Best Turkey Shotguns of 2021 – Ultimate Guide

| Last Updated: August 25, 2021

There is nothing quite like sneaking into the woods before dawn on a spring morning with a shotgun slung over your shoulder in pursuit of turkeys.

It is one of the tried and true hunting traditions that every hunter should experience at least once. Doing so with a high-performing turkey shotgun only enhances the overall experience.

Scroll down to learn more about what makes a good turkey shotgun and to see some of the best turkey shotguns of 2021.

Comparison of the Best Turkey Shotguns

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Synthetic and adjustable camo stock plus a fiber optic sight for low light
  • Semi-automatic action with 3+1 capacity and lylium checkering for grip
  • Adjustable drop, reversible safety, clean gas system and milled receiver
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  • Semi-auto reinforced and treated action with alloy drop-out trigger
  • Composite fixed stock with textured gripping panels and camo finish
  • Active valve gas system, plus fiber optic sights for quick sighting
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  • Pump action 20 gauge shotgun perfect for women and young shooters
  • Mossy oak camo finish and adjustable LOP using spacers
  • Anti-jam elevator, ambidextrous tang safety and short barrel
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  • Semi-auto action with an inexpensive and appropriate price tag
  • Lightweight design, good capacity and vent rib barrel with optimal length
  • Fiber optic bead, checkered forend/grip and comfortable recoil pad
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What to Watch For When Buying a Turkey Shotgun

Settling on a turkey shotgun can be a difficult task. The sheer amount of options can be overwhelming. Type of action, finish color, stock style. There are a lot of details to consider. Arming yourself with as much information as possible will make the process much easier.

Brian Belko: Gunmann Author

This Section Written By:

Brian Belko

Expert Author

Brian is an experienced freelance writer and technical writer who has previously written for publications such as Wide Open Spaces, Bigfoot Gun Belts, Alien Gear Holsters, and Kampgrounds of America. He brings both a passion for writing and a love of the outdoors to his published content.

Aside from writing and the outdoors, Brian enjoys gardening, being a co-host on The Nostalgia Blast Podcast, and learning to code.

Get a Grip

Turkey hunting is oftentimes the ultimate test of patience. Turkeys can be unpredictable, wary, and frustratingly indecisive. Even the best planned hunts can result in a lot of sitting and waiting. It is one of the things that keep hunters coming back for more because when things do align with a big tom gobbler at the end of your sights not much else in the hunting world can surpass that feeling.

Keeping all the potential waiting in mind, it is important to prioritize comfort on the stand or in the blind. With the keen eyesight of turkeys, the last thing you want to be doing is repositioning yourself every five minutes. A turkey shotgun with a pistol grip goes a long way towards helping you remain as motionless as possible while also staying ready for a quick shot. A pistol grip helps you to keep the gun in a comfortable shooting position while waiting for your calls to produce a positive result.

Photo credit: range365.com

Take in the Sights

Hunting turkeys with a shotgun is closer to hunting with a rifle than it is to wing-shooting flying birds. The shot patterns tend to be tight and the turkeys are (hopefully) standing still when you pull the trigger. There is a misconception that shotguns can’t miss due to their spread. Anyone who has done any turkey hunting will be quick to tell you differently.

Iron sights can do the job just fine, but they are a bit tougher to use under pressure than a red dot sight. With a red dot sight that is properly zeroed in, you simply put the red dot on the turkey’s head and let it fly. If you think you might be affected by turkey fever when presented with a shot, opt for a shotgun capable of holding a red dot sight.

Dude Where’s My Shotgun?

As mentioned above, turkeys have keen eyesight. They can’t smell very well, but if you underestimate their vision you will pay the price. Luckily, turkey shotguns with camouflage finishes are common. Do your best to match the camo finish you choose to the environment you’ll be hunting in. You’ll be glad you did when you’re driving home with a filled tag and a turkey in the back.

Review of the Best Turkey Shotguns

Scouring in line with the above-mentioned factors. We have come up with the best turkey shotgun available on the market today. All these guns feature a camo finish and this list includes some very popular shotguns across the world. So grabbing one for yourself is definitely not going to end up wrong. 

Best Overall:
Beretta A300 Outlander Turkey

Pros

  • Very low recoil and handles nicely
  • Adjustable shim system for drop and cast
  • Self-cleaning system and easy disassembly
  • Xtra Green camo finish is perfect for woods
  • Truglo fiber optic sights for low light accuracy
  • Gas system with compensating exhaust valve. Flawless cycling

Cons

  • Not chambered for 3.5-inch magnum shells

What Recent Buyers Report

The two most admirable features of this shotgun are its lightweight recoil and exchange port gas system. The gun cycles all loads perfectly and is very easy on the shoulder. This shim adjustable stock allows this gun to be used by multiple shooters. It is also very affordable, even being a semi-auto.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Beretta A300 is a light recoiling gun that can be used by men and women alike. The Xtra green camo is perfect for turkey hunting terrains and the fiber optic sight on the front helps with acquisition and accuracy in low light conditions. Which in fact is the best time for hunting turkey. It has an adjustable drop/cast to suit individual taste and a reversible safety for ambidextrous operation.

The self-cleaning and reliable gas system ensures flawless cycling and less maintenance. Additionally, the gun has a four-part design which allows super easy disassembly for cleaning. There’s only a little more you can ask from a semi-auto turkey hunting shotgun.

Bottom Line

People using this shotgun just love it. The A300 is widely used for hunting turkey as well as waterfowl, so it is a multipurpose shotgun to be in your inventory. The gun is very affordable and will last for years to come.

Runner-up:
Winchester SX4 Universal Hunter 26"

Pros

  • Self-adjusting active valve gas system
  • Simple drop-out trigger for easy cleaning
  • Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camouflage
  • Lightweight and balanced design for easy handling
  • Drilled and tapped receiver ready for mounting optics

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

The balance is amazing, the trigger is crisp and the recoil is minimal. The gun cycles through all loads perfectly. This is a versatile shotgun and offers great value for money. It requires regular cleaning which is a necessity for all semi-auto shotguns. But offers too many perks for its price.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The SX4 is among the fastest shooting shotguns on the market. It is very lightweight and shoots very soft. Thanks to the gas system and the advanced inflex recoil pad with a large surface area. The camouflage finish aids with adapting to the hunting environment. Plus the receiver is already drilled and tapped for mounting optics (which are often needed with turkey shotguns).

Almost all controls are oversized for quick and easy operation and the gun can be carried easily without fatigue for long durations. The gun will shoot thousands of rounds without a problem, if cleaned regularly. Additionally, the magnum chamber allows you to use any 12 gauge load you can find.

Bottom Line

The Winchester SX4 is a fast shooting, balanced, affordable and low recoil shotgun which can be used for hunting almost every game suitable for a shotgun. It is covered by Winchester’s amazing customer service, and is a perfect semi-auto option for low budget and recoil sensitive shooters.

Best 20 Gauge Shotgun for Turkey Hunting:
Mossberg 500 Super Bantam Turkey

Pros

  • Simple, reliable and affordable
  • Very lightweight and low recoil shotgun
  • Rifled barrel allows you to shoot sabots
  • Stock spacer system for adjustable LOP
  • Camo finish and adjustable fiber optic sight
  • Ideal for young and small-statured shooters

Cons

  • Will not suit shooters with large stature

What Recent Buyers Report

The gun is very light and has a negligible kick. Plus the short and lightweight barrel makes the gun perfect for hunting turkey and varmints. This shotgun is ideal for young shooters and has a short pump action for perfect racking. No other option can beat this gun for its price.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Mossberg 500 is the most widely used shotgun for defense and tactical applications. Along with hunting. This specific model has a camo finish, fiber optic sight, and a short 22-inch barrel which helps with handling. The LOP can be adjusted using spacers, so the gun grows with a young shooter. Adding a recoil pad after spacers can make it suitable for bigger shooters as well.

This is an all-purpose shotgun which can be used for hunting deer, birds, shooting clays, and even home defense if the need arises. The pump-action seldom fails and the gun holds enough rounds to successfully bag a bird or two.

Bottom Line

The Mossberg 500 is not only an amazing turkey shotgun, but also a good all-purpose shotgun that will work flawlessly for years. This shotgun is ideal for women, young shooters and recoil-sensitive users.

Editor's Pick:
Stoeger Industries M3500

Pros

  • Reliably cycles shells of all sizes
  • Includes shim kit to adjust drop/cast
  • Clean and reliable inertia cycling system
  • Suitable for hunting turkey and waterfowl
  • Drilled and tapped for weaver style scope mounts
  • Includes choke tubes and a stock integrated recoil reducer

Cons

  • Heavy trigger (can be altered by a gunsmith)
  • Requires breaking-in through about a 100 rounds

What Recent Buyers Report

The Stoeger M3500 is a great turkey, waterfowl and 3-gun competition shotgun which shoots accurate, clean and flawlessly. The inertia system doesn’t need much cleaning and is a great semi-auto for its price. However, the gun has a break-in period so consider shooter light and then heavy loads through it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Stoeger M3500 is a clean shooting and reliable semi-auto shotgun that can be used for almost any application for a 12 gauge. The inertia operated cycling system runs clean and doesn’t jam. This is a highly appreciated gun among its users and has been used successfully to take down waterfowl, turkey, upland birds, deer and is also used for trap and 3-gun competitions.

The M3500 is fairly affordable and can be adjusted and customized to suit individual needs. Stoeger is a subsidiary of Benelli, which is further owned by Beretta. So quality and customer service shall not be a concern for buyers.

Bottom Line

The M3500 fits the budget perfectly for an average Joe and has ample cosmetic, customizable and functional features to be relied upon on the field. The inertia system is clean and flawless, and the gun is aptly heavy to handle recoil. Great gun for turkey, waterfowl, and upland birds.

5. Remington 870 Express Super Magnum Turkey

Pros

  • Mossy Oak Bottomland camo finish
  • Vent rib barrel for better accuracy
  • Chambered for 12ga 3.5 inch magnum shells
  • Tough construction and reliable pump-action
  • The most popular and versatile shotgun of all time

Cons

  • Difficulty reloading in prone position

What Recent Buyers Report

Customer reports for the Remington 870 have always been the same for the past 5 decades. It is a tough, reliable and all-purpose shotgun that passes on from generation to generation. The camo finish is very durable and doesn’t fade or peel off easily. Plus the weight is perfect to stabilize the recoil.

Why it Stands Out to Us

First off, you cannot go wrong with a Remington 870 in shotguns. Secondly, this shotgun fits in the perfect price range to let low-budget buyers add a dedicated turkey shotgun to their collection. This shotgun can shoot all 12 gauge shells from light 2.75” loads to heavy 3.5” magnum loads. Making it suitable for other game as well. It accepts Remington choke tubes and can be used for other applications with its vent ribbed 26-inch barrel.

The innards of this gun have been manufactured from solid steel billets. Thus imparting strength to the overall structure. The synthetic stock and finish are also impervious to rough weather and handling.

Bottom Line

The Remington 870 has been and will remain a versatile shotgun. While being the perfect turkey shotgun due to its dimensions and finish. It is also usable for hunting other game by interchanging the Remington choke tubes.

What is a Turkey Shotgun?

A shotgun is a very general-purpose firearm that can be employed with different applications. But, a precise and respective tool for a job is always preferred. Some very common characteristics of a turkey shotgun are a 26-inch barrel, camo finish, magnum chamber, and 12 gauge loads. 

Turkeys stand among the most attentive and apprehensive creatures of the animal world. They are known to have a vision three times better than that of a human and a good sense of hearing. Coupled with their 270 degrees of peripheral vision, these birds can bolt to a maximum speed of 20 miles an hour. All of these are very good reasons to opt for a dedicated shotgun. 

Photo credit: imgur.com

What Makes a Great Turkey Shotgun?

While some people use a common shotgun for different purposes. There are some factors you must look for to get a shotgun ideal for turkey hunting. 

Short Barrel and Light in Weight

Turkey shotguns generally have a 26-inch long barrel. Since it offers the right proportion between length and balance. Turkey have to be hunted with patience and mostly at close ranges. Plus, the lightweight design helps with carrying the weapon without fatigue for long durations.

Camo Finish 

Having a camo finish on a turkey shotgun can be very helpful. A non-reflective matte can also do, but Mossy Oak patterns are the best. The obvious reason for using camo is the very sharp eyesight of a turkey. 

Tight Choke

Turkey shotguns prefer the tightest chokes available. Since to hunt a turkey, your shotguns need to spew out a tight pattern taking down the head and/or spine of the bird. Tight patterns deliver a powerful and fatal blow, which is imperative for turkeys since a non-fatally wounded turkey will be impossible to reclaim. 

Photo credit: wideopenspaces.com

Allow Adding Sights

Turkey hunting involves precision rather than spraying out a volley of pellets in a direction. Most shooters prefer blade sights, fiber optics, reflex sights and scopes on their turkey shotguns.

Gauge and Recoil Pad

The more preferred gauge for turkey is 12. Recoil sensitive shooters use 20 as well. But since there are specific turkey loads available in all gauges these days. It is more of a personal preference.

How Do I Choose Turkey Shotgun Shells?

Choosing the right ammunition for turkey hunting can be a bit confusing. Especially when the market today is overcrowded with options. But there are some basic factors that’ll help you make the right decision, always:

Shot Size

Some people consider a larger shot size to be better due to its hard-hitting power. Whereas some consider smaller shots better due to its spread and number of pellets. A good compromise between these two is the #5 shot. Additionally, there’s a load called 3rd degree from Federal that combines a mix of #5,6 and 7 shots. It is quite popular these days. Different shot sizes also have their own individual effective range, so keep that in mind. 

Material

Shotshell pellets can be plain lead with a tinge or antimony or be plated with nickel. Then there’s steel shot and copper coated lead pellets. Different people have their own opinions on what kind of loads shall be used for turkey. A good option will be to go for a non-toxic tungsten shot which is heavier than lead and has good penetration power. 

Pattern and Shell Size

If you have different turkey loads at hand, try to find out which load patterns the best at about 30 yards. If not, learn from online reviews.

Additionally, some people consider that only 3.5-inch magnum shells contain enough pellets and powder to successfully kill a gobbler. Especially if it’s a 20 gauge. But smaller 2-¾ inch shells loaded with the right shot(for example, tungsten) can also be effective. 

Perks of Getting a New Turkey Shotgun

Shotgun shells (Photo credit: gunauction.com)

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of investing in a quality model reviewed above in our list. 

Ideal Tool 

All the shotguns reviewed here are ideal turkey shotguns. They feature all the qualities one would expect in an ideal turkey hunting shotgun. Thus greatly improving your skills and the chances of bagging a bird. 

Great For All Hunting

Most of these shotguns can be used for hunting birds and game other than turkey. For example, the M3500 and Winchester SX4 are perfect for hunting turkey as well as waterfowl. Similarly, the A300 is also a good gun for taking down deer and other similar-sized game. 

Multipurpose

Almost all of these shotguns are multipurpose. While some also serve some deliberate applications. For example, the Remington 870 is a renowned all-purpose shotgun. Whereas the short Mossberg 500 can be used for hunting varmints and home defense. 

Conclusion

Ideally, a turkey shotgun uses the tightest choke, fires specific turkey ammunition, may have a camo finish and a barrel of about 26 inches in length. Having the right shotgun for the job will greatly improve your chances of success while hunting a sharp and apprehensive bird like a turkey. 

People Also Ask

Let’s delve deeper into the topic and find answers to some very common questions and notions about the subject of turkey shotguns. Resolving these queries will help you with making the right decision for your purchase.

Photo credit: whittakerguns.com

Where to Shoot a Turkey With a Shotgun?

Always aim for the neck and head of a wild gobbler if you want a clean, quick and definitive kill. That’s because it is the most exposed and delicate part of a turkey’s body. The rest of it is covered in thick feathers and will only injure and scare it away. Probably never to be caught again.

What is the Best Gauge For Turkey Hunting?

That’s completely a matter of personal preference. 

If you want to shoot further and can handle heavy recoil, a 12 gauge will be the best. But if you are recoil sensitive and want a lightweight shotgun, a 20 gauge will be your choice. Specifically designed turkey loads are available in each gauge. 

Which Shotgun Choke is Best For Hunting a Large, Slow Bird, Such as a Turkey?

You need the tightest choke possible for hunting turkey, since you need to put a good amount of pellets in that gobbler to bring it down. A lot of companies have come up with ‘turkey chokes’ that are perfect for this purpose. Otherwise, you can go for a full or extra full choke.

Do I Need a Camo Gun For Turkey Hunting?

It’s preferable but not necessary. Turkeys have been hunted successfully for decades with plain old shotguns. But since a turkey has a very good eyesight (both range and color), having a camo gun helps with hiding better in the brush. On a side note, make sure your gun’s finish is non-reflective. 

What is the Difference Between a Turkey Shotgun and a Waterfowl Shotgun?

Choke, ammunition, barrel length, and weight. A turkey shotgun uses very tight chokes since turkeys are tough and need constricted patterns. Whereas waterfowl are comparatively smaller and move fast. Thus needing wider patterns. Turkey loads and waterfowl loads are different and the latter shotguns generally have a longer barrel for better swing. 

What Colors Should You Not Wear While Turkey Hunting?

Nothing with excess white, red, blue, or black. Plus, refrain from very shiny or reflective clothing. Since it may attract the vision of the turkey and scare it away. Additionally, an unfortunate combination of these colors can be taken by another shooter to be a turkey hiding in a brush.

Ankit has been a writer for almost a decade now and has developed a diverse portfolio. His love for writing led him to turn down his lavish and lucrative career as a software engineer, twisting the reins of his life towards being a full-time writer. He only does what he loves. His hobbies include gardening, reading, shooting, and most of all - learning new things in every context (hence why he chose to be a writer). His whimsical nature and love for writing fosters creativity in all of his work