Preparing for Turkey Hunting
Turkey hunting requires a full or extra full choke with a shot at the head and neck. Many experts recommend a pattern which delivers 100 pellets within a 10 inch circle at the aim point. Turkey loads are typically 5 shot lead or 6 shot tungsten alloy or buffered lead. If you are not properly sighted in, you will have serious problems using a full or extra full choke.
1. Identify your point of impact (POI) from a bench rest. With a full choke you need to make sure you are aiming well. Average 3 shots at 3 targets to determine your POI offset from your aim point. Three targets is normally enough, but if you see inconsistency or a significant offset, you should figure it out and shoot again. If you are shooting more than 3 inches of offset at 40 yards, you should seriously consider a sight adjustment.
2. Pattern – For Turkey, patterns are tight, a good buffered load will rarely put more than a couple pellets outside the 30 inch circle at 40 yards. For this reason, normal NRA patterning standards don't always apply for your choke calculation. Turn on the killzone mapping and set the game to turkey and a 10 inch custom circle. The turkey size is set differently than other game selections. It is set to 2.7". This is basically a size that accounts for at least 3 pellets in the lethal region.
3. Practice – Most shots will not be made from a bench rest. When you know your offset and pattern, you can practice on either the pattern targets or the smaller (and less expensive) KillZone targets. When practicing, you want to see 100 pellets within a 10 inch circle at the aim point. Return to large targets when your pellet numbers fall off. Good luck.