If you are a turkey gobbler standing within 50 yards of my location, #7 is your most unlucky number. For many turkey hunters the historical discussion about shot size for spring gobblers is the choice between #4 and #6 shot. The larger #4 shot size has greater mass, penetration, and range, while the somewhat smaller #6 provides a denser pattern, more shot, and lethality at 40 yards. Those who can’t choose, usually opt for #5 as a good compromise between the two.
Enter the world of heavier-than-lead shot and the difference is like comparing digital to analog. Heavier-than-lead alloy pellets pattern well and provide here-to-for unheard of pattern density at maximum range using #7 shot. Last spring I heard a distant gobbler that would not approach so I picked a spot and after an hour of periodic calling lured the boss tom’s flock within 20 yards. As hens walked over a knoll, the birds bunched up such that I got one precise opportunity and, thanks to a Nikon Scope, put all the #7’s in the head and neck of that longbeard.
This spring I’m testing Mossberg’s new 835-Ulti-Mag Recoil Reduction System shotgun and with the season opener just a few days away hastily patterned the gun. Mossberg has teamed up with the Matthews Harmonic Dampening technology as a means of reducing recoil. The system works well and the pattern results were amazing. Comparing the 12-gauge, 3-in. Federal #7 Heavyweight to standard #5 turkey loads at 40 yards was day and night different, with the 7’s putting many times the pellets on target. For kicks and giggles, I tested the Mossberg/Federal combo at 50 yards and the pattern was astounding. Not only did I receive a dense, lethal result, but every pellet buried out of sight into the plywood target backing. I’m certainly not recommending that hunters take long shots at turkey, yet if I misjudge my maximum 40-yard range, I have “insurance”. Number 7 and the year 2013 could be very unlucky for a local tom. For more information check www.mossberg.com and www.federalpremium.com