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It is not possible to write totally objectively about Shotgun Cartridges as maker, type and shot size are personal choices based on experiences.
However, I have been firing cartridges for 56 years and have been using cartridges as a professional coach for more years than I care to remember. I also believe that simple logic applies to my opinions.
Firstly, the dreaded plastic cartridge versus fibre cartridge wads must be mentioned. Out in the open I hold very strong bias towards fibre wads. I have not fired or used a plastic wadded cartridge during coaching for 20+ years. This bias is totally on conservation principles. I am strongly opposed to littering the countryside with plastic that will sit there for decades!
The responsible cartridge manufacturers are all now offering
cartridges that have biodegradable plastic wads that are said to
breakdown within 18 months. My problem with this is that when clay
shooting is taking place in one location regularly; there will always be
plastic wads lying on the ground.
The cartridges that I mention from here on are all suitable for us in tuition, practice and for clay shooting. There are of course variations for the other clay shooting disciplines too.
Now to the makers, I cannot remember the last time I used a non-British cartridge and those I use have been manufactured by Hull Cartridge Company.
Hull Cartridge Company is a family run firm that has been producing quality clay and game cartridges for over 60 years. Although a private family concern, they have always been at the forefront of technology in their manufacturing. They have a worldwide clientele and most importantly have given huge support to the clay shooting sport.
I make an assumption that as regular clay shot you are using 12 bore guns; but a note of support for Hulls smaller calibre cartridges. I used many many thousands of 18 gram 28 bore and similar thousands of 20 bore 23 gram cartridges during twenty years of running the shooting school. My priority was comfort for the pupils along side a consistent and reliable performance; which was always achieved.
So what do you want from your 12 bore clay cartridge? Well you will want a fair price, Hull’s cartridges not the cheapest but they are not the most expensive. They will represent value for money.
You will also be looking for comfort, no one should be prepared to suffer excessive recoil. Consistency and reliability will also be high on your priority list.
So, what to use? For practice I would suggest you will enjoy using Hull’s Pro Fibre 24 gram No. 8 shot. If you are entering competitions, I am confident that you will be very well armed with a bag full of Sovereign Fibre 28 gram No. 8 shot.
When you have finished your clay shoot, you will want to inspect inside the gun barrels to ensure that your quality cartridges have left very little residue.
To provide long-term protection for your valuable gun, you will want to clean it carefully before you lock it away. Have a look at this clay shooting article with tips on cleaning your gun.