Because no good idea goes un-copied, today we present the first installment of Gunfight Friday based on (and by “based on” I mean “shamelessly ripped off of”) the Wild Chef’s Food Fight Friday. The format will be eerily similar: You send us pictures of your gun (see below) and write a little about the gun and why you like it for a specific purpose. We’ll pair up two guns, and readers will decide which is their choice. Unlike Food Fight Friday, which sometimes pits, say, venison vs. fish, we’ll try to confine this to guns for similar purposes like, say, elk rifles for black timber or squirrel rifles.

I have wanted to get pictures of readers’ guns onto this blog for a long time, and this seems like a good way to do it. I hope you agree, participate, and enjoy it. Because we don’t have any reader pictures yet, Dave Hurteau and I are going to face off on the first installment, which pits my 20-gauge turkey gun against his.

Phil’s Remington 870 Express Jr. 20 Gauge


First, about 20 gauge turkey guns: I am not one of those annoying purists who say, “All I need is a 20 gauge.” I am a public-land turkey hunter of middling ability and I need a 105 mm howitzer. From a practical standpoint, however, I find this Remington 870 Express Jr. (I took it from my younger son when he outgrew it) is perfect for my hunting. Pumps are my favorite action-type for turkey guns, because in the excitement of shooting a turkey I can run to it with my gun in hand knowing it is safe with a just-fired shell in the chamber. But, I still have two more shots in the magazine if I need them. I like this particular gun because the 18 1/2-inch barrel is easy to maneuver in brush, and the short stock is handy, too. If I shoot my favorite Federal Heavyweight 3-inch No. 6s through the H.S. Undertaker choke, I can reach out to almost 50 yards with this gun–and have a couple of times. I have topped it with a Zeiss Z-Point that costs roughly twice what the gun did and helps me put the tight patterns on target. The whole rig, with sling, weighs about 7 pounds and is easy to carry on long walks.

Dave’s Mossberg SA-20 Turkey Thug Autoloader


First, all I need is a 20 gauge. Second, an autoloader is my favorite action-type for turkey hunting because it gives me the quickest second shot (not for finishing the job but for taking out any hateful gobbler counting coup on the poor bird I just shot), and because when I shoot, there is no running–just waiting for the flopping to stop.

Seriously though, of all the different turkey guns I’ve used, and its been a bunch, I think I like this new Turkish-made Mossberg the best, simply because it puts a whole lot of desirables together: It’s a rugged little gun with that weighs only 6-1/4 pounds and doesn’t pound your shoulder; with a synthetic, camo stock and matte blue finish it doesn’t throw any glare; it comes with a rail for scope mounting, good fiber-optic sights, and a turkey choke; and like Phil says, with 3-inch Heavyweight 6s or 7s, it’s a 50 yards gun. I just took it to the Pine Ridge region of northwestern Nebraska a couple weeks ago, where we logged several miles a day in hilly terrain. It was a breeze to carry. It also handled very quickly when it came to sneaking up and quickly shooting a couple of troublesome, uncooperative toms. Also it costs under $600, which I like because I’m cheap. All in all, it’s a great little everyday gobbler gun.

Want to face off in a Gunfight Friday? Email us photos of your favorite gun(s) to, and include a short write-up about your gun and why you like it for a specific purpose, such as trap, elk hunting, or wingshooting.