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Top Shotguns For Dove Hunting

Heath Wood

dove hunting

The first day of September has always been my unofficial start to hunting season. As the years have gone by, I have never lost the enjoyment of sitting close by to my buddies on the edge of a field as we hunt. The stories we share and the memories made are the kinds that last forever. Even though dove hunting is a sport that hunters can relax and have fun with, the desire to become a better hunter and shooter is still taken seriously. 

Dove hunters prefer not to be shown up by their fellow shooters while trying to keep up with fast-moving targets. One way to polish their technique and shooting performance is by improving the quality of the shotgun. To be a better dove hunter, one must choose a shotgun that meets their specific needs. 

The ideal firearm has a smooth recoil, making repetitive shots easier on the shoulder. The gun needs to be lightweight so that the hunter can swing fast on rapid-flying birds without being worn out at the end of the day. The action must be a smooth pump or a semi-automatic to achieve multiple shots as more than one dove flies through or to make a triumphant follow-up shot after missing the target on the first attempt. The ideal dove hunting gun must also have a matte finish or feature a good camouflage pattern to remain hidden as birds fly into close range. Below are three choices of shotguns that dove hunters are sure to enjoy.

Mossberg - 500 20-gauge Field/Deer Combo


Mossberg 500 20 gauge

The Mossberg 500 Field/Deer Combo is a shotgun for the all-around hunter. This combo is a pump-action shotgun with two interchangeable barrels. A 24-inch fully rifled barrel for slug hunting big game such as deer and a 26-inch vent rib barrel with interchangeable choke tubes makes it an excellent choice for hunting doves.

The Mossberg 500 Field/Deer Combo is available in a 20-gauge, which is preferred amongst most dove hunters. This affordable yet highly adaptable pump-action shotgun performs excellent when a large amount of shooting is required—weighing in at 7 pounds, hunters can swing on fast-moving birds. The only negative is that the hunter is vulnerable to filling their daily bird limit faster.

  • Gauge: 20
  • Action Type: Pump-Action
  • Chamber Size: 3”
  • Barrel Type: Vent Rib
  • Barrel Length: 26”
  • Barrel Finish: Mossy Oak Break-Up Country
  • Choke: Accu-Set 
  • Capacity: 5+1
  • Weight: 7 lbs

Franchi - Affinity 3 Mossy Oak Bottomland

franchi affinity

Many bird hunters praise the Affinity series of shotguns from Franchi because of their accuracy and handling. For serious dove hunters, the need for a lightweight, easy-handling shotgun is a must for success. The Franchi Affinity 3, 20-gauge in Mossy Oak Bottomland meets all those needs. At only 6 pounds, the Affinity 3 provides the fast-moving performance dove hunters demand. The TSA recoil pad is a revolutionary design proven to reduce recoil by up to 50%, making an all-day hunt more enjoyable. An adjustable Omni stock fit lets every hunter adjust the tailor and drop, making the gun fit their specific size, creating a more effective shooter.

  • Gauge: 20
  • Action Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Chamber Size: 2-3/4”- 3”
  • Barrel Length: 26”
  • Barrel Finish: Mossy Oak Bottomland
  • Choke: Imp Cyl, Mod, Full
  • Capacity: 4+1
  • Weight: 6 lbs

Benelli - Super Black Eagle 3 

Benelli super black eagle 3

Hunters who want to gain the attention of others due to their shooting abilities should show up at the next dove hunt, holding the Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 20-gauge featured in Mossy Oak Bottomland.

With nearly ten years in development, the Super Black Eagle 3 is a true performance shotgun for the most serious dove hunters. The SBE3 weighs the lightest of the highlighted shotguns. Weighing only 5.8 lbs., it allows the maneuverability to make the shot faster than fellow hunters. One of the highlights of the SBE3 is Benelli’s Inertia-Driven System. The clean-burning Inertia-Driven System requires no adjustments and cycles consistently, even when using light field loads as when dove hunting. 

The Super Black Eagle 3 also features Comfort Tech 3, a design that splits the stock diagonally and utilizes shock-absorbing chevrons, essentially turning the entire stock into a giant recoil pad. 

  • Gauge: 20
  • Action Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Chamber Size: 2-3/4”- 3”
  • Barrel Length:26”
  • Finish: Mossy Oak Bottomland
  • Choke: Imp Cyl, Mod
  • Capacity: 3+1
  • Weight: 5.8lbs

Dual-Purpose Dove/Waterfowl

Winchester SX4 Compact

camo gun

This compact Winchester is a great dual purpose gun for both doves and waterfowl. It's smaller and lighter than its 12-ga counterpart, but it packs the same punch. 

  • Gauge: 20
  • Action Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Chamber Size: 3”
  • Barrel Length:24-28"
  • Finish: Mossy Oak Bottomland or Shadow Grass
  • Choke: Full, Modified, Improved Cylinder
  • Capacity: 4, 2 3/4" shells
  • Weight: 6 lbs 4 oz

Weatherby Element Waterfowler

bottomland shotgun

The Element line of shotguns uses a proven inertia operating system to deliver an evenly-weighted gun with superior reliability. Instead of porting off gasses from the combustion like a gas-operated shotgun, this action harnesses the energy of the recoiling gun to run its bolt.

Because no powder gets re-routed into the gun, the result is a cleaner-running, low-maintenance gun. Element shotguns have durable chrome lined barrels that are built to last a lifetime of shooting. The vented top rib and front fiber optic bead make for quick target acquisition in low-light conditions. The Element Waterfowl comes with drop and cast shims to make sure the shotgun fits the shooter for consistent and accurate shouldering.

  • Gauge: 20
  • Action Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Chamber Size: 3”
  • Barrel Length: 26-28"
  • Barrel Finish: Mossy Oak Bottomland, Shadow Grass
  • Choke: Imp Cyl, Mod, Full
  • Capacity: 4+1
  • Weight: 6.25lbs

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