Winchester Longbeard Turkey Shells

Discussion in 'Turkey Hunters Forum' started by jbrown, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. jbrown

    jbrown Elite Refuge Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    Chasin ducks
    I'm shooting a 3" 12 gauge for Turkey's. I'm undecided which load to buy, either the 1 7/8 oz of 1 3/4 oz. I'm gonna shoot #6 shot.
  2. SkolMNDuckHunter

    SkolMNDuckHunter Senior Refuge Member

    Jan 17, 2019
    I shoot the #6s in 1 3/4 because I figure the pellet count is already so crazy high (pushing 400) that those small pellets would benefit more from the extra 150fps than from more pellets.

    I stepped off my bird last year at 43 yards, and he seemed more knocked out than shot, I had to give him a good stomp. I think the slower shells may have actually not dropped him. Closer bird have had the head just shredded.

    When I run out of these 6s, I actually plan to go up to 5s for better performance at 40 yards. Hope that helps!
  3. Joe Hunter

    Joe Hunter Senior Refuge Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    I've patterned and use the 1 3/4 oz #5 load and believe it is the best compromise between pattern density and pellet energy. Yes, if you can always get your birds inside of 40 yards (what turkey hunters should always try to do), a #6 pellet will pretty much take care of them. But, with leery birds and range estimation errors in the excitement, I believe the #5 pellet is a better choice.

    Besides, in my gun and choke, the 12ga 3" 1 3/4 oz #5 Long Beard load maintains good pattern density out to 50 yards! Of course, inside of 40 yards any turkey that the #6 load would kill the #5 load would have also killed, so why would you not use the #5 load, unless there were patterning issues.

    Here are a few of my pattern numbers to give you an idea of how they performed in my gun/choke.

    Pattering results are from a 12-gauge 3-inch Remington 870 Special Purpose with a 26-inch barrel and a Remington Turkey Super Full Extended Choke (.063” constriction from bore gauge).

    Pattern testing was done on 48-inch x 48-inch pattern sheets with a turkey head-and-neck target centered on each sheet. This turkey head-and-neck target provided an aim point and allowed for Skull/Cervical Vertebra (S/CV) hit data for each pattern shot. The distance from muzzle to pattern was measured with a tape and then one pattern shot was fired at each of five pattern sheets.

    Following the pattern shots, 30-inch and 10-inch diameter pattern circles were centered over the densest portion of each pattern and the pellet strikes were counted. The five-shot averages for the 30-inch pattern counts (pattern percentages), 10-inch pattern counts, and S/CV hits are shown in the figures below. Additionally, the in-shell pellet counts are the average from five shells that were opened and counted.

    1 3/4 oz #5 lead (305, resin encased, copper coated) 1200 fps

    40 YRDS / 30” / 10” / S/CV HITS
    AVER / 295 (97%) / 118 / 11.0

    50YRDS / 30” / 10” / S/CV HITS
    AVER / 275 (90%) / 89 / 7.4

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020

    LANN WILF Refuge Member

    Oct 29, 2019
    3.5 #5s in 2 oz. load are hard to beat. Problem is when one gets too close. Have a rifle sight. No room for error.
  5. PrairieDream'n

    PrairieDream'n Senior Refuge Member

    Jan 8, 2005
    Kendrick Creek
    I vote for the 5s too... and if you're that close and don't have an optic, I've found putting the bead on the base of the neck kills them just as dead with way less room for error compared to aiming for the head.
    LANN WILF likes this.
  6. stevena198301

    stevena198301 Elite Refuge Member Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2015
    HSV, Alabama

    40 yards, Longbeard 3.5” #5s. Buddies Mossberg pump. He likes to shoot them at turkeys, not so much at paper.

    They didn’t pattern well at all out of my 20 Remington, with three different chokes. Went wil something else.
  7. BDavis

    BDavis Senior Refuge Member

    Apr 12, 2018
    Longbeard #6 at 40 yds in an affinity 20 gauge through a primos tightwad. A259C202-5730-42AD-9F8B-94C501EA83B5.jpeg
  8. Squaller

    Squaller Elite Refuge Member

    Jan 5, 2003
    Fresno, California
    I shot #6's when I shot lead, but have since moved to Hevi-shot.

    I am shooting a 1 3/8 oz load of #6 Hevi-shot out of a standard full choke... It patterns tighter than lead, and have yet to hit a bird that did not die. Last season, I had a bird come in, and had to wait for the shot. Apparently I was not paying very good attention, and he got out to about 45 yards before I shot him (it crushed him), and there were plenty of hits to the head/neck even out of my factory full.

    It will hold its energy better than lead, and generates a bit tighter patterns... As much as I spend on just gas alone, and as few shells as I shoot turkey hunting, the extra cost is a non-issue.

    Although I started shooting Hevi-shot before the non-toxic regulations came out in California, now that I can no longer shoot lead, Hevi-shot is a no-brainer. Superior to lead in energy and pattern density, and certainly superior to steel or Bismuth.

    With a 3-bird limit in California, I have fired 6 shells in the last two seasons... I spent far more on gas alone, and probably food as well, than I did on that ammo.

    Bottom line, I'd say forget the lead and the fancy turkey chokes, put a full choke in, and shoot Hevi-shot or Federal Heavy Weight, or TSS (if you really want a high-performance load).

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