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Firearms turkey season here in the Show Me State starts on October 1. And while I’ve never shot a tom (or a hen for that matter) I’d have thought that if I ever did go out looking to bag a stuffing receptacle, your average load of #5s would do the trick. Shows you what I know. The boys from Olin claim their new Shot-Lok (encapsulated pellet) technology puts twice the shot in a 10″ circle than your garden variety nekkid lead load. I assume that assumes you’re using an ultra-tight turkey choke on your smooth bore. Still, that’s a claim that begs to be tested, and so we will. Until then, here’s their press release . . .

EAST ALTON, Ill. (Sept. 19, 2013)—Forty yards has long been the standard by which all turkey loads were measured … No more. It’s time to go farther with Winchester Long Beard XR™. Winchester® Ammunition introduces the most innovative lead turkey load in its history, the new Long Beard XR, which provides increased lethality at longer ranges, more than any other turkey load.

Featuring new-to-the-world Shot-Lok™ Technology, Long Beard XR offers the tightest patterns and longest shot capability of any lead turkey load in history—with twice the pellets in a 10” circle out to 60 yards compared to traditional lead loads.  Long Beard XR has the knockdown power of popular heavier-than-lead loads at a fraction of the cost, meaning it’s a turkey-slamming game changer for hunters looking to push the limits.

Winchester Long Beard XR will be offered in the following specifications:

Gauge Shell Length Oz. Shot Velocity Shot Sizes Rds/Box
12 3 1/2” 2 1200 4, 5, 6 10
12 3” 1 3/4 1200 4, 5, 6 10


When turkey hunting, it’s important to identify your target and attempt to call in a bird within 40 yards or less. However, it is sometimes difficult to measure the exact distance, so every hunter wants a load they can depend on to reach the turkey at a respected distance beyond 40 yards. Long Beard XR includes Shot-Lok Technology—a hardened resin that completely encapsulates the lead pellets. Shot-Lok actually eliminates air space around the pellets, preventing movement, which ultimately leads to virtually no pellet deformation.

As the shot is charged, the resin fractures, forming a micro-buffer as the shot pattern leaves the gun barrel—the pellets remain round and fly straighter and tighter resulting in highly consistent payloads and devastating knockdown at longer ranges.

Advantages of Shot-Lok Technology—

·      Protects shot during in-bore acceleration

·      Shot launches from barrel near perfectly round for extremely tight long-range patterns

·      Twice the number of pellets in a 10” circle out to 60 yards

·      10% greater penetration over standard lead loads beyond 50 yards

·      Devastating terminal on-target performances

“Long Beard XR is the most innovative turkey load ever developed in the history of Winchester, and our engineers continue to raise the bar every year with new products across many categories,” said Brett Flaugher, vice president of sales, marketing and strategy for Winchester Ammunition. “We are very excited to get this product in the hands of the millions of turkey hunters across North America … they will immediately recognize a difference in performance.”

For more information about Winchester Ammunition and all Winchester products, visit

About Winchester Ammunition

With a company heritage dating back to 1866, Winchester Ammunition was there for the taming of the American West, the Allied Forces’ victory in World War II and through the years, millions of fond memories made in the great outdoors. Known as The American Legend™, Winchester is a global leader in sporting, law enforcement, military and personal defense ammunition production. Winchester continues to raise the bar with new products like Long Beard XR™ and Winchester Defender™ personal defense ammunition.

For more information about Winchester® Ammunition, visit, or connect with The American Legend™ on Facebook at

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  1. #5 works fine for me…but I’ll look into this long beard stuff come turkey season.

    Edit: Crap, I don’t have a 12g that takes 3 inch shells. Oh well.

  2. Interesting concept with the resin encapsulated shot. If you guys get to test it before I get my hands on some, be sure to try some penitration tests on Wallboard and Human like targets too.

  3. I have never in my life seen an animal take abuse from 3 inch magnum #5 shot, and have the audacity to laugh at me and fly away as I have hunting turkeys.
    After a spring hunt where we shot 5 of those armor plated heathens, I’m not sure I want to eat anything that tough!
    I am still dumbfounded.
    I’m switching to OO buck next spring.

    • Were you shooting their bodies? That doesn’t work. I have seen super slow-motion video and amazingly their feathers absorb the impact of the shot without allowing penetration to the turkey’s body. You must go for head shots and head shots only when hunting turkeys.

      Note: while I have never hunted turkeys, I always fancied the idea. However, it wasn’t until very recently that I stumbled upon the fact that you have to shoot turkeys in the head.

    • Hopefully you aren’t serious about any buckshot. They are illegal for turkey in my state.
      Any body shot has to penetrate feathers, possibly wing feathers and bones, skin, fat, several inches of flesh, and finally a relatively thick breast bone before making it to the vitals. Please check your gun pattern using #5 lead and be sure that you can get at least 90 pellets inside a 10″ circle that then becomes the farthest that you should shot at the head and neck. #5 lead will penetrate the neck and break bone at 40 yards easily. Be doubly sure that your gun hits where you are aiming as well.

  4. I should get off my butt and grab my turkey blaster. I had a turkey almost destroy my car near the MO river. Luckily he missed the car by inches!

  5. If you can’t get within 25-30 yards of a turkey you don’t deserve to harvest it. A 60 yard turkey shot is something I wouldn’t admit to, personally. These turkey loads are really good for fast and ethical kills though. We still shoot 3″ Nitro turkey even after patterning some of the new stuff.

  6. I’m not sure how significant an advance this ammo is. A press release is one thing, tight patterns through actual guns under field conditions is another. Still turkey hunting is tough, and improvements to ammunition has always been a personal ever since I shot my first 8 point buck in 1992 with a 170 grain Nosler Partition .30-30 slug.

  7. And when are the ammunition companies going to develop a buckshot load (even if it is #2 buckshot or smaller) that keeps an extremely tight pattern out to 50+ yards?

    While individual #2 buckshot pellets are not optimal for defensive purposes, several of them striking a person in a tight pattern would be quite effective for self-defense. I would love to see a shell that puts almost all of the shot into even a 36 inch circle out to 70 yards or so. I have no idea if that is anywhere close to realistic but it sure would be useful.

  8. You can’t make your turkey gun to tight patterning or you risk missing the close ones because the pattern is only 1.5 to 2 inches, at 20 0r 25 yards.

  9. Hopefully this will become available in 20 gauge loads in 4,5,and yes, 6 shot. This thing about such tight patterns at close range may do well for those who have fixed modified and full chokes that have been too open at 40 yards . The reports came from using XX full Mossbergs. This would be interesting to see results from other chokes.
    #6 lead and 70 yards may work for paper but not in my woods for turkey kills.


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