An Up-Close Look at Turkey Gun Optics

Modern turkey guns and loads can down gobblers at impressive ranges, so putting the right sight on top makes hitting birds at long distances a little easier.

An Up-Close Look at Turkey Gun Optics

Given the quality of today’s modern, specialized turkey shotguns, hunters can kill a gobbler at distances unheard of two or three decades back. In fact, these guns beg to be topped with some kind of optic for better aiming — another thing nearly unheard of three decades ago.

I remember more than 20 years ago mounting one of the first commercially available red-dot sights, an original Bushnell Holosight, on my old Remington 870 that I used for everything from upland birds to waterfowl to gobblers. Since the gun had no mechanism for mounting such an optic, I had to rely on an aftermarket solution that bolted to my gun’s receiver, providing a rail on top for mounting the optic. I used that combination to bag a couple of nice Oklahoma public-land gobblers that I likely wouldn’t have killed had I not given the big, clunky sight a try in the turkey woods.

Fast forward to 2021, and most modern turkey shotguns are drilled and tapped for mounting optics. And even for older shotguns that are not, solutions are still commercially available to provide a rail for optics mounting — so all turkey hunters are potential customers. 

In truth, a turkey optic makes aiming easier and more precise, giving hunters a little edge, especially at longer distances. While magnified optics are used by some hunters, because of the limited range of shotguns, most use red-dot sights, which typically have no magnification.

Let’s take a look at three top turkey red-dots that can help you bolster your bottom line. 

Aimpoint CompM5S
Aimpoint CompM5S

Aimpoint CompM5S

This little red-dot would make a great addition to any turkey shotgun — new or old. While I haven’t had the chance to use it on a gobbler hunt, Aimpoint did send me one last year for another project. I mounted it on a Rise Armament Watchman carbine and ran the gun/optic combination in a 3-gun match and couldn’t have been more pleased with both.

The CompM5s is a high-performance red-dot sight made by a company that cut its teeth on red-dots and knows how to make quality products. At 8.3 ounces, the red-dot doesn’t add much weight to your turkey gun, but don’t let the size fool you. It offers big performance in a number of ways.

The unit is mountable on any MIL-STD rail system or Picatinny rail. It operates on common AAA batteries and has a battery life of more than five years of continuous use on position 7 and more than 10 years of continuous use on positions 1 through 4.

The unit’s 2-MOA dot is about perfect for turkey-hunting applications, making it easy to precisely aim at a gobbler from point-blank range out to about 50 or 60 yards. Realizing the red-dot might be mounted on big guns that kick hard, Aimpoint keyed the mount base into the body of the sight to absorb recoil.

Aimpoint red-dots sights are designed so they can be used with both eyes open, greatly enhancing situational awareness and target acquisition. And thanks to their optical design, the red dot follows the movement of the user’s eye while remaining fixed on target, eliminating the need for centering.

The standard configuration of the Comp5Ms includes the sight, an LRP mount and a spacer that gives 39mm optical axis. The sight also comes equipped with flip-up lens covers, with the rear one being transparent. Put one of these little red-dots on your favorite turkey shotgun this spring and you will not be sorry.

Leupold DeltaPoint Pro
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

While I haven’t been fortunate enough to use this red-dot for turkey hunting, I have used it on a handgun, and it lived up to its billing as a top-quality reflex sight. Of course, with Leupold’s reputation as a producer of top-quality optics, that wasn’t any surprise.

Featuring a lightweight aluminum housing shrouded in rugged, spring-steel armor, the DeltaPoint Pro is the latest model in Leupold’s successful DeltaPoint line. And, the little red-dot sight with 2.5-MOA reticle is designed to be faster than your reactions, which turkey hunters should appreciate, given the run-and-gun nature of their sport.

Regardless of what kind of turkey shotgun is used, the DP Pro can be installed using a cross-slot mount on a Picatinny, Weaver or other rail base. It even features an easy-access battery compartment on top for replacing the single CR2032 battery, and gives the unit click adjustment for more precision. And it’s available in either black or FDE.

The DP Pro’s absolute waterproof and fog proof integrity means it is ready to perform in the field under any and all conditions. And its ultra-lightweight design — it weighs a mere 1.9 ounces with the battery installed — means it adds very little to the weight of turkey hunters’ favorite scatterguns. Equally cool, patented motion-sensor technology inside of the DP Pro discerns any movement of the sight and automatically activates the illumination, alleviating the need to turn it on and off while in the turkey woods.

Note that the DeltaPoint Pro isn’t just a turkey red-dot. It also excels on rifles and pistols, giving retailers a wider range of potential customers who might be interested in this little optic. It’s far from being a budget red-dot, but serious hunters and shooters who are familiar with Leupold’s legendary performance likely won’t mind paying the premium.

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

Bushnell’s Trophy TRS-25 is truly a great little red-dot sight at a price that fits in most customers’ budget. Don’t let the low price fool you, though. It performs like a much higher-priced sight and can be a perfect solution for those turkey hunters wanting to use an optic and save some coin at the same time.

I’ve used the TRS-25 on both AR-style rifles and shotguns with great success on each. I had one on my first 3-gun rifle, and it never let me down in competition, despites its small price tag. I also shot a round of sporting clays with a TRS-25-equipped shotgun a few years back and found it to be quick and easy to get on target, even on fast-moving clays.

The TRS-25 is a compact, sturdy, reliable 3-MOA red-dot sight with unlimited eye relief for handguns and shotguns. Its construction features O-ring sealed optics that stay dry inside, even when totally immersed in water, so it can definitely handle a wet, nasty day in the turkey woods. Also, nitrogen inside the scope ensures interior optical surfaces won't fog due to humidity or rapid temperature change.

Plus, the TRS-25 is built with shockproof construction for those who tend to be a little rough on their equipment. The unit is built to withstand bumps, bangs, drops and the rough-and-tumble environment of the turkey woods without the user having to worry about damaging the little red-dot. Brightness settings range from 1 to 11, and one CR2032 battery will run the unit for 3,000 hours on medium settings.

At just 4 ounces and only 2.5 inches long, this little sight doesn’t add to your load in the woods. Plus, it easily mounts to any Picatinny-style rail with its integrated mounting hardware. For your budget-conscious shoppers interested in getting an optic for their turkey shotgun, this is one you’ll want them to take a close look at.

Wrapping It Up

For turkey hunters looking to be a little more accurate this year, a good red-dot can help get the job done, and many can do so without breaking the bank. For customers buying a turkey shotgun, a good optic is a definite add-on purchase that they should be encouraged to explore.

Also, this can be an especially good product for older turkey hunters whose aging eyes have a hard time picking up their front sight and a turkey’s head 30 or 40 yards away. A good red-dot can add years to a hunter’s successful gobbler-chasing career, and what’s not to like about that?


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