William Powell Country

The ultimate Pheasant cartridge


Article written by 25 September 0201

As we head into the Pheasant season, you may be looking to use a cartridge with a little more ‘oomph’! Its necessary to be shooting a cartridge that gives you confidence that you will achieve a clean kill and William Powell may have the cartridge you need, Dan Todd explains further…

William Powell Blue Lightning Cartridges

The Blue Lightning is the flagship premium game cartridge from William Powell, it comes in 12 gauge with a 70mm case and is the high bird cartridge on the market.

The cartridge itself has been comprised with quality and performance at the forefront of the requirements, some of the features include Premium quality F2 powder, diamond polished lead shot and The Gordon Low Recoil System. Together these features produce a fast (1450 fps), clean and overall more reliable cartridge that holds a tight pattern for those stratospheric birds.

Load and shot size combinations available are 31 gram 5½ and 33 gram 4½. Both offer impeccable performance and outstanding quality filling the gap between the standard shot sizes 5s and 6s.

The loads are a compromise between the mass produced 28, 30 and 32 gram cartridges you see everywhere. These unique loads are a refreshing change and produce a standard of performance that is required in the niche between the mass produced loads.

This cartridge really does pack a punch and means you don’t have to think twice before pulling the trigger on those birds at dizzying heights.

Tried and Tested

I was shooting at Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire with a few friends and decided it would be the perfect opportunity to put the Blue Lightning to the test. I armed myself with 100 31 gram 5.5s at the start of the day and headed to the first drive. I had shot this drive before and knew that the birds were not massively high but they certainly flash over your head at amazing speed. I was on the end of the line and as the drive got under way, birds started flying nicely over the guns to my right and eventually a cock bird got up and started motoring my way, I lifted the gun to it, followed it, overtook and… Missed, closely followed by another miss with the second barrel. The next bird got up and I did the same, I couldn’t believe it, I felt so confident, I couldn’t work out what was happening. A hen bird came out and flew straight towards me, I adjusted my stance swung through and killed it cleanly. Then it dawned on me what I was doing wrong, I was missing in front. The Blue Lightning cartridges use Gamebore’s F2 powder and are a punchy cartridge, but much quicker than I was used to. I didn’t notice how quick they were because of the extremely effective Gordon Recoil system which helps to dampen the extra kick.

The second drive was at the bottom of a small valley and here the birds were a little taller. I had my eye in by now and when the first bird came my way it folded nicely and landed neatly behind me, as did the next two. The diamond polished shot was really doing its job. It was killing the birds cleanly and there were very few runners. Over the next few drives the same story continued. I was killing birds cleanly and consistently. Obviously there was the odd bad mount and poor shot resulting in me not touching a feather, but the cartridges were consistent, hard hitting and most importantly confidence inspiring.

On the last drive of the day we were in the woods. Two friends and I were pegged along a short ride towards the back of the wood. I don’t usually shoot well in woods; I prefer to see the birds approaching and get ready for the shot. This was going to be a difficult drive for me. It seemed to take an awfully long time for the birds to appear and pigeons were swirling above our heads. I resisted the temptation to take a shot as I hadn’t seen a pheasant yet. This is more than I can say for my neighbour! Eventually the birds started curling over our heads; I had fired about a dozen cartridges with mixed success when a really high cock pheasant approached the gun to my right. He lifted his gun and gave it both barrels with no success. This was my chance I swung through it, opened up a nice gap in front and squeezed the trigger. To my amazement the bird came spiralling down along with a large amount of twigs and leaves from the canopy above us. It was certainly my best shot of the day and I was really pleased with myself. A few more birds came out but nothing quite like that cock bird and that was the end of drive.

In conclusion

After dinner I had time to think about the shooting and the cartridges I was using. They really do tick all the boxes. They are a quick, hard hitting cartridge with the ability to reach those really high birds when you need to (the 33 grams must be incredible at extreme range). Most importantly they give you confidence that if you point the gun in the right place they are going to bring the bird down cleanly.

Main advantages 

  1. Diamond shot produces an excellent pattern and stopping power
  2. They are a very quick cartridge
  3. The shot sizes are the perfect sizes for modern game shooting, particularly at challenging birds

** Now back in stock for the season, for more information, please call our Gunroom on 01295 701 701 **

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