Hull Cartridge Superfast Pigeon
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- Last updated: 17/09/2023
Hull Cartridge has been part of the British shooting fabric for decades now and is an innovative family-run business that strives to produce the best shotgun cartridges in Britain. The range and quality of the shotgun cartridges ensure shooters can rely on their excellence of manufacture, consistency, and performance. The founder, Sydney Bontoft, originally sold carbide for lighting to farmers, then started reloading cartridges to sell. So, a family that knows ballistics.
The Superfast Pigeon load on test today is one of Hull’s high-performance pigeon loads, offering higher velocity, a more effective range, and some harder-hitting performance. It is also designed to be semi-automatic friendly.
The typical price (Just Cartridges) for 1000 is £334, which is good value these days. The ammunition produced by Hull Cartridge is always uniform and each round exhibits really good consistency, with their bi-axially orientated plastic cases. The standard brass rim of 8mm has a good, pronounced lip, providing plenty of material for a semi-auto to grasp hold of, and the royal blue casing has all the salient details of the load printed on the sides in gold.
You have a six-star closure with very tight, uniform petals, and this weather-resistant closure offers good back pressure for consistent powder ignition. CX primers are used throughout the range and always prove reliable. In use, you will also note how clean the barrels are after a lot of rounds are fired. This is always a good sign of quality ingredients and an efficient powder burn.
The single-based powder that Hull utilises provides high performance without excessive pressures and is very efficient. It offers a very smooth and consistent burn, plus a good storage life over a range of temperatures and humidity levels.
Consumers have a choice of plastic or fibre, with the latter being a lot more eco-friendly these days. However, it is the plastic wads that produce the tighter patterns down range. Hull’s plastic wads have a specially designed compression stage to ensure maximum comfort for the shooter, whilst optimising velocity. The material used for the fibre wad is specially selected for its uniform density and thickness, before being subjected to a waterproof, anti-tear treatment.
This is all very good, but it’s the pellets that hit the quarry, and Hull’s lead shot is considered some of the best in the industry, with very precise spheres and consistent weights, all held to some demanding quality control standards. For those worried about environmental factors, the raw material is derived from recycled lead sources - so there! Hull prides itself on the spherical tolerances of their shot, as this allows the pellets to fly straighter and thus produce far better and denser patterns.
When it comes to choosing a cartridge from the Superfast Pigeon range, there are three variants. The only load with a plastic wad has a 29-gram shot weight of No. 6 pellets (2.6mm), and a fibre equivalent of the same load is also available. If you want a little extra poke, you can up the ante and go for the Superfast Pigeon LR (Fibre / 32-grams / No. 5.5). All cartridges have a suggested velocity of 1425 fps, and as previously mentioned, all options are semi-automatic friendly.
In order to test out the cartridges, I used my tried and tested Mossberg Duck Commander. I switched between the ¼ and full choke and set the pattern boards up at 30 yards. I also checked the validity of the semi-auto-friendly claims in a Beretta A400 as well as my old Fabarm semi. Both cycled and functioned flawlessly. The plastic-wadded loads showed a total pellet count of 287 pellets. Given the tighter patterns and velocity, these are primarily designed for use over decoys for pigeons.
With the full choke fitted, the cartridge/gun combo produced some superb patterns on the 30” boards. As expected, the plastic wad really helped to keep nearly all the pellets on track. We had 271 out of the 287 pellet payload strike the board, with 130 within the inner 15” circle. The remaining 141 pellets struck a bit high around the outer sectors. So, a very good start.
Upon switching to the ¼ choke, the pattern opened up, as expected. However, we still had a total of 201 pellets strikes, which is really impressive. This time, there was a more even overall spread, with 123 outer hits and 78 inner strikes. There were very few holes. I would use this combination for walking through the woods after squirrels, field margins after rabbits, or roosting pigeons.
By comparison, I have tried the fibre loads before, achieving a total of 227 hits on the boards while using the ½ choke in a Browning B725. We had 144 outer strikes and 83 inner hits, so a good load for fibre-wad-only areas.
The recipe on offer means mild recoil and excellent patterns, unlike some heavier payload pigeon rounds of 32 to 34-grams. This means you can use the cartridges all day in the field without the fear of a sore cheekbone. The No. 6 pellet size helps to achieve a pattern without holes and there is still enough energy to topple fast pigeons or those at a distance. As the name suggests!