The Eley cartridges contain an average of 208 pellets of #7 (2.4mm) shot. They are loaded with a short fibre wad only perhaps only 3mm in depth and are crimped with a roll turnover, sealed with a thick cardboard overshot cart, also of approximately 3mm depth. The case is a standard 3″ parallel tube plastic case, supplied in red with Eley branding printed in black.
One does not shoot a .410 expecting to experience uncomfortable recoil and though these cartridges do not kick heavily or noticeably deflect the shooter in the way that, for example, a 3½” 12-gauge goose load might, the recoil delivered upon firing was noticeably sharp.
Furthermore, the disappearance down the barrel of the ends of some of the cases and the presence of melted plastic both on the spent case and inside the gun in every example fired suggests that this is a high-pressure loading being pushed to the very limits of what the CIP deem acceptable in a .410 cartridge.
As might be expected from a suspected high-pressure loading, pattern test results were poor, but at the time of writing, remain incomplete and may yet show more promise.
At 30 and 40 yards, percentage performances from the test gun’s 0.015″ choke were around 55% and 37% respectively. Neither of these patterns met the author’s “acceptable bare minimum” pellet count for hunting live game of 120 in the 30″ circle. By that standard, they probably demonstrate a maximum effective range of around 25-27 yards. With the 0.010″ choke, percentage performances at 30 and 40 yards were 38% and 16% respectively, suggesting a maximum effective range of less than 20 yards.
The author has not yet tested chokes tighter than 0.015″ constriction with this cartridge, but will update this page when those tests have been completed.
In spite of the poor performance of these cartridges compared to others reviewed on this site, the author has taken a handful of birds at ranges between 20-30 yards using them, but in retrospect, perhaps more by luck than judgement. The patterns are not only sparse, but are uneven and show signs of significant pellet welding, perhaps due to the high pressures, or the thinness of the driving wad.
Although this observation no longer qualifies as a “first impression”, recent pattern testing has shown a significant improvement in performance with this cartridge when a choke constriction of 0.020″ has been employed. Please see the Extended Pattern Test page for this cartridge for details.