After years of getting bigger, turkey shotguns are now shrinking, as small-gauge gobbler guns attract more and more interest among hunters. You can still find new 3½-inch 12-gauges decked out for the spring woods, but hunters are asking for small gauges, too, and gunmakers are listening. You can credit TSS ammo and improved lead loads like 20-gauge Winchester Long Beard for the switch. It may also be the case that more hunters are realizing that the real fun of turkey hunting is bringing birds in close. Small-gauge guns fit in perfectly with that hunting philosophy, and they’re easy to carry and handle, and a lot less of a chore to pattern, too. All of which is why five out of the six new gobbler guns below come in either 20-gauge or .410.
1. Henry Single-Shot Turkey 12-Gauge
Turkey hunting–done right–is a one-shot sport, and it’s good to see a single shot represented among this year’s guns. Break-action single-shots are both light and compact, which are good traits in a gobbler gun, and Henry’s new Single-Shot is woods-ready with a coat of Mossy Oak Obsession, iron sights, a barrel drilled and tapped for an optics, and a turkey choke. It has a 24-inch barrel and weighs just 6¾ pounds. You’ll feel this gun go off if you shoot it with a 3½-inch load, but you’ll hardly know it’s there when you’ve got it slung over your shoulder.
2. Retay Masai Mara Turkey XT in 20-Gauge
A well-made Turkish intertia gun that has come on strong in the short time it’s been available in the U.S., the Retay Masai Mara comes in a new 20-gauge turkey model available in several camo patterns. It has a 22-inch vent-ribbed barrel and a receiver drilled and tapped for the supplied Picatinny rail if you want to mount an optic. The Masai Mara features a bolt designed to do away with the out-of-battery misfire that occurs with inertia guns from time to time, and is especially frustrating when it happens in the spring woods.
Read Next: The Best Budget Turkey Loads Vs. TSS
3. Savage 320 Turkey Thumbhole
Modeled after Winchester’s Model 1300/SXP, the Savage 320 is a Chinese-made pump that sells for a very low price that can put a dedicated 3-inch 12- or 20-gauge turkey gun in the hands of almost anyone. The 22-inch barrel comes with a turkey choke and adjustable fiber-optic sights clamped to a vent rib. The drab-green synthetic stock features a hybrid thumbhole design that is highly practical for turkey hunting.
4. Franchi Affinity Turkey and Turkey Elite
The Franchi Affinity has become quite popular among upland hunters and waterfowlers who more or less want to shoot a Benelli without paying Benelli prices. Now, turkey hunters can buy a lightweight, reliable Franchi inertia gun made expressly for the spring woods. The Affinity Turkey and Turkey Elite shotguns feature a very comfortable pistol grip, camo finish, and a 24-inch barrel with a turkey choke and adjustable rear and hooded front sights. They are also drilled and tapped for an optic. The Turkey comes in 3-inch 12- and 20-gauge, as well as 3½-inch 12 with a, choice of camo patterns. The Turkey Elite comes in 3-inch 12- or 20-gauge with camo and Cerakote.
5. Mossberg SA-410 Turkey
Mossberg’s imported .410 gas gun makes up into a neat turkey version for those wanting to try shooting big birds with small bores. An inexpensive gun about which you hardly ever hear a discouraging word, the SA-410 Turkey was a mid-year introduction in 2020, so it missed its first turn in the turkey woods, not now it’s ready for its closeup. Dipped in old-school original Bottomland, it features a rib-mounted ghost ring sight, a Picatinny rail, and a 26-inch barrel with an extended turkey choke.
6. Tri Star Viper G2 Turkey
The Tri Star Viper G2 Turkey comes in 12, 20, and .410 versions for hunters who want to shoot a lightweight semiauto. The 12 weighs just 6.8 pounds, the 20 6.3, and the .410 6 pounds even. The tactical-style pistol grip is extremely comfortable to hang on to when you’re seated against a tree, and the gun has a Picatinny rail for mounting an optic. The 24-inch barrels are the right length to shoot good patterns with high dollar TSS loads through the gun’s XX Full turkey choke.
Read Next: The Best New Turkey Hunting Gear of 2021