10 of the best cartridges for club shooters
PUBLISHED: 16:28 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:28 14 March 2019
Club shooters keep the sport alive with an enthusiastic interest in all disciplines. Vic Harker presents 10 of the best cartridges for all round clay crushing fun!
The club shooter represents the backbone of clay target shooting. Most weekends, enthusiasts foregather at their local clay shooting ground to enjoy the discipline of their choice – Trap, Skeet, Sporting, or, very often, all three!
It is from their ranks that future champions often graduate, and while specialisation may eventually become necessary, the sportsmanship and good fellowship remain at the heart of their endeavours at any level of the game.
Sound technique and precise gun fit are, of course, qualities essential to their success, as is the best ammunition. This month’s cartridge selection comfortably fits that criteria. The rest is up to you.
1 Eley Select
A combination of performance and value for money is optimised by this cartridge from the UK’s longest established manufacturer. It had been some time since I had sampled this load, but I was suitably impressed in terms of pattern, distribution and moderate recoil. Another carefully specified clay target load from Eley that will please the all-round clay shooter and flatter their shooting.
Available in plastic and fibre wad 21, 24 and 28g No.7.5, 8 and 9, £184-£205 per 1,000.
2 Eley Olympic Blue
A high-performance cartridge originally introduced in the 1970s, its popularity has been maintained by its consistent ballistics which are still able to match the most demanding circumstances. Not to be mistaken for an exercise in nostalgia, Olympic Blues have enjoyed the benefits of updated components and are therefore better than ever.
Available in plastic and fibre wad 24 and 28g No.7.5, 8 and 9, £194.50-£209 per 1,000.
3 Fiocchi TT One
A 28g load from the famous Italian manufacturer. Carefully matched components provide a performance that delivers down range punch with moderate recoil. This long-established and highly respected Italian company continues to enhance its reputation with a load specified with the UK shooter very much in mind, to the extent that our Union Jack decorates the box!
Available in plastic and fibre wad 24 and 28g No.7.5, 8 and 9, £189-£198 per 1,000.
4 Fiocchi F Blu
This high-brass target load not only looks impressive, its down-range performance is equally so. It’s a fast cartridge, but with moderate recoil and a particularly clean-burning powder. F Blu comes highly recommended by Italy’s clay target shooting cognoscenti, who are not easily impressed.
Available in plastic wad 24 and 28g No.7.5, £193-£201 per 1,000.
5 Hull Cartridge Sporting 100
With so many Sporting shoots staged on greenfield sites, fibre-wad cartridges are now in demand more than ever. From Hull Cartridge, Sporting 100 (with a 70mm case length) is a hard-hitting load and an excellent example of an environmentally friendly clay target cartridge. In both a new Beretta I have been reviewing and my own Perazzi, shot patterns were impressive and recoil was low. Developed and manufactured by a British company with three generations’ experience of meeting the UK market’s specific requirements for every kind of shotgun shooting.
Available in plastic and fibre wad 28g No.7.5 and 8, £219-£227 per 1,000.
6 Hull Cartridge Comp X
Meeting the demand for a 2½” target load, this cartridge performs very well in short-chambered guns. I put two boxes through a vintage Westley Richards boxlock and was suitably impressed with both the low recoil and the patterns printed. Yet another example of Hull Cartridge Company’s expertise in producing the perfect load for the lightweight English gun.
Available in plastic and fibre wad 21 and 28g No.7.5 and 9, £185-£205 per 1,000.
7 Lyalvale Express English Sporter
This 28g fibre wadded cartridge is a pleasure to use in most guns. I put this carefully made cartridge through a Perazzi over-and-under, a Browning and a Winchester Model 12 Pump. Pellet distribution was excellent through all three, and ejection was good – including the Winchester. Most importantly, pattern distribution was equally satisfactory. An all-round cartridge for the shooter who uses every kind of shotgun.
Available in plastic and fibre wad 28g No.7.5, 8 and 9, £193-£199.50 per 1,000.
8 Lyalvale Express Power Blue
A quality clay target load expressly specified and made for the club shooter. Combining a 28g load and a 70mm case, it functions perfectly in both semi-autos and over-and-unders. For the all-round shot, Power Blue is an excellent load for both Sporting and Trap.
Available in plastic and fibre wad 28g No.7.5, 8 and 9, £203-£214 per 1,000.
9 Cheddite T3 Smart Strike
Cheddite cartridges are relative newcomers to this column, and T3 Smart Strike has already become a popular clay target load. With a high-brass case, this carefully made cartridge exudes quality and this is confirmed on the pattern plate. Expect to hear a lot more about this impressive Trap load in the future.
Available in plastic and fibre wad 24 and 28g No.7.5, 8 and 8.5, £211-£231 per 1,000.
10 Cheddite Sporting
The Italians may be a nation of Trap shooters, but Cheddite keeps a close eye as to what is popular in the foreign market – and Cheddite Sporting is an example of this. A fast, smooth shooting load, you can expect to see and hear more of this cartridge in the future. At my local shooting ground, I put this Italian load through a variety of clay target guns and was suitably impressed with this fast, clean-burning cartridge.
Available in plastic wad 28g No.7.5, £188 per 1,000.