Spring turkey season is fast approaching. If you don’t have a favorite gun to fill that early season tag, now is the time to hit your local gun shop and grab one of these proven gobbler getters. Here are a few of our favorites:
The SX3 is my personal go-to semi-automatic hunting shotgun, having taken everything from ducks to turkeys, geese to clays. I’ve tried the newer SX4 and for me the Belgium made SX3 is still the higher quality shotgun. Winchester’s self-adjusting active valve system is tried and true, meaning this gun cycles everything from 2-3/4” to 3-1/2” shells with neither adjustment nor hiccup. Best of all, this is one of the softest-recoiling and most durable semi-auto guns on the market today. With a 28” barrel, soft touch Mossy Oak camo patterns, and interchangeable Invector Plus chokes, the SX3 is built to hunt. Winchester is blowing out the SX3’s with rebates and sales meaning actual cost to consumer isn’t much over $650, so it’s the perfect time to buy low and shoot lots.
Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag
The 835 Ulti Mag pumps have been around for years, and in fact, were the first 3.5” pumps on the market. The new-for-2018 model All Purpose Field 835 is a true do-all shotgun. Like the SX3, all 835’s accept 2-3/4”, 3”, and 3.5” shells and mows through them all with ease. The All Purpose Field holds six rounds and is finished off in old-school Mossy Oak Bottomland camo, which blends in very well with both spring and fall timber. The 26” ventilated rib barrel is short enough for the thick turkey woods, yet long enough for doubling down on both waterfowl and clays. The package comes with three flush chokes, plus an extended X-Factor Ulti-Full choke for turkey hunting. Weighing in at 7.5 pounds empty, the gun recoils stoutly with 3.5” turkey rounds, but is still completely manageable and built for rugged use. Hunters can be confident that the 835 will not fail in the field. Though MSRP is set at $603, real world prices are closer to $499. If you prefer a dedicated combo, Mossberg offers another nice 835 option with the Turkey/Waterfowl combo with both 24” and 28” barrels in MOBU for a retail price of $661.
Remington 870 DM
We’re shooting the Magpul DM because it’s new, but more turkeys have fallen to the good ol’ tubular magazine 870 than will ever see this model afield. There are hunting-specific models in both the standard 870 and DM. The Magpul DM here with its 18.5” barrel is very maneuverable in the turkey woods, and the XS Ghost Ring sights acquire surprisingly well. Factory six round magazines provide plenty of firepower, but are both bulky and noisy when moving around. One major benefit to having two magazines is the ease in swapping types of ammo, but that is not of greatest use in the turkey woods. With an MSRP of $799 on the Magpul, and the hunting specific Predator DM as well, that’s steep for a camo-ed up pump. The standard model 870s are worth a long look at much lower prices, and those old guns have put plenty of fresh turkey in the freezer.
Though we haven’t had the chance to hunt with these, other options to consider include both the Mossberg 500 Turkey Thug with its adjustable buttstock & pistol grip, all wrapped in camo for the $500 price range and the CZ Swamp Magnum 3.5” chambered Over-Under, a reliable albeit pricey option at close to a grand. Sub-gauge fans will enjoy the CZ 620/628 in either 20 or 28, while those dreaming of harvesting a turkey with a .410 simply must get their hands on Henry’s new lever action paired with Federal’s TSS .410 turkey loads. Let us know what gun you’re taking afield this spring. Regardless of your shotgun-of-choice, stay safe and good luck this season.