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.