U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- This past winter the publisher of Texas Outdoors Journal and a good friend of mine, Bill Olson called me and told me to get lined up to do a February Texas varmint/hog hunt and a March Texas turkey hunt. I started scrambling to get the gear lined up for the hunt. For a shotgun, I decided to use a Mossberg 930 Turkey/Field 12 ga. Shotgun.
If you’re only an occasional varmint hunter you may wonder why I planned on using a shotgun. I do a lot of varmint hunting and one year I kept count. Forty percent of the coyotes we called in were within shotgun range. And a big percentage of that 40% we wouldn’t have gotten a shot if I hadn’t had a shotgun. I remember one came into the decoy, did a 180, and shot outta there like a barrel racer turning her final barrel and heading home. Another one came in at Mach IV and I rolled him at 13 yds. Another one surprised my buddy which was hidden in a brush pile when the coyote peeked around a limb at 5-7 feet and the list goes on and on.
To make it clear, I’m a rifle hunter. I like to hunt varmints with a rifle but I also don’t want to miss an opportunity at 40% of the shots so I make someone in my group carry a shotgun when we’re varmint hunting.
If the above has piqued your interest, read on. But you can’t just grab your ole’ double-barrel quail gun and be successful. You need to use a good semi-auto like the Mossberg 930 Turkey/Field 12 ga. or a pump.
You also need to put on some sights, a scope, or better yet a good red dot scope like the Vortex SPARC. I mounted a Vortex SPARC on the Mossberg. I’ve grown to love that little red dot scope. (Check out the Product Review on the Vortex SPARC that was published on 6/2/21). With good varmint loads you’ll be able to take up to 70-yard shots so it’s almost like you’re hunting with a rifle instead of a shotgun. You don’t just flock shoot. You have to aim at a body part. On varmints aim at the shoulder and on turkeys aim at the middle of the neck. If you aim at the head half of the BB’s whistle harmlessly over its head.
In the old days, 60 years ago a 40-yard shot on a turkey was a long shot. And even then it wasn’t a sure deal. Now? Ha, I’ll take a shot out to 80 yards. It’s a whole lot harder to call in a gobbler to 25-40 yards than it is to get one to 60-100 yards. I’ve had a lot of gobblers hold up at 100-150 yards.
In the old days, we used #2 shot for ducks, geese, and turkey hunting. Now manufacturers offer turkey loads that will reach out and touch them. Same with varmint hunting except in the old days the only time you shot a coyote with a shotgun was if you occasionally kicked one up while pheasant hunting and that only happened every 5-years or so and I used to do a lot of pheasant hunting.
Years ago, no one used a shotgun for varmint hunting but things have changed and I credit three things:
- Varmint loads that will reach out to 70+ yards.
- New chokes like the Trulock Predator or Trulock Long Beard series.
- Manufacturers offering sights, scopes and red dot scopes like the Vortex SPARC which allows taking longer shots.
So, if you’re a varmint hunter and have never used a shotgun to hunt with, check out the Mossberg 930 Turkey/Field 12 ga. Shotgun. The MSRP is $701.00. And as is usual, we will close with the specs.
- Gauge 12
- Capacity 4+1
- Chamber 3″
- Barrel Type Vent Rib
- Barrel Length 26″
- Sight/Base Front Fiber Optic
- Choke Accu-set, X-Factor XX-Full Tky Tube
- LOP Type Fixed
- LOP 14″
- Barrel Finish Mossy Oak Bottomland
- Stock Finish Synthetic
- Weight 7.75
- Length 48.5″
About Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoor writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, Bowhunter.net, and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal, you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening #ad for $.99 if you’re having trouble.”