The newly-developed Eley Trap .410 Magnum could well be the kick start competitive .410 clay shooting needs in this country.
Shooting the major disciplines with a .410 is often percieved in the UK as something the Americans do. The small, light gun and its mini cartridges are most often used by children and first-timers. In fact it is known in certain circles as the ‘idiot stick’ – many people find hitting anything with a .410 beyond them.
All Clay Shooting can say is that after trying Eley’s new loads, the image of the .410 could well change for ever.
But don’t just take our word for it: we took a case of 250 3” up to Bond and Bywater’s ground to use on its small DTL layout; eight shooters were given the chance to try these new Eleys for themselves.
Eley’s new range is a response to market requests to develop a .410 competition load, and the end result is extremely impressive.
The shells use a newly-developed case and fast propellant to pack an outstanding punch. There are two loads availible: a 14-gram 2 1/2” and a 19-gram 3”, producing muzzle velocities of 1,180fps and 1,200fps respectively. The are expected to retail at around £153 (2 1/2” 14g) and £179 per 1,000, which is significantly cheaper than any comparable .410 cartridge.
To keep the results and views as balanced as possible, the same .410 shotgun was used by each of our Clay Shooting readers who tested the cartridges: a new Khan K226 Arthemis ensured the results weren’t affected by any variation in performance from one gun to another.
As the co-owner of Bond and Bywater, these cartridges are of particular interest as we’ll stock, promote and retail this new Eley product. It is an exceptional cartridge, especially when you consider it’s only 19g. They’re good, hard hitting, produce genuinely impressive kills, what looks like a decent speed and generate a good, even pattern.
There’s no recoil: the cartridges themselves are well-made and presented. In my opinion the market has always required a quality competition .410 load, and to my mind this Eley is it. Clay shooting needs a bit of a boost at the moment and something a bit different to inject some new enthusiasm – these new .410 shells could well be it. The price is maybe a fraction high compared to 12-gauge cartridges but they’re cheap for .410 loads so the two balance out.
I haven’t shot .410 for a long time, even though I have one of my own. I can see the need for a competition .410 load, and for me these would seem to be the perfect cartridge. They pattern well; they’re good and fast and really break the clays. Although they’re more expensive than standard 12-gauge cartridges, if there were more big .410 competitions like the World .410 Sporting Championships down at Mid-Wales, and there was decent prize money on offer, then the cost wouldn’t be too bad if you stood a chance of clawing back some of your initial expense. If I ever decide to shoot some .410 competition these will definitely the cartridge I’ll shoot it with.
For someone like me, who doesn’t shoot very often and prefers to use something like a .410, these are ideal. There’s no kick but they still break the clays extremely well. They certainly gave me an advantage over the .410 cartridges I normally use. I was very surprised just how far out they were still able to break the clay and not just chip a small piece off.
I’m impressed with these, they produce good kills, excellent breakage of the clays to a degree you could be forgiven for thinking you were shooting a larger gauge. There is a place for a .410 load like this and it’s completely changed my mind about the .410. I could even be tempted to go and buy a .410 shotgun specifically to be able to use these cartridges.
I’m already a committed .410 and Eley shooter. I think the .410 is often underrated but these cartridges should change all that. Before these new Eleys came out, if you wanted a high-performance .410 you had to buy Italian cartridges so it’s great that these are made here in the UK – I can now buy ammunition locally rather than from abroad.
In my opinion, the interest in the smaller bores is growing and these new Eley Trap loads are just what’s needed. They’re great to shoot, broke the clays well out to 30 yards and beyond – the only slight problem I have with them is there’s no fibre wad alternative, many of the grounds I attend are fibre only. I’d certainly like to try them filled with their alternative shot of 8s and 9s – should make them a really versatile all-rounder”.
These small cartridges are excellent and deliver performance and kills every bit as good as a 12-bore – the speed and patterning are both excellent. As to whether they’ll catch on along with general .410 clay competitions it’s hard to say as although Eley say there’s a demand, getting the majority of Brits to get into it would be a different matter. For what they are they’re absolutely excellent to a level you can’t actually believe they’re just a .410. It proves just what a .410 is capable of if the loads are right.
I’ve never shot a .410 before in my life, so to say I’m impressed by what these little cartridges can do is saying something as I’ve only ever used a 12-bore. The kills are good, there’s no recoil and they’re great fun. The only negative is that although the price is cheap for a .410 it’s more than a standard cartridge. For me they’d have to be something I used now and again for the entertainment value.
What more could you ask for from a cartridge this size – it punches well over its weight. They’re pleasant to shoot, break the clays cleanly and in many ways flattered my shooting as I’m not the best shotgun shooter there is. Maybe a bit expensive when compared to the cost of 12-bore loads, but I’d definitely be interested in shooting them a lot more – especially through some of the .410 shotguns I supply to the various dealers as the area representative of Highland Outdoors.
Counting the shot
For those who’d never shot a .410 before, the end results more than exceeded their expectations to a degree one would now actually go and buy a .410 just to be able to use the new Eley Trap .410 cartridges.
Existing .410 users were delighted that these new shells have been developed, but their main concern was that for intense use, the retail price compared to 12-gauge cartridges could be slightly off-putting, but then compared to other .410 loads on the market they are great value.
Whichever way you look at it, there wasn’t a negative other than the cost, but .410 loads have never been especially budget orientated. That aside, Eley’s new diminutive competition load is more or less a winner straight out of the trap so start saving up.