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Hornady "Heavy Magnum" Turkey Loads

Product Tests


Conditions today were not ideal but mimicked those of many spring days during the turkey season here in Southern Illinois, so I took some of the Hornady "Heavy Magnum" 3" shotshells with 1.5 oz. of #5 nickel plated lead shot, 4 dr. e.q. of powder and a stated muzzle velocity of 1300 f.p.s., to the range to give them a try.

Since those shells use the "VersaTite Wad" that is very similar to the Flitecontrol Wad used in current production Federal shells, I used a combination that has always worked well for the Federal shells and in fact a choke tube developed specifically for Flitecontrol Wad shells.

I started with a "deep cleaned" bore in a 26" barreled Browning BPS and a Wright's #1 choke with a .670 exit diameter.  

Evaluation conditions were as follows:

Partly Cloudy: 42 °F
Barometer: 30.01 in and rising
Humidity: 65 %
Wind: N 9 mph (My range is sheltered and flags detected no wind.)
Altitude: 410 ft.

I shot at "big paper" 36" x 36" with the shotgun muzzle 40 yards from the target and used Caldwell range bags for a secure rest.

The "best" pattern had 42 pellets in 10" and as you'd guess with that number of hits, there were many large gaps in the pattern.

Another observation was that the VersaTite Wads were consistently ripped apart at the point where the "windows" or "brakes" would normally open.

In all fairness, it states on the box that this shell is "Best with Improved Cylinder or Modified Choke".

From what I saw with the damage to the wads after I shot, I would say that .670 is much too tight for this shell. Those wads are pretty stiff and there's not much give to them.

When I have some more time and when weather conditions allow, I'll try another box of these and divide them between an improved cylinder and modified choke tube with the same gun and see what happens. 


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