The Shotgun DOPE Card

Most people familiar with precision rifle shooting will also be familiar with what a DOPE card or book is. DOPE is actually an acronym, but I shoot shotguns, so don’t ask me. It is essentially a “how my gun shot before” card. That info then serves as a clue for what the precision shooter can expect given similar shooting conditions.

Applying the concept to the shotgun seems kind of novel, but apparently it isn’t. Someone posted a picture of an old law enforcement shotgun in a Facebook group a while back and a “dope” card had been taped onto the stock of the gun. The card had information on how that specific shotgun patterned, and how it shot with slugs at various distances. It served as a quick reminder for the shooter, “hey, this is what you can expect from this gun with these particular loads”. It is a brilliant idea. Especially if someone has multiple shotguns.

If you pattern or zero your shotgun with multiple loads it could also be used to track performance with the different loads. the card could be kept with the ammo, so that when it gets pulled out of the closet in 5 years you can remember how that load shot from that gun and not have to start from ground zero again.

I took the liberty of recreating a version of the dope card pictured on that old shotgun. I formatted it to fit onto a 3”x5” index card, if you have a printer capable of printing on one. I made some adjustments to the information on the card, trying to keep it a bit more generic, and updated the pictured target to one commonly used today for reference purposes.

The card can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. It is in a Word format so that end users can also make edits if they deem it necessary. Happy pattern testing.

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