What is the best turkey choke?
The one that patterns best from your gun with your load at the range you shoot turkeys at.
Article over. Everyone go home.
In all seriousness, there is no “best” turkey choke for everyone. But don’t despair. With these four easy steps, I will show you how to figure out which choke you should use to meet your needs.
Before we even get into the process of selecting a turkey choke for your shotgun, I recommend testing your gun with the factory full or extra-full choke if it came with one. If it patterns well, it can save you some money and time. If it doesn’t, you will at least have a baseline for any aftermarket chokes you test going forward.
Now, let’s jump into the four steps to choosing the best turkey choke for you.
Step 1- Identify what you need from a turkey choke
There are three primary factors you will need to consider before you begin shopping for a turkey choke: gun, shell load, and effective range. If you haven’t chosen a gun or load for turkey hunting yet, I recommend reading this article. If you’ve already read the article, or you already know what gun and load you plan to shoot, continue reading.
Gun- Chances are, if you’re looking for the best turkey hunting choke, you already have a gun. Great! That takes care of that.
Remember that every gun shoots differently, but guns with the same brand shoot similarly. You will also need to know what brand and model you shoot to make sure you get the thread on the choke right.
Shell- This factor is much more difficult. You will want to match your choke to your load. In most cases, the choke that shoots Winchester Long Beard XR best is not the same as the choke that shoots Federal Premium Heavyweight TSS loads the best. Pick your shell first and you will go a long way toward narrowing down your choke choices.
Range- Just as one choke does not shoot all loads perfectly, there is not one choke that shoots a great pattern at all ranges.
If you choose a choke that can put a ton of shot in a 10-inch circle at 40 yards, that same choke is going to be very easy to miss at 20 yards because the pattern will likely be very tight. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a modified choke will likely have too dispersed of a pattern at 40 yards
Think about where you hunt, and try to figure out at what range you will likely be shooting turkeys at.
Now, remember this information as you will need it for step 2.
Step 2-Search Old Gobbler for the Best Turkey Choke
Take the information you gathered in step 1 and use it to search the pages of Old Gobbler. If you’re not familiar with Old Gobbler, it is a community of turkey hunters from all over the country will all levels of experience. There is a lot of information contained on its pages.
We will use Old Gobbler to get a lead on some chokes that may work with your gun and load. To do this, go to Google and enter “[Your gun] best choke site:oldgobbler.com.” The screengrab below shows my results for a Benelli Super Black Eagle (SBE).
After you’ve read through some of the results. Try it again, but this time with the load you plan to shoot. It would look like “[Your load] best choke site:oldgobbler.com.”
Hopefully, you’ve now got a shortlist of chokes that may work well with your gun and load. Use this for step 3 of finding the best turkey choke for you.
Step 3- Choose a manufacturer and contact them
At this point, let’s contact some of the manufacturers of the chokes we learned about in step 2. Ask them for a choke recommendation based on the information you gathered in step 1.
Most manufacturers will have a variety of choke models, constrictions, ported/non-ported, extended/flush options to choose from. This can be overwhelming for your average consumer. Therefore, manufacturers are used to explaining and helping customers in the market for a choke.
If a manufacturer is not willing to take the time to discuss its product with you, then just move on to the next choke on your list. However, the following list features some of the most reputable turkey choke companies in the industry. Give one or two a call to see what ideas they have for you.
- Jeb’s Choke Tubes– 912-375-5456, www.jebschokes.com/contact-us/
- Indian Creek– 573-824-5555, https://indiancreekss.com/customer-service/
- Trulock– 800-293-9402, https://trulockchokes.com/contact_us/
- Carlson’s– 785-626-3700, https://www.choketube.com/choke-tube-help-articles-R.php
- Sumtoy– 912-237-4360, https://www.sumtoycustoms.com/index.php/contact-us
- Primos– 800-423-3537, https://www.primos.com/primos-customer-service/po-customer-support.html
- Briley– 713-932-6995, https://www.briley.com/t-service.aspx
Step 4-Test turkey chokes with your gun and load
This is where the fun begins. We finally get to put some turkey shot downrange.
If you’re lucky, you have a friend or some other local resource to test some turkey shotgun choke tubes before you buy them. Look for trade shows or promotional events put on by your state’s wildlife management division which sometimes offer opportunities to test different chokes and loads in your gun.
You may have no other choice but to buy the choke tube before you test it. Hopefully, you’ve done the research in the previous steps where you can feel pretty confident in your purchase. If it doesn’t work out, you should be able to resell the choke through the classifieds or Ebay for only a slight loss.
To test your choke you will need your gun, your factory full choke if you haven’t already tested it, your test aftermarket choke, ammo (a variety if you’re not set on a load yet), a rest, and targets. Always wear safety glasses and hearing protection when shooting firearms.
You can purchase a stand and professionally made turkey targets or you can just use old election/real estate signs with cheap poster board taped over them. You can draw your own turkey head or just measure out a ten-inch diameter circle on it. You can also print out free online targets.
Setup your target 15 yards downrange to start. I always use a cheaper bird shotshell to make sure my sights are lined up with my point of impact. Shoot a round off the rest to eliminate as much human error as possible. Adjust your sights to the center of the pattern shown on your target.
Next, move your target out to 25 yards. Repeat the procedure above to make sure your aim is still true. Now try one of your turkey loads.
What does your pattern look like? Is there a fairly even distribution of shot through the center of the pattern? Are you able to get enough pellets in the vitals of a turkey? Is the pattern so tight that there is a high likelihood of you missing a turkey at this range?
Move the target out to 40 and test your pattern again. If you are happy with what you are doing to the target at this point, you have likely found the best turkey choke for you! Feel free to experiment at different yardages to know what your gun, choke, and shell will do from these ranges.
If you were not satisfied with the choke you tried, all is not lost. Try some different shells to see if you get better results. If that doesn’t work, you probably need to try a different choke. Go through the steps again until you find the best turkey choke to suit your needs.
- Shorter barrel guns can generally handle more constriction than longer barrel guns.
- 3.5-inch shells are generally better with less constriction than a 3-inch shell.
- Heavier-than-lead shot will usually pattern tighter than lead shot.
- Ported chokes are louder, but have less felt recoil than non-ported chokes.
- Ported chokes tend to strip the wad away from the shot. Depending on the shell you are shooting, this may or may not help your patterns.
- There is evidence that extended chokes pattern better than flush chokes.
Finding the best turkey choke for your shotgun is important when you are trying to shoot a turkey head the size of a tennis ball bobbing around at 40 yards.
If you follow the steps outlined above, you should find a choke that will give you confidence every time you go to the woods. When you are ready to purchase a choke, I recommend checking out OpticsPlanet for some of the best prices on turkey choke tubes.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like reading about why the 20 gauge is growing in popularity.