It takes TT Two to Com­pete

Richard Atkins re­views two 24g Skeet shells from Fiocchi, the Of­fi­cial Com­pe­ti­tion and TT Two

Clay Shooting - - Contents -

Richard Atkins tests two Skeet shells from Fiocchi

It has been a while since we last looked at Skeet car­tridges, so it was in­ter­est­ing to re­ceive a pair of 24 gram 9.5 shot car­tridges made with Skeet tar­gets in mind. Be­ing Ital­ian, the stated shot size equates to UK no.9. When in doubt the size is usu­ally given in mil­lime­tres too, be­ing 2.0 mm in this case. We have re­viewed many types of Fiocchi am­mu­ni­tion over the years, and the com­pany’s range of shot­gun car­tridges is vast, in­clud­ing a very broad range of clay tar­get am­mu­ni­tion.

The Fiocchi com­pany be­gan with hum­ble begin­nings back in 1876, and rapidly built a fine rep­u­ta­tion for qual­ity prod­ucts. Now, five gen­er­a­tions on, it has be­come one of the lead­ing car­tridge pro­duc­ers in the world and has worked dili­gently to en­sure that Fiocchi prod­ucts are avail­able world­wide. Founded by Gi­ulio Fiocchi, the com­pany only re­cently went into commercial part­ner­ship with Charme Funds, with the Fiocchi fam­ily re­tain­ing a 40% share and Ste­fano Fiocchi in place as Chair­man and CEO. Based in Lecco, Italy, the com­pany now has 600 em­ploy­ees, and also has a suc­cess­ful man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in the USA which was set up 35 years ago. Fiocchi is rightly proud of the suc­cesses its prod­ucts have helped top shoot­ers achieve, and that in­cludes Olympic, World and Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion. One of the best known trap shoot­ers, Gio­vanni Pel­lielo, is a Fiocchi user and won medals at the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2016 Olympics. Jes­sica Rossi won a gold medal at Lon­don 2012 Olympic Games, and Gabriele Ros­setti also won gold in the Rio Olympic Games.

While Fiocchi make car­tridges for the most de­mand­ing in­ter­na­tional level com­pe­ti­tions, they also re­alise that there are a great many club shoot­ers who pre­fer some­thing a lit­tle eas­ier on their pocket, so the Fiocchi clay range in­cludes ev­ery­thing from bud­get to pre­mium types, with plenty in the mid-range too.

The two car­tridge types fea­tured here are from either end of the spec­trum; the TT Two are pre­sented as a cost-ef­fec­tive op­tion for the en­try level and im­prov­ing shooter while the Of­fi­cial Com­pe­ti­tion is from the pre­mium end for se­ri­ous com­peti­tors. Both types are avail­able in a range of shot sizes and 24 and 28 gram shot load op­tions.

Of­fi­cial Com­pe­ti­tion

The pack­ag­ing sets the ‘pre­mium’ scene with the very smart, gloss coated dark blue car­ton of 25 clearly printed in gold, red and white. The car­tons are sturdy (so they don’t spill their con­tents eas­ily) and are read­ily iden­ti­fied. Full de­tails of cal­i­bre, case length, wad type, shot load weight and shot size are clearly printed on the front and top flap.

The car­tridge cases are smart too, be­ing Fiocchi-made 70mm long, dark blue, par­al­lel plas­tic tube cases with Fiocchi 616 primers. They have a 20mm tall, brass plated steel head, with a line of the Fiocchi stylised shooter pro­file im­pressed around the metal head. The car­tridges are closed with a very neat six star crimp clo­sure with tightly spun turnover.

The patented de­sign one-piece plas­tic cup wad has a long and quite com­plex cen­tre sec­tion. This com­prises two ‘zigzag’ form cen­tral com­pres­sion sec­tions with a bridge sec­tion above and be­low. The shot cup has four pre-formed petals, and these are very lightly joined at the cup mouth, cen­tre and base. De­signed for a 24 gram shot load in a 70mm case en­sures the wad’s long cen­tre sec­tion pro­vides max­i­mum cush­ion­ing fa­cil­ity.

The pro­pel­lant pow­der used is from spe­cial­ist pow­der pro­ducer Kemira. This is of short rod-like ex­truded grains rather than the more usual flake or disc form more usu­ally found in clay tar­get shot­gun car­tridges. Kemira pow­ders are noted for main­tain­ing bal­lis­tic per­for­mance, with mod­er­ate pres­sure lev­els and un­der a va­ri­ety of cli­matic con­di­tions while leav­ing min­i­mal residues.

Shot load weights were in­cred­i­bly con­sis­tent, with av­er­age weights of three ran­dom loads within a pel­let or two of 24 grams (370.3 grains); re­mark­able with Skeet size shot! Pel­lets are quite hard for Ital­ian 9.5 (UK No.9) shot size with a Crush Value of 36%, in­di­cat­ing a mod­er­ate amount of an­ti­mony con­tent. Pel­lets were well pol­ished with graphite for a bright black ap­pear­ance, and were closely graded for shot size with the ma­jor­ity of pel­lets with 0.002” of the nom­i­nal 0.080” di­am­e­ter. The pel­let count per ounce av­er­aged close to the nom­i­nal 580 / ounce for this size of shot.

TT Two

Cre­ated with new­com­ers and club level shoot­ers in mind, TT Two can also ap­peal to more ex­pe­ri­enced shoot­ers seek­ing a less ex­pen­sive but ef­fec­tive car­tridge. The mid blue car­tons of 25 are sturdy and eas­ily iden­ti­fied and, as with the Of­fi­cial, full de­tails of cal­i­bre, case length, wad type, etc. are clearly pre­sented.

TT Two are loaded into a 70mm long Fiocchi case, hav­ing a 12mm tall brass plated steel head and Fiocchi 616 primer with pa­per cov­ered flash hole. The cases are closed with a well formed six point star crimp.

The plas­tic one-piece cup wad is 40mm long and weighs just 41 grains. Loaded into a 70mm case, this pro­vides for a 20mm ‘honeycomb’ cen­tre sec­tion. This long com­press­ible sec­tion pro­vides ex­cel­lent shock pro­tec­tion for the shot load and may help re­duce felt re­coil. An ef­fec­tive gas seal cup sits at the wad base. The shot cup fol­lows the same de­sign as the Of­fi­cial Com­pe­ti­tion wad.

The pow­der used is a red­dish pink square cut, sin­gle base flake type very sim­i­lar to NSI A24. It proved ef­fi­cient and con­sis­tent, pro­duc­ing reg­u­lar ve­loc­i­ties from a rel­a­tively light charge of just 21 grains and leav­ing lit­tle vis­i­ble residues be­yond very light ‘dust’ in the bore.

The shot load proved a lit­tle softer than in the Of­fi­cial Com­pe­ti­tion, as in­di­cated by the greater per­cent­age crush value fig­ure, hence a lit­tle less an­ti­mony con­tent. The CV fig­ure would also be slightly greater due to the av­er­age pel­let size in the TT Two be­ing slightly smaller than the stated 2mm (0.080”) . The shot size var­ied a lit­tle more than that found in the Of­fi­cial loads, which re­sulted in a higher pel­let count per load.

Per­for­mance

The ve­loc­ity re­sults show both the loads are quite brisk, be­ing nom­i­nally 400 me­tres per sec­ond. Al­though it won’t ac­tu­ally al­ter for­ward al­lowance (‘lead’), it can give a very pos­i­tive, al­most ‘in­stant’ feel for some shoot­ers, and be­ing 24

gram loads, the re­coil as­so­ci­ated with fast 28 gram loads is not there. In­deed, one ex­pe­ri­enced lady shooter who tried them (Pat Smith, Here­ford & Worces­ter CPSA sec­re­tary and cham­pion vet­eran Skeet shooter) found re­coil mod­est com­pared with her usual 28 gram car­tridge. Al­though TT Two gave a frac­tion­ally faster re­sult, this was im­per­cep­ti­ble in use.

Skeet is a much closer range dis­ci­pline than Trap, and many Sport­ing tar­gets (and so more open chokes) are the or­der of the day. That is why the re­sults show a stan­dard plain (not in­ter­change­able) Skeet bored bar­rel and a test dis­tance of 20 yards. The max­i­mum tar­get dis­tance on the Skeet lay­out is about 22 yards, and a good many are con­sid­er­ably closer.

Since the max­i­mum shot load for In­ter­na­tional/issf skeet was re­duced to 24 grams, some Skeet shoot­ers have used slightly more choke. But, as you can see from the pat­tern re­sults in fig­ures and pho­tos, there are still plenty of pel­lets in the pat­terns.

Re­mem­ber that smaller shot loses both ve­loc­ity and en­ergy faster than larger shot, which means that the dis­tance at which they will break clays is lim­ited. While Skeet car­tridges can and do break plenty of Sport­ing clay tar­gets more than 20 yards dis­tant, they will run out of puff faster than larger shot. They could strug­gle to break a dis­tant rab­bit clay but will, how­ever, work sur­pris­ingly well on high over­head clays, where the full pro­file of the stan­dard clay is vis­i­ble.

Field test­ing

Pat Smith and hus­band Brian tried both these shells on Skeet at Park Farm. They got on well with both types, be­ing very happy with the kills and smooth re­coil. Both de­cided they liked the Of­fi­cial Com­pe­ti­tion marginally bet­ter, as their kills seemed just a bit more pos­i­tive; the slightly larger pel­lets could ex­plain this.

Try­ing some out on Sport­ing clays, both types han­dled closer tar­gets well but, as the Skeet re­sults sug­gested, the Of­fi­cials stayed pos­i­tive a lit­tle fur­ther out. I tested a cou­ple of pat­terns with Imp Mod Brown­ing DS chokes at 30 yards, and both gave sim­i­lar pel­let counts. For TT Two, the fig­ures were 246 /169 in the 20” in­ner cir­cle and 20-30” outer sec­tor re­spec­tively, and 242 / 171 for the Of­fi­cial. The slightly harder and larger pel­lets al­lowed the Of­fi­cial to keep more of its pel­lets in the 30-yard pat­tern, and the ex­tra en­ergy no doubt as­sisted in the more pos­i­tive breaks. So, it can pay to check how the car­tridge you choose per­forms for the tar­gets you in­tend us­ing them for.

That the TT Two Skeet can per­form at top level in com­pe­ti­tion was proven by the ex­cel­lent West Mid­lands Ju­nior shooter, Mitchell Brooker-smith. Fresh from a suc­cess­ful trip to Suhl for the Ju­nior World Cup, Mitchell com­peted in the West Mid­lands Area Skeet Cham­pi­onships in late July. Us­ing Fiocchi TT Two Skeet he shot the first 50 tar­gets straight and ended up on a 97 for a clear cut win, mak­ing him WM Area Cham­pion for the sec­ond year run­ning!

Clearly you do not need to choose the pre­mium op­tion to shoot a great score in se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion, but the op­tion is there and both pro­duced very dense pat­terns with plenty of pel­lets right out to the 30-inch mark for a bit of lee­way on the shot place­ment – handy when the wind moves the tar­gets about!

As men­tioned, Fiocchi pro­duce a com­pre­hen­sive range of clay am­mu­ni­tion, to suit all dis­ci­plines and in a range of prices. Some have been spe­cially de­vel­oped for the UK mar­ket and, as you can see, they win com­pe­ti­tions!

“Mitchell Brooker-smith shot 97 ex-100 with TT Two, win­ning the area cham­pi­onship.”

Aimed at the club shooter, the TT Two nev­er­the­less proved very ef­fec­tive on the Skeet range

Kemira pow­der and high qual­ity com­po­nents pro­duced very con­sis­tent re­sults in the Of­fi­cial Com­pe­ti­tion

Pat­terns were tested at 20 yards through a Skeet bar­rel; this is the Of­fi­cial Com­pe­ti­tion

De­spite the 24g load, the TT Two put plenty of pel­lets in the cir­cle for re­li­able breaks

The Of­fi­cial Com­pe­ti­tion uses a patented one-piece plas­tic cup wad with a com­plex cen­tre sec­tion

The TT Two’s wad has a honeycomb cen­tre sec­tion, helping to pro­tect the pel­lets on fir­ing

Mitchell Brooker-smith re­cently re­turned from the Ju­nior World Cup in Ger­many; read his col­umn on page 47

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