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Article 7 – 2017

people posing and smiling with shotguns

Question: I am always in doubt about what shot shells to use to break targets at longer distances. I admit I am not the world’s greatest shotgun shooter, but I do think I have a fair understanding of all the basics. My question to you is simple. Will using faster shot shells mean that I will have to lead the longer (40 metre) Sporting Clay targets less and in essence will the faster velocity help my scores? Why am I always told to use faster loads on the longer shots? Thanks in advance.

Daniel Vella, Sunshine North VIC


Answer: OK let’s handle the scientific and analytical answer to your question first. Will faster shot shells mean less physical lead? The simple answer is yes. At around forty metres a target going across the front of you at right angles being shot at with a 28 gram shot shell with number 7 shot which has a muzzle velocity of 1300 fps will need 9 centimetres less lead than a shot shell that has a velocity of 1200 fps. Now think about that for a second. Visualize what 9 centimetres looks like at 40 metres. I have not met a person in over forty years of competitive shooting that can make that judgement at that distance. Your brain simply cannot make that type of minute calculation change simply because you have changed ammunition.

Now in saying all of that we need to look at the second part of your question. Will the faster loads help my scores? Not knowing what shot shells you are using I need to make the assumption they are of a quality competition standard. By that I mean the quality of shot is of a high enough standard to hold its shot pattern with the extra velocity. Generally speaking high velocity target loads need 5% antimony quality round shot to maintain their effectiveness. The obvious advantage of faster loads is that they will break into the surface of the clay target slightly harder.

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