By Kent Danjanovich
Senior Editor

It is no secret that turkey hunting has become one of the most popular sports among spring and fall outdoors men and women across the country. The revitalization of the wild turkey is one of the greatest success stories in our hunting world.

When talking about turkeys and eventual success of the hunt, one of the most important things is knowing your shotgun’s pattern, something that is directly affected by a combination of your guns choke and ammunition used. Knowing your limits can quickly become your advantage when a gobbler’s timing is bad and your shot is good.

Back in the fall of 2013, Winchester introduced the 12-gauge Long Beard XR in 3 and 3 1/2- inch shells with shot sizes available in No. 4, 5, and 6. The shot has a muzzle velocity of 1,200 fps propelling 1 3/4 and 2 ounces of copper plated lead pellets. In the normal situation, traditional lead shot would not be dense enough for all of the shot to hold its shape when propelled through the barrel because of the high velocity; however, the Long Beard XR is designed with a SHOT-LOK filler which allows the shot to keep its shape when leaving the gun barrel for a more uniform shot pattern.

stlb1236_loaded_round_cutawaySHOT-LOK is a resin-like liquid that is injected into the shot cup prior to adding the lead shot during manufacturing. The liquid fills all of the air spaces between the pellets and it cures to a solid matter, encapsulating the entire shot load. The solid filler protects the lead shot from deformation as it is pulverized during in-bore acceleration.

The shot accelerates and launches through the barrel and choke almost perfectly round, allowing for extremely tight long-range patterns. According to Winchester, “this produces twice the number of pellets in a 10″ circle out to 60 yards with 10 percent greater penetration over standard lead beyond 50 yards.”

Forty yards has long been the standard by which all turkey loads were measured. It’s time to go farther with Winchester Long Beard XR, the most innovative lead turkey load in its history provides increased lethality at longer ranges, more than any other turkey load.

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. And new for 2015 are to two even more powerful Magnum loads. Winchester Long Beard XR is now being offered in the following specifications:

Shot-Lok Technology
When turkey hunting, it’s important to identify your target, usually attempting 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.


“When you pull the trigger, the shot is charged, the resin fractures, buffering the round pellets without deformation. We’re seeing twice the number of pellets beyond 50 yards as in other standard lead loads, offering tighter, truer and straighter patterns with definitely more energy downrange”, Brad Criner, Winchester Ammunitions Senior Shotshell and Rimfire Product Manager.

stlb1236_frontviewHaven’t shot this remarkable load yet? You need to. Like any load, pattern Winchester Long Beard XR on a target. Learn how your shotgun performs with your shell selection and make any necessary adjustments to your choke or sighting system. It’s always the responsibility of the hunter to take the most ethical shot no matter what the distance — get that deal-closing confidence you need to get the job done on that big ol’ tom!

Winchester Pattern Board AppAnd another great tool that has been created at Winchester that is new for 2015 is the Winchester Pattern Board application that embodies all that Winchester stands for: excellence and innovation. It allows you to choose shotgun gauge, pellet size, shell length, chokes, brands and adjust distance to pattern your shotgun loads out to 70 yards. Winchester has actually patterned over 3,000 rounds on the range to compile this information just for turkey hunters. You can compare up to four loads at a time, review their patterns, save your favorites, see what loads and patterns other users are shooting and receive product recommendations to improve your shot. This application is packed full of features to make the richest, most integrated and useful shotgun patterning application available. It is the single best way to see shotshell patterns, unless of course, you have the time and resources to do it all yourself!

Available on your laptop, tablet or smartphone, the new Winchester Pattern Board app is the first of its kind offered for shotgunners. The app allows turkey hunters to see how different loads pattern at varying distances without actually testing each individual load at the range.

For more information about Winchester Ammunition, the new Pattern Board and all Winchester products, visit