Best Shotgun For Dove Hunting

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Hunting for dove is a lot like hunting quail, grouse, or other upland game birds. They’re small, they move fast, and when they take to the air, you shoot them down with your boom-stick.

Common sense would seem to dictate that the size of your gun should correspond to the size of your prey. In general, you’d be correct. However, when you’re shooting birds on the wing, a bigger gun’s wider spread will be significantly more accurate.

As a result, most of our candidates for best shotgun for dove hunting are 12 gauge guns. That said, we appreciate that not everyone is comfortable with the recoil on a big bore shotgun, so we’ve included a few smaller dove hunting shotgun choices as well.

Beyond bore sizes, we also looked at a variety of muzzle lengths and action types, to give you a better idea of what’s out there.

Ready? Let’s begin!

Best Dove Hunting Guns Available Online

The Browning BPS features a bottom shell ejector, which makes it a good fit for southpaws.

Key Features

  • 12 gauge bore
  • Pump action
  • 22-inch barrel
  • 3-inch chamber
  • 4-round tube magazine
  • Weighs 7.65 pounds
  • Woodland camo finish
  • Ambidextrous bottom shell ejector

The Browning BPS is a pump action shotgun with a 12-gauge bore. It combines the classic feel of a wood stock with a woodland camo finish, with a bottom shell ejector. This is a lifesaver if you’re left-handed, since it lowers the risk of hot brass launching straight from the ejector port to your skin.

This is primarily a deer hunting shotgun. It has a rifled barrel for slug hunting, and no choke. We chose it anyway because even the best choke for dove hunting is a cheap aftermarket part, and the BPS gives you the versatility for hunting dove, deer, or anything else that flies or crawls.

Pros

  • Quality construction and hardware
  • Great for left-handed shooters
  • Rifled barrel for deer hunting

Cons

  • No choke
  • No iron sights

This shotgun is ideal for hunters who want to use one shotgun for both deer and dove.

2. Weatherby PA-08 Synthetic

The Weatherby PA-08 Synthetic is long, accurate, and lightweight.

Key Features

  • 12 gauge bore
  • Pump action
  • 28-inch barrel
  • 3-inch chamber
  • 4-round tube magazine
  • Weighs 7.25 pounds
  • Black synthetic stock

The Weatherby PA-08 Synthetic is a 12 gauge, pump action shotgun with a long, 28-inch barrel. This extended barrel makes the Weatherby more accurate than most shorter-barreled shotguns, and can be bought for a more reasonable price. It’s fairly lightweight considering the length, weighing in at only 7 pounds, 4 ounces. That said, it achieves this by using a hollow stock, which feels flimsy and doesn’t do much to absorb felt recoil.

This shotgun does not have any factory-built iron sight. You’ll need to install your own rear sight to get any serious accuracy out of it. We highly recommend doing this, since accuracy is the main reason to buy the PA-08 in the first place.

This is a cheap, hard-working gun. Throw a rear sight on her and you’re good to go, and still at a lower price than most of the competition.

Pros

  • Long and accurate
  • Lightweight for the size
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No iron sights
  • Very powerful recoil

This is a good entry-level 12 gauge for beginning dove hunters.

3. Savage Arms 320 Field Pump Shotgun 

The Savage Arms 320 Field Pump Shotgun accepts large, 3 ½-inch shells for maximum power.

Key Features

  • 12 gauge bore
  • Pump action
  • 28-inch barrel
  • 3 ½-inch chamber
  • 5-round tube magazine
  • Weighs 6.95 pounds
  • Black synthetic stock

The Savage Arms 320 Field Pump Shotgun is a 12 gauge shotgun with a pump action on an extended, 28-inch barrel. This gun features a 5-round tube magazine, and a chamber that accepts large, 3 ½-inch shells. That lets you sling the maximum amount of lead with each pull of the trigger. It has a front bead but no rear sight, so you’ll need to install one.

This gun Is both cheap and accurate, which are two words you don’t often see in the same sentence. Although it’s fairly long, it’s relatively light, just under 7 pounds. This is due to the hollow polymer stock, so prepare to feel some mule-like kick. Removing the butt pad and stuffing the stock full of old socks is one way to help alleviate this.

Pros

  • Accepts 3 ½-inch shells
  • Long and accurate
  • Lightweight for the size
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No rear sight
  • Poor recoil absorption

This is an accurate bird gun for beginners or the budget-conscious.

4. Remington 870 Classic Trap

The Remington 870 Classic Trap has the longest barrel of any credible shotgun we looked at.

Key Features

  • 12 gauge bore
  • Pump action
  • 30-inch barrel
  • 3-inch chamber
  • 4-round tube magazine
  • Weighs 8.25 pounds
  • Classic walnut stock and furniture
  • Includes 3 choke tubes

The Remington 870 Classic Trap is a specialized, 30-inch variant of the 870, one of the world’s most iconic shotguns. It features a 4-round magazine, and a smooth double-rail pump action with a walnut grip.

The name of the game here is accuracy. You’re shooting at flying targets, after all. So what’s more accurate than a 28-inch shotgun? A 30-inch shotgun. If the accuracy isn’t enough to get you excited, Remington sweetens the pot with three Trap Rem choke tubes: the Singles, the Mid Handicap, and the Long Handicap. Try them out with a few clay pigeons to see which one works best for you.

This shotgun has a heavy oak stock, with crosshatching on the butt pad. This keeps it from getting too front heavy, and also provides more recoil reduction than you get from a polymer stock. Of course, you’re going to pay a premium for a gun this nice, but this is the kind of bird gun that stays with the family for generations.

Pros

  • Classic, rock-solid design
  • Exceptionally accurate
  • Customizable
  • Good recoil reduction

Cons

  • Pricey

This 30-inch version of Remington’s classic 870 is perfect for shooting airborne targets.

5. Mossberg 88 Security

The Mossberg 88 Security is designed for shorter range use, but is long and accurate enough to work as a bird gun for shorter people.

Key Features

  • 12 gauge bore
  • Pump action
  • 20-inch barrel
  • 3-inch chamber
  • 7-round tube magazine
  • Weighs 7 pounds
  • Black polymer stock

The Mossberg 88 Security has a relatively short barrel for a dove hunting gun, and we almost didn’t include it. But not everybody is big enough for a long-barreled gun. And just because you’re short doesn’t mean you can’t fire a 3-inch, 12 gauge shell with the best of them.

This shotgun stacks a 7-round tube magazine under the 20-inch barrel. Needless to say, you won’t have to worry about having enough ammo for follow-up shots. Better yet, you can avoid the need for follow-up shots by installing a tight choke, which we strongly recommend you do on any short-barreled bird gun.

This is inexpensive gun with a hollow, polymer stock, so you’ll feel a significant amount of recoil. That said, this is a Mossberg, and those guns last for years. All the hardware is high quality, the action cycles smoothly, and shells load effortlessly.

Pros

  • Compact and portable
  • Durable design
  • Large magazine capacity
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Relatively short barrel
  • Poor recoil reduction
  • No rear sight

This is a tough, compact shotgun with plenty of follow-up potential.

6. Mossberg 590A1 Retrograde

The Mossberg 590A1 Retrograde packs an impressive ammo tube onto a 20-inch barrel.

Key Features

  • 12 gauge bore
  • Pump action
  • 20-inch barrel
  • 3-inch chamber
  • 8-round tube magazine
  • Weighs 7.25 pounds
  • Walnut stock and furniture
  • Pre-installed ghost ring sight

The Mossberg 590A1 Retrograde is another good choice if you want a smaller gun but don’t want to downsize from a 12 gauge bore. It’s only 20 inches long, with a pump action, 8-round magazine that cycles smoothly and cleanly.

This shotgun features a solid walnut stock and fore grip. The butt pad is a 1-inch thick rubber cushion that makes the 590A1 kick less roughly than a lot of guns in this bore. It also comes with a pre-installed ghost ring sight, so you’re all set up to go shooting.

As with other shorter shotguns, this one isn’t quite as accurate as longer barreled models. To get the best performance, we recommend installing a narrow choke to keep your spread as tight and centered as possibles.

Pros

  • Compact and portable
  • Durable design
  • Large magazine capacity
  • Good recoil absorption

Cons

  • Relatively short barrel
  • Pricey

This shotgun is a good choice for smaller framed people who don’t mind spending a few bucks on a premium gun.

7. Savage Arms 320 Field Pump Shotgun 

The Savage Arms 320 Field Pump Shotgun is heavier than most youth guns, for better recoil reduction.

Key Features

  • 20 gauge bore
  • Pump action
  • 22-inch barrel
  • 3-inch chamber
  • 5-round tube magazine
  • Weighs 7.45 pounds
  • Pink camo polymer stock and fore grip

This is the youth model of the Savage Arms 320 Field Pump Shotgun we already reviewed. Unlike the adult model, it’s chambered in a smaller, 20 gauge bore, but it packs quite a punch for its diameter. It accepts 3-inch shells, which are the most powerful available in a 20 gauge.

The problem with a lot of youth shotguns is that they’re too light. Since a lighter gun kicks harder than a heavier gun in the same caliber, this is actually a bad idea. The 320 weighs 7.45 pounds, the same as many full-sized shotguns, and has a 22-inch barrel, which is about average for a youth model. The only thing we didn’t like about this gun is that it doesn’t have a rear sight, but that’s forgivable at the low price.

Pros

  • Fits large, 3-inch shells
  • Good recoil reduction
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No rear sight

This youth gun is an impressive value for the price.

8. Mossberg 500 Bantam Cruiser

The Mossberg 500 Bantam Cruiser is designed with an extra short pull for kids and small adults.

Key Features

  • 20 gauge bore
  • Pump action
  • 20-inch barrel
  • 3-inch chamber
  • 7-round tube magazine
  • Weighs 6.75 pounds
  • Polymer stock and fore grip
  • Pre-installed ghost ring sight
  • Shorter pull than the full-sized 500

The Mossberg 500 Bantam Cruiser is a scaled down version of the standard Mossberg 500. It’s chambered in 20 gauge instead of 12 gauge, and the barrel is shortened from 28 inches to 20. This puts it on the short end for dove hunting, and the fixed cylinder bore means it’s impossible to throw a narrow choke on the end.

We really liked the short action on this shotgun. If you’re on the petite side – or you shoot with a lady who can wear kids sizes – this is a great choice. It’s a Mossberg, so it has the smooth, reliable cycling that we’ve come to expect from this brand.

Pros

  • Durable and smooth-cycling
  • Can fire large, 3-inch shells
  • Well sized for small individuals

Cons

  • Short barrel

This is a powerful, long-lasting 20 gauge scattergun.

9. Winchester SXP Turkey Hunter

The Winchester SXP Turkey Hunter is built as a turkey gun, but brings down upland game birds just as easily.

Key Features

  • 20 gauge bore
  • Pump action
  • 24-inch barrel
  • 3-inch chamber
  • 4-round tube magazine
  • Weighs 6.25 pounds
  • Polymer stock and fore grip with Mossy Oak Break-Up camo
  • Adjustable fiber-optic rifle sights
  • Drilled and tapped for optics

The Winchester SXP Turkey Hunter is designed as a turkey-shooting gun, so it’s more accurate than you need in a dove gun. If you’re shooting a 20 gauge, that’s a good thing. Not only does this gun have a 24-inch barrel, but it comes with adjustable fiber-optic rifle sights pre-installed.

This shotgun is chambered for large, 3-inch shells, which are the longest available in a 20 gauge. The only thing we didn’t like was, ironically for a Winchester, the weight. It’s made to be lightweight for young people to carry, but the end result is a harsher kick than you get on a bulkier gun.

Pros

  • Durable design and smooth-cycling
  • Can fire large, 3-inch shells
  • Long and accurate

Cons

  • Poor recoil absorption

The Turkey Hunter’s exceptional accuracy will have you dropping doves from the sky as fast as you can point and pull the trigger.

10. Mossberg 505 Youth All-Purpose Field