Best Caliber For Turkey Hunting 
Every year, tens of thousands of hunters take to the field in search of the bird that Benjamin Franklin thought should have been our national symbol: the turkey. It’s a good thing we didn’t take his advice, because if we did, then no one would know the thrill of a turkey hunt and the satisfaction that comes with feeding yourself or your family with a bird that you harvested.
Turkey hunters are all too familiar with the unique challenges that come with pursuing a bird that is surprisingly intelligent. To set yourself up for success, you’ve got to have the right gun and caliber if you want to leave the field with a turkey slung over your shoulder.
Which Gun Should You Hunt For Turkey With?
Determining which gun you should choose for turkey hunting is really all about personal preference. Some people choose to hunt with a pump shotgun while others use a semi-automatic shotgun. There are also people who go afield with a single-shot shotgun. Those are all good choices.
Really and truly, there’s no one right gun to use on a turkey hunt that fits the needs of every hunter. Instead, the right gun is the one that fits you personally, is in a gauge or caliber that you can handle, and is one that you are capable of making a clean shot with time and time again.
BAG THE PERFECT TOM WITH THESE 9 TURKEY HUNTING TIPS
Our Picks For The Best Calibers For Turkey Hunting
Just as there is no one-size-fits-all choice in terms of the gun you should be using, there’s also no one right caliber or gauge that you have to select. With that in mind, there definitely are some popular ones that rise to the top of the heap and you really can’t go wrong with any of them so long as you understand the benefits and drawbacks.
So, here are our picks for the best gauges for turkey hunting.
Without a doubt, the 12 gauge is the most popular shotshell for use by turkey hunters – and it has been for more than a century. The reasons for this are plentiful. Of all the gauges out there, 12 gauge shotshells are the easiest to find and the most affordable (both of which are relative these days, but still…). You can also get them in 2 3/4″, 3″, and even 3 1/2″ lengths for those of you who really want to pack a punch and reach out to touch a bird. Keep in mind, though, that a 12 gauge shotgun is going to be big and heavy by comparison with the other options on this list.
For all the benefits of the 12 gauge, there’s one resounding drawback: recoil – especially if you’re using 3 1/2″ shells. You can definitely cut down on the recoil by choosing to use a 20 gauge and you get the added benefit of the gun itself being lighter, which is perfect for physically smaller or younger shooters. With all the advancements in shot pellet materials, wad technology, and chokes, there’s no reason you can’t have incredibly similar results with a 3″ 20 gauge shell as you would with a 3 1/2″ 12 gauge shell. Cost and availability should also be considered, as 20 gauge shotshells are a bit more expensive than their 12 gauge counterparts, but the rise in popularity has led to them being easier to find on shelves.
Since .410 shotshells are the smallest option out there, they provide the least amount of recoil, but they’re also more limited in range. Up until recently, using a .410 bore shotshell on a turkey was something reserved only for the incredibly skilled hunter who was able to call in a turkey at a very close range and make a fantastic shot. That has all changed. Again, advancements in pellets, wads, and chokes have led to the rise of dedicated .410 bore turkey hunters. If you know the limitations of your gun, your shotshell, and your own abilities, there’s no reason that you can’t humanely harvest a turkey with a .410 bore shotshell.
The Best Caliber: It’s Up to You!
As we mentioned before, there’s no one perfect caliber or gauge for turkey hunting. It all comes down to you, and while that might sound a little intimidating at first, it’s actually quite freeing. You have the freedom to shoot a variety of different guns in different gauges with different loads and then decide which one is best for you. Better yet, you can choose from multiple different gauges and setups depending on the specific kind of hunt you’re undertaking.
If you know another turkey hunter, there’s a very good chance that they’ll be more than happy to tell you all about why they chose a specific gun, caliber, and load. There’s also a good chance that they’ll let you try it out. Shooters and hunters are nothing if not ecstatic about sharing their passions and that usually extends to sharing what they shoot. Go ahead and ask!
Hunt For Your Next Turkey Suppressed
Hunting for your next turkey with a suppressor on your shotgun is definitely a unique experience and you should totally try it out if you haven’t. It does, however, come with a catch. Shotgun suppressors are much fewer and farther between than rifle or pistol suppressors. While your selection will be more limited, your experience won’t be.
If you’re ready to take your next turkey with a suppressed shotgun, then get ahold of us here at Silencer Central today, and let’s make it a reality.
Silencer Central is licensed to sell suppressors in all 42 states where they are legal. We’ve been doing this all day, every day for more than 15 years, and have sold countless thousands of suppressors – including ones for shotguns – in that time.
Let us handle the entire purchase process for you and even deliver your suppressor right to your front door once it’s been approved. It really doesn’t get any better than that, so what are you waiting for?LEARN MORE ABOUT HUNTING SUPPRESSED