Can I use a 20 Gauge to Hunt Turkeys?
Yes, yes, yes. I grew up in a family that was all about the 12 gauge. As a small framed hunter, I have always been partial towards the first gun I ever got as a kid, a 20GA youth model shotgun. Nevertheless, the hunters in my family were always 12 gauge this and 12 gauge that. They gave off some kind of impression that the 12 gauge was the end all, say all for hunting. It would not be until I was much older that I started to release that the 20 gauge can actually be an advantage.
I first reverted back to a 20 gauge for Ruffed Grouse hunting. Someone told me that a lighter gun that I could shoulder quicker would make the world of difference on wing shooting- it did. When turkey season approached I started thinking about the idea of swapping over and trying a 20 gauge to hunt turkeys.
The 20 Gauge is Lighter to Hunt Turkeys
Some days we are doing a lot of “running and gunning” on birds. Covering miles with not only a shotgun but also film gear. This one hunt I decided to swap out my tank of a 12 gauge turkey set up for my 20 gauge Franchi Affinity, loaded up with a #4, 3” shell. We put some miles on that day and let me tell you that gun is light when you carry it from sunlight till afternoon closing.
Less Recoil from a 20 Gauge to Hunt Turkeys
Although the idea of less recoil is not always fully true. Keeping in mind the lighter in weight the gun actual is the less it will absorb the recoil. I have some 20 gauges that are as light as a feather and as a result the kick is not too far off from a 12 gauge. Though, however, if you put it at an equal set up to the 12 gauge, they will always kick less than a 12 gauge. This can make for not only easier handling but more importantly accuracy.
The 20 Gauge will put a Turkey Down
My first opportunity to shot a Turkey with a 20 gauge arrived on a nice old Tom in New Hampshire. At 30 yards standing broadside I let the shot rip. Now I know the gun did great on paper (check out Making the Shot Count) but I still had that 12 gauge stigma stuck in my head. Like there was some reason that the 20 gauge wouldn’t pack the punch needed to put a big old Tom on the ground. That day I broke the age old myth in my head of the 20 gauge versus the 12 gauge as I watched the Tom go down just as hard as any 12 gauge kill I had put on. Needless to say, this year I will be using a 20 gauge to hunt turkeys.