The Best Turkey Guns on the Market

The Best Turkey Guns on the Market

Hunting for wild turkey (no, not THAT kind of Wild Turkey) is one of the most popular activities for experienced and new hunters alike. Since, in most cases, turkey hunting involves remaining stationary and calling the turkeys in close enough for an ethical kill shot, people with limited mobility or who don’t want to hike around all day looking for game can still enjoy turkey hunting to its fullest. Younger shotgunners or parents who hunt with their children can also fully enjoy turkey hunting, since even a relatively new shooter can usually hold a good bead on the head and neck area of a momentarily stationary turkey, particularly when using an optical sight.

Man Operating a Turkey Call

The challenge of calling in a flock of turkeys close while you sit camouflaged among them provides a unique type of thrill for many hunters, and some people enjoy this connection with nature even more than the potential reward of a tasty bird on the dinner table. However, just as you need a good set of camouflage apparel and a turkey call, turkey hunting also requires specialized turkey hunting ammo, shotguns, and chokes if you want to make the most of the experience and maximize your chances of a successful hunt.

If you have the right gun, the right load, and the right choke, you can smack ol’ Tom Turkey from surprisingly far away. In this article we’re going to give you the goods on some of our favorite turkey shotguns in several categories. So put on your camo and let’s get started!

Remington 870 Fieldmaster: A legend returns from the dead

Remington 870 FieldMaster

Remington is one of America’s most storied firearms brands, but Big Green has had a rough run of late. Despite a 200-plus-year history of making some of America’s most famous and hot-selling firearms, Remington declared bankruptcy in 2018 and filed for the second time in 2020. The old company was reorganized and its assets were divided up. The firearms company (now RemArms LLC or Remington Arms) and Remington Ammunition company are now separate entities, but RemArms has been back up and running since 2021, focusing first on its well-liked bolt-action Model 700 rifle and the iconic Model 870 pump action shotgun, which has sold more than 11 million units since its release in 1950.

Turkey hunters (and waterfowlers) looking for a rugged, reliable, American-made, and relatively inexpensive shotgun could previously rely on the Remington 870 Express Super Magnum Turkey/Waterfowl shotgun, but from what we can tell, the new RemArms isn’t currently offering this specialized turkey-hunting model of its 870 yet. However, the new Remington Fieldmaster is probably a better shotgun overall, with an updated, satin-blue metal finish (compared to the previous Express’s flat blue, which rusted fairly quickly in our experience) and either updated black synthetic or checkered walnut furniture. At an MSRP of around $600, it’s a little more pricey than the base-model pumps from Mossberg, but some people prefer the 870’s looks and action, and it does look great, with classic early jet-era lines, a moderate 7 ¼-pound weight if you choose the 26” barreled version, and ergonomics that seem to fit the majority of shooters right out of the box.

Video: Remington 870 Fieldmaster Synthetic

For an all-around field gun, we’d probably choose the wood-stocked model, but if you’re going after waterfowl and/or turkey exclusively, the new synthetic furniture has some nice features, such as improved checkering panels on the pistol grip and forend, and a padded cheek comb insert to reduce the punishment of magnum loads. Speaking of which, the new Fieldmaster is available in 20 or 12 gauge and in either 3” or (in 12 gauge) 3 ½” chambers. So if you really want to pack a wallop, you can opt for the super-duper magnum.

Both the walnut and synthetic stocks are equipped with a SuperCell® recoil pad which helps tame the thump of heavy turkey loads, and the receiver is drilled and tapped for an optics mount if you prefer not to use the factory bead sight and ventilated rib. The Fieldmaster comes with 3 RemChokes (Improved Cylinder, Modified, and Full) but if you’re like most turkey hunters you’ll want to spring for an Extra Full or Turkey choke to keep your pattern as tight as possible.

Cantilevered smoothbore barrels have been available previously for 870s, and the older Remington barrels should fit fine on the newly manufactured guns.

We’re glad to see Remington back in business and (by all reports) making high-quality firearms again. Here’s hoping they can thrive for another couple hundred years at least!

Benelli Super Black Eagle III Turkey Performance Shop: the premium flex

Benelli SBE3 Turkey

Benelli (owned by Beretta, makers of fine Italian firearms since 1526) offers what many consider ultra-premium semi-automatic shotguns. Their Super Black Eagle series effectively launched the brand in the USA in 1992, and every iteration of that iconic magnum-level waterfowl (and everything else) shotgun has gotten even better. Today’s Super Black Eagle III, sometimes colloquially called the SBE3, takes advantage of incremental improvements made over the 30+ year history of the SBE line.

Video: Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 Shotgun Review

Pretty much any SBE3 would be suitable for a turkey gun, as all are reliable, accurate, 3 ½” chambered shotguns, but Benelli offers a model specifically modified and tuned by the Benelli Performance Shop for turkey hunters. A pistol-grip stock is fitted for ergonomic excellence when shooting from a seated/compact position, and a recoil-absorbing buttpad is standard. The barrel is ported to further reduce the felt recoil from the 6.8-pound super-magnum. A Burris Fastfire micro red dot optic is installed from the factory, and the entire gun is finished in the excellent Mossy Oak® Bottomland™ camouflage pattern. All premium Benelli barrels and chokes (of which you get 5, including an XFT—extra full turkey—choke) are cryogenically treated for consistency, durability, and accuracy. Each SBE3 Turkey Performance Shop shotgun is pattern-tested with Federal Premium Ammunition before it leaves the factory, and the customer is provided with computer printouts showing the actual points of impact in 10-, 20-, and 30-inch circles at various distances.

So what can you expect to pay for all this gobbler-getting awesomeness? Well, the price is awesome as well, and we mean awesome in the sense that an oil tanker is awesome when you see it up close. Its sheer size inspires AWE. MSRP is $3,399. But if you’re a buy-once, cry-once kinda guy or gal, the Benelli may be just the ticket for you.

Winchester SX4 Cantilever Turkey: fast and full-featured

Winchester SX4 Cantilever Turkey

If you fancy a high-quality, reliable semi-automatic turkey gun but you don’t light your cigars with burning $100 bills, the Winchester SX4 Cantilever Turkey shotgun might be more to your liking. The SX4 became pretty well-known as one of the fastest, if not the fastest-firing semi-auto shotguns in the world, and the line has proven very reliable in all types of hunting conditions. While you may not need to fire 13 shots in 1.6 seconds when hunting a slow-moving or stationary turkey, you’ll appreciate the reliable gas-operated action and soft-shooting characteristics of the SX4, especially if you have your back up against a tree.

Winchester’s SX4 turkey guns are available in either 20 gauge with a 3” chamber, or 12 gauge with a 3 ½” chamber, both with 24” cantilevered barrels. A cantilever is a scope-mounting point that is cantilevered rearward from the barrel over the receiver (so the optic stays zeroed to the barrel, even when the barrel is removed for cleaning).

Other features of the SX4 Cantilever Turkey shotguns include:

  • A synthetic stock with improved ergonomics, a rounder grip, and textured, non-slip gripping surfaces
  • Non-glare Mossy Oak® Obsession® camo finish
  • Back-bored barrel technology provides optimum shot patterns that are dense and even
  • Invector-plus extra-full turkey extended choke tubes with camo front band produce a tight effective pattern
  • Hard chrome-plated chamber and bore make these surfaces highly resistant to wear and corrosion
  • Truglo® Fiber-optic front sight with adjustable rear sight gathers light for quick target acquisition (in case you opt not to use the cantilever optics mount)
  • Easily removable trigger group for cleaning and maintenance
  • Ambidextrous cross-bolt safety is easily reversible
  • Included length-of-pull spacers allow stock adjustments to achieve a perfect fit, which is extra nice when you’re shooting your shotgun more like a rifle (when turkey hunting)
  • Inflex technology recoil pad directs felt recoil down and away from your cheek to reduce flinch and fatigue

MSRP for Winchester’s SX4 Cantilever Turkey shotgun starts at $1,219, and you can opt for the NWTF model and a portion of the sale of each gun will be donated to the National Wild Turkey Federation to support turkey habitat improvements, conservation, development and other worthwhile projects. With a street price of around $1,000, you get a lot for your money with the SX4 turkey guns.

Browning A5: a modern take on a hunting legend

Browning A5

John Browning patented his iconic Auto-5 shotgun in 1900, and it was first built in 1902 by FN. Although the original Auto-5 ceased regular production in 1998, a new Browning A5 design hit the market in 2014. While the original A-5 used a long-recoil operating system, the updated A5 uses what they call the Kinematic Drive recoil-operated system: The Browning A5 semi-auto shotgun makes better use of kinetic energy with its powerful, short recoil-operated Kinematic Drive System. Kinematic Drive harnesses recoil energy and converts it into the mechanical motion needed to operate the action. This concept is tried and true and is now perfected by the company that broke ground first with autoloading shotguns. Tried and true is marketing code for essentially identical to Benelli’s inertia-driven recoil system, which Browning copied, er… borrowed when Benelli’s patent expired. This is a good thing, as Benelli’s semi-auto shotgun designs have proven to be among the most reliable and low-maintenance available.

Browning’s A5 shotgun has been offered in their Wicked Wing variants for several years, which included grippy camouflage-patterned stocks, enlarged bolt release buttons, and attractive, bronze Cerakoted receivers. For 2024, new A5 Camo patterns are available and the entire receiver is coated in the same pattern as the furniture. Since we’re fond of our local Utah desert hills, we like the Vintage Tan camo pattern pictured above, but several other woodland, brush, and wetland options are available so you can pick the one that matches your local turkey-hunting terrain’s vegetation.

Video: Browning A5 Shotgun Review

Though the A5 uses a Benelli-style operating system, Browning has made a few tweaks that set this shotgun apart. The A5 features Browning’s Speed-Load two-piece carrier that allows you to thumb a shell into the magazine with the bolt locked back, and the shell will automatically be released from the magazine tube and fed into the chamber. There’s also Browning’s Turn-Key magazine plug, which you can easily remove from the magazine tube with only a car key (or similar object), and which alleviates the common shotgun-disassembly risk of launching a magazine spring across the room. We also like Browning’s placement of the carrier release lever (which you use to release a cartridge from a loaded magazine tube or make the bolt lock open if the gun is empty), conveniently located on the underside of the receiver just ahead of the trigger guard. The A5’s safety is large and very easy to switch over for left-handed operation. A nice, thick Inflex 2 buttpad comes standard, but the A5 comes with only the three usual chokes (IC, Mod, Full) so if you want an extra-full turkey Invector DS choke, plan for an additional $90 or so. The standard A5 Stalker (black furniture) with a 3” chamber and 26” barrel retails for an MSRP of $1,779, while the 3 ½’ chambered Camo models start at $2,049.

Mossberg 500 Super Bantam Turkey (with Holosun optic): versatile and budget-friendly

Mossberg 500 Superbantam Turkey

Mossberg has been a mainstay of the quality (but reasonably priced) pump shotgun market since the introduction of their Model 500 in 1962. They’ve sold 12 million Model 500s, but they also have offered excellent bolt-action, semi-auto, break-action, and even lever-action shotguns over the years. Today turkey hunters can choose from the feature-rich Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag with an integral red-dot optics mount on the rear of the receiver, or the Tactical Turkey with an adjustable pistol-grip stock, or the basic 500 Turkey model in 12 gauge, 20 gauge, or even in .410 bore.

Video: Mossberg 500 Super Bantam Review

Probably our favorite Mossberg turkey gun, particularly for smaller-statured or youth shooters who are still growing, is the 20 gauge 500 Super Bantam Turkey with included Holosun micro red dot. At an MSRP of $844, including the excellent Holosun HS407k optic (which mounts directly to the top rear of the new receiver), this shotgun has a lot to offer. The Bantam series of shotguns are intended for shooters with shorter arms and smaller frames. The buttstock has a shorter length of pull (the distance from the trigger to the back of the buttpad), a reduced reach from the grip to the trigger, an extended forend (to the rear), and they come with a 1” insert that can be added between the buttstock and the buttpad as the shooter grows larger. This model is also ideal for a family with multiple hunters of different sizes who may need to use the same gun on different occasions. The 500 Super Bantam Turkey comes with an attractive and functional camouflage finish on all components, a fiber-optic front sight, and a ported, extended extra-full turkey choke.

For a versatile turkey gun at a good price, it’s hard to go wrong with this little Mossberg.

Best low-budget turkey gun: Stevens 301 .410 Turkey Obsession

Stevens 301 Turkey Obsession

With a street price of around $220, the Stevens 301 Turkey Obsession in .410 won’t break the bank. You might scoff at a .410 bore turkey gun, but today’s premium heavy-shot turkey loads have turned the light-and-lively .410 into a deadly threat for bearded Toms. An extra-full choke is included, as is a removable optics-mounting rail. The furniture features one of two available camouflage patterns, and the single-shot, hammer-fired break-action is easy to load, unload, and use, even for novice hunters. The modern .410 loads may deliver a wallop on the head and neck of a big turkey, but the recoil to the shooter is negligible, so the smallest or most recoil-averse hunters will love this little shotgun. The more we shoot simple little break-action single-shots, the more we like them. There’s something very fun and mechanical about these types of guns. There are actually quite a few less-expensive single-shot guns on the market today, but this is about as cheap as we’d go unless our budget was seriously tight.

Store your turkey guns (and anything else) in a Liberty Safe

Whether you opt for a $200 entry-level turkey gun or a $3,000+ Benelli, be sure to store all your firearms and valuables in a quality USA-made gun safe from Liberty. You can check out our interactive online catalog to see all the styles, colors, configurations, and sizes, or click our handy dealer locator to find a Liberty Safe showroom in your area.

*Made in the U.S.A. from U.S. and Global Parts.


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