Last month, we looked at the huge range of 12-gauge cartridges from Hull Cartridge Company Ltd, specifically their Game range. Today, we travel through their smaller calibre selection and see how well these perform on the pattern boards with a variety of shotguns.
I had five differing 20-gauge cartridges to test from Hull’s range, with three having differing shot weights, to see the variation on the boards this makes. There were also two 28-gauge loads (which I love) and a single .410 load, again one of my favourite .410 shells that I use regularly.
Three Crowns £10.75 box 25
This is Hull’s original paper-cased round that kicked off the whole Hull Cartridge company and is your quintessential, classic Game load. It is available in only a 25- gram load of No. 6 shot, which makes it easy, as it just works! Designed in a 67mm, or 2½-inch, case for traditional guns, the Three Crowns is a paper case and fibre wadded biodegradable design. It has a high brass 16mm head and a listed velocity of 1450fps and 25-grams of No. 6 shot equates to 248 pellets. On the boards, I had some superb patterns with the Zoli Pernice 20-gauge at 30-yards with a ¾ choke. A total of 235 pellets struck the board with very even spread of shot, with the outer sectors having 140 No. 6 shot hits. The inner 15-inches had a dense 95 pellet strikes. Despite an old case design, being paper, the patterns were great and I for one will be using this load more, as I like the paper case ethos and recoil was very mild.
Pro-Twenty £7.85 Box 25
This my son’s favourite and darling of the clay range. It offers soft recoil and excellent patterns. It uses a plastic case of 67mm or 70mm size, with a fibre or plastic wadding and available in shot sizes of No. 7.5 but varying 21, 24 and 28g loadings with a pellet count of 277, 338 and 394 respectively. I had the 67mm No. 7.5 24-gram load that Jake uses for clay and game, with the fibre wad and listed 1400fps velocity. The 21-gram load has a softer antimony rating and is excellent for training and corporate days, as it is low recoil. We had a total of 264 pellet strikes at 30-yards on ¾ choke, again with a slight bias right but 167 pellets to the outer 30-inches and 97 No. 7.5 pellets clustered to the centre. Very low recoil and easy to shoot well.
High Pheasant Extreme from £10.15 box 25
Part of the Drop-Dead range, these are 70mm cases that use hardened XTRM shot in sizes No. 5 and 6 and all fibre wadded. This time, you have a choice of gram size of 28-, 30- or 32-grams, I had the No. 5 shot and as such you had a pellet count of 184, 198 and 211 respectively. With the Zoli Pernice, again starting with the 28-gram load with the ¾ choke at 30-yards, I had a total of 161 pellet strikes. 64 outer hits and 97 No. 5 shot pellets in the inner sector that was really dense and even, no escape from game here. The 30- gram load had a total of 184 pellet strikes and a spread of 86 outer and 98 inner pellets to the board, a more even spread between the two. The heaviest 32-gram load un-expectedly gave only one more pellet strike, as compared to the 30-gram load but this is due to more of the pellets with this choking going off the board at 30-yards. I had a total of 185 pellet hits with 99 inner hits and 86 outer sector hits. Again, really well spread, with total coverage of the board, so no pheasant could escape.
High Pheasant £9.45 box 25
This is another 25-gram only loading but uses either No. 5 or 6 shot sizes in a yellow plastic case. It is still a 67mm case size and uses a fibre wad, yet gives the performance of a bigger 70mm loading but is safe in classic gun’s chambers. It uses hardened shot and has a smooth burn rate for softer recoil and a listed velocity of 1430fps. Pellet count is 195 in No. 5 shot and 248 in No. 6 shot. On the boards, through a Rem 1100 auto on ¾ choke, I had a nice dense, tight pattern of No. 6 shot with a slight left bias and a total of 228 pellets on the board. I also had a perfect split between inner and outer sectors of 114 apiece, enough said, a great all round load this one.
Driven Grouse £11.40 box 25
Hull’s new copperplated lead shot designed in a 67mm case but with 70mm case performance. The copper shot avoids clumping and deformation of the shot on firing and through the chokes, so pattern better and penetrate further. It is available only in 67mm case size and fibre wad with No. 6 CU shot of 25-grams that translates to 265 pellets and a listed 1430 fps. I used a new Ian Coley Ribless B Rizzini gun with 5/8th choke, i.e. between ½ and ¾ choke that patterned at 30-yards a total of 191 pellet strikes within the 30-inch pattern board, with 111 pellet strikes to the outer sectors and 80 within the inner 15-inch ring. A great, dense pattern with no holes, a nice load. The wind was stiff at 15mph gusts, so I lost a few pellets off the board.
Imperial Game £8.80 box 25
I love this loading, as it is a light 28g loading of 16-grams, yet patterns well and hits hard with the hardened shot used. Available in only 16-grams, you have a choice of No. 5 or 6 shot, which is 125 or 159 pellets respectively. It is great through tight chokes and very low recoiling in its 65mm casing and fibre wad. I used this in a Beretta Xplor auto, it functioned perfectly. I had great patterns with zero recoil and a total of 136 pellet strikes with the light No. 6 16-gram load. The pellets were spread 57 outer and 79 inner hits. I use this for ferals and rats, as well as close bunnies and pigeon roosting.
High Pheasant £9.90 box 25
Hardened shot for less pellet deformation, better patterns and penetration, it is a 70mm case size with a 23-gram loading only but of either No. 5, 6 or 7 shot. This equates to a pellet count of 179, 227 and 264 respectively and is a fibre only wadded cartridge. This shot well in the Xplor auto and I had 168 No. 5 shot pellets within 30-inches, distributed with 72 inner 15-inch strikes and 96 outer hits. A slight right bias but plenty of dense pellet patterning for a multiple hit ratio.
High Pheasant £9.80 box 25
This is a magnum 3-inch loading from the extreme range and offers drop dead performance from a smaller gauge. It is a cracking .410 load, available in a single loading of 76mm case with a plastic wad and loaded with 19-grams of No. 6 shot. This equates to a pellet count of 188 No. 6 shot. I use this loading in my Rem .410 1100 auto and it is deadly for rats up to pigeons at sensible ranges. I had a pattern of superb spread and density with this load, 143 pellets within 30-inches spread with 63 outer and a whopping 80 inner strikes with great distribution of shot. My preferred choice for all 410 duties.
Hull Cartridge Company continue to produce excellent shotgun shells, as the modern version of the Three Crowns load testifies to, as well as the brand new Driven Grouse loading. I love their 28g and 410-gauges and my son uses the Pro Twenty exclusively, enough said.
Hull Cartridge Company. Visit their website www.hullcartridge.com for more from their range.