2006 Utah Turkey Hunt

Turkey strutting on the hill minutes before I shot him.
My 2006 Turkey taken with a Browning 20g Superposed
My 2006 Turkey taken with a Browning 20g Superposed

Although I lived in Oklahoma for seven years where there are many turkeys, I just never got excited to go turkey hunting. I think the idea of sitting on the ground in the spring in a climate that has ticks and chiggars didn't help.  Although very fun to hunt with I have just not been as motivated of a shotgun guy.

In 2006 I had the opportunity to hunt turkeys in Utah with drawing a employee tag that Browning offered as a draw to the employees. The turkeys were transplanted here a number of years ago and are getting established pretty well. To hunt them requires a draw and with a few years of points you can draw a tag.

I hunted a couple of times in the limited areas I had to hunt with no real success in finding any turkeys. I tried the Browning property a couple of times and found that a few turkeys were periodically using the property.

On the 16th of May I was up on the dry farm hills before light hoping to hear a gobbler. As it got light I found a single hen with a gobbler in tow. I sneaked around the hill and set out a hen decoy and backed 10 yards further up the trail and into the edge of the brush. I worked the box call and boy did the tom start a gobbling and the hen got really mad. She cam running in ready to kick some butt. Unfortunately, the tom couldn't just run with her. He had to stop and strut every 10 feet and was a good 100 yards back when the hen got to my decoy and didn't like it. She bolted around the hill, lover boy back in tow.

I backed out and swung out and around the hill as quickly as I could. I figured on their current path that they would pass through a particular area and I setup in this spot with the decoy again. It took a good half hour and the two popped up on the ridge about 50 yards from me. This time I only made soft purring calls every so often, with a slate call. It looked as though the pair was going to come right past the spot I was setup in, but the hen apparently wanted all of the toms attention to herself and turned and went another direction. Can I shoot hens?!

Now I figured they were headed towards a natural funnel and I backed my way out and headed that direction. I had to hike a good mile out and around to stay out of sight from the turkeys. This time I was just going to try and ambush them. My calling stunk and the hen wanted the tom all to herself. Ambush time.

After a half hour or so I could see them working their way across the ridge line in my general direction. As they got nearer, they feed directly away from me and over the hill. If I couldn't see them, they couldn't see me, so I belly crawled straight in the direction I last saw them. As I neared the hill top I would peak up and look to see if the coast was clear then slide another foot or so. It didn't take long and I was within 30 yards of the pair. I slid the safety off the Superposed and raised up and let him have it .

The April 2007 wallpaper on browning.com is a photo of the tom I took just minutes before I belly crawled up and shot him. This also happens to be the first turkey ever killed on the Browning property in Morgan, Utah.

The turkey had a 10" beard, 1" spurs and weighed 20.0 lbs. All nice even measurements.

I hunted with a very sentimental shotgun of my dad's. It is a Browning Superposed in 20 Gauge that my mother ordered while she was working at Browning just before she quit to have me. The serial number of the Superposed dates to the year of my birth. With such a serial number the shotgun practically has my name on it. Wouldn't you think? Well my brothers don't think so.

243 WSSM Handloads and Ballistics

Favorite 243 WSSM Bullets
Some of my favorite loads left to right:
• 80g Tipped Triple Shock, Handload
• 75g Hornady V-Max, Handload
• 55g Ballistic Tip, Winchester Factory Load

Below are my personal favorite loads for the 243 WSSM. To view the loads you will need to read the warning near the bottom of the page, then accept the warning by checking the box inside the warning.

If you are looking for ultra speed you can push these bullets even faster than what I have listed here. I like to keep my loads away from the highest pressures possible. The loads here are my goto sub minute-of-angle accurate hunting loads. For varmints I either use the 75 grain V-Max or the 55 grain Ballistic Tip Winchester factory load.  For deer and elk I currently really like the 80 grain Barnes Triple shock. That bullet has preformed very well on elk. You can read about that in Dallen's first elk journal entry and the 2009 cow elk journal entry. I am very comfortable with this 80g TSX bullet on elk out to 350 yards. Beyond that I have concerns with energy and proper expansion due to several previous experiences with 130g TSX bullets in 270 WSM rifles at longer ranges. You can read more about my thoughts on the Triple Shock in my Recovered Triple Shock Bullet journal entry.

Another interesting thing in regards to speed. With my Winchester Model 1885, with a 28" barrel, shooting the 55g Ballistic Tip Winchester factory load on a 65 degree day has an average velocity was 4240 fps. It also consistently shoots this load under an inch at 100 yards. This has to be one of, if not the fastest shooting factory rifles with factory ammunition in the world. It does amazing things to chucks and prairie dogs. Wow!

I'm still looking for a long range deer load (350 yards and beyond). I thought the Hornady 85 grain InterBond might be the ticket. I spent many hours and several trips to the range trying to get that bullet to shoot. I tried four different powders and many different seating depths. The best I could get was three inch groups at 100 yards. On the other hand, every load I tried with the 75 grain Hornady V-Max shot well. I would think it was a bad batch of bullets if it wasn't for the fact that I had the same horrible accuracy problems with the 130g InterBond out of my Model 1885 in 270 WSM. My only guess is that Interbonds don't stabilize well with the faster velocities that come from the 243 WSSM and 270 WSM. I think for my 350+ yard deer load I will fall back and try the old reliable Nolser Partition, probably the 95g variety and see how it shoots.

I'm working on a load for the 95g Nosler Partition. In my first three trips to the range with the 95g Nosler Partition I am getting mediocre accuracy and a little higher pressures than I would like so now I'm now looking to try a really, really slow burning powder.

I found the 95g Nosler Partition load I like... well, maybe I'll tweak it some more in the future but for now I'm happy. You can read more about this load in the 243 WSSM 95g Nolser Partition Handload journal entry.

Oct. 15th 2010: I broke a decapping pin during development of the 95g Partition load and purchased another decapping/Tapered Expander assembly that is one thousandth of an inch larger in diameter. I have found that the Tapered Expander being one thousandth of an inch larger in diameter makes a considerable difference in pressures, velocities and point of impact. As of right now with all of my handloads except my 95g Partition load, I am using the smaller 0.242" diameter Tapered Expander.

If you are needing printable targets for sighting in your rifle you can get them here.

WARNING: The load information on this page is for my personal use in my personal firearms and is posted for entertainment purposes only. If you chose to reload the 243 WSSM use only data contained in current manufacturer's reloading manuals. Incorrectly reloaded ammunition can cause serious personal injury and damage to the firearm due to excessive pressure. Reload only after proper instruction and in strict compliance with instruction and data contained in current manufacturer's reloading manuals. If you choose to use the load data on theDIYhunter.com • 243wssm.com you are doing so at your own risk. theDIYhunter.com • 243wssm.com is not responsible for injury and/or death resulting from data posted or referred to on this Website. Improper reloading is dangerous. Users assume all risk, responsibility and liability for any and all injuries (including death), losses or damages to persons or property (including consequential damages), arising from the use of any data posted on this site. If you have read and accept this warning check this box to view my 243 WSSM load data.

DIY Hunting Rifle Target Downloads

Here are some targets I like to use to sight in my rifles. For my deer and elk rifle loads I like to sight my rifles in at 2 1/2 inches high at 100 yards. This is a little higher than the traditional 2 inches that you have always been told to do.

With the ballistics that are achieved with the 243 WSSM and my 270 WSM I get roughly a 350 yard max-point-blank range on a 7 inch target. What does this mean? It means that I can hold dead center on a 7 inch diameter target and be able to hit that target from 0 to 350 yards. So from 0 to 400 yards I can hold on an elk or deer with no hold over required. Now, I do hold on the lower part of the shoulders for basically a heart shot when I am in the 100-200 yard range and I hold for a high shoulder shot in the 400 yard range.

Now when I am shooting the 55g Ballistic Tips over the 4,000 fps barrier I like being sighted in for 1 1/2 inches high at 100 yards. This gives me a nice 300 yard zero. Perfect for taking the smaller Prairie Dogs, Coyotes, Rock Chucks and the like out to around 350 yards without any drastic hold over or under.

Shooting with Adjustable Target Turrets
In 2013 I started getting Vortex Viper rifle scopes with target style elevation turrets. With these scopes I like to sight the rifle in to be dead on at 100 yards and then dial in the minutes of angle for the specific shot with the target style turret.

If you click on the images below you will download PDF files that you can print out. The grid pattern on the targets are a half inch apart. When printing make sure you do the following to get the proper sizing of the targets. When you select print in Adobe Acrobat select the "NONE" option in the "Page Scaling" menu. If left on the default option which is "Shrink to Printable Area" your target will be reduced in size making the half inch grid somewhat smaller.

Varmint Sight In Target
1 1/2" Sight-in Height
Traditional Hunting Sight In Target Height
2" Sight-in Height
Two and a half inch target sight in height
2 1/2" Sight-in Height
Four Up Sight-In Target
Four Up Dead On Sight-in
Muzzleloader Sight-In Target
Muzzleloader Target (10 inch outside diameter circle, 11x17 paper required)


Additional information