Cel­e­brate the pheasant sea­son with this round-up of some of the best loads on the mar­ket

This fine bird has be­come the sym­bol of Bri­tish game shoot­ing and, with the pheasant sea­son now in full swing, Vic Harker presents the best loads to en­sure clean kills and a happy day out

Sporting Shooter - - The Marketplace - WITH VIC HARKER

It should be re­mem­bered that it is only rel­a­tively re­cently that the pheasant gained its sta­tus as Great Britain’s most pop­u­lar, or should I say pop­u­lace, game bird. Prior to that, it was the par­tridge that pro­vided the English game shot with most of his sport.

It is, how­ever, the ro­bust and adapt­able Phasianus colchi­cus on which most of us will be set­ting our sights, or rather point­ing our bar­rels at this sea­son. So, make sure they are charged with the best pos­si­ble car­tridges, a se­lec­tion of which I am pleased to put be­fore you this month.

1 ELEY ZENITH

A care­fully blended com­bi­na­tion of su­per-fast pow­der with cop­per-plated shot and fi­bre wad makes for a game load guar­an­teed to pro­vide con­sis­tent suc­cess.

From the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, be at the top of your game with Eley Zenith.

Avail­able in fi­bre wad 30, 32, 34 and 36g No.4, 5 and 6, £359-£429 per 1,000.

2 ELEY VIP GAME

A pre­mium game load that pro­vides con­sis­tent bal­lis­tics to en­sure your ef­fec­tive­ness in the field is guar­an­teed (pro­vided you shoot straight).

Pre­mium qual­ity com­po­nents ex­pertly matched and lab­o­ra­tory tested to pro­vide the game shooter with a load that’s both ef­fec­tive and hu­mane.

Avail­able in fi­bre and PDP wad 28, 30 and 32g No.4, 5 and 6, £309-£349 per 1,000.

3 LYALVALE EX­PRESS SUPREME GAME

Lyalvale are the mak­ers of Olympic gold medal-win­ning am­mu­ni­tion, but their game loads pro­vide the same con­sis­tent hard-hit­ting bal­lis­tics. Spec­i­fied and man­u­fac­tured to pro­vide the tra­di­tional game Gun with op­ti­mum per­for­mance, this 2½" car­tridge en­sures game-get­ting pat­terns and easy-on­the-shoul­der bal­lis­tics.

For the all-day shooter who seeks to shoot large bags with mod­er­ate re­coil, this Bri­tish-made load is the an­swer.

Avail­able in fi­bre wad 30, 32 and 34g No.4, 5, 6 and 7, £319-£351 per 1,000.

4 LYALVALE SUPREME GAME UL­TI­MATE POWER

For the shooter who seeks op­ti­mum ef­fec­tive­ness at long range, the mak­ers of the UP load have pro­vided just that. Speed is, how­ever, not the whole story – com­po­nents are also care­fully matched to main­tain op­ti­mum pat­tern dis­tri­bu­tion.

Avail­able in fi­bre wad 30, 32 and 36g No.4, 5, 6 and 6.5, £336-£414 per 1,000.

5 CHEDDITE ELITE

A car­tridge from a fully in­te­grated man­u­fac­turer, which is to say that all the com­po­nent parts that com­prise their prod­ucts are man­u­fac­tured in house. There is an ob­vi­ous ad­van­tage to this com­pat­i­bil­ity as

it pro­vides pre­cisely the spec­i­fi­ca­tion and, there­fore, the per­for­mance the mak­ers de­sire of their am­mu­ni­tion.

This is re­flected in their Elite range of game car­tridges, which I’ve been eval­u­at­ing re­cently. Mod­er­ate re­coil, very clean-burn­ing pow­der and ex­cel­lent pat­terns mean this car­tridge in a wide choice of loads is to be rec­om­mended. Avail­able in plas­tic and fi­bre wad 35, 36 and 38g No.4 and 5, £366-£456 per 1,000.

6 FIOCCHI GOLDEN PHEASANT

While the Ital­ian am­mu­ni­tion man­u­fac­tur­ers are not pre­pared to take se­cond place to any of their ri­vals, they do recog­nise when it comes to game bird shoot­ing that the Bri­tish, with their wealth of re­sources, are to be ac­knowl­edged.

One re­sult of this is the qual­ity of their Golden Pheasant load. In a 67mm 2½" case, it’s com­pat­i­ble with older English game guns. On the pat­tern plate, mod­er­ate bal­lis­tics pro­vide well dis­trib­uted pat­terns, and even the most pa­tri­otic Brit will strug­gle to find fault with this game load man­u­fac­tured to the high­est stan­dards. Avail­able in fi­bre wad 32g No.5 and 6, £319 per 1,000.

7 FIOCCHI HP 20

A fast, hard-hit­ting load that will sat­isfy the most de­mand­ing 20-bore user. Down-range speed, com­bined with close but very reg­u­lar pat­terns, this car­tridge pushes the bound­aries of 20-bore per­for­mance still fur­ther. Avail­able in plas­tic wad 30g No.6, £296 per 1,000.

8 HULL CAR­TRIDGE UL­TI­MATE TWENTY

The small-bore game gun con­tin­ues to grow in pop­u­lar­ity for those who see it as part of the chal­lenge high bird shoot­ing rep­re­sents. That is not to say they still do not look for any improve­ment in han­dling or bal­lis­tics that can be in­cor­po­rated into the small-bore shot­gun.

The Ul­ti­mate Twenty car­tridge from Hull is part of this en­deav­our. Com­pris­ing 28g of qual­ity shot, to­gether with the best qual­ity felt wad and hours of re­search and ex­per­i­ment, Ul­ti­mate Twenty takes small-bore shot­gun am­mu­ni­tion into an ev­er­higher level of per­for­mance. Avail­able in fi­bre wad 28g No.4.5 and 5.5, £343 per 1,000.

9 HULL CAR­TRIDGE HIGH PHEASANT EX­TREME

This car­tridge has gained a leg­endary sta­tus among the high bird shoot­ers. Man­u­fac­tured by a fam­ily firm who live and work in the same en­vi­ron­ment and among the peo­ple for whom shoot­ing is their life.

In shar­ing their neigh­bour’s en­thu­si­asm, they con­tinue to de­velop and man­u­fac­ture shot­gun am­mu­ni­tion to the high­est stan­dards, of which HPE is an out­stand­ing ex­am­ple. Avail­able in plas­tic and fi­bre wad 32, 34 and 36g No. 4, 5 and 6, £348-£404 per 1,000.

‘The small-bore game gun con­tin­ues to grow in pop­u­lar­ity for those who see it as part of the chal­lenge of high bird shoot­ing’

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