Skip to main content

Best Dove Season Hunting Shotshells for 12g Shotguns

Trying out a few different shotgun loads for dove hunting in open fields or with tight shots.

Best Dove Season Hunting Shotshells for 12g Shotguns

The author and son with their golden doodle. 

Affiliate Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases.

It’s that time of year when the days are getting a little shorter, and it is just a bit chillier at daylight. Fall is on the way, and with it comes hunting season, the best time of the year. The first hunting opportunity to come is for the majestic dove. Doves are some of the fastest, most zig-zag flying birds out there, and with most of us being out of practice with our shooting, you can bet on there being an abundance of misses. Our poor shooting skills this time of year, along with these challenging targets, makes it even more important that we find the best dove load that we can for this hunt. Although the range of options for shotgun shells for dove is not too wide, we do have a few different choices, depending on our shotgun, choke, and most importantly, our particular hunting set-up. Most brands are pretty comparable. The main difference is the shot size and weight that we have to choose between.

Early in the season, the birds are not as skittish and can give us closer shots. The 8 shot works well in this scenario. The smaller the shot size, the more pellets they pack inside the shell, so 8 shot has more pellets than 7.5 shot. We typically have better luck with the closer shots they offer when we use the smaller shot size and can fire more pellets at them. Most often, we don’t get much notice on these close-up shots, when the birds make a sudden appearance, making the higher number of pellets we have all the more valuable. But, if you are hunting in a large, open field, the birds might not come in as close as you would like, forcing you to take slightly longer shots instead. In cases like this, larger shot such as 7.5 would probably be best. The size of the pellets is a little bigger, giving it more knock down power this far out. 

best-dove-shotshells-02

Then we turn to look at our options on the weight. The higher the payload, or total weight of the pellets, the more pellets there are. At first, it would seem that the more pellets are better, but that is not necessarily the case. For example, a one-ounce payload of 8 shot would have about 410 pellets, whereas 1 1/8 ounces will have about 461. More pellets are better, right? Well, that is not always the case. That might be true if the amount of powder increased to go with the heavier payload. However, when we have the same amount of powder pushing two loads of pellets of different weights, that powder will fire the one-ounce load faster and harder than the heavier 1 1/8 load. There won’t be much difference really close in, but at 20 to 30 yards, the heavier load has now become weaker than the lighter load. Now, at 15 to 20 yards, the heavier pellets would still be a good idea. But once you get much farther out, the payload can really start to make a difference, and obviously, the more you go up in weight, the more you go down as far as power at a distance.

My field set-up is on the smaller side. That is not necessarily my preference, but it is the layout that my land provides me. I have just an acre or two, laid out in a long, narrow strip, that is surrounded by trees on all sides, meaning that shots I take will be somewhat close. Because of this scenario and the close shots, my shell load of choice is the 1 1/8 ounce number 8 shot. This gives me the higher number of pellets, along with enough power to knock them down cleanly. With all of this in mind, I’ve put together a list of some of the most effective dove loads on the market. There are plenty of ammo brands with great reputations for high performance and reliable shells, but each may perform better with each particular shotgun, so it is important to pattern a few different options before season. Here is a short list of some of the more popular, easily accessible shells.

Federal Hi-Bird

best-dove-shotshells-06
(Photo courtesy of Federal Premium)
  • Gauge: 12
  • Length: 2 ¾
  • Weight: 1 1/8
  • Shot: 8
  • Velocity: 1,200
  • Contact: Federal

Winchester Super X

best-dove-shotshells-04
(Photo courtesy of Winchester)
  • Gauge: 12
  • Length: 2 ¾
  • Weight: 1 1/8
  • Shot: 8
  • Velocity: 1,255
  • Contact: Winchester 

Remington Heavy Dove Load

best-dove-shotshells-03
(Photo courtey of Remington)
  • Gauge: 12
  • Length: 2 ¾
  • Weight: 1 1/8
  • Shot: 7.5
  • Velocity: 1,255
  • Contact: Remington

Fiocchi Dove Load

best-dove-shotshells-05
(Photo courtesy of Fiocchi)
  • Gauge: 12
  • Length: 2 ¾
  • Weight: 1
  • Shot: 7.5
  • Velocity: 1,250
  • Contact: Fiocchi

Browning Performance Target

best-dove-shotshells-07
(Photo courtesy of Browning)
  • Gauge: 12
  • Length: 2 ¾
  • Weight: 1 1/8
  • Shot: 8
  • Velocity: 1,155
  • Contact: Browning

If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.




GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Gear

Federal's “Punch” line of Personal Protection Ammunition

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

KelTec's new KSG410 and R50!

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Gear

Liberty Ammunition

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Springfield Armory 9mm Saint AR15

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Rock River Arms New ARs

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

MKS 10mm Hi-Point Pistol

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Magpul FDP-9

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Legacy Sports New Howa Rifles

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Aero Precision Bolt-Action Rifle Line

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

American Tactical, Inc. New Single-Shot Folding Rifle

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

American Tactical, Inc. 9mm GSG-9 Pistol

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

FN America 510 Tactical 10mm

Firearms News Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now