#2 Shot for Turkey Hunting: Is It a Good Idea?


If you’re going turkey hunting, you’ll want to be sure you have the right shots. While a #2 shot will work well for shooting turkeys at close range, it’s not otherwise suitable for turkey hunting.

In some U.S. states, shooting turkeys with a #2 shot isn’t legal, so you have to ensure you check your state rules before packing it in your hunting gear.

What’s the best shot for turkey hunting? Generally, using a #5 or #6 shot is ideal for turkey hunting. These shots provide enough energy to penetrate a turkey’s vitals at far distances, such as around 35 yards (for #6) and 45 yards (for #5).

If you’ve got a #2 shot, here’s what you need to know about it. We’ll look at situations in which you can get away with using it for turkey hunting, and how to maximize its potential.

What Is a #2 Shot For Hunting?

A #2 shot is ideal for hunting ducks and geese. Since it’s smaller, it provides more energy to the target you’re hunting, which increases your chances of taking it down.

It also provides a good pattern density up to 40 yards. Since the pellet size of a #2 shot is .15 inches, this provides a good amount of power for hunting and killing waterfowl.

While a smaller shot size, such as a #2, you have fewer pellets in your gun as compared to shots such as the #3, #4, #5, and #6.

Why Isn’t a #2 Shot Good For Turkey Hunting?

A #2 shot isn’t ideal for turkey hunting because you need to ensure your shot has enough power and energy to take down the turkey instead of just wounding it.

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The problem with a #2 shot is that it won’t give you enough pellets to secure a good firing pattern when shooting turkeys from far away. While you might say that you only need one pellet to strike a turkey’s vital zone to kill it, this is not always possible, especially if you’re a beginner. A #2 shot can therefore restrict your hunting opportunities.

This is why some hunters opt for the larger pellets of a #4 shot is ideal, while others stick to their trusty #6 shot which enables them to load the shot with more pellets, therefore increasing their chance of striking the head and neck of a turkey to kill it. A larger shot will enable you to take it down much faster.

Although there’s a variety of shot sizes for birds, you have to tailor them to the size of the bird. Shooting a larger bird, such as a turkey, with a larger shot size will enable you to make a powerful hit because the bird is larger. Bear in mind a male turkey can weigh around 11 to 24 pounds, whereas a duck can weigh two pounds or less!

If you’re shooting turkeys at a distance of approximately 20 yards, you could make a successful shot with your #2 shot. The issue, of course, is that shooting turkeys at this distance isn’t always practical or possible. You might not be able to lead the turkey to that distance, which could cause you to miss the shot.

How To Use A #2 Shot For Turkey Hunting

Although there are ideal and not-so-ideal shot sizes for hunting different animals, you might find success with a #2 shot. It really depends on the situation in which you find yourself.

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If you’ve only got a #2 shot or you want to try it for hunting turkey, you will have to ensure you follow some important tips.

Hunt Turkeys At Shorter Distances

Since a #2 shot has a lighter load, this means that it loses energy quicker, so you can’t shoot animals from further away with it. By comparison, a larger load will have more power to travel further distances and make a kill.

Increase The Shot Speed

While you should go up a few shot sizes to get the best shot for hunting turkeys, if you’re using a #2 you should increase the shot’s energy by boosting its speed. You can do this with a larger shell size, such as by moving up from a 2 ¾ -inch to a 3-inch load.

This increases the speed with which your pellets will travel. You can learn more about 2 ¾ -inch loads by reading our guide, “Best 2 3/4 Inch Turkey Loads [Reviewed].”

Related Questions

Where should you aim when shooting a turkey?

You should aim for the head or neck of a turkey when shooting it. This ensures greater success as your bullet won’t have to travel through thick feathers on the turkey’s body.

How can you bring more turkeys into your hunting area?

If you want to bring turkeys closer to be able to kill them, you should make use of turkey decoys or calls. Here’s our guide to the best turkey decoys.

Can you use an #8 shot for turkey hunting?

An #8 shot is the smallest shot size for hunting, and is recommended for hunting small birds, such as pigeons and doves. We explore this topic more in our guide, “Are 8 Shots Good for Turkey Hunting?”

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If you’re hunting turkey, the best shot sizes you should have to include a #4, #5, or #6. Can you use a #2 shot? In this article, we’ve explained what you need to know about why this shot isn’t always recommended.


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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>