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I first started testing out custom turkey chokes with different models and gauge shotguns a few years ago. Like old sage Toms tend to do, a thick-bearded Eastern hung up on the field edge. We had the best decoys imaginable but the bird wasn’t going to break off his girls. He was 60 yards, and never in my turkey career had I attempted such a shot. Granted, I’d also never swapped out a manufacturer’s Extra-Full choke for a custom model. So, upon my buddy’s insistence, I settled the HIVIZ fiber-optic bead on the longbeard’s dome, took a breath, and squeezed the trigger. The 20-plus pound bird didn’t even flop.

I’ve hunted turkeys from Idaho to Texas to Florida and in almost every state between and have tested and tinkered with piles of turkey chokes. These are chokes that have proved their worth. I have a tote in my garage full of turkey chokes; one could say I’m a collector, but only a handful is in the starting lineup, and this article contains the bulk of that lineup.

Playing around with chokes has been a lot of shoulder abuse, but it’s also been fun. I’ve found some great makes and models (along with some I wouldn’t have my worst enemy thread into their barrel). The bottom line is that the best turkey chokes constitute a significant benefit and are well worth adding to your turkey gear collection.

The Best Turkey Chokes

Jeb’s Headhunter Turkey Choke

Specs

  • Gauge: 10-, 12- 20-, 28-gauge and .410
  • Shotgun Models: Browning, Benelli, Beretta, Remington, Retay, Mossberg in 12-gauge; varies by gauge
  • Load Compatability: Lead and Tungsten-iron
  • Diameter: .380 (.410 bore) to .685 (10-gauge)

Pros

  • World Record Holder
  • Dense patterns with TSS and lead
  • Available in five gauges (everything but 16)
  • Ported and non-ported available

Cons

  • Costly, at $100 (but worth it)

Jeb’s choke tubes set a record at the NWTF Still-Target Championships in 2017, putting 35 pellets in a 3-inch circle at 40 yards. That was before commercial TSS loadings. Now you should see these things shoot. My Mossberg 835 has always been the problem child among my turkey guns when it comes to patterns. It killed turkeys, but never patterned the way I thought it should. I experimented with several different chokes and loads and it got a little better, then I quit fooling around and put a Jeb’s Headhunter in it. Pattern percentages in the 10-inch circle jumped by 20 percent and more over everything else I tried in that gun.

Jeb’s makes turkey chokes for a variety of brands in 10-, 12- 20-, 28-gauge, and .410. You can choose between ported, which helps separate the wad from the shot cleanly, or unported, which is lower maintenance. Many Headhunters are available in more than one constriction, and Jeb’s customer service can help you find the right choke for your gun. —Phil Bourjaily

Indian Creek Black Diamond Strike Turkey Choke

Specs

  • Gauge: 10-, 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge; .410 bore
  • Shotgun Models: Remington, Browning, Winchester, Weatherby, Stevens, Savage, Beretta, Benelli, Mossberg
  • Load Compatability: All lead and hybrid heavy loads with shot sizes from #2 through #10
  • Diameter: .385 (.410 bore) to .690 (10 gauge)
Best Overall

Pros

  • Exceptional patterns at ranges close and far
  • Extended design makes it a breeze to swap out
  • Tight and right
  • 10 models available to fit a variety of shotguns

Cons

  • You’re gonna pay for it

Engineered with ultra-tight tolerances, this tube will jelly the head of toms close and far. In testing, the Strike has shown pattern density increases beyond 40 percent, meaning more pellets smack the target when you squeeze the trigger. With an extended choke tube, installation is a breeze, and the choke has proven to be tough as nails, which means season after season of no-fail use.  

Primos Jellyhead Maximum Turkey Choke

Best Budget

Specs

  • Gauge: 12- and 20-gauge
  • Shotgun Models: Remington, Remington Vera Max, Invector, Benelli Crio, Beretta Xtremea I & II, Mossberg 835/935, Beretta/Benelli Mobil, Invector Plus, Browning A5-DS, Benelli M2
  • Load Compatability: Not to be used with steel shot
  • Diameter: .385 (.410 bore) to .690 (10 gauge)

Pros

  • More pellets on target
  • Reduced recoil
  • Great range
  • 10 percent more penetration

Cons

  • I got nothing here

Primos knows a thing or two about turkey killing, and they wouldn’t trust their success to a product they don’t believe in. Primos’ Jellyhead Maximum Turkey Choke could have easily secured the Best Overall award, but its wallet-friendly price makes it a budget no-brainer. Numerous threading constructions allow you to select your gun and find the Jellyhead thread pattern that’s right for you. The tapered design and fluted ports reduce shoulder abuse while putting more lead (or other metal) on target.

I’ve shot this choke numerous times over the years and love the pattern density I get along with the ported design that reduces recoil. As with most turkey chokes, the only metal the JellyHead won’t handle is steel, so don’t try using it as an extended waterfowl choke. 

Carlson’s Long Beard XR Turkey Choke

Best 12-Gauge

Specs

  • Gauge: 12- and 20-gauge
  • Shotgun Models: Benelli Crio Plus, Beretta Benelli Mobil, Browning Invector DS, Browning Invector Plus, Mossberg M835/M935, Remington, Retay, Winchester-Browning INV Mossberg 500
  • Load Compatability: Lead, copper, or Heavyshot; No steel shot larger than #4
  • Diameter: .665, .650, .660, and .683 in 12 gauge

Pros

  • Designed for multiple shotguns makes & models
  • Remarkable pattern densities
  • Keeps shot ultra-tight

Cons

  • Designed for one kind of ammunition

Carlson’s is a choke-crafting genius, and the Long Beard XR is one of the manufacturer’s finest creations. Engineered to produce distinctive downrange patterns when using Winchester’s Long Beard Turkey Loads, this tube promises ultra-tight patterns and keeps lots of lead on target.

When paired with Winchester’s Long Beard, the combo gives the turkey-goer 10 percent more penetration than the standard lead shot at distances more than 50 yards, and terminal on-target performance is boosted because the design of the choke tube throws the round shot tightly. I have used the tube with other ammunition and have seen similar results. 

Rob Roberts Final Strut Turkey Choke

Best 20-Gauge

Specs

  • Gauge: 10-, 12-, and 20-gauge
  • Shotgun Models: Benelli, Beretta, Browning, CZ, Franchi, Mossberg, Remington, Stoeger, Winchester
  • Load Compatability: Lead, bismuth, and tungsten
  • Diameter: .570, .560 in 20 gauge

Pros

  • Amazing customer service
  • Heavy pattern density
  • Consistent

Cons

  • Price

Rob Roberts is a master craftsman and has spent a fair share of his time perfecting shotgun chokes, many of which have found their way into shotguns in my arsenal for a reason: They perform as advertised. This choke is one of the best I’ve used, and it’s a go-to when shooting  20 gauge because I love the pattern density. 

Built in a single cycle, the outside and inside are run before the tube ever comes out of the lathe. This build means consistent concentricity, and you never have to worry about your point of impact changing. The choke threads into the barrel like butter and produces excellent pattern densities at ranges close and far. When paired with a top-tier TSS or Bismuth load, dropping a gobbler in his tracks beyond 50 yards is achievable, even with a 20 gauge.

Carlson’s Heavyweight TSS Turkey Choke Tube

Best Long Range

Specs

  • Gauge: 12- and 20-gauge, .410 bore
  • Shotgun Models: Benelli Crio Plus, Beretta Benelli Mobil, Browning Invector DS, Browning Invector Plus, Mossberg M835/M935, Remington, Retay, Winchester-Browning INV Mossberg 500
  • Load Compatability: Lead, copper, or Heavyshot; No steel shot larger than #4
  • Diameter: .640 (12 gauge), .555 (20 gauge), .380 (.410 bore)

Pros

  • Optimized for Heavyweight TSS turkey loads
  • Designed for multiple shotgun makes & models
  • Remarkable pattern densities
  • Keeps shot ultra-tight

Cons

  • Limited ammo options

Carlson’s is a choke-crafting genius, and the Heavyweight TSS Turkey Choke is one of the brand’s finest creations. Engineered to produce distinctive downrange patterns when using Federal Premium Heavyweight TSS, which has an incredibly high pellet count and the energy to carry shot farther than other comparable loads. This Carlson’s choke and Heavyweight TSS create a dynamic duo that delivers superb penetration and insane pattern density, even at distances beyond 60 yards.

Turkey Choke Buying Guide

An aftermarket choke tube paired with modern, hard-hitting turkey loads can turn almost any run-of-the-mill scattergun into your dream gobbler-getter. However, the world of shotgun choke tubes can be a confusing place, especially if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. Here are a few key things to understand before you start searching for the perfect turkey choke. 

Hunter putting choke on turkey shotgun
I’ve learned more than a thing or two about what makes a good choke over my years of turkey hunting. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

Shotgun Compatability

Interchangeable chokes gained major popularity after Mossberg introduced its Accu-Choke tube system back in 1978. The idea took off, and now most factory-new shotguns roll off the assembly line with some sort of swappable choke tube. However, chokes are rarely interchangeable. For example, you can pull the choke out of your Mossberg 500 and screw it into the muzzle of your Remington 870. Some chokes are interchangeable between some shotguns. The most popular turkey chokes come in different varieties to fit the many different choke systems. So make sure you pick the option that is compatible with your turkey gun. 

Constriction

Back in the olden days, turkey hunters didn’t have nearly as many choke tube choices as we have today. If Grandpa had a shotgun with interchangeable chokes, he probably slapped a basic full choke on it and called it a day. Things were so much simpler back then. Modern turkey hunters get to choose from a much more extensive selection of turkey-specific chokes, many of which hold shot patterns a whole heckuva lot tighter than Gradpa’s full choke. 

The choke tube manufacturer usually lists constrictions. And while there are variables, generally, the tighter the constriction, the tighter the pattern. However, tighter doesn’t always mean better, even in turkey hunting. A less constrictive choke tube will probably serve you better if you hunt thick hardwoods. If you hunt more open terrain, like the edges of farm fields, it’s probably okay to go tighter. 

To shake things up, the same model choke may offer different constrictions depending on which model shotgun it is made for. For example, the Primos Jellyhead Maximum Turkey Choke has .690 constriction on the option for a 12-gauge Mossberg 835/935. Meanwhile, the 12-gauge Beretta/Benelli Mobil model has a tighter .655 constriction. That’s a significant difference.

Load Compatibility

Traditional choke tubes were built to handle traditional lead shot. However, modern turkey shot isn’t limited to lead. Tungsten, bismuth, and copper-plated are all options. However, you want to make sure your choke is designed to handle the type of pellets that will be cruising through it.

Hunting Style

Next, you need to consider your plans for hunting turkeys. I’m an open sight guy and limit my shots to 60 yards and in (after 20-plus years of hunting turkeys across the country, I’ve only shot one bird at this distance). I hunt turkeys for the thrill of calling them in, and when I get them in tight, I like a load of #7 1/2 or #9 bismuth or TSS. Shooting smaller-sized pellets that are denser than lead and pairing those pellets with a quality choke means maximum lethality and close distances. 

When it comes to testing, I’ve dropped a small fortune on turkey chokes over the years, and one of the best ways to find the top choke for your turkey killer is to buy them and test them.

FAQs

Q: Do you need an extended choke for turkey hunting?

No. My first 10 seasons in the turkey woods produced 10 longbeards, and I took all those birds with a standard Remington Full Choke. With that noted, all of those shots were super close, and over the years, I saw the light and changed to extended choke tubes when hunting turkeys.

Q: What do you look for in a turkey choke?

It must thread properly into your shotgun, and I want a choke that keeps my pattern tight and uniformed and puts lots of pellets on a target beyond 50 yards.

Q: What shot size is best for turkeys?

Man, this question could cause a severe argument amongst the turkey crowd — every turkey hunter has their opinion on shot size. I consider myself an old-school turkey hunter sold on # 5 shot, but with the advancements in choke tube design and the undeniable lethality of bismuth and TSS, I stick to # 7 1/2 and #9 shot these days. When I pull the trigger on a big old Tom, I want a lot of pellets in the air. 

Q: What is the best turkey choke?

The choke that works best for a turkey hunter calling gobblers in big hardwoods with a 20 gauge and TSS may not be the right choice for one hunting open ag fields with a 12 gauge loaded with lead #5s. While the “best” turkey choke is relatively subjective, we’ve chosen Indian Creek Black Diamond Strike Turkey Choke as our top pick. It pairs well with a wide range of shot sizes and materials and delivers exceptional patterns at close range but still performs when you need to reach out and touch a bird at a distance.

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