Top clay shooting shells: chosen by an expert
John Robinson – top-level shooting coach, gives us his top picks on the best clay shooting shells
Top clay shooting shells: chosen by an expert
Remember that three key elements should take priority choosing clay shooting shells:
- Good gun fit (read more on gun fit here)
- Good technique
- Consistent, correct gun mounting
So, before you start blaming a cartridge for your misses, make sure those three fundamentals are in place. (Read more on practising your gun mount.)
No bad clay shooting shells
It’s worth mentioning that manufacturers now produce consistent products, so there are no bad cartridges.
Nevertheless, recoil is a serious problem in clay shooting so my recommendations aim to minimise it. The cartridges below have been chosen on the basis of their capacity to give shots confidence in their ability and that of their equipment. (Read more on recoil here.)
Hull Comp X
I use this cartridge for most of my clients, either game or clay. It’s a great training cartridge that allows you to focus on technique without worrying about recoil or performance. This will inspire confidence in any user.
Gauge: 12 Case: 65mm Head: 8mm Load: 21g, 28g Shot size 21g: 7.5, 9 Shot size 21g Fibre: 7.5 Shot size 28g: 7.5, 9 Shot size 28g Fibre: 7.5 Muzzle Velocity 21g: 434mps, 1425fps Muzzle Velocity 28g: 419mps, 1375fps Material: Lead shot, 2% antimony
Sellier & Bellot Skeet 24 Super
Used by some of the top International Olympic Skeet shooters, it produces a superb pattern of no. 9 shot. Recovery on that second target is outstanding.
For the Sporting and Skeet competitor, it breaks everything within sensible range. They have come a long way since the 1970s when we were using paper case game versions that were interesting to say the least! This is really worth a shout.
Gauge: 12 Case: 70mm Head: 12.5mm Load: 24g Shot size: 9 (2mm) Muzzle Velocity: 415mps, 1361fps Material: Lead shot
Lyalvale Express Excel Olympian
Anumber of clients use this at International level in Olympic disciplines with great success. It shows what a 24g shell can do, both at Trap and Skeet. Competitors who increase the lead weight in their cartridges often end up with less control and more recoil. Patterning is superb and confidence follows.
Gauge: 12 Case: 70mm Head: 20mm Load: 24g Shot size: 7, 7.5, 8, 9 Muzzle Velocity: 442mps, 1450fps Material: Super tempered lead shot
Many of us look to 28g shells, but their advantages can be nullified by recoil. This cartridge gives performance without blowing your shoulder off.
Gauge: 12 Case: 70mm Head: 16mm Load: 24g, 28g Shot size 24g: 7 Shot size 28g: 7, 7.5, 8, 9 Shot size 28g Fibre: 7.5, 8, 9 Muzzle Velocity 24g: 419mps, 1375fps Muzzle Velocity 28g: 411mps, 1350fps Muzzle Velocity 28g Fibre: 411mps, 1350fps Material: Lead shot, high antimony
I use this for clients who are on a 20 bore. It produces the same results as its bigger brother in 12 bore, the Comp X. The Pro-Twenty enables novices to concentrate on the target. I use the 21g version, which is all that is needed for beginners and progressing shooters.
Gauge: 20 Case 21g: 65mm Case 24g: 67mm Case 28g: 70mm Load: 21g, 24g, 28g Shot size 21g fibre: 7.5 Shot size 24g: 6.5, 7.5 Shot size 24g fibre: 7.5 Shot size 28g fibre: 7.5 Material: Lead shot, 2 – 5% antimony
Gamebore Super Competition
This is a competitor to the Hull Pro-Twenty, and I include it in my list as a true performer. I cannot split the two apart in performance and use it just as much. It allows you to coach technique while not worrying about recoil.
Gauge: 20 Case 24g, 28g: 70mm Case 21g Fibre, 24g Fibre, 28g Fibre: 65mm Load: 21g, 24g, 28g Shot size 21g Fibre: 7.5 Shot size 24g: 7.5, 8, 9 Shot size 24g Fibre: 8 Shot size 28g: 8 Shot size 28g: Fibre: 8 Material: Lead shot
My pick for a progression from a 21g shell. It is available in other load sizes but in Olympic disciplines we are only allowed 24g as a maximum Even on the very hardest and fastest of targets it is more than good enough for the 20 bore user.
Recoil is minimal and gives all the attributes and advantages required by the shooter to perform. Very smooth to use and very effective in giving complete control of both of your shots.
Gauge: 20 Case 21g: 67mm Case 24g, 28g: 70mm Load: 21g, 24g, 28g Shot size 21g: 7.5, 8 Shot size 24g: 7.5, 8 Shot size 28g: 7.5 Shot size 28g: Fibre: 7.5, 8 Material: Lead shot
Lyalvale Express Supreme Game
The 28 bore is a great calibre that gives confidence to novices. Again you are putting in the air the same amount of lead as some of the above mentioned 12 and 20 bore calibres.
Stick to the three basic elements required for any good shooting. Soft in the shoulder, patterning that gives you confidence and results that will encourage users to continue with the sport.
Gauge: 28 Case: 65mm Head: 8mm Load: 21g Shot size: 6, 7 Muzzle Velocity: 411mps, 1350fps Material: Super tempered lead shot