Photo by J. Wanye Fears
In the field, the author found the Pardner Pump to be compact, accurate and ideal for spring gobbler hunting.
The NEF Pardner Pump Turkey
It was far from being the perfect morning for field-testing a new shotgun. Steve Elmore, chief guide of the Live Oak Hunting Lodge, dropped me off long before daylight in a Texas pear flat with instructions to go to the first live oak grove I came to and wait for sunrise. He assured me I would hear gobblers at work.
I arrived at the live oaks and waited in the dark for the first pink rays of a promised sunrise to appear in the east. At first light, I heard several gobblers to the southeast. I started towards them when a gobbler in the live oaks I had just left opened up with a double gobble.
I have always been a believer in working the closest bird, so I found a mesquite tree and set up. This was going to be a piece of cake. I gave a few series of soft tree yelps, and the gobbler double gobbled each time. Confident he knew exactly where I was, I shut up and put the New England Firearms 12-gauge Pardner Pump Turkey on my cross sticks and waited.
As I sat there, the toms to my southeast gobbled non-stop. What a great morning.
Soon, the gobbler in the live oaks, and what sounded like a second tom, flew down just out of my sight behind some thick brush. Another double gobble, this bird was ready. I gave a few soft yelps, and he gobbled. I went silent. For 45 minutes the two birds stayed just out of sight and the “boss” bird gobbled at almost any sound. It was about as much anticipation as I could stand.
The sun rose higher, and I was beginning to get hot. The gobblers to the southeast stopped gobbling: The huge pear flat went silent. I decided I had waited on this turkey long enough. I yelped loudly and could see him coming through the brush. With my heart thumping, I got ready. The gobbler came into full view from around a large prickly pear just 30 yards in front of me and gobbled. It was a jake. I had wasted the best part of the morning on a very vocal jake. I couldn’t believe it!
Quickly, I moved about a half-mile to the southeast. As I was walking I heard one of the gobblers ahead of me. He was close. I sat up in a little grove of live oaks and, using my mouth call, tried yelping to him. Nothing! I tried again, again nothing.
Just before I left for this Texas hunt I had gotten a Hunter’s Specialties Ring Zone friction call. I had tried it out in my office but that was all. Remembering I had the new call in my vest, I quickly got it out and started a series of raspy yelps. A gobbler to my left answered. I clucked. He gobbled again, closer. I needed to move to my left around the base of the tree I was set up against. As I looked to see how to make my move, I saw another gobbler in full strut in front of me at about 50 yards. Then I saw another gobbler to my right about 100 yards quickly coming my way through the pear patch.
The turkey to my left gobbled again, this time not 30 yards away. I had to make a decision and fast. I moved my butt around the base of the tree as quickly as I could, put the new shotgun up and had no sooner done that, when there stood the gobbler just seven steps away. I knew the gun was shooting a tight pattern with the Remington Nitro Turkey load of No. 5 lead shot, so I took a sight picture just to the side of the gobbler’s neck and fired. He went down with little flopping.
The purpose of the Texas hunt was to field test the new pump-action NEF 12-gauge Pardner Pump Turkey shotgun. The NEF shotgun designers gave this budget-minded turkey gun some thought. It is compact with a 22-inch barrel that features a vent rib and TruGlo fiber-optic front and rear sights. It comes with a screw-in, extra-full turkey choke tube. The gun is equipped with a synthetic stock and fore end and is finished in Realtree APG HD camo. The receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts.
Other features include swivel studs, a cross bolt safety conveniently located at the rear of the trigger guard, and a recoil pad. It weighs a comfortable 7½ pounds and is chambered for a 2¾-inch or 3-inch shotshell. The length of pull is 14¼ inches.
Pattern board tests proved the Pardner Pump turkey version was deadly at 40 yards shooting both the 3-inch Remington Nitro Turkey load with No. 5 lead shot and with the 3-inch Remington Wingmaster HD load with No. 6 composite of tungsten-bronze-iron shot. On a gobbler head/neck target, the shot pattern put a dozen or more pellets in the central nervous system. If there was a problem it was that the pattern was so tight it would be easy to miss at close ranges.
When shooting from a bench rest position, the recoil was manageable and the sights were on at 40 yards, requiring no adjustment.
For a shotgun that has a price tag under $300, the NEF Pardner Pump Turkey performed as well as any turkey gun could be expected. This would be a good working gun for any turkey hunter. — J. Wayne Fears