Cartridge test: Lyalvale Express Power Gold range
- Credit: Drennan Kenderdine
Drennan tests the golden trinity that is the Express Power Gold range – a group of entry-level competition loads that’ll take you as far as you can shoot!
Express launched their Power range many, many moons back, starting with the Power Blue, then the Power Red, and finally the Power Gold.
The Power Gold range is Express’s entry-level competition cartridge, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they have entry-level performance; these loads have quite a following and a reputation for winning silverware, medals and other pretty trinkets.
I use an array of cartridges every year – it’s what I do. It’s my job to test cartridges and aid in the development of some for both clay shooting and field use; and field use, of course, brings up the issue of fibre wads.
Fibre wads were, in the past, at best horrid, and were loathed by pretty much everyone I came into contact with. But we’ve moved on since then, especially with the brilliance of the Dianna wad. Dianna wads make a terrific seal in the barrel to prevent the gases from escaping. Without that seal, we’re back to the days of wet farts echoing through the valleys and shooting grounds as the gases from the ignited cartridge escape into the atmosphere and push lead into the sky with the force of a spud gun.
So, with that clearly explained, it is no wonder there are two shells within the Power Gold range I have on test that house one of these excellent Dianna wads.
This is a triple test, and I will be comparing the Power Gold 24g fibre, the Power Gold 28g fibre, and the Power Gold 28g plastic.
You can easily identify which of their cartridges are fibre and which are not, because the fibre wad cartridges have a green label glued to the outer slab packaging that is large enough to be seen by a mole, and another green label glued to the outside of the cartridge box. Lyalvale use green for fibre, and white for plastic, so a quick glance at the box tells you immediately what you’re dealing with.
24g and 28g fibre
Starting with the 24g and 28g fibre, the loads look identical, apart from the colour of the print on the cartridge cases. Both have that bright, metallic gold plastic case and are supported by a 12mm silver ferrel that is brighter than the sun. The print clearly differentiates between the two weights, and I liked the simple, and fast, visual identification.
Although they both share similarities, they’re as different as chalk and cheese. Contrary to most perceptions, 24g and 28g cartridges have completely different powders, and the differences don’t end there. They have different wad lengths, although both are still made by Dianna. They share the same lead although, stating the obvious, in different weights.
When it came to shooting them, these two share no resemblance to one another at all. They both deliver devastating impact on the target, but with a totally different style. A lot like the difference between Mike Tyson and Tyson Fury – both these fighters will knock your lights out, but in very different ways. The 28g has, as expected, a bigger “push” from the recoil.
There’s nothing that the 28g can’t tackle, and the same goes for the 24g, but there are certainly situations where I’d favour one over the other, and vice versa.
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If you’d ask me to shoot something as hard as Helice, it’s going to be the 28g hands down, simply because it has more pellets... and you need them in Helice! I’ve shot Helice with both of these shells, and they both do the job, but the 28g has the edge thanks to the extra lead - it’s that simple.
The 28g can and did perform on Sporting with the results you’d expect from a competition cartridge, and the same with Trap, but the 24g wins hands down for me on simulated game days. It has that lovely smoothness in the recoil, and with the fibre wad, it’s ticking the environmental box too.
But having said all this, please don’t think that this cartridge is limited to use on sim game days; this shell is absolutely perfect for those who don’t want or need the extra oomph that the 28g provides.
Will the 24g perform well on Sporting, Trap and Skeet? Oh yes, it can and did!
I don’t have a favourite out of these two really - I simply use both of them accordingly, for different disciplines/situations.
The 28g plastic wad version of the Power Gold looks exactly like its fibre brother and sister. The only noticeable difference is on the slab box and the cartridge box itself, which comes with a white label listing the specifics of the cartridges inside.
Again, the behaviour of this cartridge is different from the 28g fibre version. When you shoot these 28g plastic wad versions, you can instantly tell why it’s a favourite with competition shooters. It is a real nutcracker on the clays, delivering consistently reliable patterns backed up with a ferocious lethality.
You know you’ve entered into the competition range of powders because that recoil you get from some club cartridges isn’t present with this shell. What would I use these on? Anything and everything! And it’s worked like a dream on all test targets.
Don’t get me wrong – there are other competition loads from Express that I actually prefer – but don’t forget that this is an entry-level competition cartridge. To compare it to Express’s Supreme range, for example, is not a fair contrast.
A tip of the cap to Express for bringing three cartridges to the Power Gold range that will suit a host of people for a variety of disciplines and situations, and ticking the green box in the process. The Alchemist has got this trio in the bag!
Prices per 1,000
Power Gold 24g plastic No.7.5 and 9: £275
Power Gold 24g fibre No.7.5 and 8: £276
Power Gold 28g plastic No.7.5, 8 and 9: £278
Power Gold 28g fibre No.7.5, 8 and 9: £289