Due to a rather “brisk” discussion on another blog about turkey ammo, I could think of no other way to prove that #8 shot IS adequate for turkeys than xX-rays of harvested birds.
First and foremost, I’d like to thank Dr. Kerri D’Arbonne, DVM and her husband (both avid hunters!) of Chisholm Trail Vet Clinic, Duncan, Oklahoma for the use of their equipment for this endeavor.
My apologies for the mess I had to clean up afterward! LOL! Secondly! This project was my maiden voyage to the “Sea of Xray.” These shots aren’t “exactly” what I had in mind, but hope they help!
Let’s go with “layout” first.
(Told you I were no expert! LOL!)
- All three birds dropped at the shot.
- All three birds were taken with 2.75″ Winchester Super-Handicap
- Heavy Target Load @1250fps with 1 1/8 ounce of #8 lead shot.
Plain Jane Remington 870 12 gauge with an aftermarket “extra full” choke tube.
The “brisk” discussion was mostly over whether #8 shot would maintain enough kinetic energy to penetrate deeply enough to break bones (vertebrae) out to 40 yards.
Note on bird #1, the two #8 shot that appears to be behind the right eye. Those two shot HAD to transect the entire head to reach their position.
I believe “turkey specific” ammo is overrated and over priced. Why buy 5 to 10 rounds for $2 or so per round when I can get a box of 25 for 5 to 7 bucks?(depending on sales. I AM a tightwad! LOL! )
I also believe that the 3 and 3.5-inch ammo tends to cause otherwise good hunters to attempt shots well beyond the 40-yard mark, resulting in wounded and unrecovered birds.
Therefore, I shoot 2.75-inch ammo and call birds in as close as possible. I believe “pattern density” kills, not shot size. The more pellets you deliver to the target, the higher your chances of delivering a fatal pellet strike. Therefore, I shoot #8’s to deliver as thick a pattern as possible.
I’ve burned lot’s of ammo at sheets of newspaper and butcher paper to get an idea of “pattern density,” but what REALLY happens when you pull that trigger? A specific percentage of pellets in a ten-inch circle at 30 yards?…40 yards? Guess what guys; A turkey head ain’t that big!!
I’m hoping these X-rays give others a look at what happens that the patterning board just doesn’t tell you.
IF you are comfortable with the ammo you shoot, the range you shoot and the pellet size you prefer, DO NOT change because of my beliefs! I’m not suggesting everyone change ammo, but if you’re looking for different ammo options, here is one!
If you have a hunter friendly vet in your area, talk to them. Xrays reveal a lot about pellet performance!