Would you take your bore sighted rifle to the deer woods without shooting it? It might not be rocket science but many avid turkey hunters want to know what the rig(gun/choke/shell) will or won't do at 40. I has alittle to do with ethics. Every year I hear stories on how someone had a bird coming in only to sqeeze the trigger and roll the bird. When I ask how their gun patterns, they usually shrug their shoulders. We had a guy(bragged the night before about who he hunted with-hunting celeb) in camp several years ago. Next morning he loading his gun with steel T's. Not only illegal where we were but no clue how the patterned. He said "turkey are about the size of a goose, aren't they?" Anyone burning ammo at the range, becoming more famaliar with their guns and supporting our sport that many would like to take away is OKAY in my book.
I think you've got a sensible argument for a sensible approach.
. . . I'm back. I decided to start over on this.
In these days of soaring ammo prices, soaring gas prices and flagging participation in the sport as a whole, the fact of the matter is you don't NEED to have a 50 yard gun to kill turkeys. Guys really don't need a 40 yard gun. Twenty yards used to be a reasonable starting place, back when I started turkey hunting.
One thing that sort of peaves me is the belief among many that without some extremely rarefied equipment, the turkeys will just laugh at you. In fact, one guy last year castigated me last year for allowing my son to go afield with a 20 gauge bolt-action that did well out to 25 yards. Never mind the fact that my son prefers to call them in to the end of his gun before he pulls the trigger.
The important thing with patterning is to know your gun. It does not have to be the absolute best, but you should pattern it to know where and how it shoots.
The old trick before turkey pattern targets became the vogue was a dixie cup on a stick with some newspaper behind it. The rule of thumb was 2 pellets in the dixie cup was a kill. You kept stepping back with the shotgun until you stopped getting pellts in the dixie cup and you knew that was past the point where your shotgun was effective. For a standard 12 GA trap gun with 2 3/4" shells that was usually somewhere between 30 and 40 yards. It would be usually less for other chamberings and chokes. Back then-- I'm talking the early 80's-- you just adjusted your game to the working distance of your shotgun.
In the past 20 years, we seem to have sent the paradigm on its head. Instead of working within the limits of the gun we all seem more worried about hitting further and further with denser and denser patterns. Meanwhile, the close-in game is starting to become an afterthought. That is a shame. This really should not be going to levels where folks think of it as rocket science.
I'm the last guy to be making Old-Schooler noises, but here's one place where I see the old fashioned mindset having the practical edge.