Ammunition...A Few Simple Truths
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By Daniel Schindler, Master Sporting Clays Instructor and Wingshooting Teacher
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Ammunition, assuming 12 gauge…


A few important numbers:


1) 2 3/4 DRAM loads. Dram is the amount of powder in the shell. 3 DRAM and higher = more recoil and are contraindicated in too many ways to count. 2 3/4 DRAM loads hit the magic fps number…UNDER 1,200 fps.


2) 1,200 fps or preferably a bit less will break every fair target presentation on this earth…consistently. 1,150 to 1,180 fps.


3) First choice is either 7/8 oz or 1 oz loads. Both are 100% dependable. 2nd choice is 1 1/8 oz loads. Like powder, more shot = more recoil. 


4) Shot size: 8’s put more pellets in the pattern…best for 80-90% of our targets inside 40 yards. 7 1/2’s (larger and heavier pellet) are also excellent…will break everything out to 70 yards. 


Fiocchi makes an excellent “trainer” load…7/8 oz just slightly below 1,200 fps. This is my # 1 favorite shell for all targets inside 35 yards…highly recommended…the shell I use in practice and competition…100% reliable. Available at Target Shotguns in Hendersonville NC. Over 35 yards I prefer a 1 oz or 1 1/8 oz (7 1/2’s) only to keep a few more pellets in the pattern at longer distances…again keeping the fps at or slightly under 1,200 fps.




About the Author

Dan Schindler is one of only 55 worldwide members of the Guild of Shooting Instructors, U.K. and is one of the most highly respected Sporting Clays and Wingshooting Instructors in the US. Dan founded the Paragon School of Sporting with one goal in mind. Whether it be for the advanced competitor or providing the basics to the entry-level shooter, Paragon provides the simplest, most practical and most effective Instruction, Coaching and Mental Training for the Sporting Clays & Wingshooting enthusiast. We promise you an enlightening, memorable experience!



Discover a clear, direct path to quickly shoot better or competing at a much higher level? Check out Daniel L. Schindler's three books written in concise, simple, plain language that helps every shooter build a solid foundation, compete at a higher level, and takes the mystery out of their shooting:

Take Your Best Shot (Book I) is all about the fundamentals, a requirement for good shooting. This manual is used by individuals and some of the most successful middle school, high school and college shooting teams across the US.

To The Target (Book II) Builds on the steps outlined in Book I. Emphasises Gun Management skills when the trap fires, creating a consistent, reliable, trustworthy swing. Excellent article in Clay Target magazine and other positive reviews

Beyond the Target (Book III) is for shooters of all levels and filled with valuable information, clay target myth crushers and truths. Entertaining and a culmination 3 decades of Dan' life's' work as a teacher, competitor, writers and much more. Released June 17, 2017. Excellent review from customers around the world! Shipped to 8 countries.


From the Editor . . . Beyond The Target captures the very soul of Dan Schindler’steaching - unvarnished observations, thoughtful training regimens, and a deft, student-centered style that invites learning at every turn. Schindler writes that this is not a book of addition to the musty orthodoxy of Sporting Clays instruction. Instead, this is a story of smart subtraction, slicing through the tried-but-maybe-not-so-true gobbledygook that keeps shooters forever mired in performance plateaus . . .


Leave a comment:
Daniel Schindler - Hi John…thanks for asking. The following opinion is based on historical facts. It’s interesting that 1,200 fps loads have been breaking targets consistently…with day in, day out reliability…winning match after match for decades. This includes Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays. Then, someone decided we “needed” more speed (with more recoil) to break the very same clay targets. We don’t. Nor are the faster loads better than the “standard” loads. Proven inside the math formulas and at the target, they’re truly not. It’s the opposite. IMHO, there are 2 primary shell considerations: dependability at the target and recoil. Manufacturer aside…provided the sight picture and trigger pull are correct…if the 1,180 fps shell using 7/8 oz of 8’s will break a target inside 30 yards 100 out of 100 times…and it will…what is the advantage of using the 1,300 fps+ 1 1/8 oz shell…with substantially more recoil? That excessive recoil will, eventually, inevitably cost a shooter targets and more…with no performance or scoring advantages whatsoever. The excessive speed and abusive recoil disadvantages are a liability, visible every day on score sheets that disappoint. Manufacturer of your choice, pick a moderate 7/8 or 1 oz load, maybe a 1 1/8 oz, all traveling 1,200 fps or slightly less, and go break targets with total confidence. Said respectfully, if a shooter misses with this shell, it wasn’t the shell. Not sure? Take the next shell (same brand, same load) and hand it to Digweed, Carlisle, Duffy, Cherry, Maguire, Lieski, Matarese, any of them will do nicely. XXXXXX. When the manufacturers build a faster shell that actually puts more (not less) pellets on the target out yonder, AND lowers recoil, I’ll be the first in line and change my recommendations to my students. Be safe John. Thanks again and I hope to see you out on the course.

All the best,

Dan Schindler
John Scott - Hi , Daniel. I shot Skeet with a 30"m/c Beretta 682 gold E. Chokes cylinder & skeet ,Briley Helixe. What do you consider the best cartridges to use most of the targets taken at under 20yards . regards John.
Daniel Schindler - Hi Patrick,

Sometimes, the dram equivalent is not shown. However, 2 3/4 dram (12 gauge) will be less than 1200 fps. The fps is usually marked on the top of the box or case. 3 dram loads (12 gauge) start at 1200 fps and go up. Hope this helps!

patrick - Where is the Dram count found? I have Fiocchi shells and don't see this information listed on the box or on the shells. Thank you.