Pattern Test: Fiocchi “Flobert” 7½g/#7½ (Italian)

The contents of the Fiocchi “Flobert” 7½g / #7½ (Italian) cartridge.
Performance Data
DateRange20" Circle Impacts
Effective Pattern Width
27/10/20175 Yards>84
Unclear; 100%?3"
27/10/20175 Yards>82
Unclear; 100%?4"
27/10/20175 Yards>76
Unclear; 100%?4"
27/10/201710 Yards87
27/10/201710 Yards87
27/10/201710 Yards82
27/10/201715 Yards82
27/10/201715 Yards77
27/10/201720 Yards70
27/10/201720 Yards64
Performance Analysis

The SmallBoreShotguns team wanted to perform a more thorough analysis of the #7½ Fiocchi cartridge than has been possible with the other Flobert cartridges to date. It is clear that, like every other 9mm shot cartridge, this is a short-range shell – if it has any use on live game at all – and that it would be pointless to test it beyond a distance of 25 yards. It would most likely be humane against rats and other small vermin; whether it would successfully take anything larger without inflicting regular wounding is highly doubtful.

Relative performance of the cartridge is good, with the low muzzle velocities once again producing patterns of two-thirds of the diameter of a conventional shotgun shell at the same performance level. We have indicated effective pattern sizes (i.e. the maximum diameter of circle within which the bulk of the pellets, excluding any obvious “fliers” impacted) and include these as a means of differentiating similar percentage performances.

In the case of the 5-yard pattern tests, it was hard to derive the absolute pellet counts because the impact marks were so close together. It is almost certain that, at that range, no pellet failed to hit the cardboard used for testing, but we cannot be certain because the mass of shot and the wad both created ragged holes in the centre of the pattern and we were not able to determine the exact number of pellets which passed through those areas. We assume – safely, we believe – that 100% of the shot fell inside the 20″ circle.

In all other tests, the numbers will, if they are at all inaccurate, be under-estimates. In many cases, pellet strikes, being of such low energy, did not punch clean holes in the cardboard, but rather split it, making it somewhat difficult to locate these impact points. We were thorough in our counts, but it is possible that one or two impacts per pattern were not found because the cardboard, when examined, appeared undamaged. We can say with certainty, however, that this represents a failure to locate the impacts, not a failure to penetrate. Three layers of three-ply packing box card has been enough to stop the pellets from this cartridge dead, but there were no pellets retained on any the recorded patterns.

Overall, this is probably a better-balanced cartridge than the #10 loading from RWS or the Fiocchi #6 loading. It may represent the limit of what is achievable with this diminutive bore size. With aimed shots, the 5- and 10-yard patterns would most likely be lethal on small game; the 15-yard pattern may be usable whilst retaining sufficient energy (c. 0.7ftlbs calculated) but seems a little borderline.

Example Patterns
A collection of 5-yard (top) and 10-yard (bottom) patterns shot through the Modern Arms 9mm garden gun using the Fiocchi “Flobert” 7½g/#7½ (Italian) shell. The lower pattern is surrounded by a partial 20″ circle.
15-yard pattern shot through the Modern Arms 9mm garden gun using the Fiocchi “Flobert” 7½g/#7½ (Italian) shell (20″ circle).
20-yard pattern shot through the Modern Arms 9mm garden gun using the Fiocchi “Flobert” 7½g/#7½ (Italian) shell (20″ circle).