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Dial in Your Shotgun — For Those Close Shots!

Optimal shotgun sighting systems ensure than you get your very best patterns, whether you’re shooting 40 yards — or 4 yards. (Photo: HowardCommunications.com)

The Benefits of Advanced Sighting Systems 

By Bill Miller

Though I shot my first turkey with a Remington 870 made in the late 1950s that my dad passed down to me, I’m sold on the idea of hunting turkeys with a shotgun set up specifically for the pursuit. What’s equally important is using a turkey-specific sighting system that’s more substantial than one or two beads on top of a ventilated rib. However, I’ll bet it’s not for the reason you probably think.

The most fun you can have in turkey hunting and, perhaps in the entire outdoors, is calling a turkey in close. The rush of having a bird inside of 10 yards is nearly indescribable.

Personally, the closest bird I’ve ever shot was at four steps. I was shooting my Thompson/Center Encore Pro Hunter with its 12 gauge barrel in place. The turkey rig was topped off with a Williams ghost-ring peep sight, and I was shooting Federal’s Heavyweight Turkey 3-inch No. 7s.

When I took the exceedingly short stroll to recover that bird, I discovered a near miss, as there was a tiny semi-circle of that tom’s head missing behind and above his eye. It was no bigger than half of a 50-cent piece. Had I not patterned and sighted-in that gun, choke and load combo before that hunt, chances are I would have missed that bird completely.

Adjustable sights on a turkey gun are not about killing birds at long range where the pattern spreads and allows a larger margin of error. In fact, the opposite is true. Advanced sighting systems are about precision, like that of a slug-sized pattern that’s only a matter of feet in front of the muzzle.

So, the next time you pattern and sight-in your turkey gun at 30 or 40 yards, don’t forget to test and adjust for what happens at 20 yards and in, too. You’ll be glad you did.


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