The magazine of choice for the dedicated shooting enthusiast
Drennan Kenderdine heads to the range to test out the revolutionary new biodegradable wads from Baschieri & Pellagri - enter, the Green Core!
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A few months back, Baschieri & Pellagri UK informed me of their Green Core system and asked me to test it. I’m sure there are many shooters who have never heard of Baschieri & Pellagri, but within the industry, the brand is known for making the best shotgun cartridge components, hence most of the UK manufacturers load some of their cartridges, especially their top-end cartridges, with Baschieri & Pellagri components.
Gamebore use the Gordon System in some of their cartridges, and this system is actually designed and manufactured by Baschieri & Pellagri, which may come as a surprise to some. Richard Faulds can certainly give thanks to Lyalvale Express for creating the Olympic gold-medal-winning Olympic Xcel 24g, as well as the Supreme Range which he has used to secure multiple world, British and English records – but these two cartridges both use components from Baschieri & Pellagri too! So, behind the scenes, Baschieri & Pellagri are winning medals at every level of shooting this world has to offer.
Way back in my teens, some of the finest shooters were using Baschieri & Pellagri cartridges. I used Baschieri & Pellagri on and off in my teens, because way back then Baschieri & Pellagri were priced like a Rolex rather than a Swatch... in other words, they were expensive! However, premium products command a premium price, and B&P were then, as they are now, the Rolls Royce of the cartridge world; and with this new Green Core system, they have gone one step further to future proof shooting, not just here in the UK, but globally.
As I said above, Baschieri & Pellagri UK asked me to put their Green Core Fibre Sporting & Compak cartridge through the mill. I’ve shot thousands of fibre cartridges over the years, and even the best of them still can’t produce the same performance as a plastic wad equivalent. This, as I have said in previous articles, is mostly down to the most important component – the obturator. A fibre obturator simply can’t and won’t flex on its skirt like a plastic wad does to create that all-important gas seal; hence, the performance is compromised. So, when the 100% biodegradable Green Core disc was launched to solve this issue, I was both excited... and a little skeptical. I needn’t have been though, because the Sporting & Compak Green Core cartridges behaved like no other fibre load I have ever shot in my 40+ year career.
So, what is the Green Core System? In short, it is a wad system that is 100% biodegradable. There are three variants of the green core system:
The Green Core wad for steel loads will be covered in another article, so in this article I will be talking about the Green Core disc and the Green Core full cup wad for lead cartridges.
Of course, there are other biodegradable wads on the market, so why is the Green Core so revolutionary? As I just mentioned, we are no strangers to biodegradable wads; some have been around for decades, but with the ever-increasing move towards steel, the biodegradable wads in existence were unworkable with a host of problems, particularly for those that were activated by moisture, which caused problems that would give the proof house a headache.
To remedy the issues, a project (lead by Baschieri & Pellagri R&D and in cooperation with the Centre for Advanced Mechanics and Materials at the University of Bologna) aimed to produce not only an environmentally sustainable product, but also one that wouldn’t damage guns and that could be used to produce cartridges fit for the highest levels of competition in any discipline.
Baschieri & Pellagri’s 100% biodegradable wads work in a revolutionary way. Carbon found in the ground is the triggering element, activating the Green Core system to become biodegradable within six months of the wad or disc landing on the floor. With this cardon-activated biodegradation, the Green Core has already eliminated any problems shooter might have faced in the past with moisture compromising the wad before it’s been fired. Adding to this, the brilliance and flexibility of the Green Core wad and disc gas seal perform as well, if not better than, the plastic wads that Baschieri & Pellagri are world famous for.
I was given three cartridges featuring the Green Core system to try – the Sporting & Compak Fibre with the Green Core gas seal, the Next Fibre with the Green Core gas seal, and the Next with the full cup Green Core cut wad.
In typical Italian style, the boxes are not only sturdily constructed, but a marvel of artwork and design too. Attention to detail is ever present from Baschieri & Pellagri, right down to the print on the cases which is bold, crisp, and designed in a way to emphasise superlatives.
This cartridge is loaded in a deep green 70mm case, supported by a 12mm gold ferrel, with a green Gordon system. Originally designed for Sporting and Compak Sporting clay disciplines, the cartridge is loaded with a felt wad and the Green Core gas seal disc to create a perfect gas seal.
This cartridge has already become a very desirable load for clay shooters, especially those shooting simulated game, thanks to the Gordon System, which dampens the recoil so the shooter can withstand lengthy shooting sessions or drives. This cartridge is now the most popular load that I sell on my simulated game days, because it ticks the many boxes demanded by those shooters who want a softer shooting, environmentally friendly load that still performs.
It is loaded with competition pellets travelling at 1,300fps for reliable on-target performance, and is as smooth a 28g competition load as you’ll ever encounter. I really can see this being a very popular cartridge for shooters at all levels in the Sporting disciplines.
No.7 and 7½
RRP: £365 per 1,000
Next is the first of this new generation of cartridges. Loaded with the innovative Green Core gas seal, also called the Green Core disc, in a dark translucent 70mm case with a 20mm bright silver ferrel, the information and B&P logo are printed in bright silver, making it so easy to read what’s inside the cartridge.
This gorgeous looking cartridge comes with that fantastic Gordon recoil reduction system in black. Being translucent, the case allows you to see the components of the cartridge, with the fibre wad clearly visible. It’s another ingenious design from Baschieri & Pellagri, allowing the shooter to know what they are shooting with just a glance. I love these sorts of details!
It’s not often I say this, but the Next fibre cartridge is an absolute game changer. The performance is legendary! I shot some of these at the Express Masters on what was, to say the least, a challenging course, and they performed outstandingly. So well, in fact, that the group I was with didn’t even recognise that I was shooting a fibre cartridge, and hand on heart I only knew because I put it in the gun myself! That demonstrated to me that this cartridge performs at and even beyond competition level, with no distraction from a poor gas seal and none of that confetti you get from most fibre cartridges when you shoot them.
If you placed these in your gun without knowing they were fibre, I’ll wager that you wouldn’t guess it. There simply isn’t anything on the market yet that comes close to the performance of this cartridge. It should be called Next Level!
RRP: £408 per 1,000
Loaded in the same translucent 70mm case and with the same Gordon system as the Next fibre, you can clearly see the graphite coated white lead with 5% antinomy inside the shell. The Green Core wad is a full cup wad – so, the same sort of design as you’d see in a competition grade plastic wad cartridge, only this wad is 100% biodegradable.
It is designed for shooters who need maximum performance and the best results. I’ve stretched the legs of this cartridge at several shooting grounds and on simulated game, and its ballistic capabilities on the target are without a shadow of doubt as good if not better than the plastic version… and that is simply incredible.
Just take a moment for that to sink in. A cartridge capable of matching anything in the world on any course at the highest level, delivered by a full cup wad that’s 100% biodegradable and kind to mother earth. Mind blowing! This is what I call a 'peace of mind' cartridge. By that, I mean you know that it’s going to handle anything a twisted course setter can throw at you with mind-boggling performance. Adding to that peace of mind is the knowledge that you’re shooting a full cup wad, designed for high levels of competition shooting (but which, thanks to the Green Core technology, won’t harm the environment).
To be honest, unless there are other cartridges on the market loaded with the same components as Next, there’s nothing that can compete with it in my opinion. I can see Next becoming one of the most sought-after and used cartridges in the world.
RRP: £413 per 1,000
Eley Hawk's ambassadors Jean Paul Gaudin (The Seated Gun) and James Goulding (of The Pig hotels) share their choice of shotgun cartridges for the 2022 game season.
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