Champion's Choice - which loads do the UK's top shooters choose?
PUBLISHED: 11:45 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:45 15 July 2019
Which cartridges does Amber Hill use? How about Mark Winser or Richard Faulds? Vic Harker tells us which cartridges the stars of our sport favour, and why!
A shooter's gun is very important. Weight, barrel length, chokes and stock dimensions are all given careful consideration, but listen into any group of top shots and their prime concern are the cartridge. Pattern, speed, recoil and consistency is constantly mulled over, considered and reconsidered. These men and women know that without optimum ballistic performance, the finest gun in the world will not get them to where they want to be - which is number one on the winner's podium.
For this year's champion's choice, I have given the people who sponsor them a wider remit as to the choice of top shooters. In some cases, the people they have chosen are not only great shots, but also people who make a contribution to their sport in other ways. This may take the form of promoting their sport to a non-shooting audience, they may be handicapped in some way or have had to overcome their disabilities. Whatever the reason for their inclusion, they are all worthy of a mention and our acknowledgment of their achievements.
An Olympic bronze medallist at the 2016 Games, Ed Ling's cartridge of choice is Cheddite Mach3 for both its speed and consistency. From a manufacturer with an enviable reputation for composing the right shooter/cartridge combination, the Ed Ling/Mach3 pairing is already producing the results that both the manufacturer and the shooter are seeking.
Josh Bridges, Junior world FITASC champion, also chooses Mach3 for the same qualities that have already produced his first world championship. Available in 24 and 28g plastic wad, shot sizes 7¼, 8.5; £261 per 1,000.
Lyalvale Express Supreme Comp and Super Trap
With no less than 22 world titles and 7 European, not to mention British Championships, Richard Faulds is already an all-time great and uses Lyalvale's Supreme Comp and Super Comp exclusively.
Supreme Comp is available in 28g plastic wad, shot sizes 6.6, 7, 7.5, 8, 9; £289 per 1,000.
Andrea Swatts was a successful DTL shooter for eight years and represented England in the Ladies DTL team, but her competitive spirit yearned for another challenge, so she took up Olympic Trap, and in 2017 she won gold in the Ladies World ABT and secured a place on the GB Talent Pathway. Andrea's cartridge of choice is Lyavale's Super Trap.
Super Trap is available in 28g plastic wad, shot size 7.5; £261 per 1,000.
Fiocchi Golden and F Black
Para-Trap shooter Alan Ritchie may shoot sitting down, but Fiocchi Golden has helped him to the position of world number one in his chosen discipline. Olympic Trap is far from easy standing or sitting, but his choice of cartridge has ensured he is regularly in number one position.
Golden Trap is available in 24 and 28g plastic wad, shot size 7.5; £256 - £264 per 1,000.
The 2018 TSC (The Schools Challenge) held at Oxford Gun Company from March to November saw Chloe Applin win the Girl's Championship and first prize of a car. Her success, she says, is in part due to her choice of cartridge, Fiocchi F Black. Clearly a young lady of impeccable taste and a good shot too, but she has no doubt this beautifully made high brass cartridge with a black case was part of her success.
F Black is available in 24 and 28g plastic wad, shot sizes 7.5, 8.5; £214 - £229 per 1,000.
Gamebore Black Gold
Gamebore 'Pro Shot' Mark Winser has enjoyed a great start to the 2019 competitive clay season with two titles under his belt already: the Essex Gun Masters champion title (the third time he's won it) and the UK FITASC championship. Mark uses Black Gold competition cartridges and his load of choice is 8 shot, 28g.
Black Gold F2 is Gamebore's flagship competition cartridge, combining high performance features, such as Gamebore's exclusive Diamond Shot, Gordon recoil reduction system, and a high velocity of 1,500 fps; this cartridge is a market leader.
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Available in 28g plastic and fibre wad, shot sizes 6.5, 7.5, 8, 9; £276-£279 per 1,000.
Hull Sovereign and Pro One
"The Sovereign cartridge produces great kills," says Richard Bunning, world Sporting champion of 2018. "They throw one hell of a good pattern and so they break more targets convincingly.The confidence I have in these cartridges means it's one thing I don't have to worry about."
Sovereign is available in 24 and 28g plastic wad, No.6.5, 7,7.5,8,9; £256.50-272 per 1,000.
Lucy Pitt, the current English and Welsh champion shoots a Perazzi and loads it with Hull Pro One. "It's a great cartridge," she enthuses, "and it's always my first choice."
Available in 24 and 28g plastic and fibre wad, shot sizes 7.7.5,8,9; £240.50 - £263 per 1,000.
Eley Amber and Titanium Strike
A high bass 12g 2¾ cartridge with 24g shot load in a pink case. This is Amber Hill's recipe for shooting success, and it has worked for her brilliantly.
On the pattern plate, Eley's Amber cartridges provided an excellent pattern through my Perazzi MX8. A feminine appearance it may have, but this load packed a punch on some Trap targets in a way that was impressive.
Amber is available in 21 and 24g plastic and fibre wad, shot size 8; £191 - £204 per 1,000.
Eley Hawk Titanium Strike was launched last year. With maximum speeds of 1,495 fps at muzzle, nickel-coated shot and the best quality powder in them, they are a stunning choice for shooters who need the best range and breaking power on clays. Steve Clark is currently ranked 6th in the CPSA rankings and recently posted some very high scores and has won several High Guns already early in the season.
Speaking about the Titaniums, Steve said: "I have really been impressed with the way the cartridges are performing - the clays just get dusted by the tight pattern and the high speeds on offer with these are phenomenal."
Titanium Strike is available in 24 and 28g plastic wad, sizes 7.5 and 8; £279 - £297 per 1,000.