Sporting is by far the most popular clay shooting discipline in the UK, and to get the best scores, you need the best cartridges. Vic Harker presents 10 loads guaranteed to do the job

There is no doubt that participation in Sporting clay competition at every level in the UK exceeds that of other forms of competitive shotgun shooting. There are a number of explanations for this, one of which is the widespread popularity of game shooting and the need for the practice it requires, which Sporting clays provide. The relative ease and low cost with which a Sporting layout can be set up on a greenfield site is another factor.

Most would agree that the UK provides some of the very best and most varied game shooting in the world and some of the best shooters as well. At least in part, this is owed to the practice Sporting clays provide sportsmen in the close season.

No longer does the British shooter put away his gun at the end of January; instead, many now will be looking forward to the clay season. The British cartridge manufacturers and those on the Continent have long come to appreciate that Sporting clays have created a whole new breed of year-round shooters, and Sporting clay target loads are an important ingredient to their success in competition. This month, we feature a range of clay target loads formulated to meet the requirements of the modern Sporting clay target shooter.

Hull Cartridge Sovereign Extended Range

A truly outstanding load from a manufacturer that has an enviable record in the development of top-class ammunition for Sporting clays. On the pattern plate, through three Sporter shotguns from three manufacturers, patterns were well distributed and consistent. Sovereign Extended Range comes highly recommended for shooting grounds that welcome plastic wad loads.

Available in plastic wad 24 and 28g No.6.5, 7, 7.5, 8 and 9, £256.50-£272 per 1,000.

Hull Cartridge Pro-Fibre

A carefully formulated fibre wad cartridge, the Sporting shooter can use this environmentally friendly cartridge with confidence. Both fast and clean, recoil is minimal. This cartridge sets new standards of ballistic consistency for fibre wads.

Available in fibre wad 24 and 28g No.7.5 and 8, £246-£263 per 1,000.

Lyalvale Express English Sporter

With an ever-increasing requirement for a high-performance, environmentally friendly cartridge, English Sporter from Express is an excellent choice. High-quality components carefully put together and tested, this excellent load comes at a very moderate price. I have now put this ammunition through a number of guns and the results are reassuringly consistent.

Available in plastic and fibre wad 28g No.7.5, 8 and 9, £193-£199.50 per 1,000.

Lyalvale Express Power Gold

A top-of-the-range load that has gained a reputation for consistent performance. The 16mm nickel head ensures reliable ejection, and the cartridge incorporates a particularly fast powder that gets the shot load on its way to the target quickly and with remarkably modest recoil. This load has been a success from its introduction and continues to attract an ever growing following.

Available in plastic 24g and plastic and fibre wad 28g No.7.5, 8 and 9, £221-£235 per 1,000.

Fiocchi TT Two Sporting

A smooth-shooting load with modest recoil you can use all day without fatigue. At the same time, patterns thrown are well distributed and highly efficient. TT Two enjoys a large following in Italy where it is manufactured and increasingly so in the UK.

Available in plastic wad 28g No.8, £184 per 1,000.

Fiocchi Official Sporting

As its designation suggests, this cartridge is an ideal choice for Sporting clays. Conceived and carefully made to the highest standards of manufacture, this high brass load just shouts quality. With a long record of success in Europe, this cartridge now enjoys favour with some of the best shooters in the UK.

Available in plastic wad 28g No.8.5, £248 per 1,000.

Eley VIP Sporting

A British cartridge that has gained an enviable reputation for performance and value for money. Incorporating a high brass case, the best RSP powders and a shot load with a high antimony content. Fast, hard-hitting and consistent, VIP is still a load to compare with the very best for quality and value for money.

Available in fibre wad 28g No.7.5 and 8, £279 per 1,000.

Eley Titanium Strike

For competitions where clay targets are shot at ever increasing ranges, Eley have developed Titanium Strike. A cartridge with nickel plated shot and the fastest PSB powder, Titanium Strike meets the increasing demands put on the shooter to shoot more accurately at greater distances. Tested in a variety of shotguns with varying degrees of choke, Titanium Strike met the challenge to provide outstanding speed and pattern consistency. This new cartridge comes recommended from some experienced shots.

Available in plastic wad 24 and 28g No.7.5, £279-£297 per 1,000.

Cheddite Rapeed

A new value-for-money cartridge from an Italian manufacturer renowned for quality and competitive pricing. First shots at the pattern plate revealed good pellet distribution combined with moderate recoil. This Italian brand continues to provide performance at a moderate cost.

Available in plastic and fibre wad 25 and 27g, £184-£192 per 1,000.

Cheddite Trap Oro

With 5% antimony, the shot load is also gold-washed, a process that ensures each pellet reaches the clay target in perfect condition to break it. This it does, and convincingly. Expect to see Trap Oro putting some of the best shooters on the circuit in the prize money this season.

Available in plastic 24g and fibre wad 24 and 28g No.7.5 and 8.5, £244-£262 per 1,000.