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Clay shooting cartridges review

Now that the game season’s over I’m beginning to think about smashing some clays again. But I don’t want to spend a load of money right now on some cartridges.

So what’s available in the well affordable bracket?

Without a shadow of doubt the absolute bargain basement, best value, cheapest cartridge on the market is a new steel load from Gamebore.

GAMEBORE SUPER STEEL HV LITE
This cartridge really is an unbelieveable ‘steal’ at the price! Taking a leaf out of the 21gm lead loads most British manufacturers introduced in 2008 to combat the rise in the price of lead, pioneering Gamebore decided to go a step further (yet again) and do a 21gm load in steel, to drive the cost down even farther.

The new ‘Lite’ joins Gamebore’s already well known and popular steel range under the entry-level Super Steel banner, so there’s no doubting its pedigree.

GAMEBORE Super Steel shotgun cartridges

Don’t forget that because steel pellets are lighter than lead you get more shot in this load than you do an equivalent lead 21gm. This goes some way to explaining why the patterns are so good.

The plastic wad and 7½ shot makes it an ideal shell for practice and club shooting. And so too does the price… an economy busting £113 per 1,000 making it well worth a visit on cost alone!
» Wad: Plastic
» Powder: B&P
» Muzzle velocity: 1300fps
» Case length: 70mm (2.3/4in chambers)

ELEY FIRST LITE
Changing back to lead, the 21gm loads available from the major British manufacturers all offer excellent value. These lighter loads have really grown in popularity since they were introduced because shooters have latched on to their not insignificant advantages.

ELEY First shotgun cartridges.

Better patterns, no loss of performance and significantly less recoil have all been a contributory factor, but obviously the biggest advantage for most consumers has been the reduction in cost.

Eley currently have the edge in this market with their First Lite starting at £129 per 1,000 in plastic wad and £140 for the fibre version in a variety of shot sizes from 7.1/2 to 9.
» Wad: Plastic
» Powder: Maxam
» Muzzle velocity: 1325fps
» Case length: 65mm (2.1/2in chambers)

ELEY OLYMPIC
Just because we are talking about best value, doesn’t always mean the cheapest. So thinking about value, I will tell you what I think is one of the best value clay cartridges, in terms of the overall performance, for your money… Eley’s Olympic Trap.

ELEY Olympics shotgun cartridges.

They’ve been around for a considerable amount of time and I can remember using them in my salad days, 25 or more years ago. Eley have recently re-brand these as ‘Olympics’ but they are the same thing and represent good value in terms of performance.

They are only available in a plastic wad in shot size 7½ or 8 and cost £147 per thousand.
» Wad: Plastic
» Powder: Maxam
» Muzzle Velocity: 1400fps
» Case length: 70mm (2¾in chambers)

KENT VELOCITY & ENGLISH SPORTER
Light loads aside, the bread and butter clay cartridge still compromises 28gms (1oz) of 7½ shot and thankfully manufacturers all do a ‘budget’ load in this class.

Kent and Lyavale shotgun cartridges

Cheapest at the moment are Gamebore’s hugely popular Kent Velocity at about £136 per thousand in plastic wad and £148 in fibre.
» Wad: Fibre
» Powder: B&P
» Muzzle Velocity: 1400fps
» Case length: 70mm (2¾in chambers)

ENGLISH SPORTER from Lyalvale Express are only a couple of quid more, but sadly Hull’s Comp X are way off the pace in this market.
» Wad: Plastic
» Powder: Nobel Sport
» Muzzle Velocity: 1350fps
» Case length: 70mm (2¾in chambers)

AND FINALLY…
In these cash strapped times we are all looking for bargain or at ways to reduce our expenditure. Don’t forget however that value doesn’t necessarily have to mean cheap.

Even among the more expensive competition clay shells, there are great value cartridges in the shape of Super Comps from Express, Hull’s Pro range and – particularly good value in my view – Gamebore’s White Gold Original.

None of them are cheap but they are top performers and therefore tremendous all round value. It all depends what you want from your ammo of course.

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  • Thomas

    Of these, the Gamebore “Kent Velocity”, get my vote everytime, superb all rounder and works well with all my guns. Last thing I want to think about is “Have I got the right cartridge for X gun” when I’m halfway to the range. I bought mine in bulk before the price hike, but they are still a good deal, there are cheaper on the market, but cheapness isn’t always the only thing to look for.