How to Sight a Shotgun With a Scope for Turkeys

by Emrah Oruc
A scope on a shotgun can greatly aid the accurate placement of shot.

A scope on a shotgun can greatly aid the accurate placement of shot.

Modern scope technology has trickled down to shotguns. A turkey hunter can install a scope on his shotgun and deliver a tight-patterned load of shot very accurately to cleanly take a wild turkey. The key to hunting turkey with a shotgun is to pattern the shot at various distances to determine how many lead pellets will be delivered. A scope allows the hunter to extend distance at which an accurate and ethical shot can be taken.

Install a tight choke tube in your shotgun. Full or Extra Full work well.

Choose a shotgun load made specifically for turkey. Modern turkey ammunition is designed to fly far, keep a tight pattern and deliver a heavy-weight load.

Set up targets at from 10 to 50 yards, in 10-yard intervals.

Shoot the shotgun and zero your scope so it delivers a tight pattern centered on the turkey's head at 30 yards. This is the most common distance at which turkeys are taken.

Take shots at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards and see where the pellets hit as well as the density of the pattern. Your scope's crosshairs should be centered on the target turkey's head at each of these distances. You will see how the shot pattern and impact points change with a consistent hold.

Items you will need

  • Life-size turkey targets
  • Full or extra full shotgun choke
  • Turkey shotgun shells
  • Laser range finder or tape measure


  • If you are confident taking longer shots, move the scope's zero from 30 out to 40 or 50 yards. Be sure to re-pattern your gun at closer ranges to see how the shot pattern behaves at these distances.


  • Turkey have extremely good eyesight. A camouflaged scope with anti-reflective coatings on the lenses reduces your chances of being spotted.

About the Author

Emrah Oruc is a general contractor, freelance writer and former race-car mechanic who has written professionally since 2000. He has been published in "The Family Handyman" magazine and has experience as a consultant developing and delivering end-user training. Oruc holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in economics from the University of Delaware.

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