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The best cartridges for Skeet

PUBLISHED: 10:57 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 10:57 15 August 2016

cartridges august

cartridges august

Archant

Vic Harker presents the 12 best cartridges to catch those speedy Skeet targets...

cartridges augustcartridges august

The clay target game for the game shot’ – that was how the Americans described Skeet when they invented it in 1920. Devised by a group of avid hunters living around Andover in Massachusetts, a set of official rules were drawn up in 1924, and published in National Sportsman and Hunting and Fishing magazines. The first national championship in the USA was held in 1936.

As early as 1935, Skeet ranges had been established in the UK by a number of English gunmakers including Boss & Co., Holland & Holland, and James Purdey. These illustrious names all appreciated that, apart from being a competitive sport, it provided the game shooter with an opportunity to practise on targets that, though not particularly difficult, offered a sufficient variety of range and angle for him to hone both his marksmanship and gun handling skills. Subsequently, many great Sporting clay shooters were successful at Skeet to begin with, including the great George Digweed. In most circumstances, any kind of open-choke shotgun can be used for Skeet shooting, and here is a selection of high-quality cartridges to load them with.

cartridges augustcartridges august

Lyalvale Express

1. Excel Olympian

As its branding suggests, Excel Olympian is a cartridge for those who aspire to reach the pinnacle of the sport. In the case of the 24g Skeet load, it’s super-fast and at the same time delivers evenly distributed patterns with the minimum of muzzle flip, which is so important for that second shot in Skeet doubles. Available in plastic wad, 24g 9, £222 per 1,000.

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2. Pro Comp

Pro Comp Skeet is a cartridge for the long haul. This is so important in shoot-offs, which Skeet competition often produces. Tough on the target but easy on the shoulder, it’s a long-time favourite of the avid Skeet shooter. Available in plastic wad, 28g 9, £212.75 per 1,000.

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3. Power Gold

A new 28g load with no.9 shot, it makes not only an excellent Skeet cartridge, but also works for Sporting targets at modest range where the extra pellets can make all the difference. Great value in terms of the quality of components employed together with a very high standard of manufacture provides consistent performance, and the clubman shooter need look no further. Available plastic wad, 28g 9, £225 per 1,000.

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Eley

4. VIP

The champion’s choice, VIP clay target loads have a history of success at the highest level of clay target competition. Fast powder is carefully matched with the primer, and they are all manufactured in-house. In Skeet specification, its consistency – in terms of both patterns and speed – is renowned. Available in plastic wad, 28g 9, £241.25 per 1,000.

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5. Superb

They are what it says on the box: fast with modest recoil and impressive on the pattern plate. This is a cartridge which, once you’ve used it, will keep you coming back for more. Available in plastic wad, 28g 9, £214 per 1,000.

cartridges augustcartridges august

6. Olympic Blues

An illustrious history, as the name suggests, but also exceptional value for money. OBs have been winning competitions for at least 30 years. The qualities that made it a Trap load legend – speed, patterns and consistency – are all mirrored in the Skeet load. At the pattern plate, results were suitably reassuring and, as usual, OBs come highly recommended. Available in plastic wad, 24g 9; and in plastic and fibre wads, 28g 9, £191-£203.50 per 1,000.

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Hull Cartridge Company

7. PRO ONE

The Skeet shooter can hardly do better than this high-quality Skeet load from a renowned manufacturer with vast experience, gained from decades of providing not only what the clay shooter wants, but what he needs. Chosen as the Skeet load for the UK training programme, it’s a winner for winners. Carefully matched best-quality components deliver a fast, smooth shooting load which is also unbeatable value for money. Available in plastic wad, 24g 9; and in plastic and fibre wads, 28g 9, £207.75-£227.50 per 1,000.

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8. PRO PISTON

Designed for the kind of short-range shooting Skeet represents, Pro Piston incorporates the Shot Cloud wad system, ideal for maximum effectiveness at 25m. Average pellet count from this 28g load at that range is 630 pellets in a circle with a 30cm diameter. This must surely be an advance in cartridge design of special significance for the Skeet shooter. Can we expect to see the average Skeet shooter’s score improve with Pro Piston? Almost certainly. Available in plastic and fibre wads, 28g 9, £188-£197 per 1,000.

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Gamebore

9. Blue Diamond

This load provides high performance with low recoil, thanks to a combination of the very effective Baschieri & Pellagri wad – which reduces recoil to the minimum – and the company’s Diamond shot and Vectan powder. It is a luxury cartridge and one that dedicated Skeet shooters can’t afford not to have.

On the pattern plate and Skeet range this cartridge performs brilliantly, with patterns as good as the results they produce. Available in plastic and fibre wads, 28g 9, £208.75-£214 per 1,000.

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10. Evo Competition

A great value-for-money cartridge and, as a Skeet load, as effective as any. This cartridge patterns particularly well, with minimum recoil. Quality components carefully matched, manufactured and presented to the highest standards. Available in plastic wad, 24g 9; and in plastic and fibre wads, 28g 9, £175.75-£192.75 per 1,000.

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Fiocchi

From the longest established ammunition manufacturer in Italy come two Skeet loads that represent technical expertise born of 140 years of experience.

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11. Official Skeet

Designed for Olympic Skeet where targets, although close, come very fast and therefore require greater pellet energy to break. The choice of many Italian Olympic Team members, this cartridge is state of the art. Available in plastic wad, 24g 9.5, £206 per 1,000.

12. F Skeet

A high-quality load that incorporates completely different components. Ideal for those who require a wide and very dense pattern... are there any Skeet shooters who don’t? Available in plastic wad, 24g and 28g 10, £182-£188 per 1,000.

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