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Why You Should Put a Scope on Your Turkey Gun

Until the morning I sent a load of copper 5s sailing over a Missouri gobbler's glowing white head, I didn't understand how anyone could miss a turkey. Now that I know, I've put scopes on my turkey guns.

The supertight patterns of Extra-Full turkey chokes leave little margin for error. Mispoint slightly and you'll brush the bird with the pattern fringe. Raise your noggin to watch him fall and you'll shoot over him. But a scope encourages you to keep your head down, and cross-hairs help you aim with precision. Unlike iron sights or a bead, a scope doesn't block out the lower half of the bird. And to my 45-year-old eyes, a turkey seen through optics (with just a hair of magnification) is distinctly brighter and clearer than the same bird seen through the lens of a red dot. Finally, you can put the crosshairs on a turkey faster than you can line up a bead.

There's plenty of good gobbler glass available. Here are four of my favorites:

Swarovski PV-I I hunted in Texas last spring with this 30mm scope, conceived for use on Cape buffalo and other large, mean animals. A 1.25X-4X variable, the PV-I provides a 98-foot field of view at 100 yards at 1.25X. This is so wide that you almost can see behind yourself. The PV-I has an illuminated circle reticle that rings your target with an orange halo, although the instrument is fully functional with the illumination switched off.

The PV-I also features a spring-loaded, collapsible eyepiece that gives way if the scope slams back into your forehead under recoil. It sells for $1,100. Is that more than most of us will pay for a turkey scope? Well, yes, but if I hunted gobblers for a living, I'd have one.

Leupold VX-II Shotgun You don't have to drop a grand to buy a great turkey scope. Leupold's fine VX-II 1X-4X Shotgun scope offers everything a turkey hunter needs in a lightweight, compact, matte-finished package at a list price of $339. With a heavy Duplex reticle that shows up in the brush, a 70-foot field of view at 100 yards, and generous eye relief, this model approaches gobbler glass perfection.

Cabela's Alaskan Guide This $149 muzzleloader scope is intended for use on blackpowder rifles in states that prohibit magnifying sights during "primitive" seasons. With no magnification and an 86-foot field of view, it's terrific on turkey guns, too. Think of it as a red dot without batteries. Target acquisition with a 1X scope is lightning quick. Just for fun, I've powdered flying clay targets with the Alaskan Guide on a turkey gun. Last fall I used it to shoot a hen that came scurrying quickly past my tree.

Bushnell Banner (Model 71-1436) Some shotguns with cantilever-style mounts require a scope with extra eye relief. Bushnell's Banner scope is a 1.75X-4X variable that puts a full 6 inches between your forehead and its eyepiece. Extended eye relief reduces field of view (at 1.75X the scope covers 35 feet at 100 yards), but that's about the end of its shortcomings. It has a thick, easy-to-see circle-plex reticle, and it's built to take heavy recoil. As $79 scopes go, this is a good one.

The Bushnell weighs about 12 ounces, the same as the Swarovski. Any scope and mounts add a pound to your gun, but I don't mind carrying a little extra weight over one shoulder if it improves my chances of hefting a 20-pound gobbler over the other.

SADDLE MOUNTS
Aimtech (229-226-4313; www.aimtechmounts.com) and B-Square (800-433-2909; www.b-square.com) mounts are the answer for putting scopes on turkey guns without drilled, tapped receivers. You can install them yourself in a few minutes. In theory, a receiver mount on a gun with a removable barrel shouldn't be accurate. But in practice, ranges are short in the turkey woods, and even a barrel that wiggles wildly won't be off target by more than an inch or two at 40 yards. --P.B.

Comments (18)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Gobblerman wrote 5 years 15 weeks ago

Scopes help, sure. But for me, the biggest issue is keeping my cheek glued to the stock. When I peek, I miss!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 5 years 14 weeks ago

I've got the aforementioned Bushnell Banner scope and B-Square saddle mounted on my Mossberg 500 and it is a wonderful rig for both turkeys and (with rifled barrel) deer. Now if I could just get close enough to one of those stinkin birds!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from wally wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

This was very helpful because I will be going turkey hunting in April for the first time. I will go look at Cabela's today. Thanks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Andyhess4123 wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

i personly dont like scopes. with out one it is more challenging because the turkey must be closer and more stealthy

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BBD19 wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

I personally just stick to fiber optic sights but a scope would be a nice addition to my turkey gun collection.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hjohn429 wrote 5 years 5 weeks ago

I have the Bushnell and it works great, but a reddot works great as well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from alozzi wrote 5 years 1 week ago

nothin beats the bead

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jsheintz wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I put a bushnell holographic on my 835 for one turkey season and haven't taken it off for 3 years...even for ducks and geese. It sounds (and looks) ridiculous but target acquisition is much faster and imperfections in your stock weld become irrelevant. you just put the dot where you want to shoot and pull the trigger. Additionally, being able to see the whole bird when you shoot helps predict your targets movements and keeps you from needing to "peek".

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from deasley wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I haven't missed a gobbler since installing a Holosite on my SBE five years ago and it only requires one shot. I've shot toms @61,54 and 51 yards.I average four gobblers a season.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sledneck7 wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I haven't missed a single turkey with the scope I recently installed on my shotgun. When turkey hunting, the worst thing to do is lift your head off of the stock. That's why scopes are so great.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bosshen wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

I put a reddot on my 12 gauge this year and took 2 nice gobblers. I wish I would have done that last year cause I missed one which I think was too far. Can't wait for next year.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Technology is a great thing EH? Used anything that will help you! It's all good! :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fishman5 wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I have found that many power struggles can be avoided by putting a scope on your gun.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from hawken wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

THANKS FOR THE GREAT SCOPE COMENTS
I USE FIBER OPTICS ON MY MOSS. 535 & THEY HAVE WORKED FOR 5 NICE TURKEY 15 TO 45 YARDS. I LIKE THE IDEA OF A SCOPE, BECAUSE I JUST PURCHASED A RIFLED BARREL& THINK A SCOPE WOULD BE BEST FOR BOTH BARRELS (TURKEY& DEER) . YHE IDEA GET USE TO ONE SIGHTING PICTURE, ITS FASTER & EASER IN A QUICK NEEDED SHOT.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gar29 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I would like to try a red dot. I have considered a scope on my Mossberg 535 ATS. If I do, I won't be using the 3-1/2" magnums!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pdambc163 wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

I will be going turkey hunting in April for the first time. farmville cheats

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steven Meylink wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

First gun I borrowed had fiber sites and was a Browning Gold 3.5 Way overkill for the 4.5 yr old tom at 15 yrds but dead is dead was a lean/twist/dance on one leg type of shot and a very tight choke but don't slap the trigger and shoot the gun like it was a rifle and you should be walking out with a bird. Now have my own gun and because I see two beads with both eyes open I picked up a red dot scope (var power with both green and red). For a bird at 40 yrds my sight doesn't require a magnification but put the dot on the neck and down they come. 11-87 Supermax using a B Squared saddle mount (I put packing tape on the back sides of the screw mount to avoid scratching gun) and be sure to tighten snug and make sure it cycles once mounted. To keep costs down, try taking whatever you have (fiber, scope, red-dot or stock bead) and pattern your gun/choke. If your flinching, slapping the trigger get some snap caps (to avoid damage of dry-fire) and practice shooting. If when looking at the target you see two beads get either a easyhit fiber sight (avoids the wrong eye from seeing green or red dot) or get red-dot or other scope. Easyhit is about 20 bucks, I picked up a red-dot after thanksgiving sale for around 40 and the saddle mount you can find for 25-45 bucks. Practice shooting so you are comfortable with taking any shot in range and you will have the time of your life when the nice bird comes to you. Enjoy!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Matthew Paul wrote 4 weeks 3 days ago

I have shot a dozen turkeys just using true glow iron sights. I have never missed one and I don't see any point in putting a scope on my turkey gun. If you keep a good cheek weld to the stock you don't need a scope.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from sledneck7 wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I haven't missed a single turkey with the scope I recently installed on my shotgun. When turkey hunting, the worst thing to do is lift your head off of the stock. That's why scopes are so great.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fishman5 wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I have found that many power struggles can be avoided by putting a scope on your gun.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 5 years 14 weeks ago

I've got the aforementioned Bushnell Banner scope and B-Square saddle mounted on my Mossberg 500 and it is a wonderful rig for both turkeys and (with rifled barrel) deer. Now if I could just get close enough to one of those stinkin birds!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Andyhess4123 wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

i personly dont like scopes. with out one it is more challenging because the turkey must be closer and more stealthy

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jsheintz wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I put a bushnell holographic on my 835 for one turkey season and haven't taken it off for 3 years...even for ducks and geese. It sounds (and looks) ridiculous but target acquisition is much faster and imperfections in your stock weld become irrelevant. you just put the dot where you want to shoot and pull the trigger. Additionally, being able to see the whole bird when you shoot helps predict your targets movements and keeps you from needing to "peek".

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gobblerman wrote 5 years 15 weeks ago

Scopes help, sure. But for me, the biggest issue is keeping my cheek glued to the stock. When I peek, I miss!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wally wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

This was very helpful because I will be going turkey hunting in April for the first time. I will go look at Cabela's today. Thanks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BBD19 wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

I personally just stick to fiber optic sights but a scope would be a nice addition to my turkey gun collection.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hjohn429 wrote 5 years 5 weeks ago

I have the Bushnell and it works great, but a reddot works great as well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from deasley wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I haven't missed a gobbler since installing a Holosite on my SBE five years ago and it only requires one shot. I've shot toms @61,54 and 51 yards.I average four gobblers a season.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bosshen wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

I put a reddot on my 12 gauge this year and took 2 nice gobblers. I wish I would have done that last year cause I missed one which I think was too far. Can't wait for next year.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hawken wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

THANKS FOR THE GREAT SCOPE COMENTS
I USE FIBER OPTICS ON MY MOSS. 535 & THEY HAVE WORKED FOR 5 NICE TURKEY 15 TO 45 YARDS. I LIKE THE IDEA OF A SCOPE, BECAUSE I JUST PURCHASED A RIFLED BARREL& THINK A SCOPE WOULD BE BEST FOR BOTH BARRELS (TURKEY& DEER) . YHE IDEA GET USE TO ONE SIGHTING PICTURE, ITS FASTER & EASER IN A QUICK NEEDED SHOT.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gar29 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I would like to try a red dot. I have considered a scope on my Mossberg 535 ATS. If I do, I won't be using the 3-1/2" magnums!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from alozzi wrote 5 years 1 week ago

nothin beats the bead

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Technology is a great thing EH? Used anything that will help you! It's all good! :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pdambc163 wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

I will be going turkey hunting in April for the first time. farmville cheats

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steven Meylink wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

First gun I borrowed had fiber sites and was a Browning Gold 3.5 Way overkill for the 4.5 yr old tom at 15 yrds but dead is dead was a lean/twist/dance on one leg type of shot and a very tight choke but don't slap the trigger and shoot the gun like it was a rifle and you should be walking out with a bird. Now have my own gun and because I see two beads with both eyes open I picked up a red dot scope (var power with both green and red). For a bird at 40 yrds my sight doesn't require a magnification but put the dot on the neck and down they come. 11-87 Supermax using a B Squared saddle mount (I put packing tape on the back sides of the screw mount to avoid scratching gun) and be sure to tighten snug and make sure it cycles once mounted. To keep costs down, try taking whatever you have (fiber, scope, red-dot or stock bead) and pattern your gun/choke. If your flinching, slapping the trigger get some snap caps (to avoid damage of dry-fire) and practice shooting. If when looking at the target you see two beads get either a easyhit fiber sight (avoids the wrong eye from seeing green or red dot) or get red-dot or other scope. Easyhit is about 20 bucks, I picked up a red-dot after thanksgiving sale for around 40 and the saddle mount you can find for 25-45 bucks. Practice shooting so you are comfortable with taking any shot in range and you will have the time of your life when the nice bird comes to you. Enjoy!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Matthew Paul wrote 4 weeks 3 days ago

I have shot a dozen turkeys just using true glow iron sights. I have never missed one and I don't see any point in putting a scope on my turkey gun. If you keep a good cheek weld to the stock you don't need a scope.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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