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Cheap game shooting cartridges review

Cheap game shooting cartridges review

This was originally published in December 2010. The prices were updated in February 2014, but the review and comments by Charles Bull remain unedited.

The Editor has decreed that as Christmas is coming and it’s the season of goodwill to all men I should do a piece on the five cheapest (his words, not mine) game cartridges out there.

As we all know, there seems little that’s cheap these days where game cartridges are concerned, so let’s instead call them the five ‘best value’ game shells you can find.

None of these high performance game cartridges from English loaders can be described as ‘cheap’ but there is an interesting anomaly when you look at the commonest game load – the 30gm with fibre wad.

For similar performance, prices vary considerably, so this is definitely worth a look.

It is worth noting that all cartridges featured here are suitable for 2½ in (65mm) chambers.

At £275 per 1,000 Express Supreme Game is the most expensive of the bunch but it’s very smooth shooting and everyone knows what it does.

Hull high pheasant cartridges

It has also won awards.

The recently re-vamped Eley VIP range comes in at about £282.50 per thou for the 30gm fibre load and Gamebore’s Pure Gold delivering the same payload will cost £270.

And the best value shell in this bunch of high performance cartridges?

It’s the eponymous Hull High Pheasant with the scores on the doors at £285.

With a quoted muzzle velocity of 1450fps, this represents a truly high performance for the money.

Smooth shooting and a variety of shot sizes make it a versatile cartridge suitable for anything from grouse to high pheasant (you don’t say!).

» Hull High Pheasant 12-bore 30gm 5,6,7
» Case Length: 67mm
» Wad: Fibre or Plastic
» Powder: Nobel Sport
» Muzzle Velocity: 1450fps

Getting close to the £200 mark is not easy for good quality game cartridges.

Eley pigeon cartridges.But it is possible!

Eley’s Pigeon, available in 30 or 32gm, fibre or plastic wad but in shot size 6½ only, is entirely suitable for game in certain situations.

Just because it’s called a ‘Pigeon’ cartridge, doesn’t mean you can’t shoot other quarry with it.

I agree the single shot size is a little limiting and you probably wouldn’t want to be shooting high pheasants with it, but for normal farm pheasants, partridge and the like, this does a remarkably good job.

Starting at £204 per 1,000 for the 30gm plastic wad variant and going up to £210 for the 32gm fibre, this represents reasonable value for a game shell.

» Eley Pigeon 12-bore 30 & 32gm 6½
» Case Length: 67mm
» Wad: Fibre or Plastic
» Powder: Maxam
» Muzzle Velocity: 1425fps

Next up is Just Cartridges own Xtreme Game range, a high performance load in a genuine 65mm case, offering great value for the game shooter.


Having re-branded and extended the range last year, Xtreme Game offers products suitable for most mainstream game shooting situations.

Prices start at £230 for the fibre wad load in 5 and 6 shot and just £235 for the 32gm fibre load in 5s and 6s.

The inclusion of Diamond Shot has the added advantage of giving better, more even patterns.

» Just Cartridges Xtreme Game 12-bore 30 & 32gm 5,6
» Case Length: 65mm
» Wad: Fibre or Plastic
» Powder: B & P
» Muzzle Velocity: 1425fps

Now for some real news! In a continuing effort to provide better value, Gamebore is re-vamping its famous Clear Pigeon range.

Gamebore Clear pigeon cartridges

More importantly for the price conscious amongst us, this means that they are also reducing the price – yes, you did hear me correctly!

Having previously offered a discounted range under their Kent Velocity brand, Gamebore have decided to knock this on the head and concentrate on the higher performance Clear Pigeon at a better price.

Since severe price increases across the board a couple of years ago, Clear Pigeon will now look like very sensible money.

Shot size 6 only remember but the 30gm plastic wad load will now be £208.50 per 1,000, and the most popular 30gm fibre load will be £210.

The 32gm plastic wad only load will be £212

» Gamebore Clear Pigeon 12-bore 30 & 32gm 6
» Case Length: 30gm Fibre Wad 65mm, 30 & 32gm Plastic Wad 70mm
» Wad: Fibre or Plastic
» Powder: B & P
» Muzzle Velocity: 1400fps

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