Turkey Choke Tube Considerations
By Greg Tubbs | PUBLISHED April 27th, 2022
We are currently in the golden age of Turkey, technology! Let's face it. There's something available for all budgets and styles of hunting. Whether you want to chase gobblers up close and personal with a .410 or reach out and touch one with a 10 gauge. There are a ton of choke, load, and gun options available!
With the limited amounts of ammo available on the shelves lately. 12 gauge shells are the most attainable. 20 gauge was available in limited quantity at the local sporting goods store. The lowest cost and mid-priced options sold out quickly. The most expensive loads are left for those who are desperate and in need. Are they worth spending $50-$75 (for 5 rounds)? Possibly! These are the Tungsten crushers capable of clean kills out to 60 yards! This is, of course, with the right choke tube!
Choke tubes are the main component to giving your shot its deviation. No matter what gun or shotshell you use. The wrong choke tube can give you too wide of a pattern with lots of fliers. Good tubes tighten up your shot string and pattern to put the payload in the kill zone! No matter if you're shooting the budget rounds or the premium TSS loads. If you have the right choke tube. All loads will do the job at lethal and ethical distances. So.. What should I get?
There are several manufacturers on the market. Some of the most highly available options are from Carlson's. They have two different Turkey Tubes available. The Full Turkey and the Longbeard XR, and I've shot both. The best results were with the Longbeard XR using a 12 gauge, 3" number 5, Winchester Longbeard XR out of my old 870. This was a mid-price point shell with the most expensive tube. I shot several different loads through this tube with slightly varying results. All were acceptable out to 45 yards. This is about as far as I feel comfortable with this setup.
Our Co-host on the Okayest Hunter Podcast, Derek Malcore, runs a Winchester XSP with an Indian Creek choke tube. Talk about a deadly, purpose-driven scattergun! This gun sports a super short, 24" barrel. You don't need a long barrel. Take advantage of the maneuverability of the shorter gun! It's hard to go wrong with today's modern ammunition and super-tight choke tubes!
You'll find out when you are stuck behind an obstacle and need to swing around it. I have had plenty of up-close encounters with gobblers and couldn't swing the long gun to make the shot.
I am taking a youth 20 gauge with a 26" barrel and Indian Creek tube at the business end this year. The shorter stock makes it easier to swing and shoot in awkward positions. It's also a joy to carry on long walks. Spending the money on a quality choke tube will allow you to run a shorter gun and most any load you buy. Be sure to test it out on some cardboard at a distance first!
Good luck out there! Be safe!