What to shoot partridges with

Once the mainstay of English game shooting, the grey partridge population has declined by 80% in the 40 years since World War II.

Due mainly to more intensive farming and pesticides that killed the crop weeds that were an important component of their diet, their disappearance in numbers was mourned by gamekeepers, who lost their jobs, and sportsmen alike. Partridge shooting was revived by the French red-leg, a more robust creature, and with hens that produce two clutches a year, it was the saviour of partridge shooting in the UK. Here are some cartridges for that most quintessential form of English game shooting.

Lyalvale Express Supreme Game

A naturally low flyer but driven over hedges that are cultivated on partridge manors, big loads through big guns are not required for partridge. A brace in front and a brace behind represent the epitome of partridge shooting so good reflexes and dexterity are the qualities required of the successful partridge shooter. Suitably matched with a traditional fast handling English game gun, the Lyalvale Supreme Game cartridge will get the job done nicely.

This 65mm cased 28g load with plastic or fibre wad is as fast and as smooth as you could wish for. On the pattern plate through a lightly choked Rosson sidelock with both kinds of wadding, the old gun delivered evenly distributed game-getting patterns ideal for golden autumn days on the stubble.

Gamebore Black Gold Game Ultimate High Performance

As the name suggests, this is a high-tech cartridge with state-of-the-art components, Italian F2 powder and Gamebore’s Diamond Shot, which is extra hard to provide tight patterns at long range.

Available with fibre or the Gordon’s patented recoil-reducing plastic wad, this load is designed for birds that are high, wide and require that little extra hitting power to bring them down.

So if shooting partridges in the terrain that produces this kind of bird, Black Gold is the natural choice. The 70mm case length and the ballistics this gun delivers are ideally suited to the modern over-and-under, but owners of lighter English side-by-side guns will find the Gordon’s recoil reducing wad makes their use a much more comfortable experience.

Hull Cartridge Imperial Game

A superb cartridge for partridge shooting, fast but light on the shoulder, for a big bag day they are ideal. The Bontoft family, founders of the Hull Cartridge Company, have always been avid game shooters and so they keep in touch with their market in the best possible way. For every kind of game shooting, and particularly with traditional English game guns, the Imperial Game comes into its own. In both quality of manufacture and performance there are decades of practical experience gained by Hull Cartridge Company as to what the British Game cartridge should be.