European Wads

Dear Technoid:

What is your opinion of the use of European sporting wads as hyped by Ballistic Products? they claim that the British shooters usually use an IC/IC combination for most targets, but have a bag full of specialty loads using “European wads ” to tune up their shooting.

Ever use any of these specialty wads? Wadda ya think?


Dear dw,

I think that Ballistics is partly full of hooey and partly dead on. There is all sorts of baloney written about the good Brits “never changing chokes” or “prefer solid chokes”. Hooey, hooey and more hooey. Modern screw chokes were slow to catch on with the Brits because they are simply not as gadget conscious as the Americans. Now they are just as popular there as here. Nigel Teague makes a very nice living indeed retro screw choking older solid choke guns in Britain as does the British Briley screw choke licensee Holland and Holland.

It is true that the Brits are more sensitive to the gross weight forward bias that many of the modern screw chokes inflict on hitherto well balanced guns. Perhaps that was the reason that they were slower to take to the current guns. To get around the added nose weight, the more serious shooters simply order a solid choked gun (like the most excellent solid choked Miroku trap model) and have it after market screw choked. After market screw choking does not add any weight.

All of that said, you can indeed significantly alter your patterns up to one full degree of choke either way by very, very careful selection of shells. This will require a great deal of pattern testing with your particular barrel. I don’t know if Ballistic’s “European” wads are any better than ours. After all, WE invented the plastic wad. They are copying us. That does not mean that the Gualandi (Glissenti?) wads may not offer something different in the way of pattern performance than what we already have, but the little bit that I have fooled with them have not shown anything unique. They often rely on a short wad cup to open patterns at the expense of deformed shot. It is good marketing on Ballistic’s part though. Sort of like Herters used to do.

Personally, I prefer to change my pattern by changing my choke and shooting an appropriate standard shell. If that is not an option and I am shooting a solid choke gun, THEN and only then will I put in the considerable time and effort to develop specific loads for the gun. You can open a modified choke to almost IC and tighten it to a vague full if you do your reload homework. Don Zutz has done a lot of work on this.

Trust me, it is much much easier to simply combine high quality Remchester skeet load #9s with a skeet choke (.005″) for 20 yards and in, trap #8s with a light modified (.015″) for 20-35 yard shots and handicap trap #7 1/2s with full (.035″) for 35+ yard shots. But then, doing it the easy way takes some of the fun out of it, doesn’t it.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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