I thoroughly enjoyed Dr John Newton’s article [Pigeon guns that are perfect for pheasants, November issue] and, boy, they are especially good with some choke. And, of course, modern cartridges will fit the older guns, too.
This, however, got me thinking that there seems to be a disconnect been modern gunmakers and cartridge manufactures, especially noticeable when shooting at long ranges. The problem seems to be the fad for modern, over-bored barrels and 3in chambers (steel proofed) and fibre wad, 2¾in cartridges that must lose obturation at the chamber (¼in) and then again in the over-bored barrels, often bored at 18.7+ when the correct bore for a 12 is 18.4.
I notice that The Field’s ‘high bird’ specialists tend to use either older side-by-side shotguns (live pigeon guns) or over-and-unders, where correct bores and chambers are matched to their cartridges. Perazzi makes game guns with this specification, which is why so many people use these guns on high birds or older Brownings or Mirokus and some of the older English guns.
With the plastic wad on its way out, is it not time for shotgun and cartridge manufactures to become more aligned and ensure that they make guns and cartridges designed to deliver the optimum pattern to the quarry we hunt in the greenest way possible (that is, fibre not plastic wads)?
Finally, how can we justify firing thousands of cartridges a season and then throw away the plastic cases? Why can’t we find a way to recycle or reload the used cases that would make our sport look a tad greener in the eyes of those who criticise us? Surely our cartridge manufactures need to do more?
Peter Schwerdt, by email