Top Tips For Patterning Your Turkey Gun
The deer and waterfowl seasons have come and gone. With cold fronts sweeping through in the months of February and March, turkey season is the light at the end of the tunnel. If you're anything like us, you probably already have that itch to start preparing for an epic season of gobbler chasing. If nothing else, it helps us get through the days when the fish just aren't biting!
One of the most important aspects of preparing for a successful turkey season is getting your shotgun dialed in. Shots at wild turkey are hard-earned, and you certainly don't want to waste all of your hard work because you failed to take the time to pattern your gun before the season. Below we have some of our best tips for patterning your turkey gun this season.
1. Make sure to use a bench rest or shooting stick for initial testing, even if you feel you are a dead-eye.
2. Pattern your gun/choke/ammo combos at a variety of ranges, focusing on distances that you most often find yourself shooting from.
3. Keep in mind that blustery days will have an effect on your shot, especially at longer distances. A crosswind blowing at just 10mph can shift the point of impact 5 inches at 40 yards and up to 9 inches at 50 yards. Dialing in any optics in a situation like this can lead to double the error when on a real hunt with a crosswind in the opposite direction.
4. A good pattern will have at least 20 pellets in the vital neck and head area. As few as 4 pellets in this area can usually get the job done, but we don't like leaving it to chance.
5. You may look a bit silly doing it, but it can be great practice to run some sprints before picking up your gun to shoot at that turkey pattern. The sprints get the heart rate elevated to mimic a real-life turkey hunting situation, and may convince you that a shooting stick may be a good piece of equipment to bring along on your hunts.
6. For heavier loads (4s/5s), try starting with a bit less constriction than you would for a lighter load. The smallest of changes in constriction, usually ranging from modified to super full, can have massive impacts on patterns. *try a bit more constriction for guns with shorter barrels, too, like the popular Remington 870
7. Pattern with friends, as this will give you access to different choke tubes and ammo without breaking the bank. Just make sure that your thread patterns match up when exchanging choke tubes to try out!
8. Make sure to write down your gun/choke/ammo/distance combo on each target you shoot so that you can reference them later. Be as specific as possible.
9. Take care of your ears by wearing some form of protection. Nobody needs ringing ears getting in the way of hearing a gobbler coming your way once the season starts!