24g shotgun cartridges review.
In my view it’s only right that we should because these slightly lighter cartridges are not only a little lighter on the wallet, but the shoulder too.
So what does all this add up to? Well, in addition to costing less and producing lower recoil we get the added advantage of better patterns thanks to less damage being done to the pellets during ignition and as they travel through the bores.
The upshot to this is that we also get better kills.
There’s an amazing range of 24gm clay loads on the market, and not just for those of us who shoot the Olympic trap and skeet disciplines.
For general clay shooting duties we’re pretty well spoilt for choice with a load for all occasions – and that includes fibre wad cartridges ideally suited for use on simulated game days.
The advantages of the 24gm load are often underrated and misunderstood in my view.
In shot size 7½, say, the only disadvantage you have compared to a 1oz load is slightly less pellets and by ‘slightly less’ I mean exactly that .
The reduction amounts to 14% fewer pellets but this doesn’t mean you are 14% less likely to hit the target.
In real terms, because of reduced pellet damage during firing you get fewer ‘fliers’ and this means a greater number of pellets will fly straighter thereby delivering more even patterns.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the success of the 21gm loads; they must work because shooters keep buying them!
It seems like common sense to me – lighter on your wallet, lighter on your shoulder, but harder on the clay!
RC2 AND RC4.
If you are a serious shooter, one of my personal favourites is the RC2 and RC4 – both entirely suitable for the Olympic disciplines.
They come in plastic wad only with a choice of 7½ and 9½ shot sizes (UK 7 and 9).
They’re really smooth with bags of performance and both in my view are outstanding.
With a price adjustment, the slightly slower RC2 (really a re-branded RC1) with 3% antimony shot should cost around £152 per 1,000 while the higher performance RC4 with 5% antimony will set you back a relatively eye watering £213 – but believe me, it really is worth the asking price.
» Load: 24gm plastic wad only
» Shot sizes: 7 and 9
» Powder: Nobel Sport
» Muzzle Velocity: RC2 1450fps; RC4 1,500fps
» Case length: 70mm (2.3/4)
Fiocchi also offer great quality performance shells in plastic wad only with two offerings in the shape of the Official Trap at £197 and the even higher performing Golden Trap at £215.
Again, they’re not cheap but represent serious shells for serious shooters.
I have to say that I prefer the Official Trap not on account of the cost, but its noticeable smoothness.
» Load: 24gm
» Powder: Fiocchi
» Muzzle Velocity: Official Trap, 1,450 fps; Golden Trap, 1500 fps.
» Case length: 70mm (2.3/4)
Gamebore’s XLR range, (XLR standing for Extra Low Recoil), is similar in performance to the Express Standard and as the name suggests, offers comfortable shooting for prolonged periods of activity.
Available in most clay shot sizes in plastic wad, the more popular fibre version only comes in a shot size 8, which admittedly is fine for most things.
Prices start at £162 for the plastic White Gold XLR (three per cent antimony) and significantly cheaper than the Express at around £170 for the fibre Super XLR.
Gamebore’s ever popular Blue Diamond range (4% antimony) is also available in 24gm fibre or plastic in 7.1/2 only offering even more comfort in the GRS case starting at £175 per 1,000.
» Load: 24 gm in range of shot sizes.
» Powder: B&P
» Muzzle Velocity: XLR plastic wad, 1400 fps; XLR fibre, 1350 fps; Blue Diamond, 1425 fps.
» Case length: XLR plastic and Blue Diamond 70mm (2.3/4in); XLR fibre 65mm (2.1/2).
And so to more mainstream products. Apart from its specialist Excel, Express offer the ever popular HV Standard in 24gm plastic or fibre wad in the full range of shot sizes with 3% antimony.
This is a wonderful cartridge with a very large following and with good reason – no lack of performance, a wide range of shot sizes and extremely smooth shooting make this a popular choice for simulated game days.
Prices start at £160 for the Standard in plastic wad and £177 for the fibre and £195 for the higher performance Excel with 5% antimony content.
» Load: 24 gm
» Powder: Vectan
» Muzzle Velocity: Standard, 1400 fps; Excel 1450 fps
» Case length: Standard 65mm (2.1/2); Excel 70mm (2.3/4in)
Hull Cartridge Company also offer a great range of 24gm loads starting at about £156 with Intercomp at the lower end of the scale, through to the well known Pro One and Pro Fibre jobbies starting at £174 and finishing with the top end Sovereign at around £189.
All of these give plenty of performance with the comfort of the lighter load. Intercomp, Pro One and Pro Fibre all come in a wide range of clay shot sizes with a choice of plastic or fibre wads and the more specialist Sovereign only come in a plastic wad for the serious competition shooter.
» Load: 24 gm range of shot sizes and available with plastic or fibre wads except for the plastic-only Sovereign
» Powder: Nobel Sport
» Muzzle Velocity: Pro One, 1500 fps; Pro Fibre, 1475 fps; Sovereign, 1550 fps
» Case length: 70mm (2.3/4in)