This dramatic photo captures the impact of a load of No. 6 shot as it slams into a turkey. You can see the wad from the shotshell over the back of the tom. The distance of this shot was about 35 yards and the specific shell used was Federal Premium’s Heavyweight No. 6s with the Flitecontrol wad. This is actually from a 20-gauge shotgun, specifically Benelli’s excellent M2.
When the Super Black Eagle first appeared on the scene many years ago I snapped one up. Like everyone else I wanted the reliability, the good looks and 3 1/2-in. hitting power that the SBE delivered. Folks still clamber for 3 1/2-in. guns and I still have the gun in my safe. But if I were to purchase another Benelli today to replace it I would go with the M2 hands down.
The actual benefits of a 3 1/2-in. 12 ga. over a 3-in. chamber are so little as to be negligible and the M2 handles better and is a phenomenal all-around gun.
And as this tom demonstrates, you don’t need a 3 1/2-in. shell–or even a 12 ga.–to kill a turkey dead.