Unlucky # 7’s


If you are a turkey gobbler standing within 50 yards of my location, #7 is your most unlucky number. For many turkey hunters the historical discussion about shot size for spring gobblers is the choice between #4 and #6 shot. The larger #4 shot size has greater mass, penetration, and range, while the somewhat smaller #6 provides a denser pattern, more shot, and lethality at 40 yards. Those who can’t choose, usually opt for #5 as a good compromise between the two.

MD Turkey 2012 052Enter the world of heavier-than-lead shot and the difference is like comparing digital to analog. Heavier-than-lead alloy pellets pattern well and provide here-to-for unheard of pattern density at maximum range using #7 shot. Last spring I heard a distant gobbler that would not approach so I picked a spot and after an hour of periodic calling lured the boss tom’s flock within 20 yards. As hens walked over a knoll, the birds bunched up such that I got one precise opportunity and, thanks to a Nikon Scope,  put all the #7’s in the head and neck of that longbeard.

This spring I’m testing Mossberg’s new 835-Ulti-Mag Recoil Reduction System shotgun and with the season opener just a few days away hastily patterned the gun. Mossberg has teamed up with the Matthews Harmonic Dampening technology as a means of reducing recoil. The system works well and the pattern results were amazing. Comparing the 12-gauge, 3-in. Federal #7 Heavyweight to standard #5 turkey loads at 40 yards was day and night different, with the 7’s putting many times the pellets on target. Mossberg Federal 004For kicks and giggles, I tested the Mossberg/Federal combo at 50 yards and the pattern was astounding. Not only did I receive a dense, lethal result, but every pellet buried out of sight into the plywood target backing. I’m certainly not recommending that hunters take long shots at turkey, yet if I misjudge my maximum 40-yard range, I have “insurance”. Number 7 and the year 2013 could be very unlucky for a local tom.  For more information check www.mossberg.com and www.federalpremium.com


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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.