TFW You’re too Operator to Buy Your Own Turkey Gun


TFW You’re too Operator to Buy Your Own Turkey Gun

April is “Get (Back) Out There!” month on Winter’s over, spring has sprung, and it’s time to gear up and to back outside. All month long we’ll be sharing our outdoors adventures with you, so follow along on the #GetBackOutThere tag.

This afternoon I touched down in South Dakota, where I was met at the airport by some fellow outdoors writers who I’ll be joining on a guided turkey hunt (my very first turkey hunt, actually) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The picture above is my greenhorn turkey hunting setup: a beat-up, Wal-Mart Remington 870 Express Magnum that I borrowed from my brother-in-law and a Sig Sauer P229 SAS from the Sig Custom Shop. There’s also a Fallkniven Northern Light’s “Frej,” and a Leatherman Charge TTi in the shot, as well. The Fallkniven lists for more than the shotgun, and let’s not even talk about the Sig because my wife sometimes reads this site.

Why all the fancy hardware and the not-so-fancy shotgun? I’d like to say that it’s because I almost never bird hunt, so why run out and get a bird gun for this trip? But the fact that I also don’t kick in doors with Special Forces hasn’t stopped me from going bonkers with my fancy ARs. No, sadly, this is what it looks like when you’re too operator to buy your own dedicated bird gun. I dunno, I just can’t get excited about buying hunting guns that aren’t black or coated with some sort of high-tech coating or are otherwise basically tactical guns that you can also hunt with. I have a pretty sweet Mossberg 590a1 Mariner (18.5″ barrel) that I was going to get threaded so I could put a turkey choke on it, but I didn’t have enough lead time.

I also reached out to Remington to see if I could borrow a Versa Max for the trip. It checks all the high-tech boxes, and I recently used a Versa Max Synthetic on a duck hunt and loved it, but more on that in another “Get (Back) Out There!” post. But again, the notice was way too short to work anything out.

So I had this 870 that my brother-in-law had left at my house because it didn’t work due to major neglect (I don’t think he’d ever cleaned it). With YouTube’s help, though, I got it apart, cleaned it, and got it back in shape. These guns are super simple, which is why they’re classics, so it didn’t take any major gunsmithing to get it going again.

The 870’s a shooter, so I’m sure it’ll be fine. I just have to find the birds and then not scare them off. This is my first turkey hunt, so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully I’ll have a picture of a bird to post, tomorrow.

Oh, before I sign off, you’re probably wondering, why the Sig? Well, y’know, because. I’m in the badlands, right? The word “bad” is in the name of the place, so I figured I should pack my 9 (puts hands on hips, breathes in and puffs out chest, squints off into the distance of the badlands). And also because I wanted to bring some sort of fancy gun, and since I couldn’t get the Versa Max, I brought the Sig P229 SAS to scratch the “fancy gun” itch. Yeah, it’s kind of silly, but my Sig people out there know where I’m coming from.

Random notes:

  • No, I’m not actually carrying the Sig on the res. It stays locked up, though I could carry in town with my Texas LTC.
  • “TFW” is the way kids these days say “that feeling when.” If you didn’t know that then maybe you should go on Twitter more. Actually, don’t do that. Nobody should go on Twitter unless they have to for work.
  • Yes, that is cheapo acoustical foam that I’m using for the middle layer in that Pelican. It’s all part of the theme of “I got ready for this hunt on short notice and had to make do.” It works okay in a pinch.

Avatar Author ID 36 - 716680253

Jon Stokes is Deputy Editor at

Read More