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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know much about shotguns or hunting so bear with me. I have an "heirloom" J.C. Higgins bolt action 20 ga. that I am trying to bring back to life. All I need to finish the job is a new cartridge lifter.

Question is, is it feasible to use the same gun/barrel/choke to hunt both turkey and deer? Parts are proving to be difficult to find and I know I will likely end up with more money into the gun than it is worth but it belonged to the old man and I just can't let it rot in my closet.
 

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20 gauge is a little bit light for my tastes for either, but it will work. For a few years I hunted deer and turkey with my Remington 870 Wingmaster 12 gauge. It had a fixed modified choke in it. I shot Federal Truball rifled slugs for deer and Federal 2 3/4" turkey loads with flight control. The flight control loads created a tighter pattern to make up for the open choke.

So the ammo really made it a turkey/deer gun.

I see Federal makes those flight control turkey loads in 3 inch 20 gauge. They also make a 2 3/4" rifled truball slug in 20 gauge.

I'd buy some of each and see how your gun does with them. The only concern I'd have is if the gun is real old it might not handle the heavy loads real well, but that might not be a concern.
 

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Jeff92: Thanks for the info. I'm not sure what constitutes as "real old" but I don't think this one fits the bill. It was made in the 60's.
Mine is from around that time period as well. I know a guy that has a trench gun that recently turned 100 and it took modern ammo quite well. If it's not falling apart at the seams it should be fine.
 

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it depends on what size the chamber is, e.g takes 2-1/2, 2-34/ or 3 inch shells.
what is the choke?
the 20 GA is enough for deer up to 100 yards if you place your shot good.
in thick brush, at very close range use buck shot, either 00 or 000.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
it depends on what size the chamber is, e.g takes 2-1/2, 2-34/ or 3 inch shells.
what is the choke?
the 20 GA is enough for deer up to 100 yards if you place your shot good.
in thick brush, at very close range use buck shot, either 00 or 000.
It's chambered for 2-3/4 with an improved cyl. choke.
 

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Just go ahead and spend the money, and get yourself a Remington 870 Express in 12 gauge.

A modified choke should be able to take care of those turkeys no problem. And for deer within 35 yards, I recommend Remington or Sellier and Bellot 00 buckshot.

I have seen winchester 00 buckshot get 1 pellet on an 18 inch wide target t 35 yards, so stay away from it.

In my own personal pattern testing, Sellier and Bellot 00 buckshot had the best results out of 5 or 6 types of ammo tested.
 

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Question is, is it feasible to use the same gun/barrel/choke to hunt both turkey and deer?
Not usually. You could, but you'd be compromising in some way. If using a smooth bore, deer are usually best taken with a slug fired through an open cylinder choke, or more preferably, with a very small amount of constriction such as an improved cylinder. However, turkeys are usually best taken with a very tight choke such as an extra-full, or even an XX-full.

You're shooting at a little bitty head from a long ways away with turkey, and the amount of choke you need isn't made for a solid slug to go through. To do both activities, you'd have to use a more open choke than optimal for turkeys and/or a more closed choke than optimal for deer.
 

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13FOX150,
with a 2 3/4 chamber and an improved choke, you doing OK.
Establish shot pattern and grouping with Foster type slugs
(here you try different brands, I have very good experience with the Brennecke)
and see what your gun like best.
No need to spend money if you dont have to, right?
Good luck!
 

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Imp cylinder might work for turkey with the right load, just plan on shoter-ranged shots. Slugs through imp cyl usually work quite well, so no problems there. There's no reason to step up to a 12 unless you plan on hunting waterfowl in the future.
 
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