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
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’