If you are lucky enough to be going grouse shooting, you want to make damn sure your cartridge doesn’t let you down! Vic Harker presents 12 cartridges perfect for those speedy grouse

Perhaps the most demanding form of game shooting, driven grouse provides fast and furious birds that require both a cool head and sharp reflexes. A gun that fits you properly is one must-have - there is no time for split-second adjustments to your gun mount when these agile game birds are upon you - and a good cartridge is essential. Fast but ideally with moderate recoil, an effective second shot is needed in a sport where right and lefts are constantly available.

1 Eley Grand Prix Traditional

From a long-established manufacturer with an unparallelled understanding of British game shooting and its requirements, Eley's Grand Prix Traditional load encapsulates this expertise. A 30g shot load in its familiar 2½" case with a fibre wad, it's a perfect partner for the English-style side-by-side. Using my Brummy boxlock, the pattern plate revealed a regular well-distributed shot charge, ideal for early season birds.

Available in 30g fibre wad No.5, 6 and 7, £392 per 1,000.

2 Eley Zenith Copper-Plated Shot

A top-of-the-range load from Eley with a copper-plated shot that will ensure every pellet will arrive at the target in perfect condition for maximum knock-down capability. This is important not only to deliver a humane clean kill, but also to ensure the pickers-up working on rugged terrain will not have to clamber about looking for wounded birds.

Available in 30, 32, 34 and 36g fibre wad No.4, 5 and 6, £359-429 per 1,000.

3 Gamebore Super Game High Bird

A superior cartridge with a 65mm (2½") case, High Bird is very well suited to those older good quality guns with shorter chambers. Enjoy your classic, knowing your ammunition will not over-stress it, but at the same time will deliver patterns that will put birds in the bag.

Available in 28, 30 and 32g plastic and fibre wad No.5, 6 and 7, £277-306 per 1,000.

4 Gamebore Grouse Extreme, Diamond Shot

Incorporated in this load is the Gordon System shock absorber which reduces felt recoil by a considerable amount. Shoot all day without fatigue and your performance is all the better for it. For the shooter who wants to enjoy his lightweight English gun to the full, this cartridge is for him.

Available in 29, 31 and 33g fibre wad No.5.5 and 6, £349-379 per 1,000.

5 Fiocchi PL28

Developed and manufactured by the Italians, who themselves are both avid hunters and cartridge makers, Fiocchi stay close to their customers and listen to them. The result? Game loads that fulfil the British market's needs in terms of both quality and performance, and PL28, a 28g game load with fibre wad, is no exception.

Available in 28g fibre wad No.6 and 7, £263 per 1,000.

6 Fiocchi F3 Game

A high-performance 30g cartridge, it's the perfect load for fast-flying grouse in all conditions. Rain or shine, at range or closer, F3 is an all-day game load that ensures you leave confident that you have done your best, with the best.

Available in 30 and 32g fibre wad No.5 and 6, £279-272 per 1,000.

7 Hull Cartridge Driven Grouse

From a manufacturer that is close to the grouse moors and its customers, Hull's Driven Grouse load is outstanding. With a copper-plated shot load, every pellet does its job by reaching the target without pellet deformation. This provides maximum knock-down performance with minimum damage to the bird, and so it arrives on the table in perfect condition. Shoot well and eat well with Driven Grouse!

Available in 28 and 30g fibre wad No.5.5, 6 and 6.5, £361-393 per 1,000.

8 Hull Imperial Game

Voted game cartridge of the year on its introduction, Imperial Game is a cartridge perfectly suited to a best quality English gun with 65mm (2½") chambers; from personal experience, it's an all-day load too. Smooth, fast, but easy on the shoulder, it will flatter your shooting. Like all the best things in life, Imperial Game justifies its cost.

Available in 26, 28 and 30g fibre wad No.4, 5, 6 and 7, £309-326 per 1,000.

9 Lyalvale Express Supreme Game

A top-quality game cartridge, it's a 2½" load with a high brass case - it looks good, but it's much more than that. A cartridge deceptively light on the shoulder, it's effective in any situation, most particularly when the grouse are coming thick and fast. A perfect partner to any fine game gun that will enhance your shooting in all conditions.

Available in 28, 29, 30, 32 and 34g plastic and fibre wad No.4, 5, 6, 6.5 and 7, £299-374 per 1,000.

10 Lyalvale Express Supreme Game Ultimate Power

A great cartridge formulated to help you come to terms in the most testing conditions. Confidence is essential to successful shooting, and with SG Ultimate Power in your gun you can be sure your ammunition is up to the most challenging targets.

Available in 30, 32 and 36g fibre wad No.4, 5, 5 and 5.5, £336-414 per 1,000.

11 Cheddite Royal Drive

Manufactured in Italy, some distance from any kind of grouse moor, Royal Drive nevertheless has all the qualities suited to the challenge game shooting represents. In a 2½" case, so compatible with game guns of any vintage, I find this fast but easy on the shoulder and a pleasure to use in a variety of game guns. Well-distributed patterns from both modern multi-choked over-and-unders, and even an ancient hammer gun without any choke, confirmed its suitability for every kind of quarry up to and including the British grouse.

Available in 30 and 32g fibre wad No.5 and 6, £335-349 per 1,000.

12 Cheddite CH6

This is a 20-bore cartridge that really packs a punch. In a 2¾" case, the small-bore enthusiast can be confident of not being under-gunned in any situation. Pattern tested through a light-choked Browning over-and-under, this combination was outstanding both on the pattern plate and on some woodpigeons standing in for their feathered friends from further north. This load comes highly recommended for use in suitably chambered 20-bore guns of recent vintage.

Available in 28 and 30g fibre wad No.5 and 6, £299-329 per 1,000.