Turkey Hunting: Testing The GearMarch 21st, 2014 by Adam Keith
It’s always important to take some time before every turkey season and pattern your shotgun. This year was a little more exciting than usual for Grant and me. Our usual routine consists of packing up the Caldwell Lead Sled and Stable Table, throwing in our Winchester Double X’s and heading to the field to take a few shots. We typically expect the same results as we use the same gear from one year to the next. Lucky for us we had a couple boxes of the new Winchester Longbeard XR this year, and our excitement was almost more than we could bear!
Arriving at our usual location we unloaded our target and stepped back to thirty yards and setup our Stable Table and Lead Sled. First we wanted to fire off our usual Double X ammo and see the results. Next came the fun part, shooting the new Longbeard ammo! WOW! Both of these loads certainly provided enough power to take down a tom at 30 yards but there was definitely a difference in the two. Next, we stepped back to forty yards away and prepared for more shooting. After shooting both Double X and Longbeard XR at forty yards we were grinning from ear to ear. Of course both would kill a turkey at that distance, but it was still exciting to see how they were different in pellet amounts. Longbeard XR had our attention!! Always wanting to “find the ropes,” so to speak, Grant and I started backing our gear up for a fifty yard shot. In years past we wouldn’t push our luck at this distance when shooting at turkeys, but seeing the performance we were getting out of the new load we wanted to see the results. At fifty yards the pattern was still incredible! Over twenty pellets in the head and neck! Stepping it back ten more yards I waited with anticipation as Grant loaded the gun and took aim. Hearing the blast of the shotgun, I looked down range and was shocked to see that there wasn’t much difference at all between our fifty and sixty yard patterns. “Why not try seventy yards?” Grant asked. Moving back to seventy yards we discussed that we would not consider taking a shot at a turkey at that distance, but we both wanted to see the pattern. At seventy yards with Winchester Longbeard XR ammo we had 14 pellets in a turkey head target! 14!! Grant and I looked at that target in disbelief and excitement. “How is this even possible?” I asked him. We stood there smiling, and as if we needed anymore help getting excited for turkey season, we had it.
Patterning shotguns is always an important part of preparing for turkey season. I hope you take the time this spring to pattern your shotgun. Hopefully you have as much fun as Grant and I did!
Daydreaming of gobbling turkeys!