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2201 SW 152nd Street, Suite #3
Burien, WA 98166
USA

Birchwood Casey Turkey Targets

When the opening day of turkey season finally arrives, it’s time to grab your shotgun and head to the field right? It’s just a matter of calling that gobbler into shotgun range, pointing your shotgun and firing, and those shotshell pellets will bring him down, right?

Wrong. On both counts.

Pre-season is the time to grab your shotgun and head out to pattern your shotgun to see where it sends those pellets. Yes, there’s a lot of pellets flying at the target in a rough circular fashion and chances are some will intersect at some point with the turkey.

BIRCHWOOD CASEY: PATTERNING TARGETS

When the opening day of turkey season finally arrives, it’s time to grab your shotgun and head to the field right? It’s just a matter of calling that gobbler into shotgun range, pointing your shotgun and firing, and those shotshell pellets will bring him down, right?

Wrong. On both counts.

Pre-season is the time to grab your shotgun and head out to pattern your shotgun to see where it sends those pellets. Yes, there’s a lot of pellets flying at the target in a rough circular fashion and chances are some will intersect at some point with the turkey.

But will it be an efficient, killing shot? Or a potentially crippling shot that lets a wounded turkey get away?

An ethical hunter strives for a quick, humane kill and in turkey hunting that means delivering a killing blow to the turkey’s vital section, the neck and head. Take either of those out with a well-placed shot and you’ve got your turkey dinner.

Not all shotguns shoot alike; not all shotshells produce the same patterns. Changing choke tubes can effect patterns and impact points. For all these reasons, it is important to test fire your shotgun to see how shotshells pattern with it and the choke tube you’ve chosen. Ideally, you’ll try different shotshell loads, maybe even brands, and possibly choke tubes, to determine the best, most effective combinations that, when correctly sighted in, centers the pattern on the vitals.

Using Birchwood Casey’s Pregame Splattering Targets takes the guesswork out of patterning your turkey gun. The targets feature a full-color image of a turkey with the brain and spinal column in the neck highlighted. Plus, when the shot hits, it produces an impact splatter that is easy to see and, what’s better, the splatters are color-coded. Hits within the vital area are highly visible fluorescent red (outside the vital area, splatters are white), so you can quickly determine the effectiveness of your pattern.

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Get plenty of targets. They come in packets of three or in a kit with three targets, a stand and plastic backing board with tabs to hold the targets without tape or staples. And the backing board will hold up through quite a bit of testing.

Start with at least 50 or 60 yards of safe shooting area. You will want to shoot from a steady rest on a steady bench to take operator error out of the equation as much as possible. Start with targets set at 15 to 20 yards. Aim for the center of the neck. You can use less expensive target loads, making adjustments to your sight or scope to center the densest part of the pattern in the middle of the neck.

 

Then, switch to turkey loads or, better yet, try several different loads. A smart way to do that is to get each of several friends to buy a 10-pack of different loads and/or brands, then trade around so all of you can test the different shells to see which your shotgun likes the best.

Remember, bigger isn’t always the best. Try 3 ½-inch shells if you want, but don’t assume they’ll automatically outperform 3-inchers, or 2 ¾-inchers, for that matter. Let your testing determine that.

When you’re confident your shotgun is sighted in, set fresh targets at 30 yards and fire one round of each turkey load you want to test at each target. Keep track of distances and loads by writing them on the targets so you can revisit your evaluation later. Eliminate shotshells that aren’t measuring up.

Now, repeat the process five to 10 yards farther, then five to 10 yards farther than that. Some of the hot new turkey loads are proclaiming effectiveness at long distances. Patterning will prove or disprove that, and help you determine your effective range. Some like to see a minimum of 20 pellets solidly impacted in the vital head and neck areas. When you see fewer than that, you’ve gone too far. Go back to your last effective range and that should be the farthest you consider taking a shot.

After a thorough patterning session, you’ll be confident in your shotgun, shotshell and choke combination. And with that confidence, you can head to the field and concentrate on calling in that gobbler.