First Impressions: Eley “Extralong” Subsonic 18g / #6

The contents of the Eley “Extra Long” Subsonic 18g / #6 cartridge.

The Eley cartridges contain an average of 184 pellets. They contain a short fibre wad but no nitro card or driving wad. Unlike their supersonic counterparts, they are crimped with a 6-point star closure. The case is a standard 3″ parallel tube plastic case, supplied in red with Eley branding printed in black.


The subsonic Eley “Extralong” produces moderate recoil (even for a .410 loading) as would be expected of a low velocity cartridge. However, it is not, interestingly, the lightest-recoiling cartridge which the team at SmallBoreShotguns have tested, producing slightly more kick than the Lyalvale “Supreme Game” cartridge previously tested. This is lack of a nitro card / driving wad in the cartridge is notable in this regard.

Instinctively, one would expect pressures and recoil to be lower in a “fibre wad only” cartridge given that obturation will be less good. In these cases, some combustion gases would be expected to pass around the wad, lengthening the time over which the gas escapes from the muzzle and reducing the rate of acceleration of the gun into the firer’s shoulder. This should, in turn, reduce perceived recoil as the recoil energy will be absorbed over a longer time period. However, it is already suspected that the Lyalvale cartridge uses a high-volume, slow-burning powder, which may be the basis for these observations.


Use of the subsonic cartridge in the field has been limited, but broadly successful. The cartridge has already accounted for one testing 40-yard wood pigeon and several other shorter-range birds. Kills have been clean, albeit slightly less “definitive” than – for example – a bird hit with 1¼oz of #5 at medium range. Initial patterning showed promising results out to 30 yards, with the 40-yard patterns looking a little sparse.