There’s some big news this week from Federal this week that might have an impact on your spring turkey season.

The ammo company has revamped its turkey shotshell lineup with a bunch of new products. Revamped might not be the right word, as all previously available turkey products int heir lineup have been replaced with loads in three product families: Grand Slam; 3rd Degree, and HEAVYWEIGHT TSS.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s new, including a .410 shell that can put plenty of pellets on target at typical hunting distances, which I can attest to personally, but more on that later.

Here’s what different about the new turkey shell lineup”

Wads

The new FlightControl wads include reinforced fins that slow the shotcup down to help ensure separation from the payload at the precisely right time.
The new FlightControl wads include reinforced fins that slow the shotcup down to help ensure separation from the payload at the precisely right time.mfg photo

All of the new shells include the company’s FliteControl Flex wad, which was developed for the company’s redesigned Black Cloud waterfowl shells.

The wad is designed to improve pattern density and consistency through both ported and non-ported chokes—important for turkey hunters.

The wad has brake fins that deploy at the rear and vents on the sides which “stimulate the payload for separation from the wad at precisely the right moment for the densest, most consistent patterns possible.”

Those brake fins have been reinforced to make sure the wad slows down enough or an ideal separation, which can be a problem when using ported choke tubes, which decrease pressure by venting gas to the sides.

The new fins help to mitigate that problem, for more reliable separation.

Changes to the HEAVYWEIGHTs

All the old HeavyWeight turkey loads have been replaced with new TSS loads.
All the old HEAVYWEIGHT turkey loads have been replaced with new TSS loads.mfg photo

The Grand Slam and HEAVYWEIGHT TSS shells will both use buffered shot and a roll crimp.

“Buffer evenly distributes the ignition force throughout the payload, allowing for uniform separation of the shot at muzzle exit,” said Federal Premium Shotshell Engineer Adam Moser in a release. “Buffering lead shot also helps reduce pellet deformation caused by ignition forces.”

The roll crimp then helps provide even compression of the payload for more consistent ballistics and pattern efficiency. It also makes sure the entire buffer stays sealed inside the hull.

The roll crimp then helps provide even compression of the payload for more consistent ballistics and pattern efficiency.
The roll crimp on the Grand Slam and HEAVYWEIGHT TSS shells helps provide even compression of the payload for more consistent ballistics and pattern efficiency.mfg photo

In what is a pretty cool touch for turkey hunters, all the new 12- 20-gauge shells will feature improved hull printing so you can actually still read the lettering after it’s been in and out of a gun and shell holders a few times and left in a turkey vest since last season.

Plus, each one has a small measuring scale in 1/8th inch increments so hunters can measure spurs in the field, and take a photo of the spur next to the hull and immediately text it to all their hunting buddies.

About The Tungsten

New Grand Slam shotshells extend the range and lethality of conventional turkey payloads.
New Grand Slam shotshells extend the range and lethality of conventional turkey payloads.mfg photo

Yes, the old HEAVYWEIGHT loads are gone, so here’s a bit about the TSS, or Tungsten Super Shot, which is already a part of Federal’s 3rd Degree loads introduced in the past few years.

Federal says the TSS shot is more than 20 percent denser than its previous HeaveyWeight shot, which has a density of about 15 grams per cm3. Additionally, tungsten is 56 percent denser than lead.

“TSS is an allow comprised primarily of tungsten. It has a density of 18 grams per cubic centimeter and is harder than steel. The increased density retains velocity, and the hardness prevents pellet deformation, which improves pattern efficiency and penetration.”

The new 3rd Degree shells include TSS pellets.
The new 3rd Degree shells include TSS pellets.mfg photo

All this works to extend the lethal rang of the shell’s payload. The increased density also means a smaller pellet delivers the same amount of energy as a larger lead shot pellet.

Federal says a No. 9 HEAVYWEIGHT TSS pellet carries at least as much penetration energy as a No. 5 lead pellet at all ranges.

That means you can up the pellet count, without making the hull longer, which in turn leads to better pattern density.

A 13/16-ounce load of No. 9 TSS has about 295 pellets, and a 1-1/8-ounce load carries about 408 pellets. A 2-ounce load of No. 4 lead only has about 270 pellets. That’s a significant difference.

Here are some more eye-popping numbers:

  • A 1-1/2-ounce load of No. 7 TSS has 282 pellets

  • A 1-3/4-ounce load has 330 pellets

  • A 2-1/4-ounce lod has 423 pellets

  • With No.9 TSS shot, a 1-3/-ounce load has 635 pellets, and a 2-1/4-ounce load has a staggering 814 pellets.

And finally, all that means it’s possible to create an effective .410 shell for turkey hunting.

I recently got a chance to test out this new .410 HEAVYWEIGHT TSS turkey load at the NWTF Palmetto Shooting Complex in South Carolina. Below you can see the pattern from a .410 shell fired from a 20-inch single-shot Henry Arms shotgun at 40 yards with a full choke.

That’s one dead bird.

The pattern on a turkey target at 40 yards with the new .410 HeavyWeight TSS load.
The pattern on a turkey target at 40 yards with the new .410 HEAVYWEIGHT TSS load.author photo

Here’s a breakdown of all the new loads:

HEAVYWEIGHT TSS

Federal's new HeavyWeight TSS Shotshells.
Federal's new HEAVYWEIGHT TSS Shotshells.mfg photo

These shotshells represent a big upgrade from anything previously available, letting you kill gobblers farther than you ever thought possible. Payloads of No. 7 or 9 TSS shot provide the highest possible pellet counts—in many cases, more than double those lead loads of the same weight. The shot’s 18 gram per cubic centimeter density provides optimum energy and the highest velocities at long ranges. The full-length, rear-braking FLITECONTROL FLEX wad protects the barrel as TSS travels down it. This wad provides the tightest, most consistent patterns possible through ported and standard choke tubes, maximizing the number of pellets in a 10-inch circle at 40 yards. Note, the .410 load does not feature the FLITECONTROL FLEX wad. Instead, it uses a specialized, full-length wad designed to prevent direct contact of TSS with the barrel.

The shells come in five-count packs, and a portion of all proceeds is donated to the National Wild Turkey Federation.

When developing the new shotshells, Federal Premium’s engineers set out to create loads using small TSS pellets in 12- and 20-gauge and .410 that rival what handloaders have achieved.

The .410 offering might surprise some folks, but Shotshell Product Line Manager Dan Compton said it shouldn’t, as TSS pellets’ incredible density are perfect for sub-gauge shotshells.

“TSS pellets make hunting turkeys with a .410 a very viable option,” he said. “It provides the performance of conventional 12-gauge loads with a significant drop in recoil.”

Features & Benefits

• HEAVYWEIGHT TSS payload with advanced buffering material

• As much as twice the pellet count of lead No. 5 loads of the same weight

• 22 percent denser material than standard tungsten; 56 percent denser than lead

• FLITECONTROL FLEX wad provides extremely tight, consistent patterns through standard and ported turkey chokes*

• Roll crimp and clear card wad keeps buffering material in place

• Full-length wads prevent direct contact of the extra-hard pellets and the bore, protecting the barrel

• 5-count pack

• 12-gauge, 20-gauge and .410 loads available

• A portion of the proceeds are donated to the National Wild Turkey Federation

Available Loads:

Shell Gauge Length Load Muzzle Velocity MSRP
HEAVYWEIGHT TSS 12 3 ½-inch 2 ¼-ounce, 7 shot 1200 fps $49.95
HEAVYWEIGHT TSS 12 3 ½-inch 2 ¼-ounce, 9 shot 1200 fps $49.95
HEAVYWEIGHT TSS 12 3-inch 1 ¾-ounce, 7 shot 1200 fps $44.95
HEAVYWEIGHT TSS 12 3-inch 1 ¾-ounce, 9 shot 1200 fps $44.95
HEAVYWEIGHT TSS 20 3-inch 1 ½-ounce, 7 shot 1200 fps $35.95
HEAVYWEIGHT TSS 20 3-inch 1 ½-ounce, 7 shot 1000 fps $29.95
HEAVYWEIGHT TSS , .410 3-inch 13/16-ounce, 9 shot 1100 fps $29.95

Grand Slam

New Grand Slam shotshells extend the range and lethality of conventional turkey payloads.
New Grand Slam shotshells extend the range and lethality of conventional turkey payloads.mfg photo

New Grand Slam shotshells extend the range and lethality of conventional turkey payloads, putting as many pellets as possible in a 10-inch circle without breaking the bank. Federal Premium engineers wanted a shell that performed comparably to other high-end lead offerings while maintaining the former Mag-Shok price point.

Grand Slam shells use high-quality copper-plated lead pellets that produce dense patterns and ample energy. The shot is delivered via the FLITECONTROL FLEX wad, which opens from the rear and allows a controlled release of the load, resulting in thick, even patterns through standard and ported chokes. Also, buffering prevents pellet deformation for more consistent patterns.

Grand Slam is available in 10-count packs.

Features & Benefits

• FLITECONTROL FLEX wad ensures dense patterns through both standard and ported turkey chokes

• Copper-plated lead shot

• Buffering prevents pellet deformation for more consistent patterns

• Roll crimp and clear card wad keep buffering in place

• A portion of the proceeds are donated to the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)

• 10-count pack

Available Loads:

Shell Gauge Length Load Muzzle Velocity MSRP
Grand Slam 10 3 ½-inch 2-ounce, 4 shot 1200 fps $23.95
Grand Slam 10 3 ½-inch 2-ounce 5 shot 1200 fps | $23.95
Grand Slam 12 3 ½-inch 2-ounce, 4 shot 1200 fps $23.95
Grand Slam 12 3 ½-inch 2-ounce, 5 shot 1200 fps $23.95
Grand Slam 12 3 ½-inch 2-ounce, 6 shot 1200 fps $23.95
Grand Slam 12 3-inch 1 3/4-ounce, 4 shot 1200 fps $19.95
Grand Slam 12 3-inch 1 3/4-ounce, 5 shot 1200 fps $19.95
Grand Slam 12 3-inch 1 3/4-ounce, 6 shot 1200 fps $19.95
Grand Slam 12 2 ¾-inch 1 1/2-ounce, 5 shot 1200 fps $16.95
Grand Slam 20 3-inch 1 5/16-ounce, 5 shot 1185 fps $14.95

3rd Degree with HEAVYWEIGHT TSS

Federal's 3rd Degree shells use a three-stage payload that makes them effective for close turkeys as well as birds at 40 to 50 yards.
Federal's 3rd Degree shells use a three-stage payload that makes them effective for close turkeys as well as birds at 40 to 50 yards.mfg photo

Turkey hunters are already familiar with the proven concept and performance of 3rd Degree, which uses a three-stage payload that makes you far less likely to miss close turkeys but can still kill birds at 40 to 50 yards with appropriate chokes. Now this revolutionary shell is even better.

New 3rd Degree payloads are comprised of 40 percent No. 7 HEAVYWEIGHT TSS shot, 20 percent No. 6 FLITESTOPPER lead and 40 percent No. 5 Premium lead. The No. 6 lead pellets form a forgiving close-range pattern, the copper-plated No. 5 lead delivers lethal performance at mid-ranges, and the No. 7 TSS pellets allow dense, lethal patterns at 40-plus yards. And the new FLITECONTROL FLEX wad works with ported and non-ported chokes to maximize the characteristics of each shot type, opening from the rear and staying with the shot column longer than conventional wads to deliver full, consistent patterns.

3rd Degree shells hold three different sizes of pellets, which allows it to score kills on close turkeys and birds at 40 to 50 yards as well.
3rd Degree shells hold three different sizes of pellets, which allows it to score kills on close turkeys and birds at 40 to 50 yards as well.mfg photo

3rd Degree HEAVYWEIGHT TSS shells are available in five-count packs, with a portion of sales going to the NWTF.

Features & Benefits

• FLITECONTROL FLEX wad works in all standard and ported turkey chokes and maximizes the flight characteristics of all three shot types

• Three-stage payload creates optimal patterns for the entire range spectrum

• 20 percent No. 6 FLITESTOPPER pellets for forgiving close-range patterns

• 40 percent copper-plated No. 5 lead for lethal performance at mid-range

• 40 percent HEAVYWEIGHT TSS for extra-dense, high-energy patterns at 40-plus yards

• A portion of the proceeds are donated to the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)

• 5-count pack

Available Loads:

Shell Gauge Length Load Muzzle Velocity MSRP
3rd Degree 12-gauge 3 1/2-inch 2-ounce, 5-6-7 shot 1250 fps $25.95
3rd Degree 12-gauge 3-inch 1 3/4-ounce, 5-6-7 shot 1250 fps $22.95
3rd Degree 20-gauge 3-inch 1 7/16-ounce, 5-6-7 shot 1100 fps $21.95