It’s not too early to start shopping for Dove Day shotgun shells.

Question, does it make much difference what kind of shells you use in your shotgun? Answer, yes it does make a little bit of difference and a little bit of improvement over four boxes of shells could mean a 20% increase in the number of doves your bring down.

What this means to me is that I will be shooting either target loads of Winchester AA or Remington STS in either 7.5 or number 8 shot, probably #8 shot and those shells will cost almost twice as much as the promotional ammo that will run on sale the end of August. The consistency of both shot and powder in the better shells make a lot of difference in the pattern 25 to 35 yards and further where a lot of dove shots occur. You do not need real fast shells and mostly what you need is to have the dove and shotshells intersect and like shooting skeet, it just takes a few to make a dead bird.

The promotional loads use a bit faster, hotter powder, cheaper wads and shell casings and the cheaper lead shot which all equals just a bit of degraded performance. The hotter powder is loaded on purpose to make semi-auto shotguns that have not been properly maintained cycle better. The hotter load also means a degradation of shot pattern that gets worse and worse the longer the distance to the dove. So, I recommend spending a few more bucks per box of shells, going early to get a better selection and purchasing either skeet or sporting clay Winchester AA or Remington STS shells in number 8 or 7.5.

Last year we shot a lot of white wing doves which are a bit larger and stronger doves and it appears that 7.5 shot is a bit more effective. And once you purchase your ammo, allow at least four boxes for Dove Day and perhaps that many more for practice, get out and do some shooting and then clean your shotgun as best you can so you won’t be sitting out at the edge of the field with your gun torn apart trying to “fix it” while the doves are flying overhead.

Check the ads and flyers for shell prices or go on line and check your favorite outdoor stores.


About the Author

Joe McElyea
I am an original member and founder of the esteemed High Plains Shooting and Dining Society which is dedicated to fellowship of bird hunters and shooters who also enjoy finding great local places to eat large, unhealthy portions of breaded and fried meats and gravies washed down with the appropriate libations. I am also a retired old man who enjoys fishing, shooting and my wonderful family.