Bill Harriman
Received wisdom used to say that, generally, a plastic wad gave a slightly tighter pattern than a felt or fibre one when shooting.

However, practical testing has shown that this is not necessarily the case.

The only way that you will find out which type of cartridge produces the best pattern in your gun is to do some testing yourself.

Your first job is to have the fit of your gun checked by a competent coach or gunsmith.

When you have done that, fire a few test shots at the pattern plate to ensure that the fit is correct.

Next, you need to decide the range at which you intend to pattern your gun.

The norm was to choose 40 yards, but I suspect that 30 yards or less is far more appropriate for most people.

BASC has produced a useful guide to patterning guns that is available in the ?Research? section of its website (

It will take you through the process step-by-step to ensure that you find the cartridge that produces the most effective pattern for your gun.

Patterning is important to ensure that we kill our quarry as quickly and humanely as possible ? it is the shotgun?s equivalent of zeroing a rifle.