shotshell/choke combination that may be all that's needed. Firing a shot or so before each season, just to make sure everything works as we remember, may be all that's needed.

For others, the quest to find even better loads may continue and trips to the range to pattern their guns is just another part of the hunting experience.

There's plenty of room for both.

Thanks,
Clark
"If he's out of range, it just means that he has another day and so do you."

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dawei
 
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Re: Shot Size ?

Postby dawei » April 7th, 2014, 12:15 pm

air leak wrote:Number 4 shot hits with more power than number 6 shot, @ 40 yards. That is the only thing that matters to me.

10 years ago, when I started turkey hunting, I bought a box of 12 gauge, Remington Magnum Turkey Loads, 3 inch mag, 2oz of # 4 Copperplated shot. Set a turkey target at 40 yards, and fired one shell..nice tight pattern. I haven't wasted another minute trying anything else. I have killed more than a dozen birds real dead with these shells, some out to 45+ yards.

My 2 sons use this same load, and between the both of them, add another 1/2 dozen birds.

Turkeys can't count, and turkeys don't care how many pellets are in a 10 inch paper circle @ 40 yards.

Just my 2 cents.
Me too; I have always used #4Pb & I'm sticking with it, albeit with Winchester® ammunition, and in 20ga. The Hevi•Shot®, Wingmaster HD®, Heavyweight™ is just too expensive for my taste.
David
Only two defining forces have ever died for you:
1. Jesus Christ.
2. The American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & Marine.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

1Cross + 3Nails = 4Given

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grizzly
 
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Re: Shot Size ?

Postby grizzly » April 7th, 2014, 4:28 pm

Depends on what gun i'm using if it's my mossy batam 20 I use Remington nitros in 5s or 6s in 3 inch if it's my Ithaca 37 in 12 guage I use fed game shoks in 5s, 2and3/4 inch . I try to keep all my shots 30 yards or under . with those combos both guns have served me well....wayne

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Cut N Run
 
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Re: Shot Size ?

Postby Cut N Run » April 27th, 2014, 8:09 am

I never could get Remington shells to shoot worth a flip out of my turkey guns. The pattern density was erratic and not reliable enough to hunt with. They do great for some guys, not me. The Federal #5s and #6s did fine for me until they changed up the wad configuration and I bailed on them too. I had really good success with 1&3/4 oz. Winchester Supreme #6s for years, but once I realized how much more impressive patterns were with the Hevi #6s or #7 shot performance was over lead shot, it forced me to give up lead all together. I got equally impressive results from the Federal Heavyweights over lead out of my fixed choke gun.

Lead shot will kill turkeys all day long, just like it has for a few hundred years now. I'm not a huge fan of the expense of Hevi shot over the cost of conventional lead shot. I never used to think about how much it cost me each time I pulled the trigger. Ultimately, as a responsible hunter, it is our obligation to make as lethal and humane kill on the game we pursue as possible. Turn the tables and imagine you were the one being hunted. Wouldn't you want your pursuer to take you out as quickly and painlessly as possible over the possibility of injuring you first? Even though Hevi (or Heavyweight) shot costs more money per round, it is hands down the most effective factory loaded pellet at dispatching turkeys at normal hunting ranges that I've tried. I have not ever shot the TSS, though the pellet weight per cubic centimeter of TSS exceeds Hevi and Heavyweight shot, so science and common sense says, it is even more effective at producing denser, lethal patterns, which equals efficient kills.

I'm not looking to try to force you to spend more money on your hunting hobby (passion, addiction, obsession, you choose) because lead shot works like it is designed to. By the time you drop your cash on specialized turkey gun, choke, camo, blind, decoys, license fees, etc. your wallet is already significantly lighter than it started out. Add in the cost of scouting, fuel, and lease fees. With all that, isn't the shotgun pellet the only real connection between you and that gobbler (unless you bowhunt only)? Shouldn't your pellet performance be what matters the most? How many times do you shoot at a turkey during the season anyway?

My experience turkey hunting has gone from using an inexpensive single shot shooting non-plated lead shot when I first started, to a high end semi-auto with a red dot sight (the sight alone cost more than 2 times what my old single shot did when it was new), shooting high tech heavier than lead shot. I don't kill turkeys any more dead than I used to, but my effective kill range has expanded (even though I haven't needed it yet, it is available), but I have yet to cripple or lose a turkey I shot with Hevi shot and that can't be said for the lead ammo I used to hunt with. I'm sure that as long as I keep turkey hunting, I'll eventually wound or lose a turkey, but that hasn't come close to happening yet. I'm doing all I can to be as lethal a hunter as I can be.

Just sayin'.

Jim
Luck Counts, good or bad

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