Ammunition is one of the core elements of the shooting experience.

Choosing the right load is key – and will depend on the gun being used, the level of shooting expertise, the quarry, the terrain and the target.

Is it best to buy online or visit a specialist supplier? Online is convenient but talking to somebody experienced could make a big difference to your shooting.

What are the laws on lead shot and steel shot? When should each be used?

Here our team of experts at Shooting UK give you the latest information on choosing and using the right ammunition, whether shotgun cartridges or air rifle pellets, with tips on storing, wearing and maintaining it safely.

We talk you through the best choices for clayshooting, gameshooting, pigeon shooting, wildfowling and stalking. What’s new on the market and which are the tried and tested favourites.

Being a responsible shooter also means being a safe shooter so we cover the safety rules when using ammunition too.

Shotgun cartridges | Clay cartridges | Air rifle pellets | Ammunition reviews | 

| Pest control 

lighter loads

Would a lighter load improve your shooting standard?

Having taught hundreds of new and experienced shooters over the years, I’ve seen lots of examples of how excessive and unnecessary recoil can adversely affect some people. In many cases (particularly with long-term shooters) these can often go unnoticed or, worse, become accepted as part of the sport and a…

Ampleforth College Shoot

Will coated cartridges make you a better Shot?

It is the latest trend in cartridge production for both clay and game shooting. Coated cartridges — or, to be more accurate, lead shotgun pellets that have been coated with copper or nickel — are today headlining the cartridge manufacturers’ billboards. Are coated cartridges new? Well, no; as far back…

cartridge safety rules

Cartridge safety rules

Reloading your shotgun cartridges is popular in places like America but nobody in the UK (with the possible exception of a few wildfowlers) seems to bother. Why is this?

.308 Win cartridge

What’s the right cartridge for red deer?

Deer stalking: I plan to get involved in deer stalking on my father’s farm and two neighbouring Estates where there are Roe, Fallow and a few Sika. Can you recommend a calibre that will cope equally well with all three species?

checking a scope

How to check your scope

As the bullet is the last thing to have contact with the barrel as it leaves and is the first thing that hits your quarry, the uniformity of the projectile is paramount in achieving good, consistent accuracy.

.22 long rifle

Is the rimfire .22 long rifle cartridge the top seller in the UK?

However an intelligent guess is that the rimfire .22 Long Rifle is leading the way. And, to do a bit more guessing, subsonic variations on the Long Rifle theme must be the most popular. The reason? Subsonic ammo for competition is more accurate than supersonic, and pinpoint accuracy is desirable…

pigeon flying

Will Garfit on cartridges for pigeon shooting

A recent question from a reader asked what cartridges I used for pigeon shooting. The answer is simple: Gamebore Velocity, 28gram loaded with No.7½ shot. But the explanation for my choice is more complicated and requires some explanation. A miss is a miss I am no cartridge or ballistics geek…

airgun pellets

What if I load airgun pellets backwards?

Q: I’ve heard that loading airgun pellets backwards is a great way to achieve a dum-dum effect when controlling pests such as rats. Does it work and could it damage the barrel of my airgun? A: Loading airgun pellets backwards is unlikely to harm your barrel but it is not conducive to accurate…

man shooting .17HMR

Is this new rimfire cartridge any good?

A: Yes, this new cartridge looks to be very interesting to anyone who likes small calibres. It is a rival to the .17 HMR cartridge, which is also a rimfire, but the WSM or Winchester Super Magnum is a more powerful round. Its brass case is roughly 50 per cent thicker than the .17 HMR The .17 WSM…

Airgun pellets

Picking the perfect airgun pellet

The airgun pellet is an important link between the shooter and the target. It can make the difference between Olympic gold or bronze. For most airgunners it can just mean the difference between a hit or a miss, but that’s equally important as Olympic glory, especially when you are hunting. Pellets come in four main calibres (sizes): .177; .20;…

airgun pellets

Four steps for more accurate airgun pellets

Air rifles are probably the first gun many of us used to get started in shooting as youngsters. Most people then move on to a .22 rimfire for pest control but nowadays air rifles are so good they can be a valuable asset for any pest control duties around the farm, estate…

lead ammunition

The end of the lead ammunition debate?

On 12 July, just before she left office as Secretary of State at DEFRA, Elizabeth Truss wrote to John Swift, chairman of the Lead Ammunition Group (LAG). She thanked him for his report but said that it “did not show that the impacts of lead ammunition were significant enough to justify changing current policy”, and that she did…

Black powder ammunition

Is it difficult to get a licence to buy black powder?

David says: Provided the guns remain in black powder proof there is no reason why you should not use them. Your firearms licensing department issues explosive licences for what are known as shooters powders. You must demonstrate a good reason for having one. Possession of, and intent to use, a gun that is only proofed for black powder…

.22 centrefire ammunition

Ammo options for .22 centrefire

Those of us who like rifles and rifle shooting often develop an interest in calibres and cartridges that are a bit out of the ordinary. It also gives us something else to talk about. However, it is a huge subject, so for today’s purposes we’ll just look at .22 centrefires…

shooting outbuildings

The advantages of reduced-load .22 rimfire ammunition

With cattle in the barns and grain stored over the winter months, it seems an endless task to keep hungry vermin species at bay. As soon as I have to battle against colder and wetter weather, most of my vermin control heads indoors — in and around the barns and outbuildings now…

lose my firearms licence over beer

There is “more lead in beer than game meat,” say MPs

In a debate on lead ammunition in the House of Commons last month, Rishi Sunak, Conservative MP for Richmond, commented: “The average consumer is exposed to 60 per cent more lead from their consumption of beer. Products contributing more lead to our diets than game meat include potatoes, coffee and even everyday eggs.…