8 of the best cartridges for partridge shooting
PUBLISHED: 12:20 15 October 2019
Whether you're shooting walked-up or driven partridges, with an over-and-under or a Best side-by-side, Vic Harker presents a round-up of the best ammunition suitable for the job
The grey partridge, a native of England since the Ice Age, was England's staple game bird until the redleg, an import from France in the 18th century, gradually usurped the grey's position. Nevertheless, walked-up partridge of any kind over the autumn stubbles is still a wonderful way of honing your shooting skills in the early days of the season. Sometimes, I still drive through the countryside where I took my first shots on walked-up partridge and the intensity of those moments as a young man with his first gun remains with me.
This month's cartridge pages are dedicated to loads particularly suitable to partridge shooting and which I am confident will enhance your sport in pursuit of that most English of game birds.
1. Eley Impax Traditional
A particularly suitable cartridge for early-season partridges. A 28g load in a 2½" case, it is the perfect choice for that fast, light-handling side-by-side gun you keep for use on important occasions.
Available in 30g fibre wad, shot sizes 5,6; £322 per 1,000.
2. Eley Zenith
For the heavier, longer-barrelled gun suitable for partridges at range. The copper-plated shot load in a 2¾" case maintains a perfect pattern all the way to the quarry.
Available in 30, 32, 34 and 36g fibre wad, shot sizes 4, 5, 6;£359 to £429 per 1,000.
3. Fiocchi PL28
The Italians are avid hunters, both in their own country and elsewhere; be sure they will be represented on the opening of the partridge season with their cartridge of choice, Fiocchi PL28. A 28g load and a 67mm case eminently suitable for partridge and for shooters who know their ammunition.
Available in 28g fibre wad, shot sizes 6,7; £263 per 1,000.
4. Fiocchi F3 Game
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A 30g load with a fibre wad in a 67mm length case, F3 Game makes for an excellent load for partridge. Fast, but relatively light on the shoulder, it's an all-day cartridge for when driven partridge are coming over the line thick and fast. The pattern plate revealed well-distributed patterns through my English boxlock and a Beretta O/U.
Available in 30, 32g fibre wad, shot sizes 5, 6;£279 to £292 per 1,000.
5. Hull Imperial Game
A game load from a maker with an enviable reputation for providing the game shooter with not only what he wants but needs. Particularly suitable for use in the traditional English game gun. It combines excellent ballistics that are very consistent and effective and at the same time treat your best gun with respect.
Available in 26,28 and 30g fibre wad, shot sizes 4, 5, 6, 7; £309 to £326 per 1,000.
6. Hull The Partridge Cartridge
Conceived and developed successfully for partridge shooting, it is suitably lethal, but at the same time your partridge will arrive on your dinner table in an appetising condition due to its carefully conceived ballistics.
Available in 32g fibre wad, shot size 5.5; £348 per 1,000.
7. Lyalvale Express Special Game
In the relatively short time from its founding, Lyalvale has now become firmly established as an integral part of the British shooting scene. Notable for their medal-winning record in international clay target shooting, they are equally renowned for their game loads. Special Game is a special load indeed - both fast but with moderate recoil, it's an all-day cartridge for when the birds are coming thick and fast.
Available in 25, 32g fibre wad, 28, 30g plastic and fibre wad, shot sizes 5, 6, 7; £269 to £307 per 1,000.
8. Lyalvale Supreme Game
A high-brass load that shouts quality, it has been a success from its relatively recent arrival. Combining speed and knockdown capability, for many shooters it's a natural choice for when the birds are high and wide.
Available in 28, 30, 32g plastic and fibre wad and 34g fibre wad, shot sizes 4, 5, 6, 6.5, 7; £299 to £374 per 1,000.