The Best Turkey Guns for 2012

posted on March 26, 2012

Whereas last year witnessed a pretty big roll-out of dedicated turkey killing shotguns, it seems this year more emphasis has been placed on designated waterfowl guns. But not every manufacturer forgot that turkey hunters need love, too. While it’s true that any shotgun can put the smackdown on virtually any creature plain and simple, there are still some pretty cool new offerings out there that will take your spring to the next level.

Winchester Super X Pump Turkey Hunter
With the price of semi-autos now eclipsing the cost of most mortgage payments, many hunters are just fine with idling things back a bit and working the woods with a pump gun. Enter Winchester, who this year added a 3 ½-inch chambered model designed expressly for turkey hunters to its product line. Nothing says you have to use the shoulder-busting loads—the gun handles every size shell—but you definitely have that option when hunting conditions suggest more knockdown power and projectiles fit the situation. The bolt is inertia-assisted for easy follow-up shots when necessary, the chamber and bore are made of hard chrome to withstand the punishment from tungsten and other super hard alloy shot and a black chrome finish protects the bolt and other metal components. The Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity synthetic stock boasts textured grips on the fore-end and at the pistol grip. A back-bored barrel and Inflex Technology Recoil Pads temper recoil. Additional features include an extra-full choke tube and TruGlo fiber optic sights. MSRP: $600

Stoeger P-350 Pump
Stoeger has introduced a turkey model to its P-350 pump line featuring a Realtree APG finish and SteadyGrip vertical pistol grip. Stoeger’s sister company Benelli helped pioneer the popularity of tactical vertical grips on turkey guns nearly a decade ago, and for many hunters who may find themselves locked down in position to fire for extended periods of time waiting for a gobbler to close those final yards, the configuration is both more comfortable and provides a more reliable aim. The fore-end is ergonomically designed to better fit the hand with ridges for improved grip. The shotgun comes with an extra-full turkey choke, and has a cantilever for fast, easy mounting of a red-dot sight or low-power optic. The gun weighs 6.6 pounds, and sports a short 20-inch barrel for maneuvering around limbs and brush when that turkey doesn’t quite come in from the way you planned. MSRP: $479

Mossberg SA-20 Turkey THUG
Let’s face it, with today’s shotgun and load performance, a heavy, 12-gauge load is hardly a necessary requirement for taking a longbeard to the ground. Increasingly, hunters are turning to the smaller, lighter 20-gauge and manufacturers are responding with more offerings. As part of the expansion of its Turkey THUG line of guns, Mossberg introduced four new models including the SA-20, a 20-gauge autoloader, in 2012. The gas-operating semi-auto is chambered to accommodate 3-inch shells, and features a 22-inch ported vent rib barrel with an extended turkey choke tube, fiber-optic Dead Ringer Beard Buster sights, swivel studs and a padded camo sling. The receiver is drilled and tapped with included Weaver-style bases for optics mounting. Exposed metal has a matte-blue finish, while the synthetic stock and fore-end feature Mossy Oak Obsession camo. The gun weighs in at 6.25 pounds and has a 22-inch barrel. MSRP: $595

Escort Turkey Extreme
Escort is made by the Turkish gunmaker Hatsan and imported to this country by Legacy Sports, and while the guns fly largely beneath the radar of American sportsmen, most reports and forum posts on the guns are all positive. This year, the company has added the Turkey Extreme model to its Extreme Magnum line. The gas-operated semi-auto is fully dipped in Realtree AP camo and features a chrome-moly lined barrel proofed for steel shot; a synthetic stock with vertical pistol grip and a two-round shell pocket built into the stock; SMART Valve gas pistons that manage gas blowback to cycle every size round from low brass 2 ¾-inch loads to heavy magnum 3-inch shells (for which the gun is chambered); HiVis sights with a Picatinny sight rail on the receiver for easy optic or red-dot mounting and a Hevi-Shot choke tube. Barrel length is 24 inches. MSRP: $673

Browning A5 Mossy Oak Infinity
While it isn’t a dedicated turkey gun, the fact that such a popular model of shotgun has made a return is worthy of note. Like it’s predecessor, the A5 is recoil-operated, but features the proven Kinematic Drive System. Other top Browning technologies on the A5 include Invector-DS chokes and an Inflex II recoil pad. The receiver is made of an aluminum alloy and the vent-rib barrel is designed to be lightweight. The gun is chambered for 3-inch shells. The composite stock boasts a close radius pistol grip with textured gripping areas, and the Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity pattern is protected by Browning’s Dura-Touch Armor Coating, which makes the gun even more durable in harsh elements. At this time, a 26-inch barrel is the shortest to be had, but could prove to make this an awesome all-around gun for hunts where the patterning ability of a scattergun is needed. MSRP: $1,560

Weatherby SA-459 Turkey
Weatherby rolled out an aggressive line of dedicated turkey guns this year, and a piece on new turkey guns would be remiss not to include one of them. Enter the SA-459 with a 12-gauge and 20-gauge model, both of which feature slender fore-ends, oversized hourglass bolt handles, comfortable pistol-grip stocks, extra-full extended ported choke tubes, Mil-spec Picatinny rails, LPA-style ghost ring rear sights and fiber-optic blade front sights. The SA-459 comes in Mothwing Spring Mimicry camo. Both guns are also chambered for 3-inch shells. MSRP: $699


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