Mid-range shotgun cartridges review.
At long last it appears the weather gods are beginning to smile on us which means that with warmer weather we can look forward to breaking a few clays again.
This month I want to look at what I term ‘the mid range clay market’ – a tricky place to cater for because it’s occupied by folk who only want to shoot for fun and also those who think they are in with a chance of winning prizes in competitions.
The first group are more than happy to use any budget-priced cartridge while the others tend to gravitate towards high end, high performance products in the belief this will give them a better chance.
There is nothing wrong with the mindset of either group, but the middle ground offers very respectable performance at what I call sensible money.
Buying top of the range stuff means spending £200 and upwards per 1,000, which may just take the gloss off many a shooter’s budget in these financially difficult times.
This is where and why ‘mid range cartridges’ score so highly: they might not be ‘super competition grade’ but they deliver bags of performance and get the job done well.
Regardless of whether you’ve set your heart on a trophy at the local charity shoot or are a serious contender for prize money in larger competitions, you need confidence in your ammo.
This month’s selection do a great job of shattering clays – all you have to do is stick the shot in the right place!
GAMEBORE BLUE DIAMOND.
You will probably think I’m being boring when, yet again, I recommend Gamebore’s Blue Diamond range. But why boring?
The shells keep getting a mention because in this price range they deliver exceptional quality and decent performance coupled with good value!
Loaded in its trademark blue Gordon Recoil System case, the cartridge combines competition standard performance with comfort.
It’s available in a range of loads and shot sizes with the fibre version being a popular choice.
Prices start at about £174 per 1,000 for the 28gm plastic wad variant and £180 for the fibre.
Load : 24gm 7 ½ (plastic and fibre); 28gm (P&F) 7 ½, 8or 9. Diamond shot with 3% antimony
Muzzle Velocity: 1425 fps
Case length: 70mm (2 ¾in)
GAMEBORE WHITE GOLD.
Gamebore’s White Gold Original range is used by none other than champion shooter, George Digweed.
It’s a cartridge that gives top end performance but maintains a reasonable price because it is not loaded in the more expensive GRS case.
Essentially you get more bang for your buck and if it’s good enough for George, then it must be okay for the rest of us mere mortals!
Expect to pay around £176 for the plastic wad and £181 for fibre.
Both the Blue Diamond and White Gold Original ranges also use Diamond shot exclusive to Gamebore.
This is a process applied to the shot, which lessens the risk of the pellets sticking together, and therefore results in better patterns.
Load: 28gm (P&F) 7 ½ or 8. Diamond shot with 5% antimony
Muzzle Velocity: 1450fps
Case length: 70mm (2 ¾in)
EXPRESS PRO COMPETITION.
Pro Competition from Express provides great performance at sensible money.
I can remember using this shell back in the 1980s with some success and I have always been keen on its performance – it’s consistent, very good quality and also extremely smooth where recoil is concerned thanks to the use of Vectan powder.
Available in a range of shot sizes but in 28gm (1oz) format only. The plastic wad version costs £174 per 1,000 and fibre, £186.
Load: 28gm (P&F) 7 ½, 8, 9 and 9 ½ shot with 3% antimony content
Muzzle Velocity: 1400 fps
Case length: 70mm (2 ¾ in)
And now for a cartridge that was specifically designed for the mid range competition market – the Eley Superb.
Eley launched this shell some years ago and it continues to go from strength to strength.
It does exactly what it says on the tin, albeit in plastic wad only, so you won’t be able to use it at any of the game or country fairs.
It does however provide ample performance for serious competition as a 1oz (28gm) load carrying shot sizes 7 up to 9. And it is spot on in the mid-range money stakes at around £173 per 1,000.
Load: 28gm (plastic wad) 7, 7 ½, 8 and 9 shot with 4% antimony
Muzzle Velocity: 1450 fps
Case length: 70mm (2 ¾)