Video: Turkey Ammo Testing, 3- vs. 3.5-Inch Loads

When it comes to turkey ammo, most hunters choose between 3- and 3.5-inch loads. Is there a significant difference?

Video: Turkey Ammo Testing, 3- vs. 3.5-Inch Loads

The only way to determine which type of turkey ammo patterns best from your particular shotgun and choke is by testing at the range. The video below from Melissa Bachman demonstrates this process very well.

As host of the TV show “Winchester Deadly Passion,” Bachman is using a Winchester Super X4 semiauto and Long Beard XR ammo. Helping her aim is an EOTECH optic. Regardless of your gear choice, however, the process she demonstrates is what I’m highlighting here.

Every shotgun and choke behaves differently with various ammo. At the range, you can test ammo to determine your maximum effective range, as well as which ammo type (brand, shell length and pellet size) patterns best at various distances.

In the video, Bachman is testing whether there’s a significant difference between 3- and 3.5-inch loads. As she explains, a 3.5-inch shell produces more recoil, and her goal in conducting this test is to determine if the extra recoil is worth it in terms of better patterns.

Important note: Unlike duck or pheasant hunting, when you’ll hopefully be shooting many times in the field, turkey hunting is typically a one-shot affair. Recoil matters, of course, but a hunter doesn’t have to fire multiple times. If you make the first shot count, then your season could be over.

During shotshell testing, Bachman uses a Caldwell Lead Sled to support her shotgun and manage recoil. Obviously, she won’t use the device in the field, but this allows her to test ammo with multiple shots and not worry about flinching, which would negatively affect her results.

Bachman does an excellent job testing ammo at 20, 40 and 60 yards. She lets the patterns determine whether 3- or 3.5-inch loads are better with her particular shotgun and choke.


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