Skip to main content

What to Look For in a Turkey Gun

Read on to learn some important things to look for when shopping for a new turkey gun.

Purchasing a new firearm is a big decision for any hunter that often requires a lot of research and knowledge. The last thing you want to do is buy a gun that just isn’t right for you.

Whether you are a first time buyer or a seasoned hunter who is ready for an upgrade, here are some of the things to look for in a turkey gun.

More Turkey Hunting Posts

More Turkey Hunting Posts

5 Ideal Bows for Turkey Hunting


One of the first things that you will need to decide in order to begin to narrow your options is what type of action that you desire in your new turkey gun. There are positives and negatives to every type of action depending on your hunting style and location.

There are turkey guns available in semi-auto, pump action, and even single shot. Semi-automatic guns allow for quick follow-up shots on gobblers and usually have less recoil. However, they are also more expensive. Pump action shotguns are what a majority of turkey hunters prefer for their combination of cost and durability. Single-shot actions are the least desirable of the three, considering their hefty recoil and inability to offer a follow up shot with any sort of speed.


There are really only two options for the gauge of a turkey gun; 12 GA or 20 GA. The 20 GA is great for younger hunters or those of a smaller stature as it offers generally lower recoil. However, the ammunition options are relatively limited when compared to the 12 GA. Most hunters will want to stick with a 12 GA shotgun for turkey hunting.


Considering the cost of investment a new firearm requires, you may want to consider some factors that affect the versatility of your new gun. While a shotgun dedicated solely to turkey hunting is very useful, it is not always an option that fits into a hunter’s budget. However, there are plenty of shotguns on the market now that can be used even once turkey season has ended.

RELATED: Finding the Right Shotgun

For example, a semi-automatic shotgun capable of taking a turkey can also double as a waterfowl or squirrel hunting gun. There are even a lot of pump action guns that are capable of shooting rifled slugs turning it into an effective gun for deer and coyote at the appropriate ranges.

One of the most important things to consider when thinking about the versatility of any given shotgun is the variety of shot shells that are safe to fire from the weapon. Make sure to research the range of ammunition that can be fired from the shotgun that you are considering for purchase. In order to be an effective turkey gun, you will want the capability to shoot shells of at least 2 ¾”.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons


Another important thing to consider when looking for a new turkey gun are the sights that you want to use. Most, if not all, dedicated turkey guns will have sights that are more advanced than the single bead found on other shotguns. The options can include standard iron sights, fiber-optic sights, or even no sights at all.

The guns with no sights are generally equipped with a rail and are the right option for hunters who wish to use either a red dot sight or scope on their turkey hunts. Choose whatever you are most comfortable with while also considering your hunting areas and what would be most appropriate.

More Options

Once you have made most of the major decisions, your list of possible new turkey guns is likely growing shorter and shorter. This is when considering some extra options can help you to make your final decision. These extra options can include the gun’s finish, accessories, and stock.

If you turkey hunt from a blind, then you may want to choose a less expensive black finish on your gun. However, if you tend to run and gun or set up without a blind, then a gun with a camouflage finish might be right for you.

Another common option to consider is whether or not your want your gun to have a pistol grip. I find a pistol grip to be extremely useful when still hunting as it allows you to control the gun with one hand when using a bipod. This makes calling easier and limits your movement when a bird has finally crept within range.

Many shotguns intended for turkey hunting also come with at least one choke tube designed for turkey hunting. Some guns even come with entire sets of choke tubes. It is important to consider these kind of details as purchasing additional accessories may not be possible or desired once you purchase a new firearm.

Parting Advice

One of the most important things that anyone purchasing a new firearm needs to do is handle the weapon before buying. It is not unusual for a gun to look great on paper or the Internet, but just not feel comfortable in hand. The last thing you want to do is buy a new gun before making sure you are comfortable with how it handles. You don’t want to regret your new purchase.

RELATED: Shotgun Review: Mossberg 535 Turkey Thug 12-GA Pump Action

It is also very advisable to take your time when shopping for a new gun. Research different gun makers and models. Talk to other hunters. Shop around at different stores. Put in the time and effort in order to make an informed purchase that will serve you well for years to come.

Have you recently purchased a new turkey gun? If so, which one did you decide on? Get the conversation started in the comments section below.

you might also like

What to Look For in a Turkey Gun