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Field Tested: Fiocchi Golden Turkey TSS Shotshells

Expect dense patterns that hit hard from these turkey-hunting loads.

Field Tested: Fiocchi Golden Turkey TSS Shotshells
Fiocchi Golden Turkey TSS loads drop gobblers with authority.

I had no idea how long the bird had been standing in the field, listening to our calls but refusing to gobble. My hunting partner Mark Sidelinger and I were tucked into the woods on the edge of the field, and the terrain had prevented us from seeing the tom. It wasn’t until I stood up to retrieve our decoy that I got a quick glimpse of the turkey, about 200 yards distant and—luckily—facing away in full strut.

Quickly ducking out of sight, I trotted down the gentle slope to Mark, who shot me a curious look. After I explained the situation, Mark reached into the back pocket of his vest.

“Time for this,” he said, producing the fan of a gobbler he had killed several seasons ago. “That bird’s going to die.”

I had never fanned a gobbler before, but Mark’s confidence only confirmed the sure-thing mentality of the numerous hunters who had told me of their successes when using the technique. Excited, intrigued and maybe a little nervous about the possibility of missing a charging gobbler at close range (I had heard plenty of those stories, too), I took up a half-crouch position just off Mark’s hip as he held the tail feathers in front of us.

We had eased our way about 50 yards along the tree line when the gobbler came into view. The bird saw the fan the moment we saw the bird, and it broke strut to turn in our direction. Heading straight at us, the gobbler was at 40 yards in less than half a minute.

Close enough, especially since the 20-gauge Franchi in my hands was loaded with Fiocchi Golden Turkey TSS.

Fiocchi Golden Turkey TSS Specifications
shotgun shells
Fiocchi Golden Turkey TSS.
  • Gauge: 20 (tested)
  • Length: 3 inches
  • Payload: 1 3/8 ounces
  • Shot Size: No. 9
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,225 fps
  • MSRP: $62.99
  • Info: fiocchiusa.com

When I put the red dot of the Burris on the gobbler’s neck and touched the trigger, the result was devastating. Through the moderate recoil of the 20-gauge, I saw the turkey’s head snap back violently, and the bird hit the ground without a flop. A 10-gauge couldn’t have killed that longbeard any quicker. That’s exactly what hunters have come to expect from a quality TSS load.

Fiocchi loads its Golden Turkey TSS shotshells with tungsten pellets having a density of 18 grams per cubic centimeter. That’s about 60 percent denser than lead, which enables hunters to shoot smaller pellet sizes. Fiocchi offers two sizes of pellets in Golden Turkey TSS: No. 7 and No. 9. Because of its greater density, a No. 9 TSS pellet has a mass similar to a lead No. 5 pellet. The density and composition of TSS pellets provide turkey hunters with several advantages.

First, a smaller shot size equates to more pellets in a load. For example, the 1 3/8-ounce 20-gauge Golden Turkey TSS load I used to kill the fanned bird contains almost 500 pellets. The same payload of No. 5 lead contains about 235 pellets. The Golden Turkey TSS load has more than twice the pellets, each of which has about the same mass as No. 5 lead! This, of course, results in denser patterns.

In addition, the smaller diameter of TSS pellets gives them greater penetration, as there is less resistance as a pellet moves through tissue and bone.

To go with that, TSS shot is harder than lead, resulting in less deformation upon impact and during penetration, which leads to deeper wound channels. From a performance standpoint in modern turkey shotguns, I can think of no downside to TSS. Fiocchi offers Golden Turkey TSS loads in 12, 20 and 28 gauge, as well as .410 bore.

As a raw material, tungsten isn’t nearly as common as lead, which results in higher prices for TSS loads. Here is where some turkey hunters pause; a box of Golden Turkey TSS loads has an MSRP of about $63. But look at it this way: You’ll likely spend more in gas scouting for turkeys, buying a few new calls and perhaps a backup set of gloves … and you don’t even have a bead on a bird yet. When the moment of truth arrives, the investment in Fiocchi Golden Turkey TSS is worth the performance.

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