Because of COVID pandemic, I didn’t really get a chance to shoot it this summer, (really only having access to places to shoot handguns & rifles). That is until a couple weeks ago, when I broke it out for the dove season opener here in Ohio. I even bought a “skeet I” choke, which I haven’t used yet.
Dove season is the traditional start of Upland bird hunting in the Midwest, fall. It’s pretty chill as you can stay largely stationary, standing up to shoot, or perhaps maneuvering to afford a better shot. You make use of a decoy or decoys. The birds fly pretty high and fast & are pretty small targets. The shots are pretty far on average, too —- ranging from 10 - 40 + yards (with the closer ones being overhead flyovers.) I’ve hunted with this gun on two separate outings so far this fall; each time bagging two birds and probably shooting at least 10 shots per hunt. The shots much further than a Pheasant, partridge or quail hunt in my experience which can be very close. The Doves often fly from tree to tree.
Mine is a 26” 12 ga with a 3 shot capacity (which is perfect for most bird hunting applications.) the gun uses the Inertia Drive system which uses recoil and springs to drive an action that is fairly renowned for reliability. It’s not supposed to be as “soft” a shooter as a gas gun - but I found it to be softer shooting than my Winchester 1300 pump which weighs almost a pound more. One shot on a covey taking off from a field about 30 yards distant; I didn’t have a proper mount - no shoulder contact and it was perfectly fine. This gun flys to your shoulder mount for quick reaction shots.
I used 2 main types of ammo on the respective days. Federal target load #7-1/2 & a Remington Heavy dove load #6. I didn’t feel there was much appreciable difference. I’ve been hauling those dove loads around for 3 moves In The past decade or so & I haven’t exactly been persnickety about how I stored them (temperature & moisture-wise) - so I wanted to see if they were reliable. Mil-spec ammo cans FTW. I was a bit worried the #6s would tear them up abit too much but it was unfounded. I always use #6s for pheasants, as the #4s tear them up too much for the table.
I will try to post updates as I am scheduling a Duck hunt & hopefully a pheasant hunt later this fall/winter. And hopefully I’ll squeeze in a few more days of Dove; as our Ohio ones migrate & the Michigan ones pass through…
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