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Joined: 01/18/2007
Posts: 45
Turkey Rifles

For turkey hunting with a rifle, what are some good cartridges and bullets to use? Also, any opinions on bullet placement would be welcomed in this discussion.

redrider's picture
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Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
Posts: 2603
Turkey Rifles

Not sure where you are located, but here in KS it is illegal to hunt turkey with a rifle.

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Location: Washington, MO
Joined: 10/10/2005
Posts: 154
Turkey Rifles

Here in MO ists illegal to hunt with rifle to. Don't know why you'd want to use a rifle, unless you dont shower and you cant get close

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Joined: 01/13/2004
Posts: 39
Turkey Rifles

I don't have any practical experience with rifles for turkeys, but I do read a lot!

Just about anything you want, as long as the bullet doesn't expand on body shots.
Your targets are the base of the neck, the wing butt and the rear end. Anything you use has to be able to make it through the feathers. I'd say .22 mag on up as I've heard of folks doing it with that. I think a K-Hornet would be about right. A light load in a revolver cartridge with a hard cast lead bullet would be good, too.

If you're going to shoot the neck a pellet rifle would work. I think most folks out west just use a varmint rifle or deer rifle and accept that there won't be much left to eat other than some of the breast. At least that is the impression I got from those I've talked to.

I have no problem with hunting turkeys with rifles. I personally would like to leave the shotgun at home and take a .22 revolver instead. It'd be more challenging and less weight to tote.

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Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 365
Turkey Rifles

Shot em inTexas with the 22 mag (CCI Maxi Mags 33grainers) and 223 60 grain TAP it's a little different hunting than using a shotgun like in my home state of Missouri. Head shots have a major difficulty factor but sure are fun. Yes

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Location: Mammoth Cave
Joined: 11/10/2007
Posts: 9
Turkey Rifles

I like .17 hmr head/neck shots almost completely severs the head from the body. Like the .22 mag comment earlier, it takes some careful shot placement.

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Joined: 01/18/2007
Posts: 45
Turkey Rifles

Thanks for the comments. For hunting fall birds in PA, single projectile ammunition is completely legal and rifles are in common use. I have taken birds with a shotgun and am interested in trying a different approach. I'm not sure what showering has to do with turkey hunting since the birds sense of smell is very limited.

I agree a .22 mag on up should work for shots within 100 yards or so. A .223 seems like a natural choice for a centerfire. Are the TAP bullets a controlled expansion design to minimize meat damage? With the amount of movement associated with a turkey's head, headshots would make for a difficult taget.

Handguns for turkeys might have to wait for next year, but sounds like a good challenge.

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Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 365
Turkey Rifles

No its a frangable bullet, nothing more than a ballistic tip.

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Location: Seattle, WA
Joined: 08/29/2007
Posts: 190
Turkey Rifles

I would use a 204 or maybe a 22-250. something flat.

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Location: Summit, IL
Joined: 10/22/2006
Posts: 706
Turkey Rifles

If im remembering correctly, TAP bullets are designed for self defence purposes (human) so it would be reasonable to assume that they are designed for maximum fast expansion for the most damage they could produce. I do believe they also produce armor piercing (for military and police ONLY) rounds as well. But the things they have on the market are mainly for defence. Not sure if they have come out with hunting rounds or not.

As far as using centerfire rounds turkey hunting in Pa, Ive never really agreed with that concept. Too many hunters in the woods, and too small of a target, in my own opinion to be using a centerfire. Just too many things that can go wrong in that instance. But if I were to try it, Id imagine id use a .22 mag or a 22/250 with a well constructed bullet.

Body wize, turkeys are actually one tough animal. Anything short of a head/neck shot you are risking it getting away. Awful small vitals on them buggers and feathers offer dang near the same protection as Kevlar.

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Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 368
Turkey Rifles

When I used to live in Pa and hunt turkeys, the Savage Model 24 in 20 ga/ 22 Mag. was a popular turkey gun.

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