New Starter

Things have been a bit quiet around here for the last couple of weeks. I’ve twice planned to go out to test the Fiocchi / Lyalvale cartridges I acquired last month and have had twice to cancel those trips due to other unavoidable commitments turning up.

I had planned to go out this afternoon and return with patterns and reports, but once again, life got in the way. This afternoon however, the distraction was more pleasant and in fact did involve shooting: I took my children to see my parents at their new house (with substantial garden) and there my boy – unprompted – asked whether he could have a go with the garden gun (which I’d put in the car to show to my brother who was also visiting).

Under supervision of three adults and with appropriate precautions taken, he was able to fire two shots safely into a cardboard box from short range. Afterwards, he showed great curiosity about the passage of the pellets through the cardboard, instinctively looking to the other side to see where they had passed through. This bodes well for his career as a hunter! He’s been given the empty cartridge cases for his “special box of things” as a souvenir of his first proper shooting.

We only fired a handful of shots between us, but we realized afterwards that we’d performed an inadvertent penetration test. When my boy was investigating the box we were using both as a target and to hold some balloons, we realized that some of the pellets (#7½ shot from the Fiocchi cartridges) had ended up inside the box and were rolling around.

The box was a strong packing box taken from the house move and made of corrugated cardboard. We’d folded it to make it stand up which had caused the face that we were shooting at to have a double layer of card. The pellets appeared to be penetrating those front two layers reliably but not the back of the box (i.e. the third layer). Rather, they impacted it and either bounced off it, falling into the box, or became embedded in the surface. I can’t make any scientific statement about that, but it does appear to be the case that a few layers of strong card will stop a good proportion of the contents of a 9mm shot cartridge, which tells us something about just how short the gun’s effective range with #7½ shot would be.

We didn’t do any standardized pattern testing of the Fiocchi cartridges, but they did appear to be pretty good – saucer-sized and evenly-distributed at around 10 yards distance.

The other new starter to which the title of this post could refer is the new SmallBoreShotguns contributor, known as “Point729”, who has submitted a trio of articles to us for publication. These are currently being edited and will appear on the site shortly.