Fiocchi shoots a winner

When Fiocchi bring out something new, you know it’s worth taking a look at.

Founded back in 1876 this family owned business has worked hard to become one of the world’s largest ammunition suppliers: Fiocchi make everything from .22 rimfire through centrefire ammunition and a host of shotgun types, with several specialities, and beyond for military ammunition.

So far as clay shooters are concerned Fiocchi ammunition has won many world championship events as well as Olympic gold medals; eight Fiocchi team members have ‘won their card’ for London 2012, according to the Fiocchi website, so they know how to build great cartridges.

The two new loads featured here are in their latest ‘F’ Line; this is used to denote clay target loads using the new Fiocchi ‘F’ series propellant powders. This is a double-base propellant (that being where nitro-glycerine is blended with nitro cellulose) whereas a high proportion of cartridges use single base (nitro cellulose only) powders today.

The Wads with the FBlu cartridges showed a similar tendency to stay intact as with the FBLACK

Fiocchi explains the advantage of the double-based F series powders as their high energy content that allows slightly smaller charges to be used, as well as better stability in different temperature and humidity conditions so the cartridges will remain more consistent when fired in different climatic conditions. They are a thin, lozenge shaped cut flake and burn with slightly more ‘vivacity’ which can help the shooter feel reduced recoil sensation as well as burning cleanly.

Both types certainly felt good to shoot to me and even the 24-gram load cycled well in an old style gas semi-auto that was designed when 32-gram loads were the norm, so that was an unexpected bonus. The burn proved to be exceptionally clean and when viewing the barrel after firing it was hard to detect whether the gun had been fired at all, as residue was all but non-existent.

Both the FBLU and FBLACK are premium loads and the wads used are the same design as that introduced in the Fiocchi ‘Official’ line some time ago. It has a very complex ‘honey comb’-type central section between the shot cup and gas seal that protects the lead shot very well.

Both FBLU and FBLACK cases and shot were of the highest quality

The pre-formed leaves of the shot cup are quite strongly joined and collecting fired wads when patterning showed that it was not unusual to find some shot cups still intact after firing; this did not appear to affect the patterning ability though.

A striking feature of the laboratory results is the superb consistency in velocities reached by both samples of test shells. Single figure SD (Standard Deviation) results like these demonstrate the overall quality and compatibility of the components used, combined with the most precise loading procedures and quality control checks, as befits such a significant ammunition producer as Fiocchi.

The shot load weights were very consistent too, the FBLU being about one pellet below the 28-gram shot weight and the FBLACK a couple of pellets above the 24-gram weight. Shot size using the pellet count method averaged in between UK 7 (340 per ounce) and UK 7.5 (400 per ounce) in both types at 374 and 365 per ounce respectively, hence my 7.25 designation: pellets are well graded and highly polished.

This means these cartridges carry more pellets than those Italian cartridges marked 7.5 but to Italian size, which is very close to UK No. 7 shot size. Pellet diameters confirmed the count result, being around .002”/003” larger than UK 7.5 (0.090”) at around .092” / 093” in diameters. It is useful to know this as it will give the pellets slightly increased retained energy which, along with their low Crush Value figures, which shows them to be very hard, has the ability to strike clays with a shade more breaking ability at longer ranges, where shells of this type come into their own.

Despite being faster, the FBLACK achieved an average of 71 per cent pattern density from the Imp Mod test barrel

The pattern results are interesting too; massively dense! Slightly surprisingly, the heavier shot load FBLU put an extra couple of per cent more in the circle than the 24 gram FBLACK, but with these sort of performances where pattern densities are more than a complete choke boring higher than the test barrel used (Imp Mod/ 65% nominal) the results are impressive anyway (and note, could vary a percentage point or two either way if the tests were repeated).

You will see from the photographs that I scribe a 20” diameter ring inside the 30” diameter main pattern circle. This gives an indication of how strong the centre of the pattern is hence how even distribution is across the total area. The FBLUs put 160 pellest in the inner 20” circle on average and the FBLACKs 135; that works out to be 60 per cent of the total pellets in the 30”pattern for both of them being within less than one per cent on average, which is a strikingly similar result!

Obviously the 24-gram load puts fewer in the circle as it has less to begin with, but the two results are remarkable for their symmetry. Both are what would be described as somewhat ‘centre-dense’ as the inner 20” circle represents just 44 per cent of the total area. All modern clay competition cartridges put more than 44 per cent within the central zone, some more so than others.

What results like these do show is that the load is capable of holding a very close pattern out to extended distance and that, in a competition load, is something many will look for. If the results are too tight for the circumstances it’s easy to screw in a more open choke to achieve the result you are looking for.

Patterns produced at 40 yards don't get much more dense than the FBLU 28

Using a more open choke boring for your first barrel at Trap, for example, will give a shade more margin for error knowing the tighter choke barrel is well capable of pulling back the longer ones should it be required; this may also give a more even spread across the pattern, without losing much if in total pellets in the pattern. Such things are a consideration for Double Rise and Double Trap events of course, where a second barrel is always required. Here matching the chokes and cartridge to the situation is essential.
Designed and sold as premium ammunition for the discerning clay competition shooter, the latest FBLU and FBLACK are clearly top-performing cartridges with consistency to match. They are brisk, a shade faster than some previous Fiocchi loads we have tested but without being ultra fast.

Fiocchi knows that smoothness is an important factor and that sensible velocities can help maintain performance over extended competitions, especially when it’s hot: these factors help maintain pattern quality too and Fiocchi has achieved that as seen in these results.

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22 comments on “Fiocchi shoots a winner
  1. Stu says:

    Some fellow shooters and myself have been converted over to Fiocchi for club level shooting and have to say that the whole range of Fiocchi cartridges hold fantastic patterns even at those birds at distance.
    The plastic wads used throught their plastic range are by far superior to their direct competitors which becomes obvious with the smooth performance.

  2. Stu says:

    Some fellow shooters and myself have been converted over to Fiocchi for club level shooting and have to say that the whole range of Fiocchi cartridges hold fantastic patterns even at those birds at distance.
    The plastic wads used throught their plastic range are by far superior to their direct competitors which becomes obvious with the smooth performance.

  3. Guess who? says:

    Eley olympics give em a run for the money!

  4. Guess who? says:

    Eley olympics give em a run for the money!

  5. Paul Wilkes says:

    We have tested these two cartridges extensively. In 28g loads they are identical cartridges with the exception of the powder. We believe the FBLU is a Fiocchi powder and FBLACK is a French manufactured powder. Unlike most manufacturers Fiocchi use many different powders across their range which nower days is unusual, something only normally found from bespoke cartridge manufacturers. When compared to The Eley range, the FBLU tends to be being used by Eley Superb shooters who have moved over to Fiocchi as they are more competitively priced and use higher quality components. What we didn’t realise is that Fiocchi supply their components to many of the other manufacturers (Eley for example) who have used Fiocchi components historically. There seems to be a misconception with many naive shooters that a fast muzzle velocity equals a fast cartridge which is totally wrong. The Fiocchi shot in the FBLU and FBLACK shells has a higher antimony value than the equivalent in competitors ranges and this stops the shot from deforming when under the enormous pressures at the muzzle. The shot is also of uniform size and shape. The higher the muzzle velocity the more chance of deformation, the lower the antimony the more likely the shot will deform. So, high muzzle velocity, low antimony equals distorted shot. Distorted shot, even when fired at super high velotities will lose all it’s potential energy (to heat) as it leaves the barrel and is challenged by the resistance of the air. We often explain this similar to; imagine having two cannons, one with a super high velocity and the other with a lesser velocity. Now, fill the higher velocity cannon with £1 coins and the lower velocity cannon with ball bearings of identical weight to the coins. As the loads from the two cannons exit the barrel the coins will be travelling much faster than the ball bearings, however, 20 metres into flight which do you think will be travelling at the fastest speed? So, if you want to shoot clays directly on the end of your barrel go for those fast muzzle velocity shells with soft, mis-shaped shot, but if you want to be hitting those high, distant birds, go for the ones with quality shot.

  6. Paul Wilkes says:

    We have tested these two cartridges extensively. In 28g loads they are identical cartridges with the exception of the powder. We believe the FBLU is a Fiocchi powder and FBLACK is a French manufactured powder. Unlike most manufacturers Fiocchi use many different powders across their range which nower days is unusual, something only normally found from bespoke cartridge manufacturers. When compared to The Eley range, the FBLU tends to be being used by Eley Superb shooters who have moved over to Fiocchi as they are more competitively priced and use higher quality components. What we didn’t realise is that Fiocchi supply their components to many of the other manufacturers (Eley for example) who have used Fiocchi components historically. There seems to be a misconception with many naive shooters that a fast muzzle velocity equals a fast cartridge which is totally wrong. The Fiocchi shot in the FBLU and FBLACK shells has a higher antimony value than the equivalent in competitors ranges and this stops the shot from deforming when under the enormous pressures at the muzzle. The shot is also of uniform size and shape. The higher the muzzle velocity the more chance of deformation, the lower the antimony the more likely the shot will deform. So, high muzzle velocity, low antimony equals distorted shot. Distorted shot, even when fired at super high velotities will lose all it’s potential energy (to heat) as it leaves the barrel and is challenged by the resistance of the air. We often explain this similar to; imagine having two cannons, one with a super high velocity and the other with a lesser velocity. Now, fill the higher velocity cannon with £1 coins and the lower velocity cannon with ball bearings of identical weight to the coins. As the loads from the two cannons exit the barrel the coins will be travelling much faster than the ball bearings, however, 20 metres into flight which do you think will be travelling at the fastest speed? So, if you want to shoot clays directly on the end of your barrel go for those fast muzzle velocity shells with soft, mis-shaped shot, but if you want to be hitting those high, distant birds, go for the ones with quality shot.

  7. Simon Newbridge says:

    Myself and a group of my friends have all switched over to Fiocchi FBLU cartridges from Eley Superbs and have not been disappointed what so ever. We are all AAA shooters and have high expectations from our cartridges. The FBLU loads are smooth and appear to hold their shot pattern very well. We are going to give the FBLACK range a go and are looking forward to the results. We had ours from a chap called Stuart (can’t remember his surname) who shoots at Wergs Clay Shoot in Hilton Lane near Shareshill. Well done Fiocchi, you have 3 converts.

  8. Simon Newbridge says:

    Myself and a group of my friends have all switched over to Fiocchi FBLU cartridges from Eley Superbs and have not been disappointed what so ever. We are all AAA shooters and have high expectations from our cartridges. The FBLU loads are smooth and appear to hold their shot pattern very well. We are going to give the FBLACK range a go and are looking forward to the results. We had ours from a chap called Stuart (can’t remember his surname) who shoots at Wergs Clay Shoot in Hilton Lane near Shareshill. Well done Fiocchi, you have 3 converts.

  9. Phil Painter says:

    Having used the Fiocchi FBLACK cartridges for the first time last weekend I am very impressed. Great patterning, superb low recoil, 5% antimony and a great price (I paid £186 for a thousand). I am definately converting over to these full time. Fantastic results.

  10. Phil Painter says:

    Having used the Fiocchi FBLACK cartridges for the first time last weekend I am very impressed. Great patterning, superb low recoil, 5% antimony and a great price (I paid £186 for a thousand). I am definately converting over to these full time. Fantastic results.

  11. Sean says:

    We bought some FBLU and FBLACK cartridges from Saredon Shooting Supplies (www.ukfirearms.com). I think we paid £167 for FBU and a tenner more for the FBLACK. Good value and a brill cartridge. I think we will be sticking to these for a while.

  12. Sean says:

    We bought some FBLU and FBLACK cartridges from Saredon Shooting Supplies (www.ukfirearms.com). I think we paid £167 for FBU and a tenner more for the FBLACK. Good value and a brill cartridge. I think we will be sticking to these for a while.

  13. David Smith says:

    I have had some of these shells from Fausto at Saredon Shooting Supplies and found them very very good. Only paid £177 for a thousand. They sold me some FBLACK Sporting which are similar but with an 8.5 shot size. These ones were also very good and I will be using them in the future once I have shot out of my last few Hulls.

  14. David Smith says:

    I have had some of these shells from Fausto at Saredon Shooting Supplies and found them very very good. Only paid £177 for a thousand. They sold me some FBLACK Sporting which are similar but with an 8.5 shot size. These ones were also very good and I will be using them in the future once I have shot out of my last few Hulls.

  15. Michael M says:

    Used the Fblack sporting for the past couple of months. Patterns are very good. Smashes the long range birds. Excellent shell

  16. Michael M says:

    Used the Fblack sporting for the past couple of months. Patterns are very good. Smashes the long range birds. Excellent shell

  17. Simon edmond says:

    I’ve just bought 1000 Fiocchi Top Ones to try on DTL and found them brilliant . I used to shoot Fiocchi back in the late 70s and early 80s when I shot Olympic trench and liked them so much that I thought I’d try them again , I will be sticking with these from now on , very reasonably price too .

  18. Gerry reynolds says:

    I have been shooting Fiocchi top 1 shells and will honestly say lovely smooth shell little recoil . Perfect for any type of trap shooting capable of second barrel kills on O T says it all really .

    Tried 28 gram f blu on dtl three quarters choke , the results were outstanding black puffs of dust absolutely smoked them .Real winner well done fiocchi.

    • Janice says:

      Hi Gerry,I’ve tried the F3s and by god they have knocked me around,which would you say are the best the 28g Fblack or the blue,don’t know which one to try,I do trap shooting and a bit of sporting,thanks janice

  19. Gerry reynolds says:

    Shot 50 dtl at park farm WORCESTER today ,windy conditions on outside layout .Having warmed my tt1 plastic cartridges night before I was really looking forward to test them again .All English inter,s decided to shoot covered layouts couldn’t blame them really sheltered from wind no idiots walking and talking behind you as you are about 2 shoot .Shot two 24 and the 6 small bits that I went for must say I pulverised 48 targets using beretta gold xtrap, my 20 pure gold choke bottom barrel full in top hardly any recoil real pleasure to shoot .This really is a fantastic buget shell that is really good enough to shoot top scores with .So far I have not had any primer trouble no damaged ones real credit to fiocchi on quality control .I popped to have watch under cover ed layouts the top boys dropped some targets using the pro 1, superb and rc4,s .Fiocchi tt1 will more than get the job done ,checked barrels after clean as a whistle .Went home big smile ,try these Janice just noticed your post sorry for delay .150 a thousand !!

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