Backup loads

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Backup loads

Postby steelheadr » February 19th, 2009, 4:44 am

My friends and I use Fed Heavyweights because of the high energy in the heavier than lead shots.  I have used #5 shot and am totally happy with the results. I have gotten 16 birds with #5 and only needed a backup shot once. My friend uses #7 in the chamber and #5 in the magazine. He says he likes more bbs on the first shot and if he needs a backup shot he wants more knockdown power of #5's. I think with the more controlled first shot one should use the more powerful #5 and if a backup is needed at a running bird a hurried up shot with more bbs getting out there is better.  Any thoughts?

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RE: Backup loads

Postby shaman » February 19th, 2009, 5:34 am

I have heard more theories on this than I care to count.  I pattern best with #4 Federals and have kept it there for the most part for over 10 years.  This will be my first time patterning a new choke since 1996.

My personal feeling is that with only one barrel, it matters very little.  It has more to do with choke than load, and  a double-barrel is about the only way to really tailor a pattern-- i.e.  x-tra full choke in one barrel and full in the other. With two barrels, you can pick either of two loads and two chokes. I've toyed with the idea of switching to a SXS, but the pump seems to be my favorite choice.

Given one barrel, I'm fairly sure you can make a case for any number of combinations.  I remember one year putting #5 in for the first and backing up with #4. Then I missed a gobbler and decided to go back to #4. For a short while I had 2X6 duplex loads backed up with #4's.  In reality, it probably does not matter a hoot.  The vast majority of my gobblers have been taken within 20 yards. I've also lost more gobblers from having too tight a choke inside 20 than I've missed more turkeys outside 20 yards with too open a choke, regardless of shot size.

I will also say this:  in 26 seasons I've caught myself emptying my magazine at a fleeing gobbler only a few times, and the follow-up shots usually have gone for naught.  I can think of only one that succumbed to a second shot and none to the 3rd.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY

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RE: Backup loads

Postby wisturkeyhunter » February 19th, 2009, 6:39 am

I put 4 shells in my gun all the same. If you don't have the confidence in your chambered shell to stop a turkey perhaps you shouldn't be using that one. If the backup shell is better why not use that first.

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RE: Backup loads

Postby paboxcall » February 19th, 2009, 1:08 pm

ORIGINAL: TurkeyComander

If I miss a turkey on the first shot I figure he won.

me too.
"So much of this business of hunting turkeys, you stupid it up right at the last.
You do everything right for an hour and a half, and then you sit down here
and there's nothing you can do about it, you made a mistake."
Tom Kelly, [i]Turkey Tales

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RE: Backup loads

Postby mark hay » February 19th, 2009, 2:19 pm

my back up load is a little to the left of my first load ,,,,but i'm thinking that if i MISSED CLEAN ,,,i'll let him run . hunt him again. i used # 4's one season ,,,took two shots . it was a poor set up and i was still GREEN and felt like i had to shoot . i killed the bird , but i ain't good at judging distance looking over a gulley.

''old school turkey tactics ''

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RE: Backup loads

Postby tinker » February 19th, 2009, 4:38 pm

I use #5 Winchester Supreme all the way through. One in the pipe backed up with the same in the mag.
 They give me the pattern density of #6s with the pop of #4s on the business end.


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RE: Backup loads

Postby allaboutshooting » February 20th, 2009, 6:22 pm

Hey Fred,

I agree that this is pretty much a one shot sport. I think that anticipating taking a second or back up shot can also effect concentration on the first one. It's kind of like thinking about the second shot on a sporting clays course, while you're shooting the first bird. You're likely to miss both of them.

I also think that there's room for all kinds of thoughts about this game. I like hearing the different ones and have learned a lot just by listening to what someone else has to say.

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

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RE: Backup loads

Postby turkeylimb » March 10th, 2009, 12:28 pm


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