What are the best value for money cartridges?

Peter Saich, freelance Level 2 coach and CPSA director, reviews competitively priced cartridges.

Peter’s love of shooting started at an early age, shooting vermin around the farm with his father more than 40 years ago. That led him to start competing at local shoots, and he won his first ‘senior’ trophy at 15. 

Many more accolades and achievements were to follow including Surrey County Side-by-Side Sporting Champion, South of England Olympic Skeet Veteran Champion, current Surrey Supreme Veteran Champion and English Open Skeet Championship class winner.

Peter’s passion is for Sporting and Skeet, but he has also been involved with coaching. He gained his Advanced Level Sporting coaching qualification in 1998 and is qualified as a safety officer and referee.

Coaching may have started off as a hobby, helping members of his local club, but it took off to the extent that Peter was soon working for established shooting schools, such as Bisley Shooting Ground, the National Clay Shooting Centre and Lower Lodge Shooting Ground, as a professional shooting instructor.

Peter is a member of the National Association of Sports Coaches, president of Guildford and District Gun Club and a director of the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association.

He says “Many established shots may be pleasantly surprised at the performance of these more competitively priced shells, both in terms of cost savings and the lower, smoother recoil.

“Try experimenting with different brands and loads. Why not buy a couple of boxes at a time, or even swap them among your usual shooting group to discover what suits you and your gun best?”

Gamebore EVO Competition Load

A consistent, smooth cartridge for the novice or club shot, that does well at ranges from Skeet to mid-distance sporting. They are available in 21 gram, 24 gram (useful for Olympic Skeet) and 28 gram, 7.5, 8 and 9 shot in both Plastic and Fibre wad.

Unfortunately, the 21g, 24g and 28g shells and boxes look identical, and the cartridges have an 8mm head. Look carefully to avoid mixing them up! 

Gauge: 12
Case 21g & 24g fibre: 65mm
Case 24g plastic & 28g: 70mm

Gamebore Velocity+

A ‘no frills’ good all-round cartridge for Skeet, Sporting or first barrel DTL. It has slightly more punchy recoil than the Evo, but good hitting power and is relatively inexpensive. These shells are a firm favourite with the members of my local Sporting club.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 8mm
Load: 26g, 28g plastic or fibre
Lead shot, sizes 7.5 and 8

Hull Comp X

This is an excellent ‘entry level’ cartridge, available in weights of 21 gram and 28 gram. The 21 gram version is particularly good for coaching novices and ‘have a go’ days and so on.

The Comp X has low recoil and a low price but scores consistent results at close to medium range. It’s surprising just how well they will break a mid- to long-range target. 

Gauge: 12
Case: 65mm
Head: 8mm
Load: 21g, 28g

Hull Intercomp HV 

A personal favourite of mine, the Intercomp HV is an underrated cartridge with modest recoil for a high velocity shell and some great patterns. It is ideal for club Sporting or Skeet and is available in 24 gram or 28 gram. The 24 gram 9 shot is the cartridge of choice for several GB Olympic Skeet shooters.

Gauge: 12
Case 65mm plastic, 70mm fibre
Head: 8mm
Load: 24g
Lead shot, 2% antimony, sizes 7.5, 8 and 9
Muzzle Velocity: 427mps, 1400fps

Cheddite Universal Trap  

These are gaining a following as a good, all-round Trap or Sporting load. They are available in the full range of plastic or fibre wad, 21, 24 or 28 gram. The most expensive variant – 28 gram fibre – is still less than £200 per thousand.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 12mm
Load: 24g, 28g
Lead shot, 3% antimony, sizes 7.5, 8 and 9
Muzzle Velocity 24g: 396mps, 1306fps
Muzzle Velocity 28g: 393mps, 1296fps

Cheddite Drago Skeet

The Drago Skeet is another local favourite, with several Skeet shooters in my area having switched to them recently. They exhibit smooth recoil and throw very good patterns at Skeet targets, which is exactly what they’ve been developed to do.

The 24 gram, plastic wad 9 shot variant costs a little over £200 per thousand, but that’s still well below the premium shells. I believe they have similar characteristics to the Hull Intercomp mentioned earlier.

Gauge: 12
Case: 70mm
Head: 16mm
Load: 24g
Lead shot, 3% antimony, size 9.5 (UK 9)
Muzzle Velocity: 400mps, 1319fps

More cartridge round-ups from Clay Shooting Magazine

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