Top 5 Turkey Hunting Loads for a Successful Hunt

Thayne Muthler

As a passionate turkey hunter, I have come to understand the importance of choosing the right load for a successful hunt. The load you select can greatly impact your chances of bagging that elusive gobbler. With so many options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best suited for your needs. In this article, I will provide an overview of the factors to consider when choosing a turkey hunting load and share my personal experiences in finding the perfect ammunition.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right turkey hunting load is crucial for a successful hunt.
  • Factors to consider when selecting a load include shot size, weight, and velocity.
  • The top 5 turkey hunting loads are Winchester Long Beard XR, Federal Premium Heavyweight TSS, Remington Premier Magnum, Hornady Heavy Magnum, and Hevi-Shot Magnum Blend.
  • These loads offer superior performance and accuracy at various ranges.
  • To find the best turkey hunting load for your needs, consider your hunting style, terrain, and personal preferences.


Factors to Consider When Choosing Turkey Hunting Loads

When it comes to selecting turkey hunting loads, there are several key factors that should be taken into consideration. First and foremost is gauge and shot size. The most common gauges used for turkey hunting are 12-gauge and 20-gauge, with 12-gauge being more popular due to its wider range of ammunition options.

Shot material and weight also play a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of your shot. Lead has long been the traditional choice for turkey loads due to its dense nature and ability to penetrate feathers at longer distances. However, many states now require non-toxic shot materials such as steel or tungsten-based alloys.

Velocity and energy are important considerations as well since they determine how far your shot will travel and how much impact it will have on target. Higher velocities generally result in tighter patterns but may sacrifice penetration power at longer ranges.

Lastly, choke selection is another factor that should not be overlooked when choosing a turkey hunting load. Different chokes can affect pattern density and spread, allowing you to tailor your shots based on distance.

Top 5 Turkey Hunting Loads for a Successful Hunt

After years of trial-and-error testing various loads on countless hunts, I have narrowed down my top five picks for turkey hunting loads:

1) Winchester Long Beard XR Turkey Load: This load features Winchester's innovative Shot-Lok technology which protects the shot during in-bore acceleration, resulting in tighter patterns and increased downrange energy. It is available in both 12-gauge and 20-gauge options with various shot sizes.

2) Federal Premium Heavyweight TSS Turkey Load: The Heavyweight TSS load from Federal Premium combines tungsten super shot (TSS) pellets with a high-density FLITECONTROL wad for devastating performance at extended ranges. It offers excellent pattern density and penetration power, making it a favorite among many turkey hunters.

3) Remington Premier Magnum Turkey Load: Known for its reliability and consistency, the Remington Premier Magnum Turkey Load delivers dense patterns thanks to its copper-plated lead shot. With a high velocity and energy, this load is ideal for those who prefer longer shots.

4) Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey Load: Hornady's Heavy Magnum Turkey Load utilizes their patented Versatite wad technology to deliver consistent patterns at all ranges. The nickel-plated lead shot provides excellent penetration while reducing deformation.

5) Hevi-Shot Magnum Blend Turkey Load: This load from Hevi-Shot combines different types of non-toxic pellets (copper-plated lead, buffered tungsten-iron, and steel) to create a versatile blend that performs well across various distances. It offers impressive pattern density and knockdown power.

Comparison of Top 5 Turkey Hunting Loads


Load Type Weight (oz) Muzzle Velocity (fps) Shot Size Price per Box
Federal Premium Heavyweight TSS 3 1200 9  
Winchester Long Beard XR 3 1200 5, 6, 7  
Remington Premier Magnum Turkey 3 1185 4, 5, 6  
Hevi-Shot Magnum Blend 3.5 1200 5, 6, 7  
Fiocchi Golden Turkey 3 1300 4, 5, 6  


To provide you with a comprehensive comparison of the top five turkey hunting loads mentioned above, let's delve into their performance characteristics:

The Winchester Long Beard XR excels in delivering tight patterns at extended ranges due to its Shot-Lok technology. However, some hunters have reported inconsistent results when using certain choke combinations.

Federal Premium's Heavyweight TSS stands out for its exceptional pattern density and penetration power thanks to the use of tungsten super shot pellets. However, it comes with a higher price tag compared to other options on the market.

Remington Premier Magnum Turkey Load is known for its reliability and consistent performance. It offers excellent pattern density and penetration power, making it a reliable choice for turkey hunters.

Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey Load's Versatite wad technology ensures consistent patterns at all ranges. However, some hunters have found that the nickel-plated lead shot can be prone to deformation.

Hevi-Shot Magnum Blend Turkey Load provides versatility with its combination of different non-toxic pellets. It offers impressive pattern density and knockdown power but may not perform as well at extreme distances compared to other loads.

Tips for Choosing the Right Turkey Hunting Load

When it comes to choosing the right turkey hunting load, here are a few tips based on my personal experiences:

1) Consider your hunting style and preferences: If you prefer longer shots or hunt in open areas, opt for loads with higher velocities and energy. On the other hand, if you hunt in dense woods or prefer closer encounters, loads with tighter patterns may be more suitable.

2) Test different loads before the hunting season: Take the time to test various loads with different chokes to see which combination works best for your shotgun. This will help you determine which load performs consistently and delivers optimal results.

3) Consult with experienced hunters or professionals: Seek advice from seasoned turkey hunters or consult professionals at local sporting goods stores who have firsthand knowledge of different loads' performance characteristics. Their insights can prove invaluable in guiding your decision-making process.

Finding the Best Turkey Hunting Load for Your Needs

In conclusion, selecting the right turkey hunting load is crucial for a successful hunt. Factors such as gauge and shot size, shot material and weight, velocity and energy, as well as choke selection should all be taken into consideration when making your decision.

Based on my personal experiences and extensive research, I have highlighted five top picks that offer excellent performance in terms of pattern density, penetration power, and overall effectiveness. However, it is important to remember that what works for one hunter may not work for another. Therefore, I encourage you to try different loads and experiment with various combinations to find the best fit for your hunting needs.

Remember, turkey hunting is a thrilling pursuit that requires patience, skill, and the right equipment. By choosing the right load tailored to your preferences and hunting style, you can increase your chances of a successful hunt and create lasting memories in the great outdoors.



What is turkey hunting?

Turkey hunting is the practice of pursuing wild turkeys for sport or food.

What are turkey hunting loads?

Turkey hunting loads are the ammunition used in shotguns to hunt turkeys. They are specifically designed to provide the necessary power and accuracy to take down a turkey.

What are the top 5 turkey hunting loads?

The top 5 turkey hunting loads are Federal Premium Heavyweight TSS, Winchester Long Beard XR, Remington Premier Magnum Turkey, Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey, and Hevi-Shot Magnum Blend.

What makes these turkey hunting loads the best?

These turkey hunting loads are considered the best because they offer a combination of high pellet count, long-range performance, and knockdown power. They are also designed to reduce recoil, making them easier to shoot accurately.

What gauge shotgun is best for turkey hunting?

The most popular shotgun gauges for turkey hunting are 12 gauge and 20 gauge. Both gauges offer enough power and accuracy to take down a turkey, but the 20 gauge is generally considered to be more manageable for smaller-framed hunters or those who prefer less recoil.