I was able to test fire the garden gun this afternoon, in the reasonably substantial grounds of the house belonging to one of my relatives. This was of course all done, not only with appropriate attention given to the safety aspects and to keeping all projectiles within the boundary, but also with consideration as to whether any of the (reasonably distant) neighbours would be disturbed.
After a single “test shot” to gauge the noise level, my relative was satisfied that we were far enough away not to irritate anyone – and then joined in the shooting herself! The garden gun is undoubtedly loud, but it is nowhere near as noisy as what you might call an “ordinary” shotgun. I received permission to take it there in future, provided I don’t “overdo” it and start letting off 50 cartridges every time I visit.
It wasn’t the right moment to do any pattern testing, as I was really there to help do some work on the garden, but the new Fiocchi cartridges performed flawlessly, which makes me much more confident that the original handful of misfires I experienced the first time I shot the gun were due to poor-quality or badly stored ammunition.
In researching quite widely for this website and my own interest, I am also now reasonably confident that the gun could be used to kill small pests – rabbits and squirrels – in that garden, should the need arise. Other measures are being taken to protect the crops grown there, but the several rabbits we’ve observed around the boundaries could quickly become fifty and it might be necessary to start shooting them in future. Between the garden gun and my air rifle, we’ll have that option.
Since returning home, I’ve cut open some of the Fiocchi #7½ shells to find that they contain approximately 90 pellets apiece. Depending on how tightly they pattern, this might give the gun 20-yard, “aimed” utility. It’s a big step from theorizing to attempting to take live game with it, however, so I’ll be setting up some penetration tests and adding the results to the relevant pages of this site before long.