February 2009

Turkey 12s: Browning BPS Pump Vs. Remington’s 11-87 Auto

Placing enough pellets into the head and neck of a turkey is essential. The Browning pump performed that task better on first and second shots than the veteran Remington semiautomatic.

Turkey hunting in most areas of the country is a sport that is heavy on stalking, concealment and calling to bring the big toms into effective scattergun range. All of that work can be for nothing if the shooting tool brought into play does not produce a killing pattern with the first shot or cannot provide a rapid, effective follow-up shot.

Testing a semiautomatic against a pump-action provided us with an interesting opportunity to see if there was a difference in ability to take a quick follow-up shot on a wounded turkey. In our timed tests with two targets attempted with two quick shots, we found there was virtually no difference in the follow-up shooting sequence. However, as noted in the individual reviews of each shotgun, we did find a difference in patterning performance.

As preliminary requirements for our turkey gun test, both shotguns had to be decked out in camouflage; both had to handle 3-inch shells; and both barrels had to accept screw-in chokes—a handy accessory for helping produce the best killing shot at normal turkey-hunting ranges.

We found a good match on the used gun rack at Dury’s Gun Shop in San Antonio, www.durysguns.com, with an older model Remington 11-87 semiautomatic and a fairly new version of the Browning BPS pump-action. Both shotguns also featured 26-inch barrels, which seem to be favored by turkey hunters who, in some situations, have to deal with close-quarter shooting conditions.

Another appreciated feature on both shotguns was sling attachments that permitted the installation of a carrying strap. Being able to carry the shotguns—heavier than typical scatterguns used for field work—with a sling over a shoulder would be a welcome benefit for a turkey hunter taking a long hike to an ambush site for big toms.

For the patterning tests, our ammunition included Remington Nitro Turkey 3-inch loads with 1 7/8 ounces of No. 4 lead shot and an average muzzle velocity of 1,210 fps; and Federal Premium Mag-Shok 3-inch loads with 2 ounces of No. 4 copper-plated shot and an average muzzle velocity of 1,300 fps. We also spent some familiarization time with the two shotguns at a five-stand course shooting Remington Premier STS Light Target 2.75-inch loads with 1 1/8 ounces of No. 8 shot and an average muzzle velocity of 1,145 fps. The patterning and handling performance are covered in the individual reviews of each shotgun.

Here’s our test report:

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