Clay Shooting

Q&A

- Richard Atkins

Q One of the shoot­ing grounds I am hop­ing to visit in­sists on fi­bre wad car­tridges only. Other shoot­ers have told me they don’t like us­ing fi­bre wads as they feel they don’t per­form so well as plas­tic. Is that cor­rect, and how big is the dif­fer­ence? Is it enough to make a dif­fer­ence to my scores? A With sin­gle-use plas­tics fall­ing out of favour, an in­creas­ing num­ber of grounds are go­ing fi­bre-only, so more and more shoot­ers will find them­selves fac­ing this ques­tion. The sim­ple an­swer is that the per­for­mance of plas­tic and fi­bre wads is now closer than ever – so close that you’re un­likely to no­tice any dif­fer­ence.

For car­tridge man­u­fac­tur­ers, it’s more chal­leng­ing to make fi­bre wad car­tridges that per­form quite so well as a sim­i­lar grade plas­tic wad load. How­ever, mod­ern load­ing ma­chines, qual­ity con­trol and closer tol­er­ances on im­proved com­po­nents have re­sulted in the gap be­ing closed to a level that, for the ma­jor­ity of shoot­ers, the dif­fer­ence is un­likely to have any great im­pact upon their abil­ity to break clays. Cer­tainly for most shoot­ers, get­ting some good coach­ing will have far more im­pact on re­sults than the wads in your car­tridges!

The in­creas­ing need to use fi­bre wad loads has brought the best out in car­tridge pro­duc­ers. Look­ing through past test re­sults we have car­ried in this mag­a­zine you will see how close the pat­tern, per­for­mance and con­sis­tency re­sults have been be­tween the fi­bre and plas­tic wad ver­sions of sim­i­lar grade car­tridges, such as Eley Su­perbs, and Hull Pro One and Pro Fi­bre. A greater dif­fer­ence can arise in some bud­get car­tridges, but even they are be­com­ing more con­sis­tent.

I al­ways rec­om­mend that shoot­ers pat­tern their gun with what­ever chokes and car­tridges they plan to use, and this is es­pe­cially worth­while with fi­bre wad car­tridges, par­tic­u­larly if you have one of the mod­ern guns with ‘over­bored’ bar­rels. My tests have oc­ca­sion­ally thrown up some un­ex­pected re­sults with that com­bi­na­tion, and it’s best to make sure you’re get­ting the pat­terns you would ex­pect.

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