William Powell Country

Dr Watson’s Shooting Clinic


Article written by 23 August 2012

Q: “Do cartridges make any difference to my shooting or can I shoot any type of cartridge at any game bird”?

A: I think cartridges are very important to how you shoot. Over the past 20 years cartridges have improved massively, which has changed my views on chokes and choking. Due to the make up of both fibre and plastic wads this has changed cartridge patterns. What do I mean by this in normal shooting terms? If you are shooting normal birds, i.e. 25 to 30 yards away you can use 28g to 30g cartridges. However, if you move to shooting high West or North Country birds at 45 yards and more you can move to 32g to 34g and even 36g loads. The modern day cartridge in fibre has smooth ballistics, uniform dense pattern and comfortable on your shoulder.

I am asked many times do cartridges vary in speed? Yes, they do but would you be affected by this? No. However, what I would advise strongly is that you stick to one make. When you have found the make of cartridge you enjoy and feel happy with stick to it. Both for reasons of speed, and also in your mind. It is so important that you know that using a particular cartridge does the job for you. If you shoot the highest pheasant you have ever shot with a certain make and type of cartridge, you have found the right one. Stick to it!

Now you ask what cartridge do I shoot? The answer is Hull Cartridges. My favourite in their range is the High Pheasant Extreme. Now you can get the full range in 32g, 34g and 36g for the hard hitting confidence boosting to shoot those big sky scraper birds!

Finally, shot size is also very important. I would advise 6’s at the start of your season for early grouse and partridges. Then move to 5’s and 4’s for the higher, tougher pheasants. The bigger the pellet the more killing power and penetration at longer range. I have seen very high pheasants killed dead at 65 yards. This always put a smile on your face!


Edward Watson

World renowned shooting instructor EDWARD WATSON started his shooting apprenticeship in 1989 at Pennsport Shooting School with Nick Penn as his mentor. Having honed his skills as an instructor Edward moved on to manage the Royal Berkshire.. Read more.

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