Budget clay shells

You needn’t shell out to get outstanding shells. Here we present a roundup of the most popular clay cartridges!

With a huge variety of cartridges on offer, it can be hard to make an informed choice. Here, our cartridge expert Richard Atkins presents his pick of the clay loads he has tested at the cheaper end of the market.

If you’re shooting a demanding discipline such as Fitasc Sporting or Olympic Trap, you’ll probably want to spend more for a premium shell, but the cartridges listed here are all more than capable for the typical club shoot and even registered competitions.

The cartridges here are all priced in the region of £200 per 1,000, but exact prices vary. If you search around you may find special offers where a shop is looking to clear space on its shelves.


1. Eley First Select

Tested: 28g 7.5 shot fibre wad

Velocity: 344 m/s (1128 fps)

Recoil: 9.6 Ns

Pattern: 62%

Our expert says: “A smooth shooting experience, with very effective patterns. Available in 21, 24 and 28 gram loads and with fibre and plastic wad choice in all shot weights.”


2. Hull Superfast

Tested: 27g 7.5 shot fibre wad

Velocity: 383 m/s (1257 fps)

Recoil: 10.35 Ns

Pattern: 64.5%

Our expert says: “Very popular and with good reason, these are well up to competition use. Recoil is quite crisp but they are quick, with good pattern density.”


3. Gamebore Velocity

Tested: 28g 7.5 shot fibre wad

Velocity: 363 m/s (1191 fps)

Recoil: 10.2 Ns

Pattern: 57%

Our expert says:Ideal for club shooting on a Sunday morning, they certainly proved effective and consistent.”


4. Lyalvale Express English Sporter

Tested: 28g 7.5 shot fibre wad

Velocity: 397 m/s (1302 fps)

Recoil: 11.1 Ns

Pattern: 57%

Our expert says: “This cartridge is genuinely fast and the patterns remained dense despite the speed. Recoil is naturally a bit more noticeable but my word, they can smash the majority of sporting clays!”


5. Jocker L28

Tested: 28g 7 shot plastic wad

Velocity: 390 m/s (1280 fps)

Recoil: 10.9 Ns

Pattern: 51%

Our expert says: “Jocker keeps prices down by using reclaimed shot, Patterns are less dense than some but they break the clays OK!”


6. RC Romagnola

Tested: 21g 7 shot fibre wad

Velocity: 406 m/s (1332 fps)

Recoil: 8.5 Ns

Pattern: 58.5%

Our expert says: “These light loads proved to be very quick indeed while also having very light recoil. The patterns were surprisingly good: these cartridges should make an ideal training cartridge.”


7. Cheddite Sporting

Tested: 28g 7.5 shot plastic wad

Velocity: 370 m/s (1214 fps)

Recoil: 10.33 Ns

Pattern: 54%

Our expert says: “Well able to tackle the bulk of Sporting targets. The moderate velocity is quick enough and helps keep the recoil down.”


8. NSI Due Sporting

Tested: 28g 9.5 shot plastic wad

Velocity: 395 m/s (1276 fps)

Recoil: 11.0 Ns

Pattern: 69% (20yds with Skeet choke)

Our expert says: “This is a short to middle distance specialist cartridge, designed to produce wider, well distributed, patterns. It certainly proved to be fast, consistent and devastating”


9. SAGA Eurotrap

Tested: 28g 7.5 shot plastic wad

Velocity: 383 m/s (1257 fps)

Recoil: 10.7 Ns

Pattern: 61%

Our expert says: “Good velocity combined with reasonably hard shot results in a surprisingly smooth and effective cartridge.”


10. Fiocchi F Blu

Tested: 24g 7.5 shot plastic wad

Velocity: 396 m/s (1300 fps)

Recoil: 10.36 Ns

Pattern: 70%

Our expert says: “Also available in 28g, these are at the budget end of Fiocchi’s true competition loads and have proved immensely popular. They were extremely consistent with high velocity and hard shot,”

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