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Need some recommendations for a shotgun for a 5'3" woman angling for Rio Grande turkey. Having successfully completed my first hunt in 39 years, I've got the bug for more field-to-table eats! What gun should I use? And what load?

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  • Need some recommendations for a shotgun for a 5'3" woman angling for Rio Grande turkey. Having successfully completed my first hunt in 39 years, I've got the bug for more field-to-table eats! What gun should I use? And what load?

    Need some recommendations for a shotgun for a 5'3" woman angling for Rio Grande turkey. Having successfully completed my first hunt in 39 years, I've got the bug for more field-to-table eats! What gun should I use? And what load?

  • #2
    There are a lot of good shotguns out there, new and used. You could certainly check out what's available at a local gun show. I've had my 870 Wingmaster for over 20 years without a hiccup and a used one would do the job. I also know several folks that hunt turkey with O/U's with no problem. A shotgun needs to "fit" you. At your height you may need to find someone skilled enough to fit it and possibly modify the butt stock.

    Comment


    • #3
      So I did some digging this morning, and apparently Remington doesn't currently offer the 1100 in a youth/compact size. I can find used ones for sale, but they don't have them in their current product list. But they do have an 11-87 compact. The 11-87 is a good gun too, and worth checking out. The Winchester SX3 does offer a compact version as well. Both of those guns have a 3" chamber in 20 gauge, which is important for turkey.
      As far as pumps go, just to give you some other options, the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 both come in youth/compact versions. The 500 has a great reputation, and older 870s are always a good choice.
      I looked around for some options designed specifically for women too, and most of what I found were very expensive European doubles and over/unders. I personally wouldn't recommend one of those for your first shotgun. But I do see that Ithaca offers their Model 37 Featherlight (one of the best pumps ever made, according to many people) in a Ladies version. I would give that one a serious look, even though it's not an autoloader. In 20 gauge a pump should not kick excessively even for someone your size, provided the gun fits well.

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      • #4
        As far as loads are concerned, for a 20 gauge I see a lot of people recommending Federal Heavyweight 3". I use Winchester Supreme Double X turkey loads in my 12 gauge, and they offer a 20 gauge load too, so that would be worth checking out. I'd get a couple different kinds though, and see what patterns best at 35 yards. Let us know if/when you need advice for how to pattern a shotgun. I know charlie elk was going to use a 20 gauge for turkeys this year; charlie, you want to chime in here?

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        • #5
          Check Gunbroker.com for ladies/youth 20ga shotguns.

          Also, read the post on the front page The Gun Shots, on the front page of this site.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DSMbirddog View Post
            There are a lot of good shotguns out there, new and used. You could certainly check out what's available at a local gun show. I've had my 870 Wingmaster for over 20 years without a hiccup and a used one would do the job. I also know several folks that hunt turkey with O/U's with no problem. A shotgun needs to "fit" you. At your height you may need to find someone skilled enough to fit it and possibly modify the butt stock.
            Great info and advice, fellas! Thanks! HFT: Yes, I was looking at the line being produced by SyrenUSA, a division of Caeser Guerini/Fabarm. They are definitely top shelf with a price tag to match, but I would love to give one a try and see how it feels... Follow-up question: why would a person want an double vs an o/u. Personal preference? And here's one other piece of info to throw into the mix. My dad has a vintage Lefever Nitro Special side by side that dates to around 1900..before Ithaca bought them and started manufacturing. Though I'm sure it's far from ideal, care to comment on giving it a try? Since I got the boar with my Mother's gun, maybe I should try a turkey with one of my dad's. Or would it knock me on my keister?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post
              Check Gunbroker.com for ladies/youth 20ga shotguns.

              Also, read the post on the front page The Gun Shots, on the front page of this site.
              Thanks, I will. And yes I did read the post on Gun Shots. Good info.

              Comment


              • #8
                The only two guns in my safe that may be of use here are the 870 (in 12 and 20), and a Stevens O/U 20ga. As has been noted, the older 870 seems to be a safer bet as far as reliability goes, and both of mine have been fail proof for years. Check online, but a lot of local gun stores have a decent stock of used guns. You are a MN gal - check out Prince Gun Shop in Milaca off of 169. They have a decent used rack the few times I have been in there. That is also where I got my Stevens, which they special ordered for me for a great price IMO. The Stevens is nothing fancy, but a nice 20 gauge for the price, and I have a feeling it is going to be in your size or real close to it. It is short for me (6'), but fits my wife perfectly (5'-4"). Not the youth/womens model or anything, just a smaller gun. I think the current model is the 555? Not sure on loads, since I bow hunt for turkeys, but there is plenty of help available for that around here as well. I will recommend going 20ga no matter the make, as it would translate nicely to a grouse/dove gun if you ever get into that. Dove makes for some fantastic table fare, and MN has some fantastic grouse hunting! (or should i say grouse walking? beautiful woods up north to walk through, but hitting those noisy little explosions is another matter...)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DSMbirddog View Post
                  There are a lot of good shotguns out there, new and used. You could certainly check out what's available at a local gun show. I've had my 870 Wingmaster for over 20 years without a hiccup and a used one would do the job. I also know several folks that hunt turkey with O/U's with no problem. A shotgun needs to "fit" you. At your height you may need to find someone skilled enough to fit it and possibly modify the butt stock.
                  just posted my thoughts above before I saw your new response down here - I think trying out your dads gun is a fantastic idea, and those look like beautiful guns! The fit may not be wonderful, but with turkeys, you usually have a slower target and the time you have to look at a bird and set up may allow a lesser-fitting gun some wiggle room. I have heard good things about Syren as well, so a look into that wouldn't hurt. It's good to try a variety of tools whenever possible and pick what's best for you! No matter what you end up with, give the Lefever a few shots just for fun - just don't pull both barrels simultaneously otherwise that shouldnt kick any worse than normal...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by asrenstrom View Post
                    The only two guns in my safe that may be of use here are the 870 (in 12 and 20), and a Stevens O/U 20ga. As has been noted, the older 870 seems to be a safer bet as far as reliability goes, and both of mine have been fail proof for years. Check online, but a lot of local gun stores have a decent stock of used guns. You are a MN gal - check out Prince Gun Shop in Milaca off of 169. They have a decent used rack the few times I have been in there. That is also where I got my Stevens, which they special ordered for me for a great price IMO. The Stevens is nothing fancy, but a nice 20 gauge for the price, and I have a feeling it is going to be in your size or real close to it. It is short for me (6'), but fits my wife perfectly (5'-4"). Not the youth/womens model or anything, just a smaller gun. I think the current model is the 555? Not sure on loads, since I bow hunt for turkeys, but there is plenty of help available for that around here as well. I will recommend going 20ga no matter the make, as it would translate nicely to a grouse/dove gun if you ever get into that. Dove makes for some fantastic table fare, and MN has some fantastic grouse hunting! (or should i say grouse walking? beautiful woods up north to walk through, but hitting those noisy little explosions is another matter...)
                    Great advice. Question, do I perhaps know you? I grew up in Princeton and am quite familiar with Prince Gun Shop north of Milaca. :-)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DSMbirddog View Post
                      There are a lot of good shotguns out there, new and used. You could certainly check out what's available at a local gun show. I've had my 870 Wingmaster for over 20 years without a hiccup and a used one would do the job. I also know several folks that hunt turkey with O/U's with no problem. A shotgun needs to "fit" you. At your height you may need to find someone skilled enough to fit it and possibly modify the butt stock.
                      Yeah, the Syren seemed to come up most often in my searches. I was hesitant to recommend it because I didn't know your budget, but if the price tag isn't an issue I'm sure one of those would be a great gun. They certainly are nice to look at. As far as double vs. o/u goes, I believe personal preference is the biggest factor. I haven't heard that one is markedly better than the other. I'm no expert on doubles or over/unders though. I know absolutely nothing about the Lefever Nitro Special, apart from what I just learned in a google search. From what I can tell they look like well-made guns, so it probably would work. The fit most likely would not be great, and if it doesn't have a recoil pad (the ones I saw online didn't), the kick probably will be significant. That can easily be remedied by adding a slip-on aftermarket pad, but that would increase your length of pull - not ideal. It can't really hurt to shoot a few light trap loads through it though, just to see how it feels. One word of caution - if it hasn't been fired recently you might want to have a gunsmith look it over first, given the age of the gun. Better safe than sorry.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My kids grew up shooting an 870 youth model 20 gauge. They killed all of their turkeys with an X Full choke and #6 Hevi-Shot out of this gun. They also shot an array of waterfowl and upland game with it. I bought it brand new for less than 300 dollars and it has been a fail safe gun for close to 20 years. My wife target shoots with this shotgun now and it fits her like it was made just for her. She is also a small framed gal at 5'-2". It's not a pretty gun by any means, but I would give it a high praise for function and reliability.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just curious. Why start with a Rio when there is some the finest Eastern turkey hunting a few miles from you in MN and WI?
                          With all the advances in ammo a 20 will be fine. If you use Federal flight control you'd be able to shoot any type of choke and get good patterns, IC is best. No reason to buy a special made youth or lady gun if you don't want to. Most any used shotgun's stock can be cut to fit. There are lots of used Remington 1100 for about $550 or a little less. Personally for turkey hunting I would recommend not getting a pump. They're too noisy. (that will start a fire storm here.) A gas operated auto will tame the recoil considerably and it's quiet, does not sound like a rattle trap coming through the woods like a pump action does.
                          I bought my grandson a new 20 Mossberg youth pump, that was a mistake. It kicks like a mule, the action is sloppy and hard for him to work.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by asrenstrom View Post
                            The only two guns in my safe that may be of use here are the 870 (in 12 and 20), and a Stevens O/U 20ga. As has been noted, the older 870 seems to be a safer bet as far as reliability goes, and both of mine have been fail proof for years. Check online, but a lot of local gun stores have a decent stock of used guns. You are a MN gal - check out Prince Gun Shop in Milaca off of 169. They have a decent used rack the few times I have been in there. That is also where I got my Stevens, which they special ordered for me for a great price IMO. The Stevens is nothing fancy, but a nice 20 gauge for the price, and I have a feeling it is going to be in your size or real close to it. It is short for me (6'), but fits my wife perfectly (5'-4"). Not the youth/womens model or anything, just a smaller gun. I think the current model is the 555? Not sure on loads, since I bow hunt for turkeys, but there is plenty of help available for that around here as well. I will recommend going 20ga no matter the make, as it would translate nicely to a grouse/dove gun if you ever get into that. Dove makes for some fantastic table fare, and MN has some fantastic grouse hunting! (or should i say grouse walking? beautiful woods up north to walk through, but hitting those noisy little explosions is another matter...)
                            Prince Gun Shop That's a good shop.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
                              Just curious. Why start with a Rio when there is some the finest Eastern turkey hunting a few miles from you in MN and WI?
                              With all the advances in ammo a 20 will be fine. If you use Federal flight control you'd be able to shoot any type of choke and get good patterns, IC is best. No reason to buy a special made youth or lady gun if you don't want to. Most any used shotgun's stock can be cut to fit. There are lots of used Remington 1100 for about $550 or a little less. Personally for turkey hunting I would recommend not getting a pump. They're too noisy. (that will start a fire storm here.) A gas operated auto will tame the recoil considerably and it's quiet, does not sound like a rattle trap coming through the woods like a pump action does.
                              I bought my grandson a new 20 Mossberg youth pump, that was a mistake. It kicks like a mule, the action is sloppy and hard for him to work.
                              Oh Charlie! I'm going to assume you are referring to little rattles from the fore arm. Mine doesn't rattle and it's never been an issue for me turkey hunting or the few times I've used it to hunt deer. Beyond that, I've never been an auto fan for some reason.

                              Comment

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