Gear > Ammunition

Dove Load Options: Opening Day and Late in the Season

Shots taken on doves are decidedly different between Opening Day and late in the season, thus requiring different loads. See what American Rifleman Managing Editor Aaron Carter recommends for each scenario.

Opening-Day Doves
Provided that the hunter selects his hide wisely, shots taken during the early portion of season—especially on opening day—usually occur at close range on doves in predictable patterns. This enables the use of lightweight payloads propelled to high velocities. The result is less perceived recoil—a consideration for high-volume hunts—as well as a reduction in the lead required to connect with birds.

Hull: Federal (plastic basewad)
Primer: Win. 209
Propellant/Charge: Alliant
Red Dot/21.0 grs.
Wad: PT1205 (Ballistic Products, Inc.)
Shot Size/Type/Weight: No. 8/chilled lead/7/8 oz.
Crimp Type: fold
Velocity @ 5’ (f.p.s.): 1403
Pressure (p.s.i.): 9,900
Pattern Percentages (30”; 10”): 56%; 10%*
Uses: hunting (dove, squirrels, rabbits, quail, chukar), recreation (skeet, sporting clays)
Notes: test shotgun: 30"-barreled Beretta DT10 Trident Sporting with an extended, improved-modified choke: *Shot percentage inside of 30" and 10" circles @ 40 yds.

Distant Doves
As dove season progresses, the average shot distance increases—sometimes significantly so. “Reaching out” requires a specialized load, such as the recipe below. Propelling Ballistic Products, Inc.’s (ballistic products.com) Trap Commander (Z21) wad with 11⁄8 ozs. of nickel-plated lead No. 71/2 shot to 1292 f.p.s. results in a load that will down distant doves with authority.

Hull: Rio
Primer: Rio 209
Propellant/Charge: Alliant
American Select/23.0 grs.
Wad: Trap Commander (Z21)
Shot Size/Type/Weight: No. 7½/nickel-plated lead/ 11/8 ozs.
Crimp Type: fold
Velocity @ 5’ (f.p.s.): 1292
Pressure (p.s.i.): 10,500
Pattern Percentages (30”; 10”): 64%; 15%*
Uses: hunting (dove, squirrels, rabbits, quail, chukar, pheasants), competition (trap, sporting clays)
Notes: test shotgun: 30"-barreled Beretta DT10 Trident Sporting with an extended, improved-modfied choke; *Shot percentage inside of 30" and 10" circles @ 40 yds.

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