Mid-range cartridges for club or competition

If you don’t want to use budget loads and can’t justify premium competition loads, there is plenty to choose from out there

These days, most of us mere mortals struggle to justify the expense of premium competition cartridges, but many still feel the need of something a little more potent than a budget load.

On the safe assumption that most of us are not in the running to win any major competitions, but are reasonable shots, manufacturers have provided plenty of choice for those who desire clay-breaking performance without a bank-breaking price.

We all want a cartridge that allows us to perform to the best of our ability for sensible money. There are plenty of us who shoot primarily for enjoyment, whether it’s a regular Sunday morning club shoot or the occasional competition.

For these competent everyday shooters there is a plentiful choice of plastic and fibre wad cartridges in the £200 to £250 range. That’s what we are looking at here.

These are all good-quality cartridges at spot-on money, most of them providing a variety of shot sizes for any clay shooting scenario. They’re generally aimed at the Sporting market, but they will cope with the more specialist disciplines too. Even Skeet is catered for.

Hull Sporting 100

Load: 28gm Plastic or Fibre 7.5 or 8 shot
Case Length: 70mm
Muzzle Velocity: 1400fps
Price: £219 Plastic or £227 Fibre

Introduced to replace the Pro Sport a year or two ago, the Sporting 100 is now in its second incarnation: the Graphite edition. This was specifically designed as a mid-range clay load, and is therefore fully optimised for that purpose. Proper intermediate pricing makes this a must-try.

Eley Superb

Load: 28gm Plastic or Fibre 7, 7.5, 8 or 9 shot
Case Length: 70mm
Muzzle Velocity: 1450fps
Price: £234 Plastic or £241 Fibre

Another cartridge designed to cater to the mid-range market in particular, Eley Superb was originally available only in a plastic wad, but it now comes in fibre wad too, as well as a 24gm load if required. A good range of shot sizes means you are spoilt for choice, and it has bags of performance for competition work.

Gamebore Blue Diamond

Load: 28gm Plastic or Fibre 7.5, 8 or 9 shot
Case Length: 70mm
Muzzle Velocity: 1425fps
Price: £237 Plastic or £243 Fibre

The Blue Diamond cartridge has been around for centuries, and continues to weather the market. Loaded in its trademark royal blue Gordon System Recoil case, it gives great performance with the added advantage of lower recoil. It’s also available in 24gm loads, although only in 7.5 shot.

Lyalvale Express Power Gold

Load: 28gm Plastic or Fibre 7.5, 8 or 9 shot
Case Length: 70mm
Muzzle Velocity: 1425fps
Price: £226 Plastic or £235 Fibre

New last year, this sits between Lyalvale’s Power Blue and Super Comp cartridges, and boasts good performance at mid-range pricing. It has also introduced a 24gm version in both plastic and fibre wad. A good choice in terms of performance, price and smoothness.

RC2 Competition

Load: 28gm Plastic or Fibre 7.5, 8 or 9.5 shot
Case Length: 70mm
Muzzle Velocity: 1400fps
Price: £209 Plastic or £236 Fibre

RC2s have been around for many years, and have persisted for a good reason. Hugely popular for both club and competition use, they probably have the least recoil of this month’s lot, and certainly the least muzzle flip. Recently, fibre wads have been made available in 28gm, along with a 24gm version in plastic wad only.

Fiocchi FBlack

Load: 28gm Plastic 7.5 or 8.5 shot
Case Length: 70mm
Muzzle Velocity: 1450fps
Price: £219/1,000

Fiocchi has a knack for producing competitively priced clay cartridges, and with the FBlack it seems to have done it again. The cartridge is an evolution of the Fblu, which also remains popular. You cannot beat this sort of performance at this sort of price. It’s plastic wad only, but a 24gm version available in shot size 7.5 only.

 Victory Challenger

Load: 28gm Plastic 7.5, 8 or 9 shot
Case Length: 70mm
Muzzle Velocity: 1450fps
Price: £234/1,000

Manufactured in Cyprus, Victory cartridges have a solid following. The Challenger also comes in a fibre wad, but we haven’t included that here, as it comes in just over this month’s budget at £254, and its performance is considerably less. The plastic wad version is a good-quality cartridge though – often underrated, but well worth a try.

Lyalvale Express Power Blue

Load: 28gm Plastic or Fibre 7.5, 8 or 9 shot
Case Length: 70mm
Muzzle Velocity: 1450fps
Price: £203 Plastic or £214 Fibre

Power Gold’s feisty younger sibling, Power Blue has been around for a couple of years, and is at the bottom range of the budget. Faster than its big sister, it is also a little harsher and not quite so refined. Having said this, it is truly a mid ranger, and you can’t go wrong for this kind of money.

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