Hoton Clay Club


      Clay pigeon shooting in the East Midlands


Shot sizes explained


What exactly am I shooting at the target?  
Little lead balls! Hundreds of them all held together in a cartridge or shell. 
You will probably see several numbers on the box of cartridges that you buy. The important ones are the gauge, the length, shot size, load (weight of shot) and the type of wad inside. Gauge we have already done, you will probably only ever use 12g or 20g. You will only see nominal 2 3/4 inch cartridges for sale but they could be shown as 67mm or 70mm depending on how they were made. 
NEVER buy longer cartridges like 3 inch unless you know what you are doing and you won't be doing it on a clay ground (unless it's for a .410, I know). A lot of older side-by side guns will be chambers for 2 1/2 inch cartridges so be careful if you are taking your old game gun to a clay shoot! 

Most modern loads are 24g, 28g or 32g of lead shot. As a beginner 24g or 28g in any size shot will do. Some grounds will only sell and only permit visitors to shoot "Fibre" cartridges. These have internal components that are bio-degradable so follow their instructions please. ( STOP PRESS- Try 21g Steel or Lead if you get a chance, excellent for new shooters and those who are not as stout as some of us, marvellous!)

Oh, last but not least you may see "Steel" increasingly offered. This means the pellets inside the cartridges are made up of steel shot rather than lead. These are OK in modern guns and most older guns provided that you don't use more than 1/2 choke in any barrel. If in doubt take your gun to a qualified gunsmith and have them check it out.

Shot size explained

Size Nominal diameter Pellets per oz (28 g) Quantity per lb.
    Lead Steel  
FF .23" (5.84 mm)   35  
F .22" (5.59 mm)   39  
TT .21" (5.33 mm)      
T .20" (5.08 mm)   53  
BBB .190" (4.83 mm) 44 62 550
BB .180" (4.57 mm) 47 72 650
B .170" (4.32 mm) 50    
1 .160" (4.06 mm)  


2 .150" (3.81 mm) 87 125 1120
3 .140" (3.56 mm)   158 1370
4 .130" (3.30 mm) 135 192 1720
5 .120" (3.05 mm) 170 243 2180
6 .110" (2.79 mm) 225 315 2850
.095" (2.41 mm) 350   3775
8 .090" (2.29 mm) 410   5150
9 .080" (2.03 mm) 585   7400

Notice a pattern above? 

If you subtract the number of the shot from 17 that gives you the actual size of the pellets, i.e 17-8=9, meaning 8 shot = 9/100 or .090!  Not a lot of people know that.

On a clay shooting ground you must not shoot any cartridge with shot size greater than a number 6 because the larger lead balls in any other cartridge could carry further than the safe drop out zone of 275 yards that the shoot organiser has planned for. In reality you should only be shooting 71/2 through to 9's on a clay shooting ground.


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