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Robbie & Adrian
March 31, 2023
5
min read

How Do You Even Start to Choose a Turkey Choke?

The number of aftermarket screw-in choke tubes for turkey hunting is likely only surpassed by the number of Craft Breweries in your local up-and-coming, hip and exciting city. However, choke tubes are NOT like craft beers...

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The number of aftermarket screw-in choke tubes for turkey hunting is likely only surpassed by the number of Craft Breweries in your local up-and-coming, hip and exciting city. However, choke tubes are NOT like craft beers...

It's not as easy to down one and just try another. Plus, it will cost you a fortune to try. And, how do you know which one is going to perform the best in your turkey gun?

With all the Choke Options...How do You Decide?

Just this year, we've tried aftermarket turkey chokes made by Jebs, Kicks, Indian Creek, Trulock, and Rectifire. So, where do you even start?

The FIRST question that we really should be asking is:

How do I decide if I need a new turkey choke?

With the click of a button in any search engine, you will likely uncover that a new turkey choke is ABSOLUTELY NEEDED, and that THAT new choke is what will kill turkeys more dead than they've ever been. But is it really?

Here are a couple questions you should ask before deciding to buy a new choke.

  1. Does your current shotgun already have a stock choke that is at least full or extra full?

If you purchase a turkey specific shotgun, chances are high that it will come with a choke that has been designed for that gun and should pattern most turkey loads well - straight out of the box.

Verdict TSS shell delivered a knockout blow

2. What kind of turkey load you want to shoot?

It's no secret that Tungsten Super Shot (TSS) loads seem to pattern well at further distances and still have plenty of energy down range to effectively harvest that old gobbler. Take a look at any of our pattern testing videos to see the difference for yourself. In fact, we even have a video on the difference between a lead turkey load pattern and TSS pattern from a Remington 870 20 gauge.

Once you've decided between lead or TSS, I'd recommend buying a couple of different brands and loads to start BEFORE buying a new choke tube.

This route will be more cost effective, because even if you decide on a new choke, you'll need the ammo to pattern test it.

We've tried to do some of the work for you and have shot a lot of different brands of ammo. We have several newcomers in our most recent TSS testing video. Also, be sure to check out the specific Apex and Verdict pattern testing we've performed previously.

Once you've chosen your load/s, and before you make your final decision on if you need to purchase a new choke, do your research on what other people have found works for them.

Pattern Testing CVA Scout w/Kicks Gobbling Thunder Choke

There are several YouTube channels (obviously including ours) that do pattern testing with a multitude of combos of different guns, chokes, and loads. I'd almost guarantee that if you search your shotgun, you'll find plenty of videos showing you what yours MIGHT be able to do.

Once you've done that homework, you should know if you want to start off with your gun's stock choke or "upgrade" to an aftermarket one.

Then comes the really fun part...get to shooting!!

Even if you've done all your research and feel as though you've made the perfect selection, you won't truly know how your combo is going to perform until you shoot it.

Time on the range with turkey targets is always time well spent. It's best to start at about 20 yards, especially if you're sighting in a red dot or turkey scope. Once you know where the majority of your pattern is headed, then you can move your target out further.

Testing Verdict and Apex loads at Different Distances

Here is where you need to decide what distance you feel comfortable trying to shoot a turkey.

Prior to TSS, most hunters probably didn't shoot until the turkey was within 25-30 yards. With these newer loads, some folks are pushing things out a bit further, even getting very ethical kill patterns out to 60+ yards (depending on the gauge of the shell).

So, test your load at the distance you might think about shooting so you know if it's even worth considering.

If the patterns you get are acceptable, then the decision has been made. Your current turkey choke is the chosen one!

However, if you've tried a few loads and aren't getting the results you want, you still have a few options.

First and probably easiest, you can decrease your chosen distance.

If you chose 50 yards, decrease the distance to 40 and try again. If you chose 40 yards, sometimes even a decrease in 5 yards can make a big difference. And, keep in mind, 40 yards in the woods, from the ground, with limbs and new growth in the way can actually be a pretty far distance to shoot.

If you'd rather keep your chosen distance, you could try a few other loads.

Especially if you only tested one or two loads, don't be afraid to try a different one. Call customer service for the manufacturer of your gun or the choke that your gun came with and get their load recommendations. I'm sure they've already performed a lot of load testing before they released that gun and choke combination.

However, if you've already shot and tested several loads including any of the major brand TSS loads like Apex, Verdict, Viper Ammunition, or Salt Creek Ammo and you still aren't getting the results you want. It might be time to start looking at choke tubes.

Take your time and ask a lot of questions!

Don't just search the interwebs and take the first recommendation that pops up. Keep in mind fairly frequently, (but not always) the first one you find is probably the first one because it's a paid for advertisement.

Call Trulock Chokes at 1-800-293-9402

We have found it beneficial to work with manufacturers that answer their phones and emails! This goes for both ammunition and choke tubes.

Start with the turkey load you've chosen, and call customer service or the contact number on their website. Actually speaking to a knowledgeable person makes a big difference and saves the time of emailing and waiting for an answer. And, after all, who knows the ammo better than the actual manufacturers?

Be ready with pen and paper because they can likely give you different brands of chokes they would suggest as well as best constriction sizes to produce the tightest pattern.

But don't stop there!

Contact the choke tube manufacturers they recommend. Don't be afraid to ask them specific questions based on your gun and chosen turkey load so they can give you their best recommendations as well. Of course, they can also help you determine if you need to change your distance expectations.

I know all this sounds like a lot of work, but keep in mind...you're the one that asked the question and are reading this for an answer!

Here's the reason behind all this testing, contacting, and asking your questions specific to the gun and ammo you're trying to shoot. Check out this video and the importance of finding the right combination.

We were really surprised when we found the Rectifire Chokes and, in speaking with Alan Tuten, learned he makes a choke specifically designed for tight patterns with one of the most available turkey hunting TSS loads out there, Federal Heavyweight TSS.

So how do you choose a turkey choke?

If you walk step-by-step through the process we discussed above, I have no doubt you can get the right combination you're looking for to chase limb hangers this spring! Hopefully, this process will save you money overall, and help you find the magical unicorn of the best choke tube!

Best of luck this season! Send us a picture and your load combination when you get one!

Make sure you enter our giveaway for a chance to win a Hawke Vantage IR 1-4x20 Turkey Dot Scope!

If you like what we're doing, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel as reviews and testing videos are coming out each week.

Make sure you check our full reviews on the Trulock Choke Tubes as well as our most recent look at and testing of the sub-gauge .410 caliber!

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Written by
Robbie & Adrian

Adrian and Robbie have been researching and finding great products and places for a long time. But since 2020...they've been doing it for you too!

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