The 2019 spring turkey season kicked off with me eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to go head to head with a Tennessee turkey while looking down the barrel of a new gun. For the first time since my childhood, the gun slung over my shoulder would be a .20 gauge. I was excited for a new challenge, but also the fact that the little gun I had built was so light and hunter friendly. After several weeks of turkey season being in full swing, I’ve had the opportunity to take a few turkeys with a Mossberg .20 gauge pump shotgun. A gun that is quickly becoming my new favorite turkey gun.
For as long as I can remember, turkey hunters toted a .12 gauge shotgun as their weapon of choice when going to battle with turkeys. It was the gun I naturally gravitated to when I came of age and was ready to outfit myself as a turkey hunter. The .12 gauge shotgun has long been considered the standard among turkey hunters across the country, but with advancements in equipment and turkey loads, the .20 gauge shotgun is beginning to turn a lot of heads among turkey hunters. In fact, there have never been as many hunters gravitating to the lighter load than there are these days. It beckons the question, “Is the .20 gauge the new perfect turkey gun?”
What are some of the characteristics that tend to draw hunters to the .20 gauge for turkeys? Here’s a look at the basics when it comes to the features that are drawing hunters to the .20 gauge as the new perfect turkey hunting gun.
A lot of turkey hunters are discovering the .20 gauge to be the new perfect turkey hunting gun.
Turkey hunters cover a lot of ground each spring in search of birds. It only makes sense to lighten the load on their back. One way to do this is with a lighter gun. That’s just one area where the .20 gauge can shine. The Mossberg 500 shotgun in .12 gauge will way in around 7.25 pounds, while the little Mini 510 Youth Super Bantam I’ve been toting to the woods weighs in over 2 pounds lighter at just 5 pounds. Yes, it’s a youth model gun. But with the addition of an adjustable stock, it’s become quite the turkey thumper, in a super lightweight package. It’s easy on the back and a pleasure to carry on all-day hunts.
I was a mile back into the timber when I killed this turkey. A super-light gun was a welcomed feature for the long walk out with a bird over my shoulder.
There’s a variety of lighter shotshell loads available for the .20 gauge these days that make the gun a pleasure to shoot for youngsters and older turkey hunters alike. Sure, you can load up the heavy loads and punish your shoulder with the recoil for a little extra reach, but in most cases, the lighter, super efficient .20 gauge loads are more than enough to get the job done on your bird.
As mentioned, I added an adjustable stock to my youth model .20 gauge to make it the perfect gun for my whole family. With the stock slid forward, my youngest son can easily shoulder the gun. When I’m up to bat in the turkey woods, I simply slide the stock back to fit me and I’m good to go. I can go with lighter loads for them, or shoot heavier loads if I want more for myself. The .20 gauge is simply a well-rounded gun with ample versatility to meet the needs of shooters of all sizes.
A .20 gauge is super versatile gun, working equally well for kids and adults.
Plenty of Power
With today’s popular TSS turkey loads, the .20 gauge is more than enough to pack the power we once only knew available in a .12 gauge shotgun. It wasn’t too many years ago that 40 yards was the standard range available to the shotgun hunter with a .12 gauge. However, with the advancements in today’s turkey loads, 40 and 50 yard shots on turkeys with the .20 gauge are the norm, and 60 yard+ shots are not uncommon. It’s amazing to see the power the little .20 gauge can punch these days with the right load combination.
TSS is the hottest thing going these days for getting long-range results, even with a smaller gun.
Is the .20 gauge the new perfect turkey gun? Well, you’ll have to decide that for yourself. But if you’re looking for a gun that’s easy on the hunter, but tough on the turkeys and more versatile than anything out there, you can’t go wrong with adding the .20 gauge to your arsenal this spring.