Winning Turkey Shoots

The secrets to winning

There are no secrets to winning. Since there are only 4 parts to winning, each is greatly important. Seven out of 10 turkey shooters chase the pattern by moving their point of aim depending on where the last shot hit on the turkey shoot target. All shells will shoot patterns that move from 1” to 2” in any direction. No one can stop this movement in any way. The wad going down a smooth bore and then  John Bengel installing gun sights.John Bengel, Master shotgun barrel builderexiting the choke causes it. The petals in the wad should peel back evenly at the same time, but they don't 8 out of 10 times. Should the top petal peel back milliseconds before the others, it kicks the shot column a bit high. Same with the other petals. Therefore pattern movement can't ever be controlled.

Flinching, worst habit of turkey shooters

Flinching (jerking, not squeezing as you pull the trigger or the fear of the recoil) is by far the worst habit of all turkey shooters. Very few are capable of shooting their shotgun like it is a 22 cal. match rifle and ease the trigger back. Most just have to know when the recoil is coming so they can tighten up and therefore flinch. Should your gun have its safety on and you didn't know it OR if your shell misfired OR if you thought your gun was loaded when it was not - you now will feel what flinching is. Should you not be man enough to accept the recoil as a surprise you will always flinch. If you can't over come this, you should really consider taking up another sport. It is that important.

Cleaning your barrel

Cleaning your barrel is not important but most competitors are compelled to think it must be cleaned and do so. A rifle must be cleaned - cleaning a shotgun barrel is not necessary. An awful by product of brush cleaning is the destruction of the wad stoppers in the choke. Many cleaning rods either long or short have a slight shoulder where the brush screws into the rod. This shoulder beats its way up the choke wad stoppers (like a staircase of steps) and damages them by rolling them up on the edges. Your pattern quality will slowly disappear the worse it gets. If you choose to use a brush, check the shoulder closely, then file it down and cover it with a good tape.

Find the exact spot to hold

Setting your sights for center or finding the exact one spot to hold is not easy, since the pattern moves with every shot. Patterns will move in any direction 1” - 2” because of the shell. Your barrel and/or choke has nothing to do with this movement. Dirty, clean, hot or cold barrels are not the reason for the movement.

Expert tips to win turkey shoots

  1. A top quality competitive barrel.
  2. Your ability to hold the gun rock steady.
  3. Your ability to locate the exact one spot to hold on the turkey shoot targets.
  4. Your ability to ease the trigger back by squeezing gently and therefore not flinching.
It is the WAD. So - to set the sights, you will need to shoot 7 times at center on large paper target to be sure of where to move the sights. Always identify the center of each pattern and think in terms of getting these centers spaced evenly around the center of the paper targets. Should the center of your centers be 1” high and 2” to the left, you must move the rear site down and to the right. The pattern will follow your rear sight movement. Then, you must shoot 7 more times to see where the center of your centers are now. You have sights set for center when your centers are scattered evenly around the center of the turkey shoot targets.

If you are turkey shooting a bead in the front of the barrel, you must find the exact one spot to hold and stay there! Shoot your 7 shots dead center and identify the centers of all patterns. Find the center of the centers. Now you know the exact spot. If the center of your centers is 1" high and 2" to the left, you must hold 1" low and 2" to the right. Stay there until you have enough history before you move again.

Our great sport is growing

Our great sport continues to grow. Last year was another big year for Turkey Shoots, Block Shoots or Card Shoots, different names for the same sport. More competitors entered our sport to compete at all levels. Almost always, entry level is the regular shotguns from factories made for hunting. Next step is an after market choke, usually much tighter than factory hunting chokes. Then the option of 6" - 8" extended chokes made to shoot low velocity shells in shot sizes 7-1/2's, 8's, 9's and 10's. Since custom made 36” modified barrels are going to show up everywhere, to compete, you have to have one modified barrel. Many then find their way to a Super Shoot. The sophisticated, extremely modified 36” long and usually 1/4" diameter barrel is the pro level of our sport. Even though they range from $1,500 to $3,500 they still are much more affordable to compete with than many other sports like golf, fishing, hunting, drag racing and endless others. The best thing about our sport is that there is no season. Anyone at any age male or female, can win at any level in our sport.

Article by: John Bengel
Master shotgun barrel & screw in extended choke tube builder

Hottest product, the Screw-In Extended Choke Tube, adding length and wad stoppers improves the pattern.

Call John Bengel 804-337-2960 or send an email to