TSS shot has changed the turkey hunting landscape. Rossi’s new Tuffy Turkey shotgun leverages the TSS advantage in a lightweight, low-cost, high-fun factor platform.
by Rob Reaser
Those who have paid even a smattering of attention to the turkey hunting segment over the last few years have probably picked up on the growing rumble of .410-gauge shotguns being used for pursuing that most popular North American game bird. Most folks, though, still have not a clue that the diminutive .410 shotgun is arguably the hottest thing going for busting those irascible Toms. But what started out as a movement among a small and somewhat close-knit group of turkey hunting tinkerers has merged into the mainstream thanks to the incredible (and pricey) performance of tungsten shot.
The short story is this. Thanks to the incredible weight/density, unique flight characteristics, and long-range terminal performance of tungsten shot, those big, brash, magnum-grade, heavy shotguns are no longer essential for effectively busting birds out to the ragged edge of standard lead and steel shot capabilities. With tungsten shot, equal and, in most cases, better performance can be had with the lowly .410. That is not to say the .410 is better at turning out a gobbler’s lights than a .12-gauge sending tungsten shot downrange. It is just that with a .410/tungsten combo’s downrange potential, the bigger, heavier platforms are no longer essential.
This is why an increasing number if shotgun manufacturers are bringing turkey-oriented .410s to market. Aside from the ability to drop birds out to 60 yards or more (with some setups), a .410/tungsten combo can be significantly lighter and more maneuverable in the field. And that is a huge benefit for the run-and-gun types as well as for the average turkey hunter loaded down with a heavy vest full of calls, snacks, water, extra shot, perhaps a seat…you get the picture. A lightweight gun that makes time afield easier and more fun.
For some time now, Rossi has been producing interesting, low-cost break-action shotguns primarily aimed at the youth/entry level segment. Nothing fancy, just a no-frills firearm that is easy to tote, simple to operate, and gets the job done with minimal investment. The new tungsten shot turkey craze, however, has shined a brighter light on the company’s Tuffy shotgun platform. Naturally, Rossi looked to its Tuffy line to develop a model specifically for the New Age turkey fan called the Tuffy Turkey.
As you would expect from a single-shot, break-action shotgun, the Tuffy Turkey is about as simple as it gets. But “simple” does not mean unsophisticated or lacking in features. On the contrary, Rossi delivers a lot in its Tuffy Turkey package.
Because the Tuffy Turkey was designed to take advantage of the downrange potential of tungsten shot ammunition—meaning long-range shooting, for a shotgun—optic accommodation was a must. The shotgun comes with a factory-mounted Picatinny rail atop the 3-inch chambered barrel, sized appropriately for accepting a red dot optic of your choice, such as this TRUGLO Micro Sub-Compact model.
The barrel is a generous 26 inches long, which assists in overall shooting dynamics and accuracy. Included is an extra-full screw-in choke to enhance shot density downrange.
There is nothing fancy about the break-action design. Depress the thumb lever positioned to the right of the trigger and the breech opens.
The Tuffy Turkey utilizes a transfer bar firing system, meaning the hammer strikes the transfer bar, which impacts the firing pin rather than the hammer striking the firing pin. A manual safety is also included and can be engaged when the hammer is fully cocked. The only downside for us is that the safety is on the left side of the receiver, requiring use of the non-firing hand to manipulate it, if you are a right-hand shooter.
Tired of toting a pocket full of shells or having stretched out shell holders in your vest? The integrated shell holders in the Tuffy Turkey’s buttstock cures those problems. There is a shell holder on each side of the stock that accepts four cartridges.
Ergonomics factor high in the Tuffy shotgun design. The pistol grip provides comfortable hand positioning and trigger reach. Although the polymer stock is somewhat slippery, checkering panels in the grip make for an easy hold.
We really like the forend. It is contoured to enhance grip and to allow you to pull the shotgun into your shoulder for a solid mount. Finger recesses along the front half of the forend further aid in retention and muzzle control.
As you can see, the Rossi Tuffy Turkey shotgun has a lot going for it for a single-shot firearm with an MSRP of $210.60. It is a lightweight, easy carry alternative for veteran turkey hunters looking to cash in on the superior performance of tungsten shot ammunition. And during the turkey “off-season,” this shotgun stands ready for some fun fall trips to the squirrel patches.