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Game Shooting - Does cartridge velocity have a significant effect over 40 yards on the effectiveness of a 20 gauge cartridge ?


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In over 65 years of shooting live quarry with shotguns, 12 through to 410 I have only had one experience of inadequate killing power by a specic cartridge.  At the time, my local farm supply store was selling their own 12 gauge shells at a good price and I purchased 250.   I had my first trip on a shoot up in North Wales and hit about fifteen pheasants which simply removed feathers and the birds carried on out of sight . At the lunch break I turned to some good old Eley Grand Prix #5s and had no futher problems.  These 'home brand' shells where obviously useless for live quarry and became clay practise rounds.  That is many moons ago and today I would say there are none on the market which will not do the job at sensible ranges.  Just look at the bird and put them in the pattern.

Edited by Walker570
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2 hours ago, Shotkam said:

Some interesting answers and data posted.

I think I shall cast some gel blocks next to test my theoretically preferred pheasant load of 32g UK No 6 3% antimony fibre wad.

It will be interesting to see how different powders affect the penetration in the gel and cross reference pattern quality on the pattern plate.

Also cross referencing against known brand game loads.

‘Interesting’ for who? 🙂

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13 hours ago, Shotkam said:

Some interesting answers and data posted.

I think I shall cast some gel blocks next to test my theoretically preferred pheasant load of 32g UK No 6 3% antimony fibre wad.

It will be interesting to see how different powders affect the penetration in the gel and cross reference pattern quality on the pattern plate.

Also cross referencing against known brand game loads.

Meanwhile, I’m gonna shoot some pheasants.

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12 hours ago, Walker570 said:

In over 65 years of shooting live quarry with shotguns, 12 through to 410 I have only had one experience of inadequate killing power by a specic cartridge.  At the time, my local farm supply store was selling their own 12 gauge shells at a good price and I purchased 250.   I had my first trip on a shoot up in North Wales and hit about fifteen pheasants which simply removed feathers and the birds carried on out of sight . At the lunch break I turned to some good old Eley Grand Prix #5s and had no futher problems.  These 'home brand' shells where obviously useless for live quarry and became clay practise rounds.  That is many moons ago and today I would say there are none on the market which will not do the job at sensible ranges.  Just look at the bird and put them in the pattern.

Very similar experience Walker , this must have been sometime in the 80s , we used to sell our Pigeons to Frost Game at Brockdish in Norfolk , old Cissel was one of the best and always treated you fairly , I believe at the time their was a fire or something at the Eley cartridge factory and any cartridge's were fairly hard to get hold of , so Cissel tried to rectify this problem by when his lorry took a load of Pigeons to Italy he would bring a load of cartridges back , so the next time we took some pigeons we took a couple of slabs as part payment ( the good ole days ) , this sounded ideal and the cartridge looked exactly like any other shell , ( yes T C they were Red ) , looks are very deceiving and the real test was in the field , if I remember rightly they scared more pigeons than they killed , the only ones that dropped out must have had a heart attack as when you opened the breech after firing a shell it was left with loads of little bits of unburnt powder , I swear blind if I had been using my Midland 3 inch that had 32 inch barrels the shot would have hardly reached the end of the barrels , they were honestly next to useless and after a short time ole Cissel went back to what he was good at and that was selling game and didn't dabble in any more cartridges .

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manufacturers just love fps figures - they know that just 1 fps faster than a competitor will lure some shooters into thinking it is a better cartridge and probably stating it is a better cartridge on social media. There is a great video of a pro golfer on you tube playing 9 holes with a 'set' of 4 clubs that cost £70 - his skill meant he came in under par, it is a salient lesson that skill matters more than kit. Sticking with the same cartridge allows your brain to adjust to all the variables. If most of us average shots were given plain cartridges and just told to use them the chances are there would be little difference in how well we shot. In practical terms I have ended up with a bag full of bits at times and despite variations in shot size and speeds I seem to shoot about the same on a sporting set up. For reloading I would pick a medium speed and just as importantly a progressive powder that keeps kick to a minimum plus I would only load 21g as that does for most folk and keeps the cost down.

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shotkam asked about speed of 20gauge cartridges. He has had information on the distance that the speed is taken at and a lot of other information. He will ask for information on reloading 20gauge cartridges, l am sure he will get some good advice or where to get information from. Reloading is technical a bit more so with heavy metal pellets. Good luck to him.

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Fortunately I do get to do a lot of shooting in comparison to a lot of people, which is why I see failings in many loads over 40 yards.

As I get the opportunity to shoot at a lot of birds, pest and game, at 40 - 55 yards I see no reason not to develop my own 20g loads which may be an improvement on what is currently available on the market.

As has been reiterated on here many many times, on Pheasants No 6 runs out of energy circa 50 yards and No 5 circa 60  Yards for humane kills.

Once I have a few batches of test loads made up and spent a small amount of time pattern testing and energy testing I will have the answers.

Given the knowledge I have and with the generous input from others on the forum, I suspect that an effective humane load will be achievable in 20g 32g fibre No 6 up to circa 50 yards that is consistent in pattern and energy. No 5 pattern wont meet the humane pellet count in the 30" circle at the lowest accepted level of 120 even with 34g.

I just enjoy discussing anything to do with shooting !

 

 

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2 hours ago, Shotkam said:

Fortunately I do get to do a lot of shooting in comparison to a lot of people, which is why I see failings in many loads over 40 yards.

As I get the opportunity to shoot at a lot of birds, pest and game, at 40 - 55 yards I see no reason not to develop my own 20g loads which may be an improvement on what is currently available on the market.

As has been reiterated on here many many times, on Pheasants No 6 runs out of energy circa 50 yards and No 5 circa 60  Yards for humane kills.

Once I have a few batches of test loads made up and spent a small amount of time pattern testing and energy testing I will have the answers.

Given the knowledge I have and with the generous input from others on the forum, I suspect that an effective humane load will be achievable in 20g 32g fibre No 6 up to circa 50 yards that is consistent in pattern and energy. No 5 pattern wont meet the humane pellet count in the 30" circle at the lowest accepted level of 120 even with 34g.

I just enjoy discussing anything to do with shooting !

 

 

And absolutely nothing wrong with discussing such matter if you so wish.

Develop your loads ask away questions and enjoy your sport, this is just another aspect of the sport you clearly enjoy , if other see any relevance to their requirements of the sport for such debate is neither here nor there certainly no one else s bushiness but your own and those who chose to reply to you.

Edited by MARSH GUN
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6 hours ago, Shotkam said:

Fortunately I do get to do a lot of shooting in comparison to a lot of people, which is why I see failings in many loads over 40 yards.

As I get the opportunity to shoot at a lot of birds, pest and game, at 40 - 55 yards I see no reason not to develop my own 20g loads which may be an improvement on what is currently available on the market.

As has been reiterated on here many many times, on Pheasants No 6 runs out of energy circa 50 yards and No 5 circa 60  Yards for humane kills.

Once I have a few batches of test loads made up and spent a small amount of time pattern testing and energy testing I will have the answers.

Given the knowledge I have and with the generous input from others on the forum, I suspect that an effective humane load will be achievable in 20g 32g fibre No 6 up to circa 50 yards that is consistent in pattern and energy. No 5 pattern wont meet the humane pellet count in the 30" circle at the lowest accepted level of 120 even with 34g.

I just enjoy discussing anything to do with shooting !

 

 

Try keeping your shots to 35-40yrds then to be reasonably sure of a humane kill. 

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21 hours ago, Walker570 said:

Try keeping your shots to 35-40yrds then to be reasonably sure of a humane kill. 

We are talking a maximum of 55 yards, not 60, 70 or 80 yards and many on here state that it is possible to get consistent clean shots at those ranges.

I would disagree though, as the science does not add up.

I still maintain that shots to 50 - 55 yards with the right cartridge and it is possible to be reasonably sure of a humane kill. 

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On 08/11/2021 at 19:06, Shotkam said:

We are talking a maximum of 55 yards, not 60, 70 or 80 yards and many on here state that it is possible to get consistent clean shots at those ranges.

I would disagree though, as the science does not add up.

I still maintain that shots to 50 - 55 yards with the right cartridge and it is possible to be reasonably sure of a humane kill. 

Yep. The ones that "consistently" kill 80 yard pheasants have a different definition of the word "consistently" to me! Ie, they are talking a load if old balls!

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Watched a youtube short film a couple of days ago concerning high if not extreme birds, where the shooters were using a mixture of 34grm 4's and various similar 'high bird' or 'extreme' loads from various makers. One gun ( Jason Doyle ) commented after a drive that he had killed 3 birds from a shot count of 30 to 35 cartridges. All 12 bores of course, as far as I'm aware. 

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25 minutes ago, Scully said:

Watched a youtube short film a couple of days ago concerning high if not extreme birds, where the shooters were using a mixture of 34grm 4's and various similar 'high bird' or 'extreme' loads from various makers. One gun ( Jason Doyle ) commented after a drive that he had killed 3 birds from a shot count of 30 to 35 cartridges. All 12 bores of course, as far as I'm aware. 

Don't bring that clip into it as they all mentioned chokes, ............and now we're into a whole new theoretical discussion 🙄😁

All the info anyone ever needs on cartridges is in @Tightchokes thread.😉

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42 minutes ago, Scully said:

Watched a youtube short film a couple of days ago concerning high if not extreme birds, where the shooters were using a mixture of 34grm 4's and various similar 'high bird' or 'extreme' loads from various makers. One gun ( Jason Doyle ) commented after a drive that he had killed 3 birds from a shot count of 30 to 35 cartridges. All 12 bores of course, as far as I'm aware. 

Seen worse averages on 25 to 30 yard birds 

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On 07/11/2021 at 14:25, Shotkam said:

Fortunately I do get to do a lot of shooting in comparison to a lot of people, which is why I see failings in many loads over 40 yards.

As I get the opportunity to shoot at a lot of birds, pest and game, at 40 - 55 yards I see no reason not to develop my own 20g loads which may be an improvement on what is currently available on the market.

As has been reiterated on here many many times, on Pheasants No 6 runs out of energy circa 50 yards and No 5 circa 60  Yards for humane kills.

Once I have a few batches of test loads made up and spent a small amount of time pattern testing and energy testing I will have the answers.

Given the knowledge I have and with the generous input from others on the forum, I suspect that an effective humane load will be achievable in 20g 32g fibre No 6 up to circa 50 yards that is consistent in pattern and energy. No 5 pattern wont meet the humane pellet count in the 30" circle at the lowest accepted level of 120 even with 34g.

I just enjoy discussing anything to do with shooting !

 

 

Don't let me put you off from what you're doing. After all, I have always done the same with a change in gun or cartridge but at a more limited level and have enjoyed doing so - it's all part of shooting for me - but I prefer to accept the more normally tried and accepted limits. 

The reason that you see those failings is simply because you are approaching the limit of a shotgun's capability. Yes, 50, 55 and even 60 yards is feasible but not perhaps with the load or calibre that you are suggesting. You will have to revert to the gel to get an accurate penetration/energy assessment. Whose figures have you chosen to use, which gel mix percentage -  and have you taken the boundary layer into account? With regard to pattern, the plate will give you the answers that you need. You even have a choice. You can either pattern at your chosen maximum range or at, say, 40 yards. At one time, some 10% was always added to cater for shot string, but modern technology reflects that this is not necessary unless you're looking at, or in excess of, some 50 yards. Consequently, the maximum range option would save a load of additional work. You're just going to need a bigger plate. As you're now at a range where every little helps - especially as fibre wads have been mentioned - why a 12 bore load in a 20 bore? The one big element for pattern quality/degree is the damage suffered by those pellets in contact with the wall as they travel down the barrel. Of the two calibres mentioned, which bore will suffer the most given the same load? Yep, nit picking now, but when pushing to the absolute limits everything needs to be taken into account. Some figures still in current use are somewhat dated. The Eley diary has been mentioned. See if you can find out why the "Effective Range of Game cartridges" table was removed some years back.

Less is sometimes more in the bag.

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On 14/11/2021 at 16:51, Centrepin said:

Don't bring that clip into it as they all mentioned chokes, ............and now we're into a whole new theoretical discussion 🙄😁

All the info anyone ever needs on cartridges is in @Tightchokes thread.😉

Sorry! 🙂

On 14/11/2021 at 17:08, Old farrier said:

Seen worse averages on 25 to 30 yard birds 

Yeah, you’re not wrong! Fortunately on BIG shoot today we had some guns who knew what they were doing. One bloke walked past us with a huge huge grin on his face and thanking us…..’Thanks fellas, that was great fun! Absolutely fabulous!’ He was right, it was good to watch too. 

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8 minutes ago, Scully said:

Sorry! 🙂

Yeah, you’re not wrong! Fortunately on BIG shoot today we had some guns who knew what they were doing. One bloke walked past us with a huge huge grin on his face and thanking us…..’Thanks fellas, that was great fun! Absolutely fabulous!’ He was right, it was good to watch too. 

Always good to see a good team in action 👍

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4 hours ago, wymberley said:

Don't let me put you off from what you're doing. After all, I have always done the same with a change in gun or cartridge but at a more limited level and have enjoyed doing so - it's all part of shooting for me - but I prefer to accept the more normally tried and accepted limits. 

The reason that you see those failings is simply because you are approaching the limit of a shotgun's capability. Yes, 50, 55 and even 60 yards is feasible but not perhaps with the load or calibre that you are suggesting. You will have to revert to the gel to get an accurate penetration/energy assessment. Whose figures have you chosen to use, which gel mix percentage -  and have you taken the boundary layer into account? With regard to pattern, the plate will give you the answers that you need. You even have a choice. You can either pattern at your chosen maximum range or at, say, 40 yards. At one time, some 10% was always added to cater for shot string, but modern technology reflects that this is not necessary unless you're looking at, or in excess of, some 50 yards. Consequently, the maximum range option would save a load of additional work. You're just going to need a bigger plate. As you're now at a range where every little helps - especially as fibre wads have been mentioned - why a 12 bore load in a 20 bore? The one big element for pattern quality/degree is the damage suffered by those pellets in contact with the wall as they travel down the barrel. Of the two calibres mentioned, which bore will suffer the most given the same load? Yep, nit picking now, but when pushing to the absolute limits everything needs to be taken into account. Some figures still in current use are somewhat dated. The Eley diary has been mentioned. See if you can find out why the "Effective Range of Game cartridges" table was removed some years back.

Less is sometimes more in the bag.

Talking of ‘gel’, an article in ST states that BASC claims steel shot works just as well as lead when you move down a couple of sizes, and that the head of lethality studies ( who’d have thought ?) at Cranfield University stated that up to 50 yds, lethality of ( steel I’m assuming ) shot has more to do with pattern than it’s capacity to penetrate! 

5 minutes ago, Old farrier said:

Always good to see a good team in action 👍

It is, yes. 👍

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1 minute ago, Scully said:

Talking of ‘gel’, an article in ST states that BASC claims steel shot works just as well as lead when you move down a couple of sizes, and that the head of lethality studies ( who’d have thought ?) at Cranfield University stated that up to 50 yds, lethality of ( steel I’m assuming ) shot has more to do with pattern than it’s capacity to penetrate! 

It is, yes. 👍

Sadly it wasn’t fired out of a traditional English game gun weighing 6.1/2 pounds 

or he would have had a different view on the cartridges tested and loose fillings in his teeth 

personally don’t wish to shoot pheasants with a Wildfowling gun 

on the plus side at least they are doing some testing 

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