It is no secret that turkey hunting is absolutely my favorite hunting….ever! The most important thing for a successful turkey hunt is knowing your shotgun’s pattern with your choke and ammo combination. Knowing your shot’s limits can quickly become your advantage when a gobbler’s timing is bad and your shot is good.
For the last 4 seasons I have used the Winchester Premium Elite Xtended Range shells and have had very good success. Granted, it is not always typical that I need extended range over 40-45 yards but there have been a few birds that hung up in my “comfortable” extended range—bad timing for the bird and money well spent for me. The Premium Elite Xtended Range was a bit pricier than the typical turkey load, often around $42-$46 a box.
The expense stemmed from the fact that tungsten was used in the product and is a higher priced material to manufacture. Tungsten allowed for a uniform shot pattern at an extended range because the density of the shot did not collapse under the initial acceleration through the barrel. The knockdown power compared to shot of similar velocity was no comparison in my opinion.
The higher cost of the Premium Elite Xtended Range will no longer be an issue for turkey hunters as they will now have a more economically priced extended range turkey shot with the same benefits of its predecessor. Winchester recently introduced the 12-gauge Long Beard XR in 3 and 3.5″ shells with shot sizes available in No. 4, 5, and 6. The shot has a muzzle velocity of 1,200 fps propelling 1-3/4 and 2 ounces of copper plated lead pellets. In the normal situation, traditional lead shot would not be dense enough for all of the shot to hold its shape when propelled through the barrel because of the high velocity; however, the Long Beard XR is designed with a SHOT-LOK filler which allows the shot to keep its shape when leaving the gun barrel for a more uniform shot pattern.
SHOT-LOK is a resin-like liquid that is injected into the shot cup prior to adding the lead shot during manufacturing. The liquid fills all of the air spaces between the pellets and it cures to a solid matter, encapsulating the entire shot load. The solid filler protects the lead shot from deformation as it is pulverized during in-bore acceleration.
The shot accelerates and launches through the barrel and choke almost perfectly round allowing for extremely tight long-range patterns. According to Winchester, “this produces twice the number of pellets in a 10” circle out to 60 yards with 10 percent greater penetration over standard lead beyond 50 yards.” The MSRP for the Winchester Long Beard XR is $18.99 for 3” and $22.99 for 3.5” in shot size 4, 5 and 6.
I had my opportunity to take the new Winchester Long Beard XR on the hunt after a satisfactory patterning experience on the range. I would have been hesitant had the shot not proved itself on paper—after all, I had experienced a successful four years with my old shot and I still had two boxes of those left.
A tom came into 42 yards of me and was working his way along a terrace away from me. I took my safety off, placed my shot gun bead on the bird, squeezed the trigger, the shot hit the target and I watched as the bird rose up in the air about 2.5 feet and plopped to the ground with his head underneath him. His wings and legs rose skyward in an extended manner and as I approached the bird, his wings slowly came down and his legs quivered as they lowered….not a single flop out of the bird. The new turkey load stood up to the test and you can rest assured that my turkey vest and gun will be loaded with the Winchester Long Beard XR next season.
Winchester logos are the sole property of it’s rightful owner and used within this writing solely for the promotion of products herein as requested by the product’s manufacturer.
Endorsement Disclosure: Per the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission, the products reviewed in these product reviews is an endorsement and the writer may have been compensated by “in-kind” payment to review the product.