What's the Best Turkey Hunting Gun? A Shotgun or an AR-15?

What's the Best Turkey Hunting Gun? A Shotgun or an AR-15?

Posted by STNGR USA on Nov 11th 2022

Best Turkey Hunting Guns

Hello! I'm Rick Barrett from STNGR USA and in this video, we're gonna talk about the 3 best guns to go turkey hunting.

It's that time of year when people are looking to put turkeys on the table. If you elect to go this route, you will be part of a long and storied tradition of turkey hunting here in these United States. However, if you do decide to go turkey hunting it's going to necessitate a slightly different firearm than what you're used to using if you hunt waterfowl, wild boar, or even deer.

So when it comes to turkey hunting, the shotgun is the choice for most hunters. With that being said, let's talk about 3 different types of shotguns you could use when going turkey hunting.

Now one thing I will make note of before we get into the discussions of these shotguns is that shotguns come in different lengths. Your home defense shotguns are about 18 inches.

If you're gonna be doing any kind of serious hunting, you want to make sure you have a longer barrel. The longer the barrel the better the accuracy. Typically anywhere between 22 to 24 inches on your barrel will make a very good hunting shotgun.

Top 3 Turkey Hunting Shotguns

Remington 870

Now, the first shotgun we'll talk about is the classic Remington 870. The Remington 870 series of shotguns are available in a variety of barrel lengths, but the shorter-than-average models with a 22 or 21-inch long barrel will suffice for most hunters. One of the great selling points about the Remington 870 is that it's very affordable, has a great track record and you can find it in most stores.

Remington Model 870 410 Turkey TSS. Image from remarms.com.

Winchester Model 12

The next model we'll talk about is the Winchester Model 12. The Winchester Model 12 was the first Turkey shotgun manufactured in 1912. As the years passed, the Winchester Model 12 has evolved with the times with barrels as long as 30 inches now available. It has a hammerless design and a very smooth stroke. So follow-up shots will be quick and easy. Now, an original Winchester Model 12 may be difficult to find considering that the plant that manufactured them was closed in 2006. However, if you can get your hands on one, it's definitely worth it.

Winchester Model 12. Image from americanrifleman.org.

Mossberg 835

The final shotgun that we're going to talk about is the Mossberg 835. The Mossberg 835 is a 12 gauge shotgun and it's ideal for the majority of turkey hunters. In addition, it was originally designed as a waterfowl gun, which only adds to the versatility of this firearm.

Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag Turkey. Image from mossberg.com.

So those are three shotguns you can look into if you're interested in hunting turkeys. But what about ARs? Aren't they good for hunting as well? I'm glad you asked because it's not as simple as a yes or no answer.

Is an AR-15 Good for Hunting?

Each state addresses turkey hunting differently. We're going to talk about the states that do allow hunting with an AR-15 and I want to thank huntinglife.com for the information we're going to be using for the rest of this video. In many states hunting a turkey with a rifle is legal.

Let me state that you must be aware of all the laws pertaining to hunting with an AR-15 in your specific state. It's a good idea to contact the Department of Natural Resources for the state you intend to hunt in and confirm that you're doing so legally. But let's say you do live in one of those states where you are allowed to hunt with an AR-15 - is it better than a shotgun?


The issue is that a turkey hunter with an AR needs to be flat, fast, and accurate. Now for that, the .223/5.56 round will suffice for turkey hunting, but that's not all. Hunting a turkey is different than hunting deer or waterfowl or even wild boar. There are a lot of factors that you're gonna have to be aware of. In particular, where to aim your rifle: the head, the spleen, etc.

Turkey Hunting Shot Placement. Image from Texas.gov.

And it really comes down to whether you can keep a one-inch group at 40 yards with a turkey that knows you're there. If you believe that you can, then the AR is a great choice, provided, once again, it's legal in your state.

Final Thoughts

And that's it for this video. I'm Rick Barrett from STNGR USA. I hope you enjoyed this video and I'll talk to you again soon.