First Look: Federal's 20-Gauge 3rd Degree Turkey Load

federal-3rd-degree-turkey-load-1

With its new 3-inch, 20-gauge Federal 3rd Degree turkey load, Federal Premium offers 20-gauge hunters a load optimally suited for engaging birds that come in on a string, hang up at distance and everything in between.

Federal Premium solved the turkey-hunting conundrum in 2015 with its unveiling of 3rd Degree, a shotshell that, unlike its counterparts and competitors, bettered the odds of connecting with a tom at any distance.

Initially offered in 12-ga. 3-inch and 3 1/2-inch loaded with 1 3/4 ounces and 2 ounces of shot, respectively, developing the recipe for a 3-inch 20-gauge option required few changes.


3rd-degree-turkey-load-federal-2


Key to Federal 3rd Degree's effectiveness is its multi-shot, three-stage, non-buffered payload. At the front of the shot charge is found 20-percent No. 6 FLITESTOPPER lead pellets, which, due to their circumventing band (and thus non-spherical shape), quickly migrate to and accentuate the fringe of the pattern. This is important because, for shots within 15 yards, where it's typically an all-or-nothing proposition, these peripheral-seeking pellets can make the difference between a bagged bird and disappointment.

Comprising 40 percent of the payload — and backing the FLITESTOPPER pellets — are No. 5 copper-plated lead shot. Plating with copper makes the lead pellets harder, which reduces deformation for tighter patterns at distance and enhances penetration due to their smooth surface, they're less likely to get wadded in feathers. Moreover, No. 5 is the quintessential shot size for the majority of turkey hunting situations and ranges.

degree-federal-3rd-turkey-load-3

The final — and rearmost — 40 percent of the shot charge consists of No. 7 HEAVYWEIGHT. This is 35 percent denser than lead, but the pattern-filling, tungsten-based No. 7 pellets carry the energy of lead No. 5s. Because of their small diameter (less friction), spherical shape, and weight, the HEAVYWEIGHT pellets penetrate deeper than their larger lead and plated-lead counterparts. Lastly, because the hard pellets retain their spherical shape during setback and while traversing the bore/choke, they help maintain a tight pattern core for long-range effectiveness. All told, the 3-inch, 20-gauge load has 1 7/16 ounces of No. 5, 6 and 7 shot.


Tight patterns are also attributable to Federal Premium's legendary FLITECONTROL wad. To slow the wad and facilitate shot/wad separation, the petals of traditional-type wad peel rearward (or bloom). The process begins immediately upon exiting the muzzle and hastens pattern dispersion. For turkey loads this is undesirable.

The forward momentum of the FLITECONTROL wad, however, is slowed by six petals created by the flaring gas seal upon exiting the muzzle and three cutouts in the body that project outward and act as brakes. The FLITECONTROL contains the payload longer than any other wad design, thereby keeping patterns tighter at further distances. Best performance with the FLITECONTROL is attained when using chokes/tubes without porting or wad-stripping elements.

turkey-degree-federal-load-3rd-4


Federal Premium's 3-inch, 20-gauge 3rd Degree turkey load has an average pellet count of 280. It works great in any turkey shotgun setup equipped with a full or extra-full factory (non-ported) choke. Close-range testing at 10 yards, conducted by Federal Premium ammunition engineers, revealed a pattern measuring six inches wide. This is a couple inches greater than common turkey loads fired with the same shotgun.

Pellet count at 20 yards in a 10-inch pellet circle was 174, and at 40 yards within the 10-inch circle was 76. Because the load's design uses three stages of very different shot types, this load is not only is a 40-plus-yard gobbler getter — testing proves it will get the job at closer ranges as well. This versatility gives the load its slogan: one load, any range.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

The SAINT' Victor Rifle delivers a lightweight and agile rifle solution while maintaining effectiveness at extended engagement distances.

Pinging Steel At Over A Mile Away

Pinging Steel At Over A Mile Away

Big bore semiauto or a lever gun? We look at the futuristic .450 Bushmaster and how it compares to the tried and true .45-70. ISS Prop House gives us the rundown on the guns used in Enemy at the Gate. We ping steel with a .300 WinMag at over a mile.

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Trending Articles

The joys of handloading are many, and one of them is sharing the experience with a novice. Reloading

Share the Handloading Experience

Lane Pearce - May 19, 2019

The joys of handloading are many, and one of them is sharing the experience with a novice.

The Smith & Wesson Model 19 is back in production after being on ice for almost two decades. Handguns

Review: Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic Revolver

Joel J. Hutchcroft - March 08, 2019

The Smith & Wesson Model 19 is back in production after being on ice for almost two decades.

These cheap postwar variants offer perhaps the best value on the vintage-Mauser market. Rifles

Yugoslavian M24/47 Mauser-Pattern Rifle

Joseph von Benedikt - May 13, 2019

These cheap postwar variants offer perhaps the best value on the vintage-Mauser market.

Crimson Trace enters the riflescope business with the Crimson Trace CTL-3420 4-20X 50mm. Optics

Review: Crimson Trace CTL-3420 4-20X 50mm

Joel J. Hutchcroft - April 29, 2019

Crimson Trace enters the riflescope business with the Crimson Trace CTL-3420 4-20X 50mm.

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

The new Hornady Handgun Hunter ammo is crafted for hunting many different types of game. Ammo

Hornady Handgun Hunter Ammo - New for 2020

Shooting Times Digital Staff - January 27, 2020

The new Hornady Handgun Hunter ammo is crafted for hunting many different types of game.

When reliability in adverse conditions is paramount, the new Hornady Outfitter Ammo line is called for. Ammo

Hornady Outfitter Ammo Review

Joseph von Benedikt - February 18, 2020

When reliability in adverse conditions is paramount, the new Hornady Outfitter Ammo line is...

After a 10-year hiatus, Aguila has brought back the Aguila 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum—a great small-game round that has always had a cult-like following. Ammo

Aguila 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum Ammo Review

Layne Simpson - November 19, 2019

After a 10-year hiatus, Aguila has brought back the Aguila 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum—a...

Weatherby has announced two new Mark V rifles the Backcountry and Backcountry Ti in combination with an all new Weatherby 6.5 RPM magnum cartridge. Ammo

Weatherby 6.5 RPM, Mark V Backcountry Rifles First Look

Shooting Times Digital Staff - September 06, 2019

Weatherby has announced two new Mark V rifles the Backcountry and Backcountry Ti in...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.