Derya Arms Shotguns at Pellpax

As a registered firearms dealer (RFD), Pellpax deliver firearms directly to your door. Our own drivers go out every weekend to deliver firearms, airguns, and ammunition to customers all over England and Wales.

Over the last 22 years, a new wave of innovation has swept over the world of shotguns. At the crest of this wave is Derya Arms, one of Turkey’s most prestigious manufacturers of firearms. Now there are some spectacular Derya shotguns available from Pellpax.

Derya is all about quality control

Derya Arms is based in the south-western city of Konya, one of Turkey’s Anatolian Tigers. Working with highly skilled designers, technicians, and gunsmiths, top-quality raw materials, and a stringent proofing process, Derya Arms produce excellent shotguns for hunters, competition shooters, and security agencies. The company ethos is based on ethical conduct in all areas of business and manufacture.

Each stage of production is carried out in accordance with the following international industry standards:

  • Turkey: TSE (Türk Standardları Enstitüsü (Turkish Standards Institution))
  • Europe: CIP (Continuous Improvement Process)
  • USA: SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute)

The name Derya is Turkish for ‘sea’.

New for 2020 at Pellpax

Our complete range of shotguns from Derya Arms can be seen here. But let’s have a quick look at a couple of our favourites …

Lion Principal Semi-Automatic – 12G

The sleek black polymer stock on the Lion Principal semi-automatic is stylishly chequered for a firm grip. Further chequering on the fore-stock provides a secure hold for the supporting hand. This simple detail lends a certain elegance usually associated with a wood stock.

The raised, ventilated rib serves to absorb much of the heat produced in the barrel. When heat waves are dispersed into the air immediately above the barrel, a shooter’s view can be distorted; overheating can also cause damage to a barrel. With the additional metal of the rib to bleed the heat, there’s no thermal disturbance to warp a shooter’s view; and the barrel’s temperature is more quickly lowered.

The raised rib is a relatively recent addition to the shotgun’s anatomy, and although it’s not to everyone’s taste, aesthetically, it’s a feature that certainly provides a technical advantage.

Meriva MR-300 Over & Under – 12G

The Meriva MR-300 is truly a thing of beauty. The steel receiver is gorgeously engraved with images of birds in flight, and the walnut stock features intricate chequering for a firm grip. A vented raised rib and slender trigger guard add a combination of old-fashioned finesse and modern simplicity.

This shotgun is an heirloom in the making.

Multi-Choke Shotguns

Most Derya shotguns come with a selection of chokes. Some shooters aren’t too bothered about repeatedly changing chokes. For others, though, selecting the right choke is a vital part of every shot.

By restricting – or, occasionally, widening – the outlet at the muzzle, a choke determines the spread of shot as it exits the barrel.

A full choke is the most restricting of the common choke types. At 30 yards (27.43m) from the shotgun’s muzzle, 100% of the fired shot will be within a 30-inch-diameter circle. At 40 yards (36.58m), 70% of the shot will be in a 30-inch-diameter circle.

A full choke is handy for long shots. If you’re shooting clays or birds at a range of 40 or 50 yards, you need your shot to stay grouped over a greater distance. Without a choke, the shot would be too widely dispersed.

If you’re using a half choke, only 83% of shot will be within that hypothetical circle at 30 yards. At 40 yards, the percentage decreases to 60%.

The true cylinder choke has a diameter equal to that of the gun’s barrel and imposes no restriction. At 30 yards, 60% of shot will be within a circle of 30-inch diameter, and at 40 yards, just 40% of the shot will be grouped. The wider spread of shot is suitable for close-up shots, giving the shooter more opportunity to hit the target.

I was curious about the purpose of a true cylinder choke. Why wouldn’t an unchoked barrel suffice? I went in search of Pellpax gunsmith, Luke, who explained that, over time, the barrel’s thread would be damaged by the shot. So, the purpose of the true cylinder choke is to protect the thread when no choking is needed.

Contact us

For more information about Derya shotguns, or to talk to a member of the sales team about any of the products on the Pellpax website, just give us a call on 01263 731 585 or email [email protected].

Rifles and Shotguns: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Pellpax is a company well known for a reliable, face-to-face delivery service. Each weekend, our own drivers cover the whole of England and Wales, delivering firearms to the doors of our customers. We’re able to do this because Pellpax is a Registered Firearms Dealer.

The UK has the strictest firearms regulations in the world. Fortunately, shooting sports are surviving Britain’s legislative measures to prevent gun crime. If you’ve ever bought a gun from Pellpax, you’ll be familiar with the procedure.

As a registered firearms dealer, Pellpax carries a huge responsibility. We don’t take this responsibility lightly. In fact, we consider our licence to sell firearms a privilege.

Customers ask a lot of questions about airguns and firearms and their ammunition. Today we’re going to have a go at answering five of the most common questions that people ask about live-fire guns.

1.    Do I need to have a Firearms Certificate (FAC)?

For a start, you’ll need a firearms licence if you own a live-fire weapon.

Firearms Act 1968 Section 1 (1)

It is an offence for a person

  • to have in his possession, or to purchase or acquire, a firearm to which this section applies without holding a firearm certificate in force at the time, or otherwise than as authorised by such a certificate.
  • to have in his possession, or to purchase or acquire, any ammunition to which this section applies without holding a firearm certificate in force at the time, or otherwise than as authorised by such a certificate, or in quantities in excess of those so authorised.

Firearms Act 1968 Section 2 (1)

Subject to any exemption under this Act, it is an offence for a person to have in his possession, or to purchase or acquire, a shot gun without holding a certificate under this Act authorising him to possess shot guns.

That covers all rimfire and centrefire guns and their ammunition. For possession of both a shotgun and a live-fire rifle, you’ll need an FAC (firearm certificate) for each. The licence will specify the calibre and action of your gun, and there’ll also be a restriction on the amount of ammunition you’re permitted to possess at one time.

Firearms Act 1968 Section 57 (1), defines a firearm as

a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged.

Clear as a bell – apart from the word lethal, which is a matter of interpretation. For the purpose of this law, a lethal weapon has the potential to discharge a missile with 12 ft/lb or more of muzzle energy. This definition, of course, includes some air rifles.

There’s no central issuing authority for firearms licences. Each regional police force deals with application, issue, and renewal of FACs. Although the Firearms Act 1968 presents clear guidelines, much of its execution is down to interpretation by experienced police officers who have in-depth knowledge of firearms and a clear understanding of firearms law.   

The Firearms Act 1968 Section 27 (1) says

A firearm certificate shall be granted where the chief officer of police is satisfied

  • that the applicant is fit to be entrusted with a firearm … and is not a person prohibited by this Act from possessing such a firearm
  • that he has a good reason for having in his possession, or for purchasing or acquiring, the firearm or ammunition in respect of which the application is made
  • that in all the circumstances the applicant can be permitted to have the firearm or ammunition in his possession without danger to the public safety or to the peace.

Basically, you must have a legitimate reason for owning a gun, and the licencing officer needs to be satisfied that you’ll abide by the law and not put anyone at risk … and you have to be a ‘he’. Just kidding.

2.    How does a shotgun shell work?

A shotgun shell – or cartridge – is made up of the following components:


The plastic casing (or shell) of the cartridge holds everything together and forms a seal within the barrel, allowing the pressure of expanding gasses to build. At the base of the casing, a protruding metal (usually brass) rim acts as an anchor. The crimped top forms a lid to keep the contents secure, and when the gun is fired, the leaves form a sort of funnel for the shot.


A small amount of primer is contained within a central recess of the cartridge’s flat base. The firing pin crushes the primer, and the impact causes a chemical reaction that ignites the primer, creating enough heat to ignite the propellant. 


The propellant is the exploding black powder or smokeless powder (a term used chiefly in the US). When black powder burns, the product is approximately half gaseous and half solid. When smokeless powder (‘propellant’ in the UK) combusts, the product is mostly gaseous, and therefore a lot less smoky than traditional gunpowder.


The wad, which is made up of three plastic (or fibrous) components, serves multiple purposes.

Wadding separates the explosive from the shot and creates a seal to prevent the propellant gas from passing through the shot and thus losing power. The centre piece of the wad is the cushion, which acts as a shock absorber by compressing under pressure; this helps to prevent deformation of the shot. Another part of the wadding cups the shot, keeping it together as it’s propelled down the barrel.


Shot cartridge projectiles come in various forms – from a single slug, to a dozen buckshot pellets, to hundreds of tiny birdshot. Shot pellets are usually made of lead, but can also be of other metals, such as tin, zinc, bismuth, or steel.

3.    How does a rifle cartridge work?

A rifle cartridge is made up of the following components:


A rifle cartridge case is made of metal – usually brass. The case contains the primer, propellant, and projectile.


The primer is a shock-sensitive substance that combusts when hit by the firing pin. Its purpose is to ignite the propellant.


The propellant is an explosive substance that quickly produces hot, expanding gas as it burns. The pressure of this explosion propels the bullet in the direction of least resistance – i.e. down the barrel.  Traditionally, the propellant was gunpowder (also known as black powder), and it’s still used today. However, it’s now more usual for the propellant to be smokeless powder (in the UK, known simply as ‘propellant’).


The projectile in a rifle cartridge is a bullet, which is usually a single flat-bottomed dome, made of lead or lead alloy, weighing between 15 grains and around 750 grains. Some are long and narrow, and others are squat. Some bullets have pointed tips, and others have tapered bottoms.

4.    What’s the difference between rimfire and centrefire?

The difference between a rimfire and a centrefire cartridge is down solely to the way in which the firing pin strikes the primer.

Centrefire cartridge

In a centrefire cartridge, the primer is contained in a metal cup within the centre of the base. The primer is all in one place, so when it’s struck by the firing pin, the resulting combustion is consistent and predictable. A centrefire cartridge is more expensive than a rimfire cartridge, but it’s safer to transport, store, and handle, because of a thick metal casing and protective position of the primer.

All shotguns are centrefire.

Rimfire cartridge

With its thin-walled case, a rimfire cartridge is easier and cheaper to manufacture, and therefore cheaper to buy. The rimfire cartridge, though, is not as reliable as its centrefire equivalent. With the primer spread around the rim of the cartridge and struck by the firing pin at just one point, the level of chemical reaction is inconsistent.

5.    What do the numbers on a shotgun shell mean?


The gauge, or calibre, of the shell case is a measurement of its diameter, which is represented in this way:

Imagine a pure lead sphere that fits perfectly into the barrel of a specific gun. The weight of this imaginary sphere is expressed as a fraction of a pound – e.g. 1/12 or 1/20.

A 12-gauge cartridge is the right size for a barrel that would, in theory, be a perfect fit for a lead sphere that weighs 1/12 of a pound. A 20-gauge cartridge fits a barrel that would hold a lead ball that weighs 1/20 of a pound. So, the 20-gauge cartridge is smaller than the 12-gauge cartridge.


Pellet size is expressed as a code. Below are a couple of examples.

Shot Pellet Size Pellet Diameter Pellet Weight Count per 28g
7 Shot 2.5mm 0.08g 340
6 Shot 2.6mm 0.1g 270

In a Hull Cartridge Imperial Game 6 shot cartridge, with a 26g load, there’ll be approximately 250 (270/28 x 26) to 260 (26/0.1) pellets.

A Hull Cartridge ProSteel 7 shot cartridge, with a load of 19g, will contain approximately 230 (340/28 x 26) to 237 (19/0.08) pellets.


The load is the combined weight of the shot.

A birdshot cartridge containing approximately 460 pellets might have a total weight of 492 grains (32g); each pellet weighs 1.07 grains (0.07g). Nine 60-grain (3.9g) pellets in a buckshot cartridge will have a combined weight of 540 grains (35g). And a single slug weighing 383 grains (24.8 grams) carries the shell’s total weight in one unit.


The measurement given is the length of the cartridge with crimps open – its length after being fired.

Using a shell that’s too long for the chamber can cause serious bodily injury and considerable damage to a gun A shorter shell, though, is fine.

There’s usually a manufacturer’s warning on the cartridge box – e.g. Use only in guns with a minimum chamber length of 76mm or These cartridges are suitable for use in guns with a chamber of 2 ½” (65mm) or longer.   

Contact us

These are just a handful of the questions that people ask about live-fire guns. For more information about firearms or any of the products we sell, just give us a call on 01263 731 585 or email [email protected].

On Target for a New Range

Based in Norfolk, Pellpax is a nationally recognised company, led by a strong ethos of giving something back to the community. Sponsorship of Reeds Target Shooting Club, in Kent, is one of the ways in which Pellpax contributes to the accessibility and inclusiveness of shooting sports.

Reeds Target Shooting Club was established approximately 100 years ago, as part of an in-house sports and social club at Aylesford Paper Mills. The mill was owned by the philanthropic newsprint tycoon, Albert Reed (1846-1920), a man who believed in fostering a happy working environment for his employees and their families. Aylesford Paper Mills became one of the largest paper-making plants in Europe, and its sports and social club thrived.

In the 1990s, however, Reeds International pulled out of paper manufacture and sold the Aylesford site, leaving Reeds Target Shooting Club without a home.

John Lucas, the current club secretary, and former Reeds employee, says, “We’ve been nomads, renting space from two other local clubs: Bearsted & Thurnham Rifle Club, and Tubslake Shooting Club. Once a month, we hire space at Bisley Shooting Ground. But it’s not the same as having your own place.”

Creating a disability friendly shooting range

For many years now, the members of Reeds Target Shooting Club have been fundraising for a new, disabled-friendly range, incorporating a clubhouse with office and storage space. The money is slowly accumulating, but there’s still some way to go.

With approximately 100 members, aged between 10 and 80, the club has a thriving social atmosphere; the driving factor is safe, competitive fun. But, as John explains, it’s difficult to cater for those who want to progress and reach exceptional standards.

“Because we don’t have our own shooting range, there isn’t the opportunity for coaching and intense training. Years ago, the club did really well, competitively, and we had quite a few high fliers. Now, we simply do not have the facilities to nurture this sort of ambition.”

Lack of premises also has an impact on the club’s growth, but the demand for shooting doesn’t decline with disability or older age. By law, each new member must receive a certain amount of instruction; however, with restricted availability of facilities, it’s impossible to provide the necessary instruction for an unlimited number of new members. As a result, there’s a lengthy waiting list – frustrating for everyone concerned, but a positive reflection on the club’s reputation.

How Pellpax have helped

Much of the fundraising takes the form of social events, such as quiz nights, barbeques, and the annual Christmas dinner – with a raffle, of course.

John says, “Pellpax have been very generous. They’ve donated all sorts of shooting-related prizes, from pellets and accessories, to archery equipment – which has proved to be very popular – and even air rifles.”

Another popular event is the ‘race night’. You might think (or maybe it was just me) that this is a kind of sports day, with sack races and the like. But it’s much more exciting: you bet on filmed horse races, with the club playing bookie. If you take part often enough, you might even strike lucky and catch a repeat!

Reeds Target Shooting Club is 100 years old, and has been homeless for 20. After years of hard work and perseverance, its members are at last in sight of their goal; more than half of the required money has been raised, and several landowners have expressed an interest in the project. Pellpax is very proud to be a part of their endeavours.

For more information about Reeds Target Shooting Club, visit the website:

Or email John Lucas at [email protected]

Pellpax Girl, Amy Brown, Prepares for the Cyprus Grand Prix

Pellpax is extremely proud to be sponsoring the world-class Olympic Skeet shooter, Amy Brown. Amy has already competed in international competitions in Holland, Serbia, Málaga, Malta, Finland, and the UK, and is now in training for the Open Cyprus Grand Prix in February 2018. I caught up with Amy to find out what’s going on in her hectic life!

Having completed a foundation Law degree at Northumbria University, in Newcastle, Amy is now embarking on a course in Mechanical Engineering. Juggling higher education with a sporting career isn’t easy (yes, that’s a massive understatement!), but Amy’s tutors have always been sympathetic to her athletic commitments, and this support from Northumbria University has been extended to a shooting scholarship. Next time, we’ll find out more about this.

Amy’s training consists of regular sessions at the university gym, in order to build and maintain upper body strength and stamina. She follows a strict high-protein, moderate carbohydrate diet, balancing muscle-building with sustained energy levels. For shooting practice, Amy divides her time between Beverly Clay Target Centre in East Yorkshire, Bywell Shooting Ground in Northumberland, and Auchterhouse Shooting Ground in Dundee, Scotland, where she receives instruction from her coach, Iain McGregor.

One of the ways in which Pellpax assists Amy is to supply cartridges for training. At the moment, she’s using Hull Pro One Cartridges, a high-performance product that has been selected as the Olympic training load.

“They’re fantastic pellets. They just feel really good.”

The 2018 Open Cyprus Grand Prix will be held from February 4 to February 12, in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia. As the largest airgun competition in the world, and the first international competition of the year, it’s a popular, well-attended tournament. Amy will be competing in the senior ladies Olympic Skeet event.

“Cyprus is one of the largest open competitions in the world. Everyone from Olympians to world cup medallists go at the start of the year to see where they are at, at the beginning of the season.”

In addition to furthering her own career as a world-class competitor, Amy works with her younger sister, Erin, as co-ordinator of a ladies’ and girls’ shooting club. Proceeds from monthly meetings are donated to charities such as Bloodwise, an organisation striving to defeat all 137 types of blood cancer, and the Great North Air Ambulance.

Whatever is going on in the present, or in the near future, Amy never takes her eye off the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The qualification process will begin at the end of 2018, and Amy is determined to be part of Team GB.

Do well in Cyprus, Amy! From everyone here at Pellpax.

Gold for Pellpax Girl, Amy Brown, in Málaga

Amy, sporting her Gold medal.

We are very proud to be sponsoring the talented young Olympic hopeful, Amy Brown. At just 19 years old, Amy has already achieved impressive results in the world of skeet shooting, and her personal best scores are rocketing.

After being scouted by an APSI (Association of Professional Shooting Instructors) coach in the summer of 2015, Amy was successful at the Target Tokyo trials and, later that year, competed in the British Championships, taking second place in the Junior Ladies’ category.

This year, representing England, Amy took first place in the Junior category at the Captain’s Cup against Scotland, achieving two personal bests. In awful weather conditions at Bisley Shooting Ground, in Surrey, Amy shot for Team GB, taking third in Juniors and 11th overall. She also beat her competition personal best by six clays.

Later in the summer, Amy competed at the International Grand Prix in Holland, her first international competition, where she achieved ‘high gun’ position on both days and won team Gold. This success was closely followed by another international competition in Serbia.

In the summer of 2015, Amy passed ‘A’ levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, and then took a gap year so that she could dedicate her time and effort to Olympic Skeet. Now, studying Law in her first year at Northumbria University in Newcastle, Amy is juggling her two worlds of shooting and academia; but this doesn’t seem to faze her. When Amy attends shooting events, tutors are sympathetic to her need for time out from her studies; and on her return, Amy just buckles down to work in order to catch up.

As well as shooting in competitions, Amy trains regularly, dividing her time between Bywell Shooting Ground in Northumberland, Beverley Clay Target Centre in East Yorkshire, and Auchterhouse Shooting Ground in Dundee, Scotland, where she receives instruction from her coach, Iain McGregor. She also works out at the university gym several times a week to maintain her stamina and upper body strength.

International competitions take Amy out of her comfort zone. In the late summer of this year, she flew to Málaga, where, doused in sun-screen, she sweated her way through the Junior Grand Prix in uncomfortably high temperatures. It wasn’t just the heat, however, that tested Amy’s resilience.

“I found it quite nerve-racking, competing against strangers. There were a few other British competitors, and I knew most of them, but there were so many people I’d never met before, and shooting in front of them made me nervous!”

However, Amy is a very determined young woman. I was surprised by the fact that she had booked her own plane ticket, accommodation, and car hire – daunting tasks for a 19-year-old. Amy is focused on success. She rises to every challenge that faces her and takes everything in her stride.

And how did Amy get on in Málaga? She won Gold in the Junior Ladies event.

You can follow Amy on Twitter, here

Shotgun Cartridges: A Guide

A typical modern shotgun cartridge

Shotgun shooting has been a much loved pass time throughout the country for centuries and has developed from a couple of country gents clearing their land into a competitive and regulated sport. Game hunting with shotguns used to be so popular in fact that a 1548 Act of parliament banned “shoting of hayle-shot wherby an infinite sort of fowle is killed and much gaym therby distroyed”. The weapons used in these hunts were often ex military and wildly unpredictable until the invention of the flint lock in the 16th century.

Back then there wasn’t much choice for ammunition as black powder and lead, sometimes stripped from stained-glass windows amongst other things, were loaded directly into the barrel. Nowadays there are many types of shotgun cartridges are available all throughout all of the UK and the various different sports and activities require this different ammunition for their shooters to be effective. A clay is going to need different ammunition from a live goose to be effective for example.

Used cartridge cases

A Shell by its Cover

First of all let’s talk about how a shotgun cartridge works. From the outside there appears to be 2 different components to the cartridge, a plastic outer case and a brass head that ends in a thicker rim. The casing is available in various colours which only makes a difference when retrieving cartridges and you are slightly colour blind like me, then cartridges which I am assured are bright red seem to blend in very well with the mud and soil beneath them. Other than that they have no real relevance except some manufactures make certain gauges different colours, for example 20 gauge is often yellow, to prevent accidental misloading, again not much use if you are colorblind but at least I can appreciate the effort.

There is also the brass which is not actually made from brass and is instead electroplated steel. This is why cartridges can rust when not stored correctly. The brass is available in different lengths which is extremely important when you consider that the brass does… almost nothing. Aside from making your cartridges more expensive that is and I guess they look pretty. But modern shells have no real need for a brass, the theory goes that once upon a time brass was required because the powder used in shells burned much hotter than it did today and so, the higher the brass, the more powder used. Today the advantages of “high brass” shells are marketing gimmicks designed to trick new shooters into buying their products, old wives tales and excuses for when a called clay flies past without being shot. Take your pick, I’ve heard them all.

Gauging Interest

Gauge is an old English Imperial measurement that relates the amount of lead that can be rolled down a shotguns barrel to make a set weight, it all seems pretty over complicated so just remember, the lower the number, the bigger the shell. The exception to this is the .410 gauge which is an American invention based on the .45 colt round, Americans just love to be different don’t they? The size of shell does not always equate to power, as shot size and types of power have a part to play, but a larger shell can fit more shot and gunpowder inside it so it is a good rule of thumb to go by.

There are various gauges that are used for shotgun shells which obviously match the calibre of the shotgun you are using. There are 3 often used sizes and by far the most popular of these 3 is 12 gauge, a great all round size that can be used for both clay pigeons and game and provide great versatility at both. Put simply, there is a reason why it is the most popular cartridge. 20 gauge is the next size down from this and is designed to be a similar power level to the 12 gauge but with less recoil. The .410 is the next size down still and only really suitable for the smallest of targets. There are also other rarely used gauges such as 10, 16 and 28 but the majority of cartridges you encounter will likely be one of 12, 20 and .410 gauges.

Generally I would say use the largest gauge that your shoulder can take. The higher the gauge the more pellets in the shell and the the higher chance of hitting your target but also the higher the recoil rate and the more fatigue you will experience, throwing off your aim after a while. 12 gauge is the ideal choice as there is far more variety in shells out there for a 12 gauge although manufacturers of the 20 gauge are slowly catching up. This point seems incidental but I’ve never seen any 16 gauge shells on the shelf in any gunshop I’ve ever been to so if you’re after a quick point and shoot, a more common gauge might be the way to go.

Its what’s Inside that Counts

The inside of the cartridge houses a variety of different ingredients that work together to produce an effective shotgun spread. Starting at the back, there is the primer. The primer is a small piece of metal in the centre of the rim that creates a spark when hit by the hammer of the shotgun. All primers a pretty much the same and do not effect the overall performance of the cartridge.

The primer ignites the gunpowder which is available in a variety of different formulations that burn a different rates. The basic rule of thumb is, that faster the powder burns, the faster the shot is pushed out the barrel. This means that less lead, how far in front of the bird you have to shoot, is required making it easier to hit a fast moving object. Slower burning powders do have an advantage as well however, they often burn more evenly resulting in tighter spreads. You will also feel far less recoil with slower burning powders. Basically, the slower burning powders push the shot out of the barrel more evenly

My personal preference is to choose something mid range siding on the slower side. Just 6m past the end of the barrel, even the fastest loads are travelling at sub sonic speeds and the bigger the shot size, the faster this slowing effect takes place. Basically the speed of the shot makes little difference to the overall performance of the cartridge except the lead required, that’s lead as in distance and not the metal, and shooters who have been at it a long time can counteract this effectively.

Next up is the wad. This little piece of material is what pushes the shot out of the barrel and is primarily to prevent the powder and shot from mixing and to provides a solid base which prevents gas from passing through that shot as opposed to propelling it forwards. This wadding is available in either plastic or fibre. I almost always choose fibre. The reason for this is very simple, plastic is actually slightly the better wad offering better stability and producing better spreads at distance, but the majority of shooting places do not allow it for the simple reason that it is not bio degradable. I only know of one range near me that allows plastic wadding whilst all the rest require that you use fibre so make sure you know where you are headed before you buy.

Shots at the Bar

The last and most important part of choosing shotgun cartridge is the shot. The shot is the balls of metal, usually lead, that is inside the cartridge and are then fired out of the barrel. Although the majority of shot is lead, steel shot is required when shooting water fowl this is to prevent lead from entering any local water supply where its toxicity can be very hazardous to the environment. In steel you will more than likely as need a larger shot size than normal as steel is a harder metal than lead and has a tendency to pass right through the animal without transferring its energy if a smaller shot size is selected.

Also, just to be difficult, steel shot is sized in a different way than lead so bear that in mind when selecting. Be aware your shotgun will need to be proofed for steel shot as the harder metal can damage the inside of the barrel. Almost all modern guns come with this proofing as standard and most older guns can be proofed for a reasonable price.

Cartridge Shot Size

Shot size is probably the most important decision you are going to make and entirely dependant on what you are going to be shooting (see diagram). Smaller sizes, 9 to 7, are more suited to clays and sizes range all the way up to SG or LG, around 9.1mm across, but unless the zombie apocalypse actually happens, it is unlikely you are going to need any shot larger than AAA or BB for even the biggest of targets.

These are really a guideline as we shooters are a suspicious bunch and tend to stick with what works well for us personally. Any shop that tells you the size 7 shot is significantly better than 7.5 because of its greater mass is just trying to shift some old stock. Try what feels good for you, just bear in mind that when shooting live birds, no one likes wounding animals so it is better to go for bigger shot than usual as the higher mass transfers for energy into the target for more one shot kills.

When shooting clays, I generally find smaller shot to be more effective simply because of the fact that smaller shot fit more pellets into a cartridge, for example 210 size 9 pellets fit into a 12 gauge shell compared to just 120 size 7 pellets despite the size difference being just 0.4 mm. It matters less if the clay is “winged” so generally I go for the smallest shot I can get way with for more pellets in the spread and better chance of scoring.

My Recommendations

For Clay Shooting

For clay shooting, you cant get much better than Size 9 Comp X from Hull Cartridge. Voted clay cartridge of the year in 2012, these are fantastic shells with a small shot size for a greater number of pellets hitting your target and tight groupings coming from the slower burning powder. The plastic wadding also enhances accuracy but is not suitable for all ranges.

If you are willing to spend a little more money, the Sovereign Fibre 28g 8 Shot feature a slightly larger shot size that has been hardened for competition use. This hardening process reduces the deformation of the lead pellets under the extreme acceleration that occurs when the cartridge is fired. This greatly causes much tighter spreads and makes this ammunition the ideal choice for seasoned shooters. The Sovereigns also feature a fibre wad meaning they can be used on any range throughout the country and a re my personal go to when it comes to clay pigeon shooting..

For smaller guns, I would certainly recommend these .410 Gauge Game & Clay cartridges which are some of the best .410 shells I have ever shot. They aren’t going to be taking down albatross but they are suited to game and clay shooting and make ideal practice round thanks to their low recoil.

In the 20 gauge range there are the Subsonic 23g make great clay cartridges thanks to their low recoil, trust me your shoulders will thank me. These are also suitable for younger shooters as their lower recoil is not only less fatiguing but also more forgiving with your aim. They produce reliable spreads for a slower round and provide a large “kill zone” for maximum effectiveness.

Cartridges For Hunting Game Birds

The High Pheasant Fibre 30g 6 Shot is perfect for, as the name suggests, pheasant but also other similar sized birds. 6 shot is the ideal size for a combination of both power and accuracy resulting in less wounded birds and more food on the table. The Imperial Game 28g 6 Shot are of similar size and weight but feature significantly faster velocities if you are shooting particularly manoeuvrable birds. Their wider spread makes the ideal for beginners all the way through to seasoned veterans and should help you dramatically increase your shot/kill ratio.

In 20 gauge some of the best shells I have ever used are the Remington Premier Cartridges which are great all rounders and are superbly suited for shooting disciplines of almost any kind. Remington is a well respected brand name and these shells live up to the promise of quality. They are superbly smooth to cycle and shoot with minimal recoil, saving your shoulder for many shoots

A selection of Remington shotgun shells and the loading port of a shotgun

to come.

For larger birds I would personally recommend the Extreme Hunting 50g BB Shot there is not much on the market that is more powerful than these particular shells. Filled with shot that is around 4.1mm across and with velocities in the region of 1375 fps, hit something with one of these and it stays dead. These shells possess the power to take down even the largest of targets and with their larger shot size ensure all of this energy is transferred into the target for maximum damage and a quick, humane death. It is a good job that these kill with one hit as your shoulder is not going to thank you for being inefficient. It takes a lot of force to move pellets of this size so pack a thick shooting jacket.

Hunting Water Fowl

Where steel shot is required, these Solway Steel Magnum shells are ideal for mallard and other ducks and their larger shot size should prevent the pellets from passing straight through the bird. For smaller water birds, the Steel Game 32g, are going to be ideal and are very reasonably priced, especially when you consider that steel shot can outstrip the price of lead shot, sometimes several times over.

These Pro Steel shells are another cheaper alternative steel cartridge although be aware they do contain plastic wadding and are not suitable for everywhere. They are high velocity shells that decrease lead times making them ideal for faster moving targets and are a great all round shell for someone looking to do a bit of everything.

D.I.Y Your Own Shells?

It is also possible to reload your own shells. Since the price hike in lead a few years back, reloading your own ammunition has never been more popular. Savings of up 60% compared to buying pre made cartridges are nothing to be sniffed at and with todays, modern reloading presses, a surprisingly high level of quality can be achieved. To be able to do this you will first need an explosives license to buy the gunpowder required. Theses are simple enough to obtain for those who already own a shotgun certificate and no extra authorisation is needed for nitro propellants.

Once you have got your license, you are ready to go to work. There are various tools required but favourites of mine are the de- and re-capper which allow old shells to be re-used so you can do do your bit for the environment before you blow it apart.

We stock a variety of powders that range in how hot they burn from Korma all the way up to Vindaloo and produce various pressures for shot of all sizes and metals. Sticking with the food analogy, they say there is nothing tastier than food you have made yourself and there is certain level of satisfaction that comes from taking down a pheasant with your own shells. If you can afford all the shooting equipment to get started then it is something I highly recommend, that equipment will pay for itself with in the year, depending on how often you shoot, so think of that initial outlay on the equipment as an investment in your continued shooting success.

To Sum Up

One final note, shotgun shells are made from a variety of different components that can be  effected by environmental conditions such as temperature and moisture so always store them in dry conditions and at room temperature. IE on the floor in the garage is not the best idea, for a variety of reasons.

Perhaps only secondary to choosing your shotgun, the choice of your shotgun cartridges are of the utmost importance. They can have an extreme effect on your shooting ability and at the very least can be your excuse for when you’re having an off day, the one about the lucky underwear gets old fast.

When it comes to specifically choosing your ammunition, I cant really tell what is going to be best for you. Essentially shotgun cartridges are down to individual preference, need and availability so instead of carrying on reading this blog, and well done getting this far, go buy yourself a few shells and get shooting.

Check out our range of shotgun cartridges here

Femmes Fatales : Clay Shooting For Girls

Harriet Aimee Rose and Chiara of the Femme Fatales at a recent shoot

This month, our writer Hazel Randall spoke to Femme Fatales, a clay shooting community with a difference…..

Delving into the world-wide-web for information about ‘Femmes Fatales’, I came face to face with gentlemen’s magazines, rock bands, and some sort of cult; at one point I found myself on an ‘Asian girls dating site’. And then: bingo! I was looking at a group of smiling, fresh-faced women (fully clothed) – all toting guns.

Femmes Fatales is an online community for women clay shooters. The group was founded two years ago by Lydia Abdelaoui and Rachel Carrie. Unashamedly feminine, the Femmes Fatales state on their website’s homepage that they “have a love for high heels and lipstick, but also like the smell of gun oil and aren’t afraid to get their boots muddy.”

Employed by an ammunition producer, Lydia felt that she should have a go at shooting in order to understand a bit more about the world she was working in. She took to the sport like a duck to water, and continued to shoot regularly. On the circuit, Lydia met Rachel, and together they conceived the idea of an online community for women shooters, providing an opportunity for all women to take up the sport in a safe, relaxed environment.

A group photo at a Femme Fatales clay shooting day in Lincolnshire

Members of Femmes Fatales take it in turns to organise shooting events around the UK. On Saturday November 5th, 35-year-old Chiara King will be hosting her first FF event at Orston Shooting Ground, Nottinghamshire. Chiara told me a bit about a typical FF shooting event.

“If you’re a beginner, or if you’ve never even held a gun before, there’s equipment available for you to use: you don’t have to own your own gun or bring ammunition. There are also well-qualified instructors, to coach beginners.” Chiara added, “But these events aren’t just for novices; we get a lot of world-class shots competing too.”

Competitors at the Femmes Fatales Cup in April this year included the current British Open Ladies champion, Hannah Gibson, and England team representative, Alexandra Skeggs, who won the competition.

The headline sponsor was clothing label, Holland Cooper, who provided the top prize: a beautiful Gold Label fur cape worth £1,000. The idea of the Femmes Fatales Cup – held annually at The Royal Berkshire Shooting School – is to bring together experienced lady clay shots, novices, and complete beginners at one event to celebrate women in shooting sports.

I asked Chiara about her own shooting background and her introduction to Femmes Fatales.

Heather Todd, a Femme Fatales member, taking aim with a shotgun

“I’ve been shooting for five years; my first time was when I went along to a ‘have-a-go’ clay night with my sister. I was living in Sheffield at that time, but after moving to Pocklington in East Yorkshire, I didn’t shoot for a while. Then I attended a couple of Femmes Fatales events, had a brilliant time, and got right back into shooting. I got to know lots of people and made new friends.”

The next FF event will be on Saturday, 29th October at Bywell Shooting Ground in Felton, Northumberland, hosted by Laura Appleby. No experience is required to take part in the day, and all instruction, clays, safety wear, ear defenders and equipment will be provided. Experienced shots are welcome to bring their own shotgun and shotgun cartridges if they wish.

The Femmes Fatales Cup returns to The Royal Berkshire Shooting School on Saturday 29th April 2017.

I asked Lydia about plans for the future.

“We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. What we’ve achieved in two years has far exceeded our expectations – we’re just taking each day as it comes, making the most of every opportunity we’re given, and having fun!”

You can learn more about Femme Fatales at their official site, here:

Find out more about the Orston Shooting Ground at 

Olympics Rio 2016: Shooting & Archery Roundup

Image Courtesy of National Olympic Committee

The Summer Olympics took place in Rio last month, with 11,000 athletes representing 207 Olympic Committees. USA won the overall trophy haul, with 46 gold medals, and 121 medals in total. Meanwhile, it produced an exciting set of results in the shooting and archery events.

Olympics Shooting Results

Team GB’s Ed Ling and Steve Scott both brought home bronze medals. Steve attained a perfect score of 30 in the double trap to beat team mate Tim Kneale. Scott’s career has been inspired by veteran British shooter George Digweed, as he told ShootingUK. “George Digweed was my idol and when I was working there (West Kent Shooting School) at 16 or 17, he was shooting Double Trap. I never knew about the discipline, but he asked me if I wanted to have a go and I got the bug for it. I thought ‘I’ll give this a go properly’.”

Fehaid Al-deehani won gold in the event, competing as an ‘independent Olympic Athlete’, while Italy’s Marco Innocenti took silver. Ed Ling got third place in the Men’s Trap shooting event, with the top place going to Josip Glasnovic, who was followed by Italy’s Giovanni Pellielo.

Olympics Archery Results

In archery, 128 athletes competed across 4 events, using recurve bows under World Archery rules. Korea restablished its supremacy in the event, taking back its crown from the USA, the country that aced the 2012 London Olympics, in the team event. The trio of Kim Woo-jin, Ku Bon-chan and Lee Seung-yun beat the US 6-0 to win their fourth title in the past 5 Olympics. Korea took all 4 golds avilable at the event, with Ku Bonchan and Chang Hyejin taking two each in the men’s and women’s individual competitions. Team GB’s Patrick Huston went out in the second round.

A world record was set by world number 2 archer Kim Woojin in the 72 arrow ranking round. You can see it here:


Stay tuned to our blog for more archery and shooting features, news and reviews coming your way.

Paralympics Rio 2016: Shooting & Archery Roundup

864px-ipc_logo_2004-svgThe Paralympics Took place in Rio earlier this month (Sept 2016), with competitors from around the world all contributing to the success of the games.

Team GB performing particularly well in the archery events. Jess Stretton won gold, defeating fellow Brit Jo Frith in the individual archery by 137-124. The 16 year old spoke to the BBC. “I had to try to tell myself to keep calm because I did feel under pressure and sometimes I can freak out because of that,” she said.

“I had to trick myself into thinking it was just another shooting session which was quite difficult – but I managed it.”

Frith’s appearance in the event was made all the more impressive by her health prior to the event. As she told World Archery:

“I’ve got a neurological problem. I couldn’t move and I was in more pain than usual. It was really chronic pain. The doctors here did everything they could and in the end it was getting pretty serious so they sent me off to the hospital for about two days,” Jenkins told the website.

“And then we came this morning to see whether I could pull my bow back and to see Whether I could shoot. It looked okay and not too painful. And so I just went for it really.”

Victoria Jenkins won bronze in the event, completing an impressive three medal haul for Team GB in the event.

Paralympics Shooting

Meanwhile, Iran’s female sporting shooter Sareh Javanmardi won a second gold in the P4 mixed 50-meter pistol SH1 in Rio, scoring 189.5 points to finish champion in the event. China’s Yang Chao, finished second with 186.5 to win silver, while Oleksii Denysiuk of Ukraine finished in third place to win bronze.

Indeed, women were strongly represented throughout the shooting events. Out of the six mixed shooting events, four gold medals went to the ladies, including Slovakia’s Veronika Vadovicova in R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1) and Slovenia’s Veselka Pevec in R4.

The Big Interview: Amy Brown

Pellpax welcomes Amy Brown

Here at Pellpax, we are really proud to announce that we will be sponsoring 19-year-old Amy Brown.

Determined, intelligent, focused, and diligent, she’s a champion in the making. Look out for her at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo; we believe she’ll be there.

After passing ‘A’ levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, Amy decided to take a gap year before starting university in order to dedicate her time and effort to Olympic Skeet.

Last year, Amy was travelling all over the country to train and compete with other top-quality shooters, including Olympic competitor, Amber Hill. But with the help of her supportive parents, who bought a touring caravan, Amy was able to train with her coach, Steve Bramley, for a week at a time at Doveridge Clay Sports Club in Derbyshire, which has hosted some of the world’s most prestigious clay shooting events.

Amy is now coached by Iain McGregor, who is based at Auchterhouse, in Dundee – voted by Clay Shooting Magazine readers as Scotland’s Favourite shooting ground. Iain is also coach to Drew Christie, a commonwealth silver medallist, and Sian Bruce, an international medallist who shoots for team GB.

Amy says, “Being able to train and compete alongside these excellent shots has provided me with great insight into how vital it is to maintain a high level of training at all times.”

Amy’s first step on her shooting career ladder was success at the Target Tokyo trials after being scouted by an APSI (Association of Professional Shooting Instructors) coach during the summer of 2015. During the autumn, Amy competed in the British Championships (Olympic Skeet), taking 2nd place in the Junior Ladies’ category.

This summer, representing England, Amy took first place in the Junior category at the Captain’s Cup against Scotland. She also achieved two personal bests. In September, Amy will be competing in the Serbia Grand Prix – her first international competition.

Amy’s intensive training stands her in good stead. She says, “It’s made me mentally stronger and more capable of holding my nerve in competitions.”

But Amy’s focus isn’t restricted to her own advancement. She and her 16-year-old sister, Erin, run a ladies’ and girls’ shooting club that meets monthly to raise funds for various charities, including the Great North Air Ambulance and Bloodwise, an organisation that is striving to defeat all 137 types of blood cancer.

So when you attend local, national, and international shooting competitions, look out for our Amy, who will be wearing logoed Pellpax clothing. And keep an eye on the Pellpax blog page for updates on Amy’s progress.

So what does Amy hope to achieve by the end of this year?

“My goals for 2016 are to make a senior ladies’ final at the GB selection shoot in September, and also get into the top ten senior ladies for Olympic Skeet in Great Britain.

And in the next couple of years?

“I have my sights set on being selected for the commonwealth games in Australia 2018, and by the end of 2018 I want to be in the top ten for skeet women in Europe.”