Will turkey hunters ever accept anything except a golden bead on the front of their shotguns? After all, hunters don’t need a lot of precision to point a shotgun at the base of a bird’s neck, making sure the pattern centers the vital neck and head areas. But what if a hunter could see a brighter aiming point in dim light, on a dark-feathered bird? Would that be an advantage?
Gun Tests decided to find out when we took two popular shotguns, the Beretta 1200FP semiauto and Mossberg’s 590 pump-action, and mounted red-dot sights on their receivers. The Mossberg received a C-More red dot, while the Beretta was topped with a low-profile Optima 2000 from Tasco, $279.99. The C-More had a 12-moa dot; the black matte Optima featured a 7-moa dot. Here is what we found.
Mounting The Shotgun
The correct technique for swinging and pointing a shotgun usually has the shooter mount the gun to his face. Consistent placement of the head on the stock thus determines how the sight picture will vary. From that point on the shooter tries to keep his eye on the target, and his natural ability to track moving objects enables him to break the bird.
Though installing a red-dot sight on a turkey shotgun doesn’t change these tenets, they become less crucial because shooters have a big, fairly still target to aim at. In this situation, it instead becomes much more important to see the aiming point clearly in obscure morning light. In this vein, both the C-More and the Optima 2000 reduce sighting problems for the shotgunner by simplifying sighting. In nearly any light except direct overhead sunlight, it’s much easier to see a red dot over the receiver than it is to see a gold dot on the muzzle. Also, each unit has unlimited eye relief.
However, in our testing we found the red dots didn’t quite do their illumination jobs equally. Mounting the C-More on the Mossberg required the use of a Weaver base (the gun comes drilled and tapped). As a result, the point of aim was raised sufficiently to cause the shooter to pull his face away from the stock, depending on the individual’s head shape. This caused a loss of solid contact between the cheek and the stock, which loosened the relationship between the shooter’s eye and the sight, we felt.
Using the higher-set C-More, we experienced more problems locating the dot. The light, low-profile 30mm-objective Optima 2000, in contrast, nearly allowed us to keep our usual head position on the stock, and we were able to find the dot easily in all light conditions.
Gun Tests Recommends
Both the C-More and the Optima 2000 dot sights can add to the pleasure of shotgunning for spring turkeys. But Gun Tests prefers Tasco’s Optima 2000, $300, to the $239 C-More because the Tasco enhances the speed and accuracy of sighting on the bird without interfering with proven shotgun technique.