Aiming point: Shotgun sights offer advanced options

Kevin Tate | Daily Journal The Leupold Delta Point is a non-magnifying tactical sight. It projects a single red dot on the prism in the middle of the loop seen in front of the shooter's eye. Here it is mounted on a Weaver rail atop a 12-gauge Remington Versa Max.

Kevin Tate | Daily Journal
The Leupold Delta Point is a non-magnifying tactical sight. It projects a single red dot on the prism in the middle of the loop seen in front of the shooter’s eye. Here it is mounted on a Weaver rail atop a 12-gauge Remington Versa Max.

By Kevin Tate

Outdoors Writer

Once confined to the realm of rifles and handguns, advanced sighting options are becoming increasingly popular in the turkey woods, a trend that’s likely to expand as the tools continue to improve.

Users of shotguns in aiming situations are frequently surprised by how much their results improve when they give an advanced sight a try, especially in a turkey hunting scenario.

With their super-tight chokes and loads designed to fly at maximum density, today’s turkey shotguns often prove reliably effective beyond 60 yards, a distance unimagined in the turkey hunting game not many years ago. The flipside of this performance, however, is a very tight pattern in the interim distances.

At 20 and 30 yards, distances at which turkeys are frequently taken, the shotgun’s pattern will still be small. At 20 yards, it may be smaller than a softball. At 30 yards, it may still be smaller than a dinner plate.

Point of aim

This is where knowing your shotgun becomes very important. Patterning a shotgun is important at maximum range to establish how far it will shoot, but it’s equally important in the closer ranges to see where it will hit. It’s not at all uncommon for a shotgun to launch nice, even patterns but not shoot to its natural point of aim. This is an issue the use of a scope or well-tuned technical sight will thoroughly correct.

On the fly

Users of turkey shotguns whose standard beads point exactly to the point of impact still have many ways to benefit from advanced sights.

Kevin Tate | Daily Journal Targets that show impacts clearly are an aid to the sighting-in process.

Kevin Tate | Daily Journal
Targets that show impacts clearly are an aid to the sighting-in process.

Most turkeys that are missed at 30 yards or any makeable range escape because the hunter lifted his head off the stock in the heat of the moment. Scopes and technical sights ensure the shooter really sees what he thinks he sees. If the crosshairs or red dot is on the target, so will the shot pattern be.

Scopes in the 2x to 4x magnification range were beginning to find their way atop turkey shotguns long before non-magnifying technical sights came along, because they not only offer the ease of use in sighting, they also offer some light gathering capabilities. Further, in hunting scenarios that involve thick underbrush, they can help the hunter locate a shot-patterned-size alley through which to shoot.

Traditional scopes, especially those with even low magnification, can be challenging to use to pick up a swiftly-walking bird and downright impossible on any bird on the wing. Technical sights with a wide field of view offer a good compromise.