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Best clay cartridges from budget to blow-out

On a budget or looking to blow it? Here's our list of the best clay cartridges around, at all prices

woman clayshooter

Not so long ago, clay shooters would use different guns for close and distance targets

From low-cost loads to costly cartridges, we look at some of the best clay cartridges available.

Best clay cartridges: Hull Comp X

Hull Comp X

The Comp X from Hull Cartridge comes in 21-gram and 28-gram, both plastic and fibre wad options, and in either 7.5 or 9 shot sizes. All are loaded into 65mm cases and are suitable for use in shorter (2.5”) chambered shotguns.

Best clay cartridges: Eley Select

Eley Select

Eley Hawk’s entry-level Select is available in 21, 24 and 28 gram load variants to appeal to all sorts of club shooter. Should you need evidence of their universal effectiveness, consider that 13-year-old Ami Hedgecock won a car using them in The Schools Challenge competition. A slightly higher level of brass in the shot ensures that it packs a punch for its price, even at long range.

Best clay cartridges: Rio 12 Gauge Target Loads

Rio 12 Gauge Target Loads

The Rio 12 Gauge from CCI International benefit from their own single-based powder with a matched wad and primer designed to manage pressure and recoil. The Target Load is available in variants for multiple disciplines.

The Sporting version of the cartridge comes in a 28 gram load with a quoted muzzle velocity of 1280 feet per second, or in an unusual-for-clay 32 gram load with muzzle velocity given at 1200 feet per second. Both versions are available in shot sizes 7.5 or 8.

Best clay cartridges: Cheddite Sporting

Cheddite Sporting

The Cheddite Sporting from Malmo Guns use a light charge of fast-burning powder, leaving very little residue. Some variation in shot size, but this can serve to elongate the shot string – helpful on short targets. Easy on the recoil and easy on the pocket.

Best clay cartridges: Fiocchi FBlu

Fiocchi FBlu

Hard shells that will partner up brilliantly with some of those short to mid-range cartridges. The FBlus from Fiocchi keep a tight pattern for those long- distance birds. Sensibly quick, keeping that recoil low, low, low, just like the price.

Best clay cartridges: RC Excellence

RC Excellence

Also in the RC range is the RC4 Champion Excellence – RC’s Olympic medal winning cartridges. These are available in 24 and 28 gram loads and in shot sizes 7.5, 8 and 9.5. The cartridges are presented in a high brass black case, using the CX2000 primer and a plastic wad. The 5 per cent antimony-tempered lead shot leaves the barrel at around 1350fps.

Best clay cartridges: Lyalvale Power Gold

Lyalvale Power Gold

Cartridge manufacturers often have sprawling wide ranges to suit various disciplines and shooters, but in Lyalvale’s best-selling competition load the Power Gold, you’ll find something different – a cartridge designed for all uses across Skeet, Sporting or Trap layouts. (Read our list of the best cartridges for Trap and Sporting shooting.) 

The cartridges have a 16mm nickel head and a muzzle velocity quoted at 1425fps. They’re available in a shot size 9 for Skeet, in either fibre or plastic wad. They come in a 28 gram version as well as a 24 gram for those shooting in international disciplines or just looking for a lighter load.

Best clay cartridges: NSI MultiTarget

NSI MultiTarget

The perfect choice for clay shooters looking to use one cartridge across multiple disciples, NSI’s MultiTarget load is a versatile cartridge with a number of options available, starting with the choice between 12-bore and 20-bore.

The MultiTarget packs in a 28g shot load, with the 12-bore available in sizes of 7.5 to 8.5, achieving speeds of up to 1,328fps. The 20-bore also has 28g of shot and is available in sizes of 7.5 to 9.5, achieving speeds of up to 1,312fps.