8 Great Turkey Hunting Shotguns
From the affordable to the extravagant, these scatterguns rule the spring turkey season
A few decades ago turkey hunters used the same shotgun to drop a tom that they used to hunt ducks, doves, and upland game. But times have changed and now manufacturers are making specialized gobbler guns. The new generation of turkey shotguns feature adjustable synthetic stocks, lost-in-the-woods camo dips, shorter barrels, specialized chokes, and upgraded sights and optics. All these upgrades are designed to help you shoot more accurately and effectively at longer ranges. If you’re in the market for a new gobbler gun this spring, here eight can’t-miss options.
Remington 870 Express ShurShot Synthetic Turkey
Ideal for those who want an affordable, dependable turkey gun, the 870 Express ShurShot offers Remington’s classic 870 action with a short (21-inch) barrel and a comfortable ShurShot synthetic pistol grip stock. The matte finish on the metalwork and Mossy Oak Obsession camo dip on the stock won’t bust birds, and the receiver is drilled and tapped if you elect to mount an optic. The chamber accommodates shells up to 3 inches and a Turkey Extra Full Rem Choke comes standard.
Browning BPS NWTF
The BPS turned 40 years old last year, and the NWTF model is a favorite among turkey hunters because it combines the rugged reliability of a pump-action with the concealment of a Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camo dip. The Browning’s bottom feeding/ejection and tang-mounted safety make this a truly ambidextrous gobbler gun. This is a hefty shotgun—the 3 ½-inch model weighs 7 pounds, 14 ounces—but that weight helps manage felt recoil from magnum turkey loads.
The 24-inch barrel is topped with a HI-VIZ 4-in-1 fiber optic bead and the receiver is drilled and tapped for mounting an optic. If the 12-gauge version doesn’t offer enough oomph for you, there’s also a 10-gauge model that tips the scales at a shade over 10 pounds.
Weatherby SA-459 Turkey
Weatherby is mostly known for bolt-action rifles and magnum cartridges, but the company has also been selling shotguns for more than 50 years. The Flying W’s turkey gun, the SA-459 Turkey, comes with a long list of features including a CNC machined aluminum receiver, chrome plated bolt, and chrome-lined bore, rubberized pistol grip, a fiber optic front bead, and a removable Picatinny rail.
The dual-valve gas system is effective at reducing the recoil, and that’s a good thing because the SA-459 is one of the lightest turkey guns on the list (the 12-gauge version weighs 6 ¾ pounds, the 20-gauge weighs just 6 ¼ pounds). The gun is covered with Realtree XTRA Green camo and the 22-inch barrel comes with an extended, extra-full choke tube.
Everything you need to know to pick out the best shotgun for the big birds, plus three good choices in three price ranges.
Stoeger M3000/M3500 SteadyGrip
In 2015, I was part of a group of hunters that used Stoeger M3000 shotguns to hunt doves in Argentina. Over the course of three days, I fired roughly 4,000 rounds through the M3000 without an issue. Very, very few turkey hunters will ever put that many shells through their gobbler gun but that test speaks to the reliability of these Stoegers.
The M3000 and its 3 ½-inch, 12-gauge counterpart the M3500 utilize the Inertia-Driven action perfected by parent company Benelli, and a dearth of moving parts is one of the factors that makes these guns so reliable. The turkey hunting models of the M3000 and M3500 both come with a Realtree APG camo dip and SteadyGrip pistol grip for added comfort and stability when touching off magnum loads, and both guns have 24-inch barrels with red fiber optic front sights and three choke tubes (IC, M, XFT). The 3-inch gun weighs 7.3 pounds, and the 3 ½-inch version weighs 7.5.
Winchester SX4 NWTF Cantilever Turkey
The new-for-2017 SX4 weighs less than its predecessor the SX3 thanks to the use of high-strength, low-mass polymers that are tougher than the aluminum parts they replace. The SX4 also comes with an oversized bolt handle, bolt release button, and safety that make operation simpler when wearing gloves. The NWTF Cantilever Turkey version, which debuted at SHOT Show 2018, is available in 12-gauge and comes with a 24-inch barrel with hard chrome plated bore.
There’s a TRUGLO fiber optic front sight and adjustable rear sight, and as the name implies, there’s a Weaver-style cantilever rail that makes it easy to mount an optic. Included stock spacers allow for adjustable fit and the Inflex recoil pad helps reduce felt recoil. The 3 ½-inch chambered SX4 weighs 7 pounds, 8 ounces. If you buy one of these guns, a portion of the purchase price is donated back to NWTF for their conservation efforts.
Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag Recoil Reduction System
Mossberg was the first company to offer a 3 ½-inch magnum shotgun, and the company is once again breaking new ground by offering their magnum shotgun with a high-tech recoil reduction system. By interrupting the recoil wave with what Mossberg calls counter-phase technology, the Matthews, Inc. recoil reduction system drops felt recoil by as much as 20%, according to the company.
There are two interchangeable comb height inserts included as well. The adjustable three-dot fiber optic sights work well in just about any light condition, but if you choose to mount an optic, the receiver is drilled and tapped. Mossberg’s reputation for producing reliable pump guns is well-deserved, and the tang-mounted sliding bar safety is ideal for turkey hunting.
The 835 Ulti-Mag is covered in Mossy Oak Obsession camo from stem to stern, and with a weight of 8.5 pounds and the recoil reducing properties of the Matthews system, this gun makes firing 3 ½-inch magnum loads surprisingly manageable.
Browning Cynergy Ultimate Turkey
Over/unders are well-suited for turkey hunting because they offer instant barrel/choke selection. For shooting a long-range bird you select the barrel with the tighter choke, then for close-range gobblers you select the barrel with a more open choke. Browning’s Cynergy Ultimate Turkey is one of the few dedicated stack-barrel gobbler guns, but it’s loaded with features that make it a very appealing option.
These 3 ½-inch guns come with five Invector-Plus choke tubes (extended Ultimate Full Turkey, Spreader, IC, M, and F), a Marble Arms Bullseye rear sight and fiber optic front sight, and a full Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camo dip. There’s a short Picatinny rail for mounting a red dot sight and the synthetic stock is adjustable for proper eye alignment and a comfortable fit.
Benelli Performance Shop M2 Turkey Edition 20 Gauge
The Performance Shop Turkey Edition is a tricked-out version of the M2 Inertia-Driven semiauto shotgun. Each gun comes from the factory fitted with a Burris FastFire II red dot sight pre-mounted as well as computer printouts that show points of impact on 10-, 20-, and 30-inch circles—something no other company offers.
The 20-gauge M2 Turkey Edition is covered in Realtree APG camo and weighs in at just 6.2 pounds. Thanks to the ComforTech stock, though, recoil levels are manageable even when firing magnum loads. The M2 Turkey 20-gauge comes with a 3-inch chamber. The 24-inch barrel makes this gun very maneuverable in the woods or a blind. If you’re looking for the ultimate lightweight turkey killer, this is it.
These mistakes shooters make cost them targets and birds. A clays coach and shotgun expert reveals what he’s seen.