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#1250078 - 01/29/08 05:17 AM
Best choke tube for turkey hunting
tunrevir Online   veryhappy
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 3789
Loc: Forest Lake, Mn.
Just curious to find out what you folks use for choke tubes in your turkey guns. Is there a favorite tube and a favorite load you use with it? Is 4 shot better then 6?
Tunrevir~
Top Archived
#1250147 - 01/29/08 06:40 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: tunrevir]
Tipup101 Offline
Sr IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Kasson, MN
Plain old full choke with number 4 shot. My feeling is turkey chokes can get you to tight of a pettern. I've missed birds beacuse of that extra tight pattern. But I shoot 3 1/2 inch Winchester 4 shot out of a Remington 11-87 with a 28 inch barrel. I did by a scope for my gun now. So I will start testing out my turkey chokes again. With other shot sizes. But I think I will still stick with a plain full choke. I still get an average of 23 pellets at 40 yards so i'm happy with that.
Top Archived
#1250261 - 01/29/08 07:51 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: Tipup101]
DonBo Online   crazy
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 8476
Loc: Oakdale, MN / Webster, WI
#4 shot with any type of choke tube in my gun leaves too many holes in the pattern. So many more pellets in #6 shot, fills those hole right in. You may not get the range with the 6 shot but the shots you get IMO are more lethal.

I prefer a super full turkey choke, but the best choke for your gun is the one that shoots best out of your gun.
Top Archived
#1250268 - 01/29/08 07:55 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: DonBo]
Sergeant Slabber Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 527
Loc: Eden Prairie, MN
I also use a full choke, but I go inbetween those last two guys and use #5's.
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#1250313 - 01/29/08 08:15 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: tunrevir]
HateHumminbird Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 2609
Loc: Cannon Falls MN
Do some online searches, specific to your gun, but I'd say only use those for general guidelines. Guns of even the same year, model, and choke tube can pattern differently, as do two of my buddy's 835 Ulti-mags.

So much also depends on the load, pellet material, wad and shell size (3" vs. 3.5"). I'm a big fan of the hevi-type shot, meaning everything from Winchester's X-tended to Hevi-shot to Federal's Heavyweight. These types of loads, in general, are harder than lead, so you can't choke them quite as much. For instance, my Browning Gold Hunter shoots lead better with an XXFull 0.665 constriction choke, but patterns much better overall with Winchester X-tended #6's, 3.5", choked to 0.685. The golden number for many of the Remingtons is 0.675 with the hevi-shot also. I would focus more on constriction, then worry about ported vs. not-ported, wad-stripping vs. standard, etc., etc., etc. Borch had a great article last year describing some of the differences in shot, pattern, etc. Where is it Borch!!!?

I'm with DonBo on the smaller pellet scenario, esp. when using any of the hevi-loads. Smaller pellets = more pellets = fewer opportunities for holes in your pattern IMO. It doesn't always hold true, but from my testing with the various guns we've patterned over the years, #6's almost always put more pellets in a 10" circle at 40 yards. You'd expect them too. There's simply more shot.

The tradeoff is downrange energy. Esp. with lead. That said, any of the hevi-loads, being denser and up to 15% heavier than lead carry their energy downrange much, much better than lead, and also pattern better at range due to less flyers from the "frisbee-effect". This happens more often in lead, esp. with 3.5" shells, where the pellets towards the rear of the shot string compress slightly and tend to spin off like a frisbee. Don't ask me why oblong hevi-type-shot can fly true, but it does. Net result from testing more than 25 guns these past few years has been higher pellet counts, fewer holes, and more dead turkeys.

I'm interested in hearing what other folks are shooting for chokes in their guns. Always room for improvement ya know! \:\)

Joel
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#1250433 - 01/29/08 09:18 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: HateHumminbird]
Tipup101 Offline
Sr IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Kasson, MN
I had problems with the heavy loads. I have 2 diffent heavy shot chokes and both patterned poorly. I would rather use lead anyday. But as time rolls on lead will be a thing of the past. So I would say pattern to heavy shot cause in a few years lead will be outlawed. But I'm a glass half empty guy!
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#1250513 - 01/29/08 10:05 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: Tipup101]
DonBo Online   crazy
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 8476
Loc: Oakdale, MN / Webster, WI
IMO, the only problem with heavy shot...$30 a box? For that kind of cash, I'll stick with lead and keep my shots at a reasonable distance. I've never had a problem dropping birds with lead. Except maybe that one I missed two years ago...three times!
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#1250573 - 01/29/08 10:41 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: DonBo]
HateHumminbird Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 2609
Loc: Cannon Falls MN
To each their own! But even at $30 a box, that's probably the cheapest turkey gear I tote out there save a few mouth calls. Plus, if all goes well, that should be 10 turkeys!

Joel
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#1250593 - 01/29/08 10:50 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: HateHumminbird]
PierBridge Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 02/22/05
Posts: 9727
Loc: MPLS!
Great info thanks!
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#1250652 - 01/29/08 11:18 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: PierBridge]
Dave S Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 5882
Loc: On the Concours
I've only shot a full choke. First was through a Winchester Model 1300 Ranger. Then through the same as jnelson, a Browning Gold Hunter.

I've used everything from steel (I wouldn't recommend it anymore) to your basic pheasant rounds, to the Winchester X-Tended rounds..

I swear by the Winchester rounds myself.

There is a potential gathering for a few guys to get together near Jordan to try out a few rounds. The benefit of this is everyone brings a round of choice so you get a chance to shoot several different rounds without the expense of buying 10 different types of shells.

It's a great way to find what gives you/your gun the best pattern to make that clean ethical shot.

If you haven't been to one yet, there is a thread at the top of the turkey hunting threads for a few MN DNR Turkey Hunter Ed. Clinics. If they're too far to drive, there is a full list of clinics on the MN DNR site.
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#1250703 - 01/29/08 11:38 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: Dave S]
Borch Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Staff Development Administrator

Registered: 06/09/00
Posts: 9418
Loc: St. Cloud,MN,USA
When I get home I'll dig up an article I did on patterning turkey guns for HSO last spring including some discussion on chokes. It was on the home page and I'm not sure where they end up after nearly a year. The tough thing about suggesting chokes is that every "individual" gun likes a different choke/ammo combo. Just because your buddies 11-87 loves a Com-n-Choke XXXFull paired with Winchester HV #5 shot doesn't mean this combo will give your 11-87 an acceptable pattern.

Some things "almost" always rings true regarding chokes. Aftermarket chokes usually outperform those chokes that came with your gun. Tighter is better for small shot and more open for larger shot.
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#1250751 - 01/29/08 12:02 PM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: Dave S]
brittman Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 1476
Loc: MN
I have extra-full turkey chokes. One is ported. Both demonstrate good patterns with turkey loads that are not at their max pellet weight limit. I find the 3" 1.75 ounce loads pattern far better than the 2 ounce loads. The extra pellets do no good if they are wide fliers.

Lead kills turkeys for me.
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#1250832 - 01/29/08 12:48 PM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: brittman]
Hoyt4 Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 853
I have tried many choke tubes and different turkey loads.Right now the best I have is my Mossberg 835 with TruGlo choke tube and Winchester #4's 3.5.This has been the best and taken many turkeys.When you pattern in the gun your shoulder does take a little pounding.
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#1251182 - 01/29/08 03:37 PM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: Hoyt4]
tunrevir Online   veryhappy
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 3789
Loc: Forest Lake, Mn.
Great info guys keep it coming!
Tunrevir~
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#1251269 - 01/29/08 04:09 PM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: tunrevir]
Borch Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Staff Development Administrator

Registered: 06/09/00
Posts: 9418
Loc: St. Cloud,MN,USA
Here's the article from last spring. Please disregard the getting warmer lead in. \:D

Turkey Patterning Tips:
Jeff Borchardt



Now that the weather is starting to warm up and spring is here a turkey hunters thought turn towards chasing turkeys. It’s often a lot of work to get that big tom into shotgun range. On top of that these birds are tough to put down! You want to do everything in your power to make sure that when the opportunity presents itself that you’re able to get the job done quickly and cleanly. Patterning is probably the least fun part of turkey hunting. These turkey loads pack a wallop! But it is an important duty of yours as an ethical turkey hunter to do what you can to make a clean kill. Here are a few tips to get you started and make the process more efficient.

Guns:

Most guys who hunt turkeys do not have a customized turkey gun. Rather most use guns they already use to hunt ducks, geese, pheasants and other small game. The most common setup for hunting turkeys is a 12 gauge shotgun which shoots 3 inch shells. But there are hunters out there using 2 ¾” 12 gauge, 3 ½ inch 12 gauge, 10 gauge, 20 gauge, 16 gauge and black powder shotguns. All will do the job on a turkey given the hunter knows the limitations of their firearm and only takes shots within the guns ability. The little 20 gauge has really gain popularity in the past few years for turkey hunting. So much so, that many ammo manufactures now make multiple 20 gauge turkey loads. Velocity has never been the issue with the 20 gauge loads. Instead trying to get the smaller payload to hold together long enough to provide an acceptable pattern at longer distances was the issue. With the new chokes and ammo choices available to hunters today this is no longer an issue out to 40 yards and beyond.


Chokes:

Generally with turkey hunting you’re trying to put a lot of shot into a small area. Like I mentioned earlier, these birds are tough to kill. Your most effective way of harvesting one is getting multiple head/spine hits. We’ll go into more detail later, so your looking for a choke for your gun that will give you a tight pattern for 30-40 yards. If your gun has a fixed choke you’re kind of stuck. You job is to find the ammo that’ll give you the best pattern with the existing gun choke combo. If your gun has a removable choke you have more flexibility. But you’ll still need to find the best ammo for your gun choke combo through trial and error. Every gun is different. Even if you have the same exact gun as you buddy does it doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results with the same combo. But it does give you a starting point. Generally aftermarket chokes made specifically for turkey hunting will outperform the factory choke your gun came with. There are always exceptions but generally this will be the case. Turkey chokes vary greatly in quality and price. You’ll find turkey chokes ranging in price from $12.99 to $200.00. That’s a big range in price. Most chokes will however be in the $25.00 to $55.00 range. Some have porting, some don’t. Most extend beyond the barrel end 1-2 inches and some are flush mounts. It’s also important to make sure to know what type of shot your choke is rated for. Most will be rated, “For Lead Shot Only”. In these chokes do not shoot the tungsten alloy shot as these loads will not be safe in a lead only choke. A general rule is that the tighter the choke the smaller shot it will group tightly and vice versa. But you’ll never know for sure until you pattern them yourself.

Ammo:

So many ammunition options out there now for turkey hunting that it’ll make your head spin. All the major ammo manufacturers have both lead and nontoxic shot loads available. Most of these nontoxic loads are Tungsten alloys but there is Bismuth shot loads as well. The nontoxic loads are more expensive than lead but also carry more downrange energy than lead of the same shot size. You be spending 3-5 times as much per box of the nontoxic loads and up to 10 times as much for the custom nontoxic loads. Here are a few common ammo choices and what typically works best.

Like I mentioned the tighter chokes will shoot smaller better in most cases. Here are some starting point numbers that typically hold true in 12 gauge guns with a standard bore.

 Code:
Manufacturer	Shot Type	Shot size	Choke Diameter
Various        	Lead           	    6   	.655-.665
Various 	Lead    	    5   	.660-.670
Variuos 	Lead    	    4   	.670-.680
Old Hevishot	Tungsten Alloy 	   6/5  	.670-.680
Old Hevishot	Tungsten Alloy	   5/4  	.680-.690
Hevi 13 	Tunsten Alloy	   6/5  	.655-.665
Hevi-13 	Tugsten Alloy	   5/4  	.665-.675


Here is some additional Information on loads to consider while patterning. The Winchester Elite loads like a choke similar to lead loads typically. The Federal Cartridge Flite Control loads typically shoot best out of non-ported chokes

Another consideration of shot size is pattern density versus knockdown power. With smaller shot there are more individual shot to fill in a denser pattern. The downside is that they also lose energy quicker than the larger shot. Generally 2.5 ft/lbs of energy is the accepted energy level for penetrating skin and bone required to cleanly harvest a mature tom. In lead shot #6 shot falls below that level just past 35 yards, #5 lead at 40 yards and #4 shot about 45 yards in turkey shells pushing a heavy payload. You’ll pick up a 3-4 yards with the high velocity lead loads and an additional 7-8 yards with the Tungsten alloy shot.

Patterning Session:

I pattern at my local gun club but as long as you have a safe place to shoot with a backstop 50-65 yards out it will do. A solid rest with some sandbags is also nice to get a good bead for getting that pattern centered just right. You’ll need lots of turkey head targets. You’re looking for those with the spine and skull shown. Anything else is just for an aiming point. I print mine out on 8 ½”x11” sheets of paper and bring a roll of freezer paper along to see the big picture in regards to the pattern and a sharpie marker. If you have a few friends along then each bring a few boxes of different loads it makes it a lot easier on the bank account.
Safety is top priority. Make sure you have good hearing protection. Shooting glasses can be a good idea as well. These guns really kick so make sure to either wear a thick jacket or fold up some carpet and place it between the butt of the gun and your shoulder. It will make the session much more pleasant.
Bring some game or trap loads along. Use these until you get your pattern centered where you want it. Not need to pound your shoulder at this point. Start out at 15 or 20 yards. Put up your freezer paper and draw a small bullseye for an aim point. Carefully squeeze off two of the target loads at the bullseye. Now check it out and determine where your gun is hitting--left, right, high, low--if you have an adjustable sighting setup (scope, red-dot, iron sight), this is where you make the big adjustment to the point-of-impact.
Now take another of the big blank targets and tape a turkey-target in the center. Place it at 30 yards and fire one of each of the turkey loads you wish to evaluate, each at a fresh turkey-target. Label each used target as to the gun, load and choke tube used, as well as the distance, date, etc. for comparison later.
Certain loads will rise to the top and these are the ones you should keep for the next level. Take these best loads and move the target another 5 yards further away. As the distance increases a load or two will likely separate itself. You keep moving the target out until you end up with a minimum of 20 pellets solidly in the head/neck outline. I also use a minimum of 8 in the bone as a rule of thumb in addition to the 20 in the head and neck. When you find that distance where you hit that distance it will be your max distance unless it’s beyond the load’s acceptable distance based on retained energy. Just because you can punch a dandy pattern through paper at 50 yards with #6 lead shot doesn’t mean there’s enough knockdown energy there to cleanly kill your tom at that distance with that load.

Then, when you’re done just pat each other on the back for a job well done. Just make sure to avoid that shooting shoulder though. It might be a little tender.
Top Archived
#1251306 - 01/29/08 04:24 PM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: Borch]
Borch Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Staff Development Administrator

Registered: 06/09/00
Posts: 9418
Loc: St. Cloud,MN,USA
Now with that said this is what worked best in my guns to this date.

Stoeger 2000 12 gauge/XXXFull Comp n Choke - Federal cartridge Flite Control 3" 2 oz #5 shot.
Winchester 1300 12 gauge/.665 Tru Glo Strut Stopper - Federal Cartridge 3" 2 oz #5 shot(Non Flite Control)
Winchester 1300 12 gauge/.665 HS Strut Undertaker - Winchester 3" HV #6 Shot
Rem. 870 Youth 20 gauge/Primos Tite Wad .570 - Rem Hevi-Shot 3" #6

All of these guns shoot good patterns with these combos to 40 yards and beyond. The little 20 gauge is lethal out to 45+ yards with this set up.
Top Archived
#1252120 - 01/30/08 04:46 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: Borch]
tunrevir Online   veryhappy
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 3789
Loc: Forest Lake, Mn.
Great info Borch! Thanks a ton.
Tunrevir~
Top Archived
#1252440 - 01/30/08 08:47 AM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: tunrevir]
HateHumminbird Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 2609
Loc: Cannon Falls MN
I'm posting this on request of a fellow FM'er. It's a fairly technical article and provides a very rigorous approach to pellet counts and pattern spread/density.








Determining choke by patterning:
Choke is determined for all standard bore 10 ga., 12 ga., 16 ga. and 20 ga. shotguns by their pattern or the amount of shot they deliver within a 30" diameter circle at 40yds.
(A) Full-70%
(B) Modified-60%
(C) Improved cylinder-50%
While this tells what choke you have, the really big question of, how efficient is the choke and is there a problem inside of the barrel.
Matching shell to chamber:
With so many universal chambers today (12 gauge = 2 3/4 - 3 1/2 in.), trying to establish a certain criteria by which to test a barrel for efficiency can be very confusing. A good rule of thumb is, pattern test your barrel for its largest shell chambering.
For the all around shot gunner using a 2 3/4 in. chamber 12 gauge:
The are many offerings in shot shells in shot sizes and weights. The most common shot sizes run from #4 - #8 and weights from 1 oz. - 1 1/4 oz. having said and established that, to proof your chokes use a middle of your selections load, [1 1/8 oz. load of #6 shot].
The nature of most shotguns and shot shell combinations would be:
A. #8 shot will pattern tighter than #6 and #4 not as tight as #6.
B. 1 oz. loads tighter than 1 1/8 and 1 1/4 not as tight as 1 1/8.
Even if your shotgun patterns the opposite of the above, the 1 1/8oz. load of #6 shot is still the middle load combination.


Using a Lockhart pattern gauge:
Our first gauge seen below can be made from a piece of Plexiglass that is 30 x 30 in. square. This will give you your choke rating and to help identify problems within the barrel and choke.



(1) Determining the choke:
In a 30 inch diameter circle there are 706.50 square inches of area that needs filled evenly with a small amount of shot, by breaking this area down into 2 even areas we find that inside that 30" diameter circle is another circle that is 21.21" in diameter both having equal area at 353.25 square inches each.
This means if you were using a 1 1/8 oz. load of #6 shot which has approximately 253 pellets or pieces of shot, to shoot a true 100% full choke pattern it would deliver 175 pellets spaced out at one piece of shot every 4.037 square inches.
(A) Full Choke:
1 1/8 oz. load of #6 shot = 253 pellets / 70% = 175 pellets / 4.037 sq. in.
(4.037 sq. in. = 2.009 in. x 2.009 in.)
(B) Modified Choke:
1 1/8 oz. load of #6 shot = 253 pellets / 60% = 150 pellets / 4.710 sq. in.
(4.710 sq. in. = 2.170 in. x 2.170 in.)
(C) Improved Cylinder Choke:
1 1/8 oz. load of #6 shot = 253 pellets / 50% = 125 pellets / 5.652 sq. in.
(5.652 sq. in. = 2.377 in. x 2.377 in.)
Making a score card:
Column-1 Column-2
1-A + 1-C = ?
2-A + 2-C = ?
3-A + 3-C = ?
4-A + 4-C = ?
1-B + 1-D = ?
2-B + 2-D = ?
3-B + 3-D = ?
4-B + 4-D = ?
? + ? = Choke
The analysis:
Column 1 represents the core of the pattern its area is 353.25 square inches.
Column 2 represents the outer ring of our 30 inch diameter circle its area is 353.25 square inches.
Column 1 (100) + Column 2 (75)= total number of shot within the 30 inch diameter circle hence in our example 175 total = Full Choke
Assigning a percentage value to each piece of shot:
175 pieces of shot = 100 % of the pattern so each piece of shot is assigned a value of .57 %.
Column 1 = 100 pieces of shot x .57 = 57%.
Column 2 = 75 pieces of shot x .57 = 43%
In this example our full choke has a 57/43 rating. The 57 is the core of the pattern and the 43 is the outer ring from the core within our 30 inch circle.
(2) Identifying bore and choke defects:
1-A + 1-C = ? ? = 1-B + 1-D
2-A + 2-C = ? ? = 2-B + 2-D
3-A + 3-C = ? ? = 3-B + 3-D
4-A + 4-C = ? ? = 4-B + 4-D

How: If you look at the pattern gauge you will notice that each pie shaped piece is numbered and lettered to reference opposing sections of the shotgun barrel. The reason for this is for each defect in the barrel, it will affect that same area on the pattern and the opposing side of the pattern.
Example: We'll say that the numbers are fairly even in sector 2, 3 and 4 but in sector 1-A and 1-C the shot count is a lot higher and in sector 1-B and 1-D the shot count is a lot lower. The reason why this happens is because somewhere in the barrel or choke there is a defect that disrupted the shot from one side to the other such as a dent or rust cavity and even new barrels will show where something has been attached to the barrel using heat and causing ripples in the barrel such as ribs and barrel lugs.
(3) Choke overall effectiveness:
The below gauge is made to indicate the overall performance of the choke remember we are working with a 30 inch diameter circle or pattern of which the area is 706.50 square inches.
These gauges are made to each chamber size and choke configuration, the one below is for our full choke 2 3/4 inch chamber, each square area is 4.037 square inches or 2.009 x 2.009. Once again we are dealing with 175 pieces of shot so our percentage value is .57% for each square area, by simply laying this gauge over the pattern paper you count all the square areas that have no shot in them and multiply by .57% subtract that number from 100% and this gives you your overall choke effectiveness.
We'll say that there are 40 empty spaces, multiply 40 x .57 = 22.8 %, subtract 22.8 from 100 = 77.2 % effective.



The final analysis:
Our final analysis for this example is, we have a full choke pattern that is 77.2 % effective and the pattern configuration is 57 % inner half x 43 % outer half of the total square area of a 30 inch diameter pattern.
Top Archived
#1253881 - 01/30/08 09:20 PM
Re: Best choke tube for turkey hunting [Re: HateHumminbird]
fishwithteeth Offline
HSOShow.com Family

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 144
Loc: Savage, MN
Before I put in my 2 cents, different loads are going to pattern different in different guns as well as different chokes. You need to find the load that will pattern best in your gun with the choke you plan to use. Patients is a good choke/load - get him inside 20 yds and he's T-Day dinner.

With that said, here is what I use:
Gun: Benelli Super Black Eagle 12 gauge
Choke: Briley X Full
Load: 3.5" Winchester Turkey Loads, 5 shot
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