In this series of reviews we look at some fast (above 1200fps) 1 ounce 12 gauge shotgun shells that would be a great choice for FITASC sporting. Of course they would also be an excellent choice for English sporting clays as well. All of the clay shooting shells we look at in this series are of the "premium" variety and cost bracket, though they are all very popular among sporting clay shooters who swear by their high quality components and hard shot.
B&P F2 Mach
I’m not a shot shell snob by any means but I do like to shoot a good quality target load in competition and I have my favorites. In fact, I wasn’t expecting anything I shot in this test to even equal my favorite clay shooting shell but B&P USA has done at least that with their F2 Mach shot shell. The F2 Mach is a deceptively soft shooting 1300 fps shell that had the most even patterns at every yardage out to our test maximum of 45. Truly an amazing shot shell. Baschieri and Pellagri shot shells are made in Bologna, Northern, Italy and imported to the U.S. by Kaltron Outdoors.
The pattern at right is indicative of the even distribution this shell had through my test gun, a Browning with .740 bores and Briley Spectrum Chokes. This was the F2 with number 7.5 shot at 30 yards through a Light Mod choke. It was the same from 20 yards with IC to 45 yards with IM. Nice, even patterns. Nearly the same pattern quality was seen through Muller chokes but were a bit more "open" by comparison. The shells feature B&P’s top quality F2 powders and T3 wads. The important things being the wad is deep enough to cover the shot completely and the moly-coated Diamond shot itself. There is just no getting around the fact that hard, high antimony and/or coated shot just patterns better.
In actual use on the range I shot the F2 Mach’s at local NSCA registered sporting clay competition and I saw hard hits at all distances. I was very comfortable shooting the shell as its velocity is similar to my usual Gamebore White Gold at 1330fps. However, I perceived the felt recoil as being less and much smoother. B&P’s Gordon System hulls probably factor in this. The Gordon System is basically a plastic base wad that gives way a bit to help the wad cushion the shot. Price wise this shell is among the most expensive sold but B&P includes shipping in the retail price and are very good at drop shipping to various competition locations. With shipping factored in they are comparable to other top quality competition shells. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this shell at even the most important competitions.
B&P Sporting Clay
The other load I picked from the B&P line is the 1260 fps Sporting Clay shot shell. I found this load to shoot fairly similar to the F2 Mach and I also shot it in registered competition. Overall it’s an equally good shot shell, perhaps a little brother to the F2? It sports the G2000 powder and T2 wad. I really couldn’t perceive much difference in recoil between the two shells. At the pattern plate (same gun and choke) the shell shooting number 8 shot produced a few flyers and the patterns were a little less consistent than the F2 but not much. Probably because the shot in this shell isn’t as hard as the F2. Overall, the patterns were still very good and at about $12 less per flat (at time of writing) they are a great choice for a cheaper clay shooting shell from B&P. Also the 1 1/8th ounce version is the best shell of that shot weight B&P produces.
In conclusion, though they are pricey shells, B&P has a very dedicated following among sporting clay shooters and I can see why. They make excellent quality shells, supply is generally good, they have great customer service and they do run discount promotions from time to time. If you’re looking for a top quality FITASC or sporting clay shot shell you would do well to give these two a try.
Next time we have a look at the Clever Mirage T3.