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. Last time we looked at the B&P F2 Mach and Sporting Clay shotshells this time we have a look at the…
Clever Mirage T3
Knowing I was going to shoot the Clever T3 shotshell I thought it was going to be like getting reacquainted with an old friend. Boy was I wrong. It was more like meeting a new one with the same name. If you shot the Grand’ Italia shells many years ago (aka The 90’s) these are NOT the same shell. The T3 is a much improved modern shot shell on par with the best out there. They are manufactured by Clever in Italy, who produce a number of the shells components in house.
The Clever Mirage T3 Grand’Italia is a 1oz shell going 1280fps. I shot the 7.5 shot size shell and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a mild recoiling fast shell that produces decent patterns. I shot the shell in both informal practice and in registered competition. The pattern at top right was thrown with a Browning .740 bore barrel though a Briley Spectrum Light Mod choke at 30 yards. It’s fairly tight with even distribution. The pattern at bottom right was through the same barrel and yardage with a Muller U4 choke which is equivalent to a tight Full. It’s a bit tighter for the same yardage with even distribution which is what the Muller chokes do. There really isn’t a "hot core" present for a Full+ choke.
In actual use I found them to be a good shell capable of handling targets at all distances. Overall, they didn’t grind up targets quite as spectacularly as some of the 1300fps plus shells in the test but did break targets with authority and of course, I could have just been off the mark. A break is a break and they all count as X’s on the score card though. Recoil, I would describe as mild and dead on for a shell this speed. It felt easier on the shoulder than the old Grand’ Italias from what I remember. I had no problems with jamming in either my auto or over/under shotgun and the manufacturing quality was excellent. The only negative I have to report is some of the boxes didn’t have tape on the bottom or the tape had lost its stick and shells spilled out everywhere when removed from the flat. Minor inconvenience sure but very aggravating in the heat of competition. Clever was not the only brand to have this problem.
It’s well worth noting that many shooters were asking what shell I was shooting and when they heard what it was, the reply was one of unanimous respect followed by, "Where did you get them?" You get them through long time distributor Gene Sears Supply in El Reno, Oklahoma. Gene Sears is a wholesaler/retailer and they do have a few dealers around the country. If there isn’t one in your area they will take care of you, just give them a call at (800) 522-3314. For other countries check the Clever Mirage website.
Next time we have a look at the Gambore White Gold, Black Gold and Blue Diamonds.