Smart shooting

2014-09-01 14.53.4201Richard Atkins is quick off the mark to test two new cartridges from Cheddite, the Smart Strike and SG Young loads

Buy the Smart Strike and SG Young loads from Beverley Clay Target Centre

The Cheddite range of cartridges is now distributed to the UK trade through Malmo Guns, a company that has wasted no time in promoting these top quality Italian loads. Details of new gun shops and shooting grounds stocking Cheddite ammunition appear regularly on social media and elsewhere. With the game season upon us, much work has been done in that direction, but Cheddite is a committed maker of clay target cartridges, from club level to world championships and the Olympic Games. Many top-level competitors around the world use Cheddite products with considerable success, including several respected UK shooters.

Two new loads were featured at the IWA trade show in Nuremberg earlier this year: the Smart Strike and the SG Young. Both are 24-gram loads and eligible for those ISSF events that now require this weight as a maximum.

The Smart Strike packaging indicates its intentions with a competition shooter shown across the centre of the bright red, black-and-white printed carton, with “Hard shot 4 per cent SB” boldly printed at the top. The cartridge is bright red with white print.

2014-09-01 14.58.1301The SG Young is less easy to define. It’s a predominantly bright pink carton with its name printed vertically in silver, and the cartridges are also pink. Its name and colour suggest they are intended for the younger shooter and perhaps a leaning toward lady shooters, leading to some friends at a local club to make the odd quip when I was testing them.

Both use a 70mm long, lightly ribbed parallel tube plastic case. Cases feature Cheddite primers, which are so well respected for consistent ignition that some other case makers use Cheddite’s primers. They have 16mm deep nickel-plated metal heads and are closed with well formed sixpoint star crimps for a smooth, neat finish, which all adds to consistency potential.

The plastic wad is identical in both but with one notable exception: the shot pouches of the wads loaded into the Smart Strike cartridges have its petals cut by knife blades in an extra operation during the loading process. This ensures that the wad shot cup will open on exit from the muzzle. It is a process used by some other makers in premium competition lines of clay target ammunition.

Each cartridge is marked shot size 7.5 (2.4mm), but these are Italian shot sizes and likely to be about one half-size larger than UK. Powders used are different: a thin, square cut flake (and also pink) powder is used in the SG Young, while a thicker, green disc flake powder is used in the Smart Strike.

With the shot load weight and shot sizes being the same, but with different powders, it was interesting to see how each performs. The most obvious difference is that SG Young loads do not mention SB (Antimony) content and contain less for a softer shot. All is revealed in our tests.

Testing

These loads were submitted to the Birmingham Proof Laboratory for pressure, velocity and momentum testing to CIP standards. Pattern tests were fired over a 40-yard distance so that longer range patterning qualities could be assessed. The same Trap barrel bored Imp/Mod (65 per cent), as used for all Sporting and Trap cartridge tests to date, was used for the pattern testing.

Test summary

Smart Strike petals are  cut during the loading process

Smart Strike petals are
cut during the loading process

The Smart Strike shot cup petals all opened upon firing

The Smart Strike shot cup petals all opened upon firing

The proof reports show the Smart Strike and SG Young are fast loads averaging in excess of 410 metres per second, which is top-end speed. The Smart Strike, being a true competition load, duly held a tighter consistency level (lower SD figure) but the SG Young was not far away, and when shooting this consistency difference is unlikely to be noticed by the shooter. The laboratory pressure curve indicates the SG Young powder burns slightly faster than the Smart Strike. Both powders burned cleanly with just a little dust and an occasional slightly larger fleck with the SGs left in the barrel. With 24-gram shot load, recoil was acceptable even at these high velocities, especially in a full-weight competition gun.

The SG’s shot proved slightly softer and is likely to be at least three per cent antimony to achieve a CV figure of 30 per cent. This slight difference in shot hardness, and possibly the faster powder, resulted in the SG’s patterns being less dense than the Smart Strike, with the latter holding the test barrel’s nominal boring well, even at this high velocity.

SG Young dropped down to half choke pattern density from the same barrel. The distribution of the SG pellets was less centrally concentrated than the Smart Strike as the lower CD percentage indicates. The pellets are well distributed across the plate and strengthen the pattern‘s outer edges. The Smart Strike put more of its pellets in the 30in circle though, with distribution not unduly centre-dense either.

Cheddite Smart Strike patts 04103

Smart Strike produced dense, regular patterns

Cheddite SG Young patts 05402

SG Young patterns were more open with less CD

The proof, as always, is in the shooting. I used the Smart Strike during my recent campaign to get back into Trap shooting and managed 21 at a single ABT round. I used some SG Youngs at DTL and found they gave good first-barrel kills, positive and with regular breaks when reasonably centred.

The Smart Strike seemed a shade more positive but it was hard to tell. What impressed me most was when a new Trap gun arrived and I quickly set the adjustable comb and raced over to Park Farm. I only had half a box of each type left, so chose to shoot them in the first barrel at ABT – SGs first then Smart Strikes – using an Imp/Mod choke in the bottom barrel. The first target with the new gun got away, then I managed to break 23 out of the next 24, which I was delighted with. I used several second barrels as I was settling into this previously untried gun but it was the abilities of the SG and Smart Strike that were important, and the kills were all I could have hoped for.

Again the Smart Strike seemed a shade more positive, maybe down to patterning slightly tighter, but the SGs also proved well up to first barrel ABT targets. There are plenty of situations where a slightly more open pattern, especially with a moderate CD figure, can give that shade more leeway on off-centre targets so I’d happily use SG Young for plenty of Sporting targets.

Smart Strike is well suited for use in the premier Trap disciplines such as DT, UT and OT, where the extra velocity can help make the forward allowance required appear less. One high-ranked shooter also tried some out at Park Farm and made just that point after a couple of rounds of ABT. If you like really quick cartridges you will love these, and at 24 grams of shot the recoil is manageable.

Cheddite SG Young and Smart Strike 24 gram 7.5 plastic wad cartridges

Cartridge

Shot load (gn)

Pellet (count/oz)

UK shot (size / CV)

Pellets in 30in diameter

Pattern %

CD

SG YOUNG 7.5

370.4

350

< 7 / 30%

178

60

[53.5%]

Smart Strike 7.5

375

345

<7 / 27%

197

66.5

[56%]

 

Performance

Cartridge

Velocity m/s (fps)

SD

Recoil (M) (unit=Ns)​

Pressure (Bar)

SG YOUNG 7.5

412 (1352)

12

9.9

660

Smart Strike 7.5

412 (1352)

3

9.9

650

Posted in Reviews
3 comments on “Smart shooting
  1. Dave6 says:

    Dear Richard

    Would you please be so kind as to advise me on the following
    Shortly into the new year I will be under going an operation on my left shoulder Following this I do not envisage shooting for 3 to 6 month.
    Before the operation I have been shooting a semi-auto with 24 gram loads with unnoticeable difference to my scores, to when I was shooting with 28gram loads.
    After my recovery I would envisage still shooting with 24 gram loads. I tend to shoot English sporting and Compac sometimes Fitasc.

    My query is whether you could recommend a soft on the shoulder cartridge – 24 gram or dare I say, it a 21gramthat’s still hard on the target!! Or are they much of the same!

    Thanks!

    • Huw Hopkins says:

      Hi Dave,

      We will pass this message on to Richard and we will reply to you via email.

      Best regards,
      Clay Shooting

  2. David Paul Gagin says:

    With thanks I am looking forward to his reply
    David

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