Best 24g clay cartridges according to CPSA Coach Simon Arbuckle

CPSA Coach Simon Arbuckle tells us to lighten up – most of us would be better off shooting 24g cartridges he argues, so here are his top picks for best 24g clay cartridges

Simon was introduced to clay shooting by a family friend in the 1980s. “I caught the shooting bug when I was about 12 years old,” said Simon, “after a friend urged me to join our local shooting club. Nobody in the family shot, so it was quite an introduction to the sport.”

When he was a little older, Simon chose a career in the Army, which saw him spend more of his time developing his passion for clay shooting as well as discovering a vocation for instructing.

“While in the Army, I found I really enjoyed helping people achieve their potential, which is what instructing is all about. I shot for the Army Clay Target team, becoming Champion shot the year I left, but instructing was an itch that just had to be scratched.”

In 2006 Simon passed his Level 1 Instructor course and started teaching at Southdown Gun Club part-time. The Level 2 course quickly followed and by 2011 Simon had qualified as Level 3 Senior Coach.

“Southdown kindly offered me a full-time job in 2014 and I’m currently its ground manager and head coach. I’m also proud to act as CPSA Clay Line Manager at the Game Fair and Northern Shooting Show.”

Simon was named CPSA Coach of the Year in 2019, and is also an ambassador for CPSA/Musto.

Simon’s six of the best

Ask any clay shooter what their main criteria for selecting cartridges is and, after price, many will say recoil. What’s the point in a 28g cartridge that may perform superbly but is just too uncomfortable to shoot? 

24g shells deliver more control when moving onto the second shot, and tighter patterns with fewer flyers. These tend to be cheaper than 28g cartridges and we’re now seeing more with fibre wads, which is a good thing for the environment. Lighten your load and try 24s.

Eley Hawk
Olympic Blues 24g

Olympic Blues have been around for a long time and have a huge following. Their availability in both plastic and fibre wad, combined with reasonable price and smoothness, means they can more than hold their own in competitions.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 12mm
Load: 24g, 28g
Shot size 24g: 7.5, 8, 9
Shot size 24g Fibre: 7.5 , 8, 9
Shot size 28g: 7.5, 8, 9
Shot size 28g Fibre: 7.5, 8, 9
Muzzle Velocity 24g: 419mps, 1375fps
Muzzle Velocity 24g Fibre: 411mps, 1350fps
Muzzle Velocity 28g: 419mps, 1375fps
Muzzle Velocity 28g Fibre: 411mps, 1350fps
Material: Lead shot, antimony 2%

Evo Competition Load 24g

Available with either plastic or fibre wads, the Evo is a very smooth cartridge, which makes it particularly popular with shooters who suffer from recoil discomfort.

Gauge: 12
Case 21g & 24g Fibre: 65mm
Case 24g Plastic & 28g: 70mm
Head: 8mm
Load: 21g, 24g, 28g
Shot size 21g Fibre 7.5, 8
Shot size 24g Fibre 8
Shot size 24g Plastic 7.5, 8, 9
Shot size 28g Fibre 7.5, 8
Shot size 28g Plastic 7.5, 8, 9
Muzzle Velocity 21g: 405mps, 1395fps 
Muzzle Velocity 24g, 28g: 412mps, 1420fps 
Material: Lead shot

Lyalvale Express
Power Gold 24g 

In the short time that Power Gold has been available it has proven to be the cartridge of choice for many competition shooters. By now offering it in 24g and fibre, Express have widened its appeal to a broader section of shooters.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head 24g: 16mm
Head 28g: 12mm
Load: 24g, 28g
Shot size 24g: 7, 7.5, 8, 9
Shot size 24g Fibre: 7.5 2.4mm, 8
Shot size 28g: 7.5, 8, 9
Shot size 28g Fibre: 7.5, 8, 9
Muzzle Velocity 24g: 434mps, 1425fps
Muzzle Velocity 28g: 426mps, 1400fps
Material: Super tempered lead shot

Sovereign 24g

An out-and-out thoroughbred competition cartridge. With 5% antimony and available in 7.5, 8 and 9 shot sizes this is a cartridge capable of competing at the highest level. A confidence booster.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 16mm
Load: 24g, 28g
Shot size 24g: 7.5, 8, 9
Shot size 28g: 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8
Muzzle Velocity 24g: 472mps, 1550fps
Muzzle Velocity 28g: 457mps, 1500fps
Material: Lead shot, 5% antimony

Empire 24g

A brand new cartridge from a brand new UK manufacturer. Empire, founded by father and son team George and Andrew Bond, only produces fibre wad cartridges but they are very reasonably priced and include free delivery. 

Double-based powders are batch matched from source, so these should shoot consistently from one box to the next. Empire claims its compostable HemiSEAL gas seal enables these shells to compete with plastic wad rivals too.

With a striking red case and high brass head they certainly look the part. Well worth a try.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 16mm
Load: 24g, 28g
Shot size 24g Fibre: 6, 7, 7.5
Shot size 28g Fibre: 5, 6, 7, 7.5
Muzzle Velocity 24g: 442mps, 1450fps
Muzzle Velocity 28g: 442mps, 1450fps
Material: Lead shot, 3% antimony

FBlack 24g

Not at the top of the Fiocchi range but a very smooth high-performance cartridge that’s as good if not better than many more expensive shells. Unfortunately, it is only available in 7.5 (English 7) as it was developed with Olympic Trap in mind. This is a top performing cartridge that won’t bankrupt you and is more than capable of breaking long-range targets with ease.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 16mm
Load: 24g
Shot size 24g: 7.5
Muzzle Velocity 24g: 410mps, 1345fps
Material: Lead shot

Worth considering…

T3 Grand Italia 24g

A legendary cartridge that was developed for Olympic Trap but is versatile enough to serve you in other trap disciplines as well as Skeet and Sporting.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 16mm
Grams: 24, 28
Shot size: 7.5, 8, 9.5
Muzzle Velocity: 412mps, 1352fps
Material: Lead shot, 6% antimony

Nobel Sport Italia
Quattro Fluo Trap 24g

Another Trap cartridge but one that excels at Sporting too. This cartridge patterns well, is fast, reliable and smooth, with little recoil.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 23mm
Load: 24g
Shot size: 7.5, 8
Muzzle Velocity: 420mps, 1378fps
Muzzle Velocity Fibre: 419mps, 1375fps
Material: Lead shot, 4% antimony

Sellier & Bellot
Skeet 24 Super 24g

A shell that’s very smooth to shoot, so recovery on the second target is outstanding. For the Sporting and Skeet competitor, it is capable of breaking everything within sensible range.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 12.5mm
Load: 24g
Shot size: 9 (2mm)
Muzzle Velocity: 415mps, 1361fps
Material: Lead shot

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