Cartridge technology has not changed a great deal in the last 100 years.

Yes, improvements and efficiencies have been made, but the basics have

remained pretty much the same. Until now.

The research department at Gamebore has come up with something of a technological revolution where cartridges for high birds are concerned.

The company has added two new loads to its already expansive Black Gold brand and called them the Power House Range. These 12 and 20 bore cartridges are easily recognised in their 70mm black Gordon Recoil System case, specifically targeted at the high bird enthusiast. And some pretty amazing new technology has gone into them by way of a wool, rather than fibre, wad.

Consistent performance
The new 12 bore loads are what can only be described as heavy – 38 and 40gms – which, with a normal fibre wad, would have you seeking out a chiropractor before the mid-session interval. Not so with the new wool wad which expands more than a normal fibre wad to create a better seal in the bore of the barrel, reducing gas leakage. This in turn leads to more consistent performance and better patterns and, secondly, by being more easily compressed, felt recoil is reduced.

When I dismantled one of these cartridges I was thinking, perhaps naively, that it would be an easy job to just tear this wad apart. Wrong! The wool is so tightly moulded that it is a job to even cut with a very sharp knife, but amazingly it is still compressible in both dimensions. This is a difficult concept to explain, but if you can afford to take one apart, you will see exactly what I mean.
In my view this is a truly innovative development in modern cartridge manufacture and is something certainly worth getting excited about.

Not cheap
Ballistically these shells are right up there with a muzzle velocity of 1450fps, but this sort of performance and technology does not come cheap – expect to pay £465 for the 38gm and an eye watering £490 for the 40gm. But believe me, there is nothing else out there to compare and when you take in to consideration the cost of shooting one of those 60 yard pheasants, you may not be too worried about the 50p or so it takes to do it, not taking in to account any misses of course! The 38gm load will in my view be the most popular.

Terrific twenties
Gamebore’s successful 20 bore Pure Gold range has been with us a few years but the makers have now added this load to the Black Gold stable with three cartridges again aimed firmly at the high bird enthusiast. They are only available with fibre, not wool, wads but then they are not as expensive as the 12 bore version, something of a refreshing change when historically we have always expected to pay more for smaller bore cartridges.

These are available in 30gm 5shot, 32gm 4 1⁄2 and 5 and a massive 34gm 41⁄2 if you can handle it. I love the continental shot sizes as I think they are more suitable for different types of quarry – UK 4s are too big, 5s sometimes too small, but that 4 1/2 is just right.

There are other 34 and 35gm 20 bore loads available from continental makers but they are all much more expensive than this offering and without exception only suitable for 3in chambers. They also only come with plastic shot cups.

Pretty deadly

The Black Gold 20 bore range are all loaded in 70mm (2 3/4in) cases but they do not have the Gordon Recoil System like their larger sisters, as there is no GRS case currently available for the smaller bore sizes. Instead the Diamond Shot is housed in a rather fetching translucent yellow case with a deep nickel plated head.

Both the 12 and 20 bores also benefit from new packaging (no expense spared) that features a matt black embossed box and a holographic label to indicate the cartridges are part of the Power House range.

Gamebore’s wool wad is a real milestone in cartridge technology and just as important as the arrival of plastic wads in the 1960s and ‘70s.

All eyes will now be on this new Power House range as I think it will lead to further interesting developments in the future.