The Fiocchi F Black is a well-known cartridge, seen on every shooting ground in the UK and available for purchase worldwide. However, I recently discovered a little-known fact about the F-Black… the chap who owns Fiocchi UK, who also goes by the acronym FUKC (Fiocchi's UK Chap), gave me the information, and when he did I was shocked that not only had I never heard it before, but I've never heard anyone else mention it either!

It is no secret that I'm a lover of semi-autos (they really are the future with the way things are going), so when FUKC told me that the F Black was actually designed for use in a semi-auto, my ears pricked up like a spaniel that’s scented a pheasant, and my attention increased to the level Alan Turning gave to the Enigma machine. 

As FUKC told me, the F Black differs from the also very popular F Blu by having more ooomph to it than the F Blu, because Fiocchi needed a cartridge to support the semi-auto shooters. I was pleasantly surprised that the extra gazinger you get from the F Black is no accident; it wasn’t some apprentice scientist mixing powders like a teenage girl mixes up her mum’s makeup, only to produce a clown result. Nope, it was developed by a proper lab technician and their team, in order to cater for the growing number of semi-auto users. And that, boys and girls, gets a big thumbs up from me.

The solid black case with silver ferrule and silver writing is a brilliant combination and, for reasons only my subconscious knows, reminds me of the famous sweets I enjoyed as a kid – Black Jacks. And like the sweet, these F Blacks are absolutely lovely.

Fiocchi's artwork often packs a punch, and the F Black boxes are no exception. I can see why people are drawn to this range before they've tried them out.

Fiocchi F Black shotgun cartridge being loaded into a gunNow, before I get onto the shells' performance, I'll settle a little gripe... I've never been impressed by those after-market technicians who go all out, saying things like "the cartridge was one flake short of the 2,011 flakes required to administer enough charge to push the shot at 1,350 fps”; or, “the 28g load of No.8s was one pellet short of the load the manufacturer said it had". I can fathom one cartridge from another and judge its performance based on what I see and feel when shooting it, and the performance from the F Black is 100% – 100% of the time! I don’t need to use scales with drug weighing capabilities to check if one cartridge differs from another by 0.000001%, because as a human, such tolerances make absolutely no difference. So, if that's you, wang your chemistry set in the bin, and embrace the Italian science of excellence! 

With the aforementioned bug-bear of mine cleared up, let’s get onto how the cartridge actually performs. The F Black is a blend of marvel and intrigue. The extra zinger that most honest people have experienced compared to the F Blu is noticeable, and it’s supposed to be! What does this provide? Well, through a semi-auto, little to no effect on felt recoil, but it does make the working parts go from a jog to a high-speed run, thus giving potential cycling issues a big heave-ho. Through an over-and-under, yep, you're going to feel that crisper, more defined recoil – but many people like that feeling because it elevates their endorphins, and makes them more engaged with the task at hand. The F Blacks produce consistently impressive kills, as you’d expect from a Fiocchi cartridge, and all in all, it’s another work of brilliance from the Italian maker.

So, a cartridge with all the looks, and a cartridge that will tick the box for the many semi-autos users out on the grounds around the UK. And not forgetting over-and-under users too! This shell delivers all the time, every time, with a crisp sweetness like a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes Premier Cru Superieur… and, per thousand, it’s about half the price of a bottle as well! 

SRP: Approx. £259 per 1,000

Tech specs

Fiocchi F Black 28g
LOAD (g): 28g
SHOT: 5% antimony lead shot
WAD: Plastic Container (PLC)
CLOSURE: 6 petals star crimp
TYPE: Training, Competition
VELOCITY: 395 m/s or 1300 fps