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Turkeys w/ 870 Express


jeffyo45

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Well, I got access to some land, now I just need to get a permit on the 15th.

But I also have some questions.

Does anyone or has anyone hunted turkeys with a plain old Remington 870 Express (not the super magnum unfortunately)? The reason I ask is I am looking for recomendations for which brand of shell, what size shot etc. to try. I plan on patterning before I go but at the same time don't want to spend a fortune buying different brands and sizes.

Also, does anyone have any recomendations for chokes? I bought a turkey choke a few years back at fleet farm that is specifically made for the 870 but I think I paid like $5 for it so it makes me think it might not be that great.

Lastly, can someone give me their input on whether I should wrap some camo tape on the gun to make it blend better?

Thanks for any help. I might finally get to make turkey hunting happen. Then it won't seem so long until fall.

May your beards be long and spurs longer!

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Jeffy... You're gun will work just fine. If it's not flat black I'd camo it up. One less thing for ol' Tom to pick up on when he's coming in that last few yards.

Don't worry to much about how much you paid for a choke. What counts is how it patterns. If it patterns well, it won't matter to "Jellyhead" how much the check was made out for. My buddy has 3 choke tubes and the least expensive of the 3 gives him the best pattern. Another buddy tried 4 tubes before he got one to pattern the way he liked. I ended buying one of his after trying them and found one that works well in my gun. All guns are different so trial and error is the best route to go.

As far as loads, I used to use Federal premium copper coated 4's, but have switched to Hevi-shot 5's or 6's. Awesome load nice patterns. A neat load would be Hevi-shot 4x6... maybe the shot size is a little to close for a duplex load, but I like the thought of having some additional pellet count with the 6's over 4's. Either way, I've put 'em down anywhere from 6 yards to 42 yards with no problem so I'm probably just over thinking this! grin.gif (one of the few times I actually think!)

Good luck on stalking that elusive leftover tag! Hope you bag one... Ken

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Your plain old 870 express will do fine killing turkeys. Not need to camo it as it comes with a matte black finish and should spook turkeys unless you're moving it around a lot.

As far as a choke goes there's lots of options. I'd try out you cheap turkey choke you already have with several different brands of shells and shot sizes. If you want to buy another choke there are lots out there. Hard to say what your gun will like. Every gun is different. Not every 870 express will like the same choke or shell. But here are some good ones that seem very popular. Comp-N-Choke, Hastings, Tru Glo, Rhino, H.S. Strut Undertaker, StarChoke, Briley, Remington, Primos. Prices will range from $18-$85 for these chokes. A lot will depend on the choke's constriction. A general rule of thumb is that chokes for a standard barrel(not overbored) with contrictions of .660 or tighter generally like #6 shot, .660 - .670 like #5 shot and .670 and more open like #4 shot. Of course these are just guidelines to start out with. Also if your shooting hevi-shot the more open chokes pattern well.

As far as shell brands go. A lot of guys like the Winchester HV loads. None of my guns will shoot them though. Federal has some good loads as does remignton. Nitro company have some killing custom loads both in hevi-shot and lead. But the price is killer too.

With chokes that shoot this tight guys often add a scope, red dot or fiber optic sights to their set up. They are a luxary unless you gun doesn't shoot straight. Then it's a necessity. I like the fiber optic sights myself.

You'll be looking to get a uniformed pattern. But look for a minimum of a 7 hit average in the spine and skull of a turkey target. You can buy these targets or find them online and print them out on your computer. If your interested I can Email you a couple of the targets I use. Otherwise you'll get one with your reg info from the MN DNR if you're succesful in getting a tag. Just copy a bunch of them off and your set.

Good Luck!

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Guys:

Great posts! There's not much left unsaid, but I'd like to reiterate and expand on some points based on my cousin's experience with the 870. I don't ever want to be preachy though.....so tell me when to shutup!!! grin.gif

-Hevi-shot - IMO it outperforms lead, hands down. It patterns better, putting more pellets in a tighter area, and holds a better pattern than lead. It hits harder, even at the end of your range. It is more expensive, but you spend $25 on a license, $100 on calls and videos, and pay how much for a gun? The winchester high velocity does work pretty well for lead, but still doesn't perform as well in my guns.

-constriction - Choke styles vary from wad-catching varieties to ported models, but IMO again, constriction is the primary factor that determines how well you're going to pattern. As Borch said, certain shells will not work with certain chokes in different guns, but stick to the recommended constriction for each manufacturers gun and you'll find a winner sooner or later. Remington recommends a constriction of .675 for their guns when using Hevi-shot, so stay around there. Remington makes their own Hevi-shot tube which works well, and the Undertaker HS (Hevi-shot) tube is a good one as well. Both have the "magic" .675 constriction.

-patterning - stick to the 3" shells in that gun, but experiment with different size shot (4-6) and the regular and high velocity if possible. Use the turkey target as Borch mentioned to measure pellet count in the kill zone, but also have a big paper target behind it to get an idea of how "tight" the pattern is. You could've flinched and missed the turkey target, but your load/choke/gun combination may be a winner due to how tight it is.

-High velocity vs. regular velocity loads - My opinion on this one varies between lead and hevi-shot. With lead, speed kills because it provides more ft./lbs. of energy....so those pellets that do strike true, hit harder and kill more efficiently. The speed comes at a price of reduced pellet count and more powder though, which is exactly why I flip opinions on the hevi-shot. Because the hevi-shot hits with more energy, the extra energy given by HV Hevi-shot IMO is overkill....and I'd rather have more pellets. The fastest load in the world won't kill a turkey if it patterns with holes, or your pellets are too few and far between. However, there's many that disagree with me on that one, so do your own testing and find which works best.

-what works for us - I'll give you a starting point so you don't have to blow too much money on shells. This is what works for two guys I hunt with that also have 870's:

1. 870 - .690 Remington full choke, 3" Hevi-shot reg. velocity #6's and #4's pattern well. ~260 pellets in a 20" circle with good density out to 45 yards. Can't recall the hits to the kill zone of a turkey.

2. 870 - .675 Remington Hevi-shot choke tube, 3" Hevi-shot reg. velocity #6's, #5's, and #4's patter decent, with #6's doing best. ~280 pellets in the circle is what I remember.

Both of these guys use #6's as the 1st shell or two in the chamber, then have #4's as backup. Should they miss and the turkey gives them another opportunity (hopefully not running) at further range, they've got a bit more power. Because my cousin has missed the past two years.....this has come in handy!!! smile.gif He shall remain un-named to protect his anonymity.

Joel


Joel

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I have a retired friend that lives in Illinois who travels the country hunting turkeys and thats what he uses is a 870 Express. He did get a custom choke put in and of course it is only a 3 inch and his farthest kill was 55 yards. Winchester Supremes is what he uses. I think your 870 will work just fine. Spend some time patterning your gun and see what you like the best. good Luck! Brian

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Awesome advice guys. I have to dig out the tube that I have and check the constriction. If I decide to go with the hevi-shot shells I am going to get an Undetaker HS choke. I also like the advice of having a #6 followed up by #4's. I do the same thing for pheasants.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Here's some info from a buddy of mine who's using the Nitro hevi-Shot loads and a Rhino Choke in his Winchester 1300.

I have tried over the years chokes by Hastings, NU-Line, Kick's, and Tru-Glo along with many brands of turkey loads as well. My alltime favorite was the tru-Glo choke sized .665 and the Winchester 3" HV 1 3/4oz of #5's. BUT!!! This has all changed last year when I got the Rhino choke sized .660 for my Win. 1300 along with Nitro Hevishot #H378 4X5X7 3" 1 7/8oz loads!! I was simply amazed at the results!!
316 pellets inside a 10" circle at 38 yards!! Here is the actual pattern target, I had to take a pic just so people could see for themselves!! This is the real deal, and I'm finally done looking for the ultimate choke/load.
wink.gif

fc5c1829.jpg

Simply amazing! shocked.gif

If you do see the pic just right click on it and click "Show Picture". It should come up then.

[This message has been edited by Borch (edited 03-09-2004).]

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I agree with everyone, 870 Express will do just fine. I've hunted 4 seasons (season H) and taken 3 birds with and old single shot 12 gauge (permanent full). I bought this gun about 15 years ago used for $20 and it's similar to the brand that Fleet Farm carries for about $80....break action single, hammer.

I knew it shot tight from it's use on 1 or 2 grouse hunts but I never really used it for much hunting as I have another single 12 and a 20 I prefer to use in the north woods.

Once I was picked for my first season, my group members and I bought up a number of shell types. Found out after shooting 4's, 4x6's, and 6's of different brands that Winchester number 6's held at 40 yards so that's what I use. Last bird was dumped at 42 yards with this gun. Just as important as a good pattern is to determine if the pattern is shifted in any direction. If you go with a scope you can correct this, but I like using the old fashioned BB on the end of the barrel.

Obviously, I don't get to whipped up into buying all the trinkets for each hunt nowadays. Hunting has gotten way too commecialized in my opinion and more often than not it's how you prepare for the hunt and what you do in the field up until you pull the trigger that counts...not the trigger itself. I have a number of shotguns including 2 pumps, one of which is a super-mag. But I'd rather tote a 12GA single 2 3/4 up and down the bluffs we hunt as opposed to a pump or auto any day of the week. That brings up my last point...no need for a follow up shot if you make the first one count!

This year I think I'm taking the bow....and no the single 12 is not for sale! ha!

Good luck!!

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Bagged my first bird 2 years ago with an 870, Undertaker Choke (0.665 constriction) and Remington 3" 6 shot copper plated turkey loads at about 25 yards. I patterned Winchester loads and they didn't pattern as well as the Remington through my gun, and 4's and 5's did not pattern nearly as well either.

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