Turkeys are notoriously hard animals to hunt. They scatter at the slightest noise, and they can move surprisingly fast. If you want to take down a turkey, you need a shot that is doesn't spray outwards and that instead delivers a tight concentration of buckshot to the turkey's head. To make sure your shotgun is delivering the right goods for the kill during a turkey hunt, you will need the right choke tube for the job. Without a decent choke tube on your gun, your turkey hunting is destined to end in disappointment and frustration.
For the uninitiated, a choke tube is a piece of metal that is attached to the end of a shotgun. It is used to reign in the pellets of a shotgun shot so that they are dispersed in a more concentrated format. Choke tubes are almost always used on shotguns these days, even by law enforcement, but hunters especially make use of choke tube to make killing their prey easier. Choke tubes come in a variety of different lengths and widths, each of which offer a different level of concentration of the pellets upon firing. Choke tubes can be changed on shotguns as needed.
Choke tubes are especially important in turkey hunting for the reasons mentioned above. Not every shotgun is ideal for turkey hunting, and in fact, without a choke tube, most are not up to the task. With the right choke tube in place, however, you can make most guns do the trick.
When looking for a choke tube for your turkey hunting shotgun, the key thing to look for is a choke hold that not only compresses the pellets to the maximum level when the gun is fired but one that offers enough power to keep those pellets compacted over the distance between your gun and the turkey. The average distance from which most hunters fire on turkeys is about 40 yards or so, therefore you want to look for a choke hold that can keep things together for that distance.
To get this kind of response from a choke hold, usually shorter holds are better than longer ones, simply because the shot has less distance to travel overall when the hold is shorter. However, much of the deciding factor here will come down to the power of your gun. If your gun has a little more oomph too it, you can go with a longer hold.
As a general rule of thumb, you want a choke hold that compresses your shot by hundredths of inches, not more, which is another reason choosing the hold for your gun is important. A standard turkey shotgun usually has a barrel that is about .650 inches wide, and it often comes pre-equipped with a hold that reduces that to .600. Trying to put too much choke hold on your gun can have the opposite consequences. It can break apart the pellets and make the spray out unevenly, meaning you miss out on the kill.
The best way to find the right choke hold for your gun, especially if you do not have much experience with them, is to visit a gun a shop and consult with a professional. Choke holds can get a little expensive, so you don't want to end up buying the wrong one. Bring your gun to the shop and explain about the kind of hunting you do. The shop should be able to help you choose a choke hold that is safe and effective for your gun and that will make your hunting experience more productive. Make sure you find out the return policy before you buy just in case the hold gives you some trouble when you actually try it out in the real world.