At Sporting Targets we can supply a wide array of shotgun cartridges for both Clay and Game and we can offer discounts for bulk purchases from individuals, clubs and shooting syndicates alike, we can also offer the facility for personalised loads, that could have your club, syndicate or business name, both on the boxes and the shotgun cartidges themselves, please call Steve in our shop for more information.
There is a bewildering choice of shotgun cartridges available. There are numerous makes, loads and sizes of shot, high antimony shot, plastic or fibre wads, high velocity, Sporting, Skeet, Trap and “Magnum” loads and so on.
As the performance and sophistication of shotgun cartridges increases, so does the price. Modern cartridges are reliable, so from an average shooter’s perspective, almost any reasonable make and load will do. After all, you’re still trying to hit targets rather than improve performance at competition level, which is the main reason for using more expensive, high performance loads. It is worth noting that a high velocity cartridge gives the equivalent of only 10 – 15cm less lead at a range of 30m.
Shotgun Cartridge Construction
A cartridge is a container that comprises a plastic tube or “cartridge case”, reinforced at its base, with a brass plated steel “head”, a primer cap fitted into the base, a propellant powder, a wad or wads and a quantity of shot. See fig 2-1. The purpose of the primer is to ignite the main powder charge. This is achieved by an impact sensitive “fulminate” contained in the primer cap, which is detonated, when the cap is struck, by the gun’s firing pin. Propellant powders come in a variety of grades, which for simplicity can be divided into two types; those used for standard cartridges producing nominal shot velocities of
approximately 325m/sec; and high velocity cartridges producing nominal shot velocities of approximately
340 m/sec or higher. The wad acts as a gas seal and as a piston to drive the shot along the barrel. Plastic wads (or plas-wads) improve gas seal in the barrel, and contain the shot within a cup, reducing distortion, and improving the distribution of the shot within the pattern. Fibre wads, the traditional wadding material of the game shooter, are making a comeback, as more target shooting grounds insist on biodegradable wads, which most plas-wads are not, (photo-degradable plas-wads are available). The shot used in target shooting cartridges is usually made from a lead alloy. However, non-toxic steel and bismuth shot is compulsory for game shooting in wetland areas. Ordinary lead shot is soft and may become deformed by friction as it passes along the barrel wall. This deformity can affect the shot string and pattern consistency.
Manufacturers add between 1 and 8% antimony to the lead to make it harder, which reduces the tendency for the shot to deform as it is drive along the barrel, thus improving pattern consistency.
The larger the shot, the more energy it will impart when it hits the target, so at extreme distance a larger shot stands more chance of breaking the target. For near targets, small shot have sufficient energy, so, the shooter can take advantage of an open choke and small shot to create a large dense pattern. The following table provides a comparison of the most common systems of sizing shot, together with an approximation of effective distance and use.