TSS: A super option, but use it wisely
I recently bought in to the Tungsten Super Shot craze, purchasing a box of TSS .410 loads for some young, diminutive hunters I take spring gobbler hunting across the border in Pennsylvania, where common-sense regulations allow for mentors to head afield with kids.
“Bought in” is the proper term when you’re talking about TSS, the heavier-than-lead, tight-patterning shotgun loads that are sweeping the spring gobbler hunting world and also triggering some heated debate about shooting distance and the necessity of the latest in turkey-hunting technology. The shells aren’t cheap, and you’d be wise to make sure your aimpoint is dead on before you start patterning your shotgun with TSS loads. It can get expensive in a hurry.
I myself won’t use TSS, at least not this season – Paula and I still have some lethal Nitro Ammo loads, a blend of 4-, 5-, and 7-shot that has served us well for the past few years and are pricey enough that we’re not going to waste them.
But there will come a time when we make the switch to TSS. It will simply depend how quickly we burn through the last of our Nitro loads. It might take a trip or two to Florida, Kansas, or South Dakota, but that’s a price we’ll have to pay.
My thoughts on TSS are mixed, however. While Paula and I will gladly exercise the option and use them in our Remington 870 20s, I remain concerned that too many spring gobbler hunters are gobbling up TSS shells for all the wrong reasons. You don’t have to search too long to find message boards lighting up with proud targets showing superb patterns at long distances, and talk of whacking longboards at 70 yards – and beyond.
Call me old school, but that’s not what spring gobbler hunting is all about. Regardless of how TSS patterns in our shotguns, when the time comes and we make the switch, turkey hunting will remain a 40-yard game – or less – for us. It’s about bringing the bird in to your calling, and hearing his thunderous gobble at a distance so close it rattles your ribcage.
Still, TSS clearly has its place in the spring turkey hunting world. It offers superb killing power even out of the right .410 shotgun – so much so that with 9-shot illegal in many states, wildlife agencies may have to look at altering their regulations to allow for TSS in that shot size.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with ensuring a clean kill with these lethal loads. You want to make sure your shot counts, and a tight-patterning – maybe too tight at close range – load of TSS will do just that. And it’s a great safety net for those times when you misjudge distance and take a crack at a longbeard beyond your self-imposed limit – which should be 40 yards or less. We’ve all done it, talked ourselves into a shot that was too long. TSS can cover that mistake.
So yes, go ahead and take the TSS plunge. But do so with the right philosophy and use it wisely. Don’t turn spring gobbler hunting into a long-range shooting show. Bring ’em in close and get your heart pumping.