Best Shotgun Loads for Your Style of Turkey Hunting

Photos by Luke Nilsson

Not everybody hunts spring turkeys the same way, so one load isn't going to be perfect for everybody. Here's how to pick the perfect load to match your style of hunting.

| Old-gun Load Federal Mag-Shok High Velocity ($25 for 10; federal​­premium.com) The Specs: 12-gauge, 23⁄4- or 3-inch, size 6 shot| | The Skinny: Fixed-choke guns with standard chambers can still kill birds with the right ammo. This load's wad gives near turkey-choke performance through a standard Full. The lead pellets don't harm old barrels. Size 6 shot gives dense patterns.|

| Rookie Load Federal Mag-Shok Heavyweight ($18 for five) The Specs: 20-gauge, 23⁄4-inch, size 7 shot| | The Skinny: Light 20-gauge youth shotguns kick hard with 3-inch magnums. Let your beginner hunter shoot these 23⁄4-inch Federal loads. They carry 11⁄8 ounces of size 7 Heavyweight shot, which hit like lead 5s even with a modest 1100-fps velocity.|

| Bargain Load Winchester Double X ($20 for 10; winchester.com) The Specs: 12-gauge, 31⁄2-inch, size 5 shot| | The Skinny: You don't care about recoil--it's paying for premium nontoxics that hurts. Double X turkey loads (originally called Supreme High Velocity) in 31⁄2-inch 12-gauge offer affordable long-range performance. They kick brutally but deliver tight patterns at 1300 fps.|

| Run-and-gun Load EnvironMetal Hevi-13 ($26 for five in 12 gauge; hevishot.com) The Specs: 12-gauge, 23⁄4-inch, size 5 shot| | The Skinny: You hunt wary public-land birds and don't want to pass up any ethical shot? You carry a light gun and need a soft-kicking load with reach? The 11⁄2-ounce 12-gauge payload of dense Hevi-13 pellets has a velocity of 1090 fps, producing tight patterns and low recoil.|