As turkey season starts winding down for many of us, this is a great time to really analyze how your equipment worked for you in the field this spring. Most importantly, how impressive were your patterns? Did you take time to shoot much before season? Have you been using the same gun/ammo combination for years? All these questions are fair game, and if you haven’t taken the time to look into updating your turkey gear…you may be missing out!
First, I know many people believe if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. BUT, with that said the technology for turkey loads has come so far and Longbeard XR is truly making huge differences in the field. When you combine that with the right choke for your gun and ammo you could have an amazing turkey gun that shoots to distances you didn’t even realize was possible.
The way most people make decisions is by purchasing the ammo, choke, etc. and trying it at home or by taking someone else’s opinion. This works, but there are more effective ways to narrow down the best combination without actually hitting the range. Winchester created the Winchester Pattern Board with over 3,500 actual patterns fired at the range. You can visually see with the click of a button what combinations will give you the best pattern at various distances. You can set it up for everything from 10-70 yards, 15 different choke tubes, choose your shell length, gauge, pellet size and brand.
Now I’m not saying this is the way you set up your gun and completely forget about the range; that’s not the case at all. What I like about the Winchester Pattern Board App is you can try your current setup and then compare and contrast it to a variety of different combinations that you may not have the opportunity to try in the field. Once you find a combination you like, then you head to the range and put it to the test. This is a great way for people to compare what they’re currently using to other shot shells and come up with a lethal combination for their next turkey hunt.
Once you enter in your information, you can compare the various brands and it even gives you the total number of pellets inside a 3” circle, 10”, 15” and 30”. I love this because you can quickly get a visual on what shot size may be best for your needs. Once I make this decision I go out to the range, shoot at all the distances to ensure I know exactly where to hold and what my specific gun and choke can do
with each combination.
To alleviate some of the recoil when shooting turkey rounds, I always put my gun in a lead sled so I know that its as accurate as can be. This also eliminates the heavy recoil that I would take if I were to sit down and shoot an entire box of turkey loads trying to practice with my gun. So, head over to Winchester’s Pattern Board App and just play around with the numbers. You may or may not decide to change your current setup, but it’s really fun to see how various elements can make a huge difference in your pattern.
150 years of hard work and innovation by Winchester have not only lead to improved technology for the ammunition, but truly amazing advancements all the way around. To think that there has been so much progress that Winchester was able to pack 3,500 actual rounds fired at the range into a simple app is really pretty impressive. It truly is the single best way to see shotshell patterns other than shooting them yourself. See it at: http://patternboard.winchester.com/