Spring turkey season is around the corner. With that in mind I requested the Henry Arms Single Shot Camo Turkey Gun for review. I stopped by my good friends at Silverado Arms Ltd. to pick up this quite impressive little shotgun. I do mean small at 6.78 lbs. and only 39.5″ in overall length. A single shot shotgun like this one can pack a 24″ barrel onto a shorter overall weapon. This shotgun will be easy to pack deep into the woods. Completely clad in Mossy Oak Obsession camouflage this turkey slayer melts into the outdoors with ease. Just don’t forget where you set it down though when afield!
Is that a plastic stock you ask? No it most certainly is not but a cleverly disguised American Walnut stock with Mossy Oak Obsession camouflage expertly applied. Remember when firing heavy 12 gauge 3.5″ magnum turkey loads a solid quality American walnut stock with a solid black rubber recoil pad is much appreciated.
Note sling studs are also present along with positive retention stock and forearm checkering. Fully adjustable fiber optic front and rear rifle sights allow you to sight perfectly where the center of your shot pattern is hitting. If you prefer a scope or a red dot scope the receiver is drilled and tapped for a Weaver 82 scope mount. So many options with this single shot turkey gun.
Lets take a look at the core of the patterning system. The Henry Arms Single Shot Camo Turkey Gun uses the familiar internally threaded Rem-Choke series choke tubes. Supplied with a tight constriction turkey choke this shotgun will also use any Rem-Choke you want. Think about that. Change to an improved cylinder for deer season and use those rifled sights for rifled shotgun slugs. You could also replace the choke tube with a rifled one and fire accurate sabot slugs too. Mount a red dot sight or a scope if you like. There are so many options right at your finger tips making this more than just a turkey shotgun.
A close up of the business end shows the turkey choke is an extended tube with finger knurling. Also check out just how intricate the Mossy Oak Obsession camouflage really is up close.
Here is an up close image of the rubber recoil pad end of the American walnut stock hidden under the Mossy Oak Obsession camouflage. The length of pull is at a proper length of 14″ and the fit of metal to wood is quite well done.
Did I mention the rebounding safety hammer negates any need for a clumsy external safety that is common on competitor’s weapons in the modern age? I certainly applaud Henry Arms for making that all come together in a more gracefully safe form.
Range day is the only way to successfully gauge the usefulness and reliability of any firearm. Shotgun loads that were fired at life size turkey targets 30 yards away are as follows:
Federal Premium 3″ Magnum 12 Gauge 1-3/4 Ounce Copper Plated #4 Lead Shot
Remington Nitro Turkey 3″ Magnum 12 Gauge 1-7/8 Ounce #5 Lead Shot
PMC Turkey Load 3″ Magnum 12 Gauge 2 Ounce #4 Nickel Plated Lead Shot
Remington Premier Magnum 3.5″ Magnum 12 Gauge 2-1/4 Ounce #4 Copper Plated Lead Shot
Winchester Super-X Heavy Game Load 2.75″ 12 Gauge 1-1/8 Ounce #4 Lead Shot
Stepping back 30 yards I fired one shell at each target of the above loads for patterning. As with any weapon, you must test out various loads to see which ones your firearm prefers. Shotguns can be extremely finicky about what loads they pattern the tightest with. Without adjusting the rifle sights as they came from the factory (other than a visual look to make sure they lined up with the bore when the shotgun is opened) the results were made. Curiously the heaviest hammer load I had on hand, the Remington 3.5″ Magnum load of 2-1/4 ounce of #4 copper plated shot did not pattern well at all. All boom, recoil kick, and minimal target bite. At the other end of the spectrum is the Remington Nitro Turkey 3″ Magnum 1-7/8 Ounce #5 lead shot load. The target got plastered by lethal hits above all other loads tested. That load has tested well in other turkey hunting shotguns I have fired them in so don’t overlook un-plated lead shot for turkey hunting.
The PMC 12 Gauge 3″ Magnum Turkey Load of 2 ounces of nickel plated #4 lead shot came in the second place.
In the lightweight category the Winchester Super-X Heavy Game Load with 1-1/8 ounce of #4 lead shot was the only 2.75″ length shotshell that was patterned during testing. This load is more of a big box store promo load. With the shortage of ammunition available at this time I felt it was important to test this technically “non-turkey load” compared to the marketed specialty loads. While at the distance of 30 yards only two lead pellets hit the critical zone at a closer 20 yards the pattern would be quite appropriate for turkey hunting. A lighter load requires closer range but yes it certainly will be lethal. If you require a lighter recoil load or that is all you can find
All of the loads fired and were automatically extracted (and kicked out with good force) with no issues throughout the whole review.
So the Henry Arms Single Shot Camo Turkey Gun is only for hunting gobblers? Certainly not. To prove that is not the answer I removed the supplied turkey choke and replaced it with an open skeet choke. Firing the Winchester Super-X Heavy Game Load as previously used I found this configuration to be a great 15 yard rabbit hunting pattern. Light and quick this would be a great rabbit brush gun if used with an open choke.
What about those fiber optic rifle sights? Well with an open choke such as the skeet choke I had on hand (not supplied) I decided it was time to try rifled shotgun slugs. Winchester 1 ounce rifled hollow point 3″ Magnum 12 Gauge shotgun slugs were fired at 20 yards off hand to see if this shotgun could also be a proper slug gun for big game seasons. The first shot seven inches low. With a quick sight adjustment via screw driver the next two shots were four inches low. A last adjustment put a slug 1.5″ low under the bullseye. That in theory would be dead on at around 50 yards in my rough estimation. I fired another slug but this time targeted a thick paper catalog placed on the dirt range backstop and drilled a hole through it making plenty of confetti. Digging almost two feet into the dirt I finally found the flattened lead shotgun slug. On a big buck that slug would have made short work of him. The target below had a few patched smaller caliber holes from a previous range trip (recycling at it’s best!).
The Henry Arms Single Shot Camo Turkey Gun is a beautiful piece of functional art. As a turkey gun it will shoot mild loads all the way through the shoulder bruising 3.5″ Magnum behemoths if you so choose to. I for one will be using the previously mentioned Remington 3″ Magnum turkey loads in my upcoming turkey hunts.
Single shot shotguns are one of the most utilitarian weapons that can be found. Since Henry Arms has started rolling them out they are also beautiful works of art that are fun to collect and shoot. Not many weapons are as tough or as easy to clean as the simple single shot shotgun. From birds to bears a single shot 12 gauge shotgun will serve you well.
My final thoughts on the Henry Arms Single Shot Camo Turkey Gun are all thumbs up. This tough well concealed shotgun is ready for turkey hunting right out of the box. It’s light in weight for the hike in and out yet packs a full 3.5″ 12 gauge Magnum punch if you want to load it heavy. Shoot lighter loads too, this single shot will function and automatically eject it all with good force. The quality of this shotgun is top notch. This is actually no surprise to me because this level of quality is what I have come to expect from the gun wizards over at Henry Arms.