Choosing a good choke can be a challenge. Online forums are full of advice and a lot of it’s conflicting. Ask ten hunters what their favorite choke is, and you’ll probably get ten different answers.
We’re here to help. Here’s what we find to be the five best Mossberg 500 turkey chokes available online.
Comparison Chart of the Best Mossberg 500 Turkey Chokes
Jelly Head Primos Maximum Turkey Choke
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Carlsons Choke Tubes, 20 Gauge
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What is a Turkey Choke and What is it Used For?
Shooting turkey is a little different than shooting waterfowl or for home defense. In those cases, you’re looking for a wide spread of damage. It’s less important to do lots of damage to a small area than it is to cut a wider swath of destruction.
For example, when you’re shooting at a duck, the primary concern is to bring it down from the sky. If it doesn’t die immediately, you can quickly dispatch it once you’ve located it on the ground. Turkey, on the other hand, will run away if they’re wounded, which means there will be a suffering animal out in the woods and not in your game bag.
A turkey choke is a device that connects to the end of your shotgun barrel, and restricts the spread of your pellets to a smaller area. This ensures a higher density of pellets, so you can inflict maximum damage to a turkey’s head and neck, dropping them instantly.
What Makes a Great Turkey Choke?
Before we actually review anything, let’s take a quick look at what makes a great turkey choke. Here are a couple of key things to consider.
The Best Turkey Choke Depends on Your Load
In general, the more shot you have, the more forgiving your choke can be. If you’re running a high-powered load with a lower quantity of shot, you’ll need a tighter choke to get the same number of pellets in the right place. As a rule of thumb, you’re looking for at least 18 pellets in the head and neck area on your target. If your choke isn’t getting you that, try a heavier shell.
Performance Depends on Your Range
A choke that puts 18 pellets in the zone at 40 yards will most likely be too wide at 50 yards. Conversely, a good 75-yard choke will probably be too tight at 50 yards. Try to practice at the same range you’ll actually be hunting from. This will give you the best idea of how well your choke will perform in the field.
Review of the Best Mossberg 500 Turkey Chokes
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s see what makes these five turkey chokes the best on the market. We’ve taken a deep dive into their features, engineering, and performance. Here’s what we found.
Best for 12-Gauge:
Primos Jelly Head Maximum Turkey Choke
The Primos Jelly Head Maximum Turkey Choke was engineered with a 12-gauge shot in mind. As such, there’s no 20-gauge version available. But if you shoot a 12-gauge Mossberg, you’re in for a real treat. With #4 shot, you’ll have a reasonable spread out to 50 yards. If you’re looking for a close-range experience, you’ll still get a decent spread at 20 yards if you’re using a #6 shot.
This choke tube protrudes a good two inches from the barrel, so you don’t need a wrench to install it. Just twist it in or out by hand, and you’re good to go. It features long port holes that allow plenty of outgassing. This provides noticeable recoil reduction, saving your shoulder.
Like many chokes, the Jelly Head isn’t compatible with steel shot. With that exception, everything about this choke tube is awesome, right down to the corrosion-resistant coating. It’s also easy on your wallet.
If you want to fill your game bag as quickly as possible, the Primos Jelly Head will give you the best spread for your 12-gauge.
Best for 20-Gauge:
Carlson’s Choke Tubes, 20 Gauge
The Carlson’s 20-gauge choke tube was engineered specifically for Winchester #6 Long Beard turkey shot. With this load, it will shoot a turkey-annihilating pattern from 30 to about 50 yards. You can go longer with heavier shot, but we’re a bit sketchy on the benefits of using heavier shot in a 20-gauge. Since the shell is smaller than a 12-gauge, you have significantly fewer pellets to work with. It’s best to just stick with the #6 shot and get a reliable pattern.
While the Carlson’s isn’t compatible with steel shot, you’re perfectly fine to use it with a Hevi-Shot load for additional killing power. As always, check your state laws on acceptable turkey shot before you load up.
Be prepared to feel the full force of recoil with this choke tube; there are no port holes for outgassing. It requires a wrench for installation, but you’ll need one anyway to remove your Mossberg’s stock choke. It’s low-priced and is still one of the best 20-gauge coke tubes around.
For anyone who’s using a 20-gauge Mossberg, Carlson’s makes some of the best choke tubes in the business.
The Tru Glo Bone Collector SmackDown Choke Tube is a choke that protrudes two inches from the end of your barrel. It has a glossy, corrosion-resistant finish, and four port holes for outgassing and noise reduction. It’s available in 12 and 20-gauge sizes, so you can use it on any Mossberg 500 shotgun.
This choke is easy to attach and remove. It screws in easily without the need of any tools, so you can switch it out without a lot of trouble. You shouldn’t need to, though. Depending on your range, it’s equally good for .00 buckshot as it is for four to seven-grain birdshot.
Your ideal range is going to be around 40 yards, although that can vary considerably depending on what kind of load you’re shooting. With a four-grain, three-inch shotshell, you’re looking at about a 12-inch spread at that range and can shoot effectively out to about 70 yards. A six-grain load is going to spread faster, but you’ll also have more pellets. Beyond about 70 yards, you’ll have too much spread for it to be reliable, but who shoots a turkey at that range anyway?
The Bone Collector SmackDown is designed for use with lead shot only. Steel shot will quickly degrade the inside of the bore, greatly reducing its effectiveness. This may be a problem if your state requires environmentally friendly shot, so make sure to check your local laws before you make your purchase.
The Tru Glo Bone Collector delivers an ideal turkey shooting pattern at 40 yards with a four to six-grain load.
The Trulock Chokes 12 Gauge Turkey Choke is a choke that’s specifically designed to handle Winchester #5 turkey shot. It’s nice that they get this precise, but we found it’s effective with any reasonable turkey shot size – anywhere from four to six grains. As with many chokes, it’s not designed for steel shot. If your state requires lead-free shot, you’ll need to go a different direction.
There are no tools required for installation. This is thanks to the ¾-inch textured extension which protrudes from the barrel of your shotgun, making it easy to screw in and out by hand. If you’re super concerned about it staying in, it does have a wrench slot, but it’s really not necessary. Because the protrusion is small, there are no port holes. This maximizes muzzle velocity, but be prepared to experience more recoil than you would with an open bore.
The pattern on these chokes is out of this world. With Winchester #5 turkey shot, you’ll get a nice, nine-inch spread at 45 yards. It remains a viable choke for shots up to 60 yards if you’re using #4 shot, and is good to about 40 yards if you’re using #6 shot. As always, this can vary significantly depending on the exact load you’re shooting. This choke is only available in a 12-gauge size. If you have a 20-gauge Mossberg, you’ll need a different choke.
The Trulock may be designed for five-grain loads, but anything from four to six will leave a nice, tight pattern at 50 yards.
Like a lot of choke tubes, the Carlson’s Long Beard is designed to work best with a specific type of shot. In this case, Winchester Long Beard turkey shot. This is a #4 shot, so it’s no surprise that the Long Beard is made for longer-range hunting.
If you’re shooting at 60 yards or more, this is a fantastic choke. Be careful at very close ranges. Inside of 20 yards, the spread is so tight that it will punch a slug-sized hole through a target. Needless to say, this makes snap shooting a challenge.
The Long Beard fits entirely inside your barrel, so you’ll need a wrench to install it. It’s also not compatible with steel shot. Once again, you’ll need to check with your state’s laws to make sure it’s okay to hunt with lead shot in your location. It’s also only available in a 12-gauge size. The port holes are relatively small, but they do their part in reducing recoil.
Although this choke is designed for heavy shot, there’s no reason you can’t use #5 or #6 shot with it. Just keep in mind that the spread will be wider, so you’re looking at a maximum range of around 40 yards with a lighter shot.
If you’re looking to get a decent price on a top-notch turkey choke, the Carlson’s Long Beard is a solid choice.
At the end of the day, the “best” turkey choke is the one that works well with your load at your preferred range. The only real way to be sure is to take one out target shooting. If you don’t like what you see, try changing your load before spending more money on another choke. Oftentimes, it’s the more affordable solution to your problem.