Never considered the Remington Tac-14 for dove hunting? Or maybe breaking clays? Most people haven’t – and wouldn’t – but here at SHWAT™ we like to try things that others would dismiss. Assign whatever motive you want at this point, but when Remington invited me to a West Texas dove hunt to show off their V3 shotgun, I packed my own 12 gauge Tac-14.
Needless to say I got some questioning looks when I pulled up to the ranch in a top down convertible Ford Mustang announcing my intention to hunt with the diminutive 870 variant. Most of the time I drive the Ultimate Hunting Vehicle but for this trip I thought I’d try something different. It seemed appropriate and just the turned heads proved worth it!
If you’re not familiar with the Remington Tac-14, here’s the short version of the back story. Because the firearm was never intended to use a buttstock for shouldering and with its fourteen inch barrel making the gun’s overall length .37” longer than an NFA restricted Short Barreled Shotgun (SBS), it’s totally legal in most places. In my more comprehensive initial Tac-14 review I summed the gun up as “Too Much Fun!” Even then, however, I probably wouldn’t have considered trying to break clays much less hunt with it.
My history with shotguns and flying targets isn’t exactly stellar. Little known factoid: about the time I got started hunting hogs I also went dove hunting. I took the first gun I ever bought, a Remington 1100. Having saved up money form mowing and throwing newspapers, I was only thirteen when I bought it but the shotgun hadn’t actually gotten much use. Connecting with the dove that year was about as frustrating trying to tie your shoe with one hand.
Last year I got some shotgun instruction before heading out on the annual Kansas Governor’s pheasant hunt. The fact that I got three birds on that hunt was a definite sign of improvement but nothing stellar. So the idea of running the Tac-14 for dove was definitely not for showing off. It was a lot more like, “I bet this hasn’t been done before! I wonder…” Think mischievous thoughts here.
The excellent Wildlife Systems team got us set up to shoot clays as a warm up our first morning at the S Ranch in West Texas. They seemed as puzzled and skeptical as most of the rest of the hunters. Fair enough. As the clays flew I tried hitting them while shooting from the hip. The Tac-14 is ergonomically at home when fired low like that. Your arms sort of swing, soaking up the recoil easily enough. Sadly, I couldn’t hit a thing that way, but you know I’d have been the coolest kid on the block if I had.
Enough of that, I thought. If I was going to have a chance against the dove I should warm up with one of the V3 shotguns Remington provided. I passed the Tac-14 off to Eric Suarez, Remington’s man on the ground that day. After launching a few shells worth of Remington Clay and Field shot into oblivion Eric connected, shattering a clay spectacularly! With MY Tac-14 no less! He’d never tried that before, so I just had to repossess it and give it another shot. Eric had held the gun higher where he could see over the muzzle so that’s what I did, too.
Sure enough within a couple of shots I was breaking clays consistently with the 14” barreled 12 gauge! We’re high fiving and excited. We were still getting the “you’re crazy” looks from some, but not all. And who can blame them? It was crazy, and crazy fun!
That afternoon we headed for a large maize field, round limiting plug now installed in the Tac-14 to keep it legal. I just realized it’s still there and I owe Jason, our excellent Wildlife Systems cook at the ranch, a plug! It was hot and humid, 88 degrees and 49% humidity. Our guides dropped us off along a fence line and in no time the dove were flying. The issue was they were flying a bit too high, just out of reach of the short barreled Tac-14 12 gauge.
I figure you don’t know if you don’t try and started throwing shot in the air as dove would pass by. Then I got more disciplined, figuring I’d wait for the random lower flying bird. Sure enough, here it came, flying down the tree (and fence) line from my right to my left. Drop it across the line and we’d have wade through what looked like rattle snake heaven to retrieve it. My window to connect would be small, but I gave it shot as it flew directly over my head. Another miss.
Over this day and the next I’d prove I still have no idea how to connect with a target directly over my head whether shooting a V3 or my Tac-14. Eventually a dove flew near enough and just low enough and, BOOM, I took it down! Remington’s Jessica Kallam, Eric and I were all excited! But, really, was it just dumb luck or could I repeat it? Fair question.
Yes, I could repeat it, thank you very much! After taking a second dove to prove that point I switch to the provided Remington V3. It’s a no frills basic black one but it ran perfectly as expected, just like on my Pheasant hunt. In a few hours I had my dove limit, fifteen white wing birds. Recall now my previously pitiful dove hunting experience and you’ll realize this was a bid deal for me! Thirteen percent of my dove were taken with the Tac -14! For those keeping track, yeah, that’s only two, but that’s two more than probably anyone else has ever done with a Tac-14 and the first time I’ve ever limited out while using a shotgun. Or ‘shotgun-like’ firearm for those parsing ATF rules.
The next day I passed my Tac-14 to Eric who took his final dove of the hunt with it. It was a long wait as the dove were again flying high. I ran the V3 and limited out with fewer Remington Heavy Dove loads spent in the process. Color me pretty dang happy.
I guess you could say I’m pretty sold on dove hunting at this point. It’s a social hunt experience with plentiful conversation and lots of shooting. The Remington V3 and Tac 14 were boringly consistent and reliable as we went through ammo as if someone else were paying for it, and of course they were! What’s not to like? My old Remington 1100 feels neglected, but it’s still almost like new and will stay that way. So, someone join me in this Tactical Dove Hunting journey and tell me about it in the comments!