Choke a Turkey

Boom. Down. Dead bird. That's how we turkey hunter's like it. Get the gobbler in range. Drop him like a sack of post-hunt laundry.

A good turkey choke will tighten your shotgun load for that maximum one-shot performance. That single trigger pull you need to drop that turkey in range depends on it. If you're like me, part of the confidence factor in killing gobblers is proven time with a certain firearm, choke and load. You don't think too much about the matter after that. Clean your turkey gun, store it safely, maybe pattern it a little to get in the groove of things, then hunt the next time out.

Then the winter show and new product season arrives just ahead of spring turkey hunting to come. That's when you just have to check the new stuff out.

ENVIRON-Metal, makers of HEVI-13® turkey loads (www.hevishot.com/), is a brand familiar to many of you Strut Zoners. It's killer stuff. Highly reliable. Just plain nasty if you're a strutter in range. Yep, sure enough, a tad expensive too. They've got the reliable load. Now the company has introduced a performance line of HEVI-SHOT Choke Tubes in time for the 2010 spring turkey season. The new offering (pictured here) is made from premium stainless steel and built to handle all lead, high density and even steel pellets.

You heard right. That multi-shotshell option is certainly a plus for some of us. True enough, many aftermarket choke tubes sit in our gun vaults. The question is, when is enough enough?

According to the manufacturer, the new choke tube features internal axial scoring, a design proven at the National Wild Turkey Federation World Still Target Championships to dramatically tighten patterns. In addition, the ported tubes reduce "barrel whip" by dissipating gas equally around the muzzle. The knurled end allows for quick changes in the field to meet conditions. Sure enough, all this might just be marketing spin to some of you veterans comfortable with your longtime killer choke, gun and load. Maybe not.

Will you guys upgrade shooting options for the coming spring turkey season, challenging your stable marriage of choke tube, shotgun and load? Or will you just stick with the old cornshucker and leave it at that? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," the saying goes. There's some evidence out there to maybe consider an upgrade if you're having shooting troubles.

Tight patterns. Extended range. Dead turkeys. What choke tube do you guys use? Do you use different chokes for varying conditions? Will you check out this new offering or just pass word along to buddies during a turkey camp bull session? Will you ask for one in that stocking hanging above your fireplace?