How We Set Up Our Turkey Guns
There are few things cooler than a dialed in turkey gun. I’m talking aesthetics and practicality. Aesthetics because, well, life’s too short to hunt with an ugly gun. And practicality because each job requires the right tool. A turkey gun should be an efficient killer that fits your hunting style.
I’m breaking down my dad’s current turkey gun. I’ll walk through the gun, the optic, and the shell and choke combo. Maybe you’ll snag a few ideas to help you prep your gun for turkey season.
Dad chases dinosaurs with a Franchi Affinity 3 20ga. If you’ve never held an Affinity 20ga, they’re light. Most models weigh around six pounds. We do a lot of run-and-gun hunting in the Pennsylvania mountains. We’re up and down ridges to cover ground on public land. So, light guns are necessary for efficient movement through the woods, and they don’t wear you out as quickly. Modern ammo also negates the need for a 12ga to kill as effectively as possible. A good shot from a properly choked 20ga with tungsten rounds will drop a tom stone dead at 40 yards. The extra weight of a 12ga doesn’t provide an advantage with our hunting style and where we hunt.
We sent dad’s gun to Kinetic Gunwerks in Bethel, Pennsylvania for dipping and cerakoting. The stock got a Kuiu Verde hydrodip. The barrel and receiver got tungsten cerakote. It’s badass. We’re super pleased with the results and wouldn’t hesitate to send them more guns.
The Shells and The Choke
I love supporting other Pennsylvania shops. So, I was happy when the Patternmaster Code Black (.565 constriction) threw good patterns. We’ve tested various TSS and tungsten rounds and found that most 1 ⅜ oz or 1 ⅝ oz rounds with 8 ½ or 9 shot pattern well through a .565 choke. Since that’s the case, you have options – Apex, Foxtrot, Boss, or any other reputable ammo manufacturer has a load that fits the bill.
(P.S. We’ll be testing .565 and .575 constrictions with this set up in the coming weeks. So, stay tuned for that.)
We mounted the Burris FastFire 4 on dad’s Affinity because I have a long history with that optic. I’ve used a variation of the FastFire for over 10 years, starting with the FastFire 2 and progressing to the 3. Red dots have worked well for us. The sight picture gives us a better field of view, expanding our peripheral vision to see the whole bird rather than hyperfocusing through open sights. Red dots also give us more leeway with tighter choke constrictions. More control with point of aim and point of impact allows us to choke for a tighter pattern. Tighter patterns increase our effective range, giving us the confidence to take clean, 40 yard to 50 yard shots. We are militant about patterning our shell/choke combos and sighting in our red dots. We don’t just sling shot at long range without knowing our patterns and dialing in our zero.
You’ve likely noticed the optic base and wondered how to get your hands on one. Well, that’s a custom job made in house. But there are some great options for sale from different manufacturers. EGW and Sumtoy Customs make similar products that work well.
You might think I’m nuts for devoting an entire section to the sling, but a sling is a pivotal piece of equipment when dragging your gun around the earth for hours at a time. I love the Quake mini-claw. It’s light and comfortable. It also sticks to your shoulder with minimal sliding around. A sling seems like an after thought, maybe something you don’t need but is a convenience. That’s not so when you’re running and gunning. A good sling keeps you comfortable and saves energy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this breakdown of how we set up a turkey gun. And I hope it’s given you some ideas for your own set up. Feel free to fire over some questions about guns, shells and chokes, and optics for turkey hunting.