The Top 5 Turkey Guns for Under $500



Turkey season is right around the corner. Although you don’t have to have a shotgun that is dedicated to turkey hunting there are a few options that will help. When I am looking for a turkey gun I have a set of requirements. These are just my opinion on them and we know what they say about opinions! Here are the things I look for:

  • 12 gauge 3” or 3.5”
  • barrel length 24”or 26” for maneuverability
  • Cammo or Matte finish
  • Easy to mount an optic or rifle style sight

The 12 gauge should be self explanatory. Unless this is for a youth, a 12 is the way to go. I prefer a 3” shell to the 3.5”. I do not feel the longer shell and extra shot outweigh the cost of the ammo and the added recoil. Also, the shot tends to be moving a bit slower due to the added weight.

Turkeys have great eyesight, they see a lot better than we can. Cammo for the hunter is a must for hunting turkeys. I don’t think it is a must for your shotgun, but it can’t hurt. At the very least you want one that is not going to shine and sparkle in the sun like vampires in tween movies.

I prefer an optic or rifle sights on a turkey shotgun. These guns with the proper chokes are capable of taking a turkey out to 40 yards or a bit more. The head on a turkey is small and the bead found on typical shotguns really doesn’t cut it. We want a bit more precision here.

Here are 5 solid scatter guns that will do the job if you do your part. Some of the MSRPs will be over $500 but the street price is typically well under that.

Buy Now on GunsAmerica
The base model of the Mossberg turkey gun.  Other stocks and triggers are available.

The base model of the Mossberg turkey gun. Other stocks and triggers are available.

This one even has Turkey in the name! Mossberg makes two models of this gun, one with an adjustable trigger and one without. They come with a 24” ribbed barrel and are finished in Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity. Mossberg outfits these with adjustable fiber optic rifle style sights and they come with an extra full choke already installed. You can get different stock options if you are a fan of the thumb hole stock or an adjustable one similar to an AR. The MSRP is $496 and $538 for the adjustable trigger model.

Buy Now on GunsAmerica
Winchesters pump turkey gun points like a rifle.

Winchesters pump turkey gun points like a rifle.

Winchester calls this “a shotgun that points like a rifle.” I shot one of these on range day at SHOT Show this year, and it does feel and point like a rifle. That is a good thing when talking about turkey guns. Winchester has these outfitted with adjustable fiber-optic sights and they are drilled and tapped for optics. The Turkey Hunter comes dressed in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camo. The 12 gauge is chambered for 3.5” shells or shorter and has a 24” barrel. The MSRP is $519.

Buy Now on GunsAmerica
Yes it is ugly, but it is a lot of gun for under $500.

Yes it is ugly, but it is a lot of gun for under $500.

This is a turkey gun that is made in Turkey. With that logic you can’t go wrong! I reviewed a Tristar Raptor a couple of months ago and was rather impressed with the quality of shotgun you get for the price. This is the only semi-auto on this list to stay under our $500 limit. If the quality of the one I reviewed is the same across the Raptor line, this is a bargain. I will admit it is pretty damn ugly though. Hopefully not too ugly to scare away turkeys. Or maybe it will ugly them to death. The Raptor Turkey has a 24” barrel, 3” 12 gauge chamber and has a Mossy Oak Break-Up stock and forend. It also has a pistol grip, picatinny rail and adjustable sights. The MSRP is $489.

Buy Now on GunsAmerica
The Benelli Nova is a great pump action shotgun.

The Benelli Nova is a great pump action shotgun.

This is not a shotgun that is marketed by Benelli to be used as a turkey gun. But we can pick a Nova that will fit our needs for under the $500 mark. If you have not worked the action on a Nova you should give one a shuck the next time you are in a store that has one. These are nice, smooth pump actions that are known for being strong and reliable. All of the 12 gauge Novas are chambered for 3.5” shells. The MSRP on the black synthetic is $449 and Real Tree camo is available for about $100 more. These will need the addition of a rail to get us the optics for busting turkey heads. There are a number of aftermarket options for this that are well under $100 bucks.

Buy Now on GunsAmerica

The H&R Pardner. Basic, but functional.

It is hard to beat the reliability of a single shot break open shotgun and the H&R is no exception. And what if you want something bigger than 12 gauge? The Pardner is available in 10 gauge if your shoulder is up to the challenge. The stock on the Turkey Pardner has a wood stock that is covered in a camo pattern and comes with a sling. They come with a bead front sight but are drilled and taps for bases. The best part is the price. A new H&R Pardner Turkey Gun can be had for right around $300.

So there are 5 solid turkey guns that will not break the bank.  Yes, I know I left some version of the venerable Remington 870 off the list.  Maybe that was blasphemy. What are your thoughts?

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • UncleNat February 27, 2015, 2:47 pm

    Now wait a minute fellers–I think you are too quick to discount the old H&R Pardner. I’ve been hunting Toms for a few years and carry my 870, but quite frankly I’ve never had a successful follow up shot on a turkey. You get him the first shot or you’ll just be busting tail feathers–if you are really fast. In fact I’m wondering if my misses might have been successful had I not had those back-up shots in the chamber. It’s sort of a mental thing–if you know you only have one shot you’ll make it count. I’m looking mighty hard at the H&R Pardner–its light and nimble and might just make me a better hunter. Something to think about anyway.

  • Chris February 26, 2015, 9:16 am

    As everyone has already stated the 870 should have made it on the list. The one thing that continues to surprise me is the following that Mossberg has. I have 3 Mossbergs and they are all junk. Two of them broke and had to be sent back after less than 75 shots each. The other (I won 2 of the 3 if you are wondering why I have 3) has not been used much due to it feeling so cheap. Mossberg has done a great job in marketing there cheaply built guns. With all the choices of camo patterns, accessories, etc. they have fooled many people. My feelings about Mossberg are not only from my experiences but others that I have hunted with that replaced the cheap Mossberg with a Remington or Benelli. I like the Remington and the Benelli when it comes to pumps. I have not shot the newer Winchesters, but I did have a 1300 that I wore out. I’m sure there are others out there that are of good quality under $500, but Mossberg will never be on any top list for me.

  • Raleigh Thomas February 24, 2015, 3:11 pm

    Ditto’s on the ‘ Where is the Rem. 870’? comments, I have 3 and NEVER a jam or ‘click’ when it was time to go ‘bang’, in 30 years of use. It, and the Mossy’s are THE most versatile /accessory-available shotguns in history, but I’m not gonna beat him up though. I have one of the 10 ga. H+R’s, and it is a BEAST recoil wise! I’d vote Rem. Benelli and Mossberg 1-2-3, with everything else far behind, if I was recommending a ‘ under $500 shotgun ‘ to a friend. My 2 cents…

  • Dave Brandt February 24, 2015, 11:48 am

    Okay I agree the 870 is a fine turkey gun but remember every one is entitled to their opinion, I like Winchester’s and the H&R’s, to each his own. I thank God we live in a country where we have the right to enjoy the great outdoors and can hunt with a choice for the type of gun we want. one of the longest goose shots I made was with a Mossberg 12 with a poly choke, I aimed for one of the lead birds and knocked down a goose from the rear of the flight, the hunting partner was amazed and committed on how fine a shooter I was, I never told him the truth that I aimed for a lead bird.

  • longnkrnch February 23, 2015, 7:42 pm

    Almost impossible to believe he didn’t even mention the 870. Probably the most popular and rugged shotgun ever made. It should have been right up there at the top.

  • William Miller February 23, 2015, 3:14 pm

    It never seems that there might be a little better weapon out there at a good price that they don’t own. I think that most shooters are stuck in a rut with their old fashioned ideas about anything that is new must not be as good as the ones that they own. Open your eyes and you might see something else that might be as good or even better for the money.

  • ole pap February 23, 2015, 11:34 am

    Remington 870 super mag turkey’s as good as in oven all that needs to be said

  • Brandon February 23, 2015, 10:45 am

    Remington sp 10 best turkey gun I’ve ever had and I’ve tried them all over the past 20 years

  • Gus February 23, 2015, 10:16 am

    Do you have something against Remington? While I appreciate the reviews you gave on the other shotguns, I don’t see how you could leave out the 870. Seriously, the 870 is an iconic shotgun, and in my experience “bullet proof”.

  • Southwest Shooter February 23, 2015, 10:08 am

    You’ve got two types of trucks
    Ford or Chevy
    Two types of Shotguns
    Mossberg or Remington
    The Remington 870 is the best all around shotgun on the market, the sales over the last 30 some years back that up…

  • Burgoynecourt February 23, 2015, 10:02 am

    Your article was making good sense up to the moment I did not see any mention of a Remington 870. More turkeys have probably been killed with an 870 or a Mossberg than all other competitors combined. In my opinion, your article, although simple in its presentation of the facts all serious turkey hunters are knowledgeable of, invalidated itself when it overlooked the beloved Remington 870 in favor of a single shot H&R.

  • David Billingsley February 23, 2015, 8:48 am

    Mossbergs are not all 2 3/4″. I have a Grand Slam 835 with a 20″ barrel that shoots 3 1/2’s and I take turkeys yearly with it. Had an 870 but went back to what works for me after a miss.

  • bigfoot February 23, 2015, 7:35 am

    I agree with Randell. You can’t leave the 870 out of the top 5. Way to good and affordable. Might want to throw in the weather p 350 in the mix

  • Greg Brown February 23, 2015, 7:04 am

    Mossberg’s are all 2.75 “. Why wouldn’t that exclude them from your list ?

    • Sam Trisler February 23, 2015, 8:15 am

      The Mossberg linked above has a 3″ chamber. I don’t think they make a 12 gauge pump that is only a 2.75 chamber anymore. Maybe one of the youth guns.

  • Randall Humphries February 23, 2015, 6:36 am

    Well, let me be the first to comment. After all, you asked for it. Picking the single shot over the 870? When Remington has a really nifty magnum model in camo? And let’s face it, getting a good choke is more than half the battle for accuracy, so you have to consider the availability of the 870 in after market chokes that are compatible. Most turkey shooters I’ve met are very concerned about having follow up shots. And I’ve heard plenty of hunters laugh their way through campfire stories of the guy that shows up with his family heirloom single shot. Nope, I’m thinking Remington 870 over the Pard any day.

    • G February 23, 2015, 7:42 am

      You got that right, 870’s are the way to go! How did they miss them or the mossberg???

      • Burgoynecourt February 23, 2015, 10:07 am

        TriStar and H&R but no mention of the number one selling pump in history, the Remington 870? Are we to take you seriously?

        • Russ February 23, 2015, 12:15 pm

          Hear here!
          870 = #1
          Sam blew chunks on the list.

          PS. He also called that Tristar Raptor “ugly”. LOL I think it looks the best!

    • Dave Higginbotham February 24, 2015, 10:50 am

      Hello all. Editor here, weighing in. I spoke with Sam about this article, and the fact that we didn’t include the 870 was not some sort of accident. Anyone with basic reading skills can make inferences about the 870’s omission. Sam’s focus here was on new shotguns. There are five in the list that come in under $500. 5 in the list that the author has run with no problems. This isn’t an article that is intended to document the recent drama at Remington, their consolidation moves, their increasingly well documented quality control or legal issues, or if there is any veracity in any of the pernicious rumors circulating on the internet. The 870 is a fine gun, and can certainly be included on a list like this. In fact, I know some who would put together a Top 5 list that would include nothing but 870s. So be it. You’re entitled to your opinions. As for my opinion? There’s nothing wrong with a good-old 870, an opinion I happen to know Sam shares.

  • Adam February 23, 2015, 6:27 am

    What are some good/recommended optics for turkey guns?

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend