Probably the two most often asked questions are:
1- What choke tube do I need?
2- What shell should I use?
I will discuss the shell first as I think that it does to a large degree dictate the choke tube.
First and foremost you want a premium quality shell as it is next to impossible to get good long range patterns out of the cheap stuff. End of that discussion!
My preference, based on shooting quite a few turkey loads over the years would be the tungsten alloy loads. All of the major shotshell manufacturers offer these shells such as Federal Heavyweight, Remington HD, Winchester High Density Extended Range and the original, Environ-Metal Heavy Shot. All of these will give tight patterns right out of the box but in order to find what works best in your gun you will have to pattern and see.
I have always used # 6 size tungsten and these are proven to work. If it is legal in your area Federal has a # 7 size shot that absolutely saturates the target. If you prefer lead go with a 5 or 6 as I don’t see a need to go with smaller size shot. It doesn’t take a large amount of energy to penetrate a turkey’s skull and these have worked well over the years.
My starting point for the choke tube is always use an extended version like the Trulock Precision Hunter as they will give tighter more consistent patterns than flush style chokes.
In the most popular brands I suggest the below:
Beretta and Benelli Mobil style- PHBER12660
Beretta Optima Plus-PHOP12668
Benelli Crio Plus-PHCRP12660
Browning Invector Plus-PHIP12670
Remington Rem Choke-PHREM12665
Winchester Win Choke- PHWIN12665
Pick your shell, pick your choke tube and go pattern your gun. I strongly suggest using a padded rest and a very large target, 3 or 4 foot square. You will then be able to see the dense portion of the pattern even if your gun does not shoot to point of aim (some shotguns will not) I also suggest that you shoot some at 20/30/40 yards as the pattern size will change by a large degree at the different distances. The pattern can be so small it becomes easy to miss at close range.
For more information on patterning see our blog on Basic Choke Information.
If you decide you want to try the Federal # 7 Heavyweight or you are currently using this load, please know that Trulock has developed a line of turkey choke tubes in our most popular designs specifically for this shell.
Federal 3 inch Heavyweight # 7 Pattern
40 Yards Using A Trulock Fed # 7 Choke Tube