Need a dove load recipe. Help needed


May 23, 2010, 11:59 AM
Hi All,
I am just starting to reload and wanted to start by making dove loads for the upcoming season. I was wondering if any of yall had a certain formula (shot sizes, powder, shell, etc..) for making a good dove load.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

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May 23, 2010, 12:20 PM
WAA 20 GA Hull, 15.5 grains 800X, WAA20F1 wad,1 OZ-hard #9 shot & Win 209 primer.
Shoot this load in a Benelli Montefeltro with a 26" barrel, with a IC or LM choke.


Jimmy K

May 23, 2010, 01:22 PM
If you're going to be loading for shotgun, then you need to purchase the Lyman Shotshell Reloading Manual. It will answer all your questions and provide a plethora of shotshell recipes. No shotgun loader should be without it, in my very humble opinion....

Hope this helps.


May 23, 2010, 01:29 PM
Of course, you'll have to pattern your load in your own shotgun to verify that it works for you. The load that works for me, may not work for you.

I've never shot dove in Alabama or anywhere in the southeast. Dove shoots in the deserts out west are often overhead pass shots. I don't have one favorite shotshell load in each gauge, we've used two or three dozen different loads effectively. They are all low velocity (10500 or 11000). They all have a healthy load of shot -- 1-1/8 ounce for 12ga, and 1 ounce for 16 or 20 gauge. We generally shoot #7-1/2 but we aren't opposed to #8 shot. The slightly larger 7-1/2 tend to reach out a little farther. Both are very effective on dove.

I know I'm not sharing a specific load, but it varies depending upon the hulls and wads and primers we have on hand. Get Lyman or any other good manual with lots of loads listed. Follow the 10500fps/heavy load/7.5 formula, and check the pattern on your own shotgun.

Steve C
May 23, 2010, 01:48 PM
I've always used the same 12ga 2-3/4 to 3 dram 1-1/8oz load of 7-1/2 shot for trap, dove and quail using Winchester AA hulls and 18 grs of Red Dot with a Red Versalite or other appropriate wad. Check the on line manuals for the correct powder, hull, and wad combination for the weight of shot and power level you want to load and follow it exactly.

Alliant powders website for all the former Hercules powders and Hodgdon's website for their powders, Winchester and IMR the other brands they market.

May 23, 2010, 04:51 PM
I prefer to use light loads- the same as I use for targets - dove aren't hard to kill, just hard to hit. A 1oz in 12, standard 7/8 in 20 or 3/4 oz in 28 loaded with 8 or 7-1/2 will do just fine - if you do your part

May 23, 2010, 05:12 PM
Not sure what part of AL you are in, North/Middle/South, but in lower GA, the early season doves are rather small and light feathered. I've always noticed that as the season progresses, the birds get larger and more heavy feathered. I would imagine that Al is close to GA as far as the kind of doves we get. I always start with Target(hard) #9 and then move later to Target(hard) #8. The smaller shot give me a much better pattern out of my Benelli 20 Ga and the hard shot will cut feathers better than soft lead shot. Doves are not that hard to kill, just hard to hit! There are 585 shot pellets in 1 oz of number #9 verses 350 of 7.5 shot.

Plenty of loads out there, pick one and go for it!

Ants that some fast loads, you must have some of that new super powder.:D
Follow the 10500fps/heavy load/7.5 formula

I feel cheated as I can only get 1150-1165 fps out mine.:D

Jimmy K

May 23, 2010, 05:36 PM
Aw, come on Jimmy K, we all know Ants was talking velocity and thinking pressure, weren't you ants?!?:what::uhoh::eek:

I agree with Fred, the Lyman shotshell handbook is the BIBLE for shotshell loaders.

Any 1 1/8 ounce target load should be good for doves. But, then, I don't ever get to shoot doves. Thanks to the bleeding hearts here in Wisconsin! If I ever do, I might go with one of the many field loads in 1 1/8 ounce, sporting 3- dram EQ. loads up around 1250-75 fps. Hard magnum shot is absolutely the best bet.

May 23, 2010, 06:18 PM
I was just picking at him!!! :evil::evil::evil:

That would have been some more bad axx shotgun load:D.... At least he would have been able to kill the bird across on the other side field, instead of just shooting at them.:what:

I'd skip lunch to get in a "good" dove shoot and I like to eat! Nothing I enjoy more. Doves don't come to cotton fields either.... wish we could get more corn planted around here.

Jimmy K:D:D:D

May 23, 2010, 06:49 PM
I appreaciate all the help! I shoot a 12 gauge 1187. Is there anything that I need to do differently when realoading hard magnum shot versus the standard soft lead?

May 23, 2010, 07:01 PM
Why bother with 10,000fps in a shotgun when you can shoot dove with 50BMG! Or at least 7mm Magnum.

Thanks, Jimmy. I needed a laugh! Snuff is right that I'm talking about pressure. I'm still giggling at myself...

We've never found a need for hardened shot for our dove. I guess it's a regional thing. Maybe out west they have thinner skin & feathers due to the warmer climate, I dunno. We've never needed hard shot. But I guess it couldn't hurt either way.

Bamaminuteman, they load just the same. If hard shot works in your area, get it and load it. If you can't find it, use standard shot.

May 23, 2010, 07:11 PM
I shoot a Rem 1100 12ga, and it won't cycle target loads that are too soft. That's why I load around 10500psi pressure. You'll have to try yours to see if soft loads work. Load 10 and shoot them first, make sure they cycle before you load up a thousand.

For that reason I don't use Clays or Red Dot for that particular 12 Gauge. Titegroup, Green Dot, International work for me.

Better make a few test loads and see for yourself.

May 23, 2010, 07:38 PM
I just get better patterns when using Hard/Target/Magnum shot. Why, because the shot deform less with the quick start, the trip down the barrel and the squeeze thru the choke. Once they get to the target(bird), the hard shot do not deform as much as the soft lead shot and penetrate better to kill the bird. I tend to use smaller shot than most folks do.

I'm not sure the hard shot is even a regional thing, it just something I stumbled unto, then set out to prove myself wrong, but I didn't. I found I could kill more birds with it.

This is one type shooting sports where I like to kill as well as shoot, unfortunately it never works out that way, but I like to keep trying.

Jimmy K

May 23, 2010, 08:00 PM
I've shot my share of birds here in NE Alabama. The load that I have used for some time now is 15gr of Alliant E3 with a Windjammer wad (or a WJ replacement), and a AA hull with 1 1/8oz of whatever shot happens to be the cheapest (or availiable). I prefer #8 or #7 1/2 shot, but have killed quite a few with #9. The speed and pressure may be a bit on the low side for a gas operated gun. You'll have to try some to make sure they will cycle. I like the E3 becuase it shoots soft, very clean, and is cheap around here. It is also one of the few powders that I can find regularly.

As far as shot hardness helping patterns; these guys are correct. Magnum shot will help patterns a bit, but I have found that slowing down your velocity will help a lot more. It also helps in a couple of other areas. Dove shooting can quickly become a volume shooting game. If your load is a little softer; that second day of shooting (or just the last box) becomes a lot more pleasant. Your patterns are noticeably better, and your pocketbook is a tiny bit fatter! You might notice that my components are just about the cheapest you can find. I didn't set out to load as cheaply as possible; I wanted to load the best patterning, softest shooting shells I could. Cleanliness was also a bigger factor in component selection than price. For once, I can have everything that I want, without compromise (in my opinion)!

May 23, 2010, 08:43 PM
Magnum, or high antimony, hard shot is less dense than plain old chilled lead shot. That being the case, it will load lighter for the same volume than chilled shot. Take that one step further, if you use a charge bar or bushing made for chilled shot, you WILL be getting a lighter load of hard shot.

Hornady has for years, made bushings marked for the SIZE shot you want to load. Why? Because the smaller the shot, the more packs into the same space. Enter the magnum shot, you have to again allow for the lighter charges. You literally have to weigh the thrown shot charge to see if you're getting what you think you're getting. You're pretty well stuck with the Mec bars, but with Hornady you could go with a larger shot size bushing to compensate.

You can certainly get away with simply replacing soft shot with hard, it won't make for a dangerous load. You will just be shooting less weight. That COULD result in less velocity as well. Or a dirty, incomplete burn of your powder.

May 23, 2010, 08:46 PM
I'm keeping that in mind, Jimmy. This Sept I just might try hardened #8 on dove & quail. As snuffy mentions, I set up the adjustable charge bar by weight on the scale to get my honest 1-1/8 ounce.

Presto, good advice. Glad the E3 works for you. We can't find it out here.

I looked up my old data for Rem 870 12 gauge. 16.5g Red Dot, AA hull, 1-1/8oz, Win primer, cheapie Clay Busters CB118 wad. That combo was good.

By the way, we're talking about 2-3/4" hulls.

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