The team at Lyalvale Express have released a new load designed specifically for pigeon shooters, packaged in new look branding that signals a modern approach for the Staffordshire based company. Guest writer, Drennan Kenderdine of ammoshack.co.uk took the shells out in the field for a thorough test.
Pigeon Power – Out of the box
Firstly let’s give hats off to Express for making a field shell that has given due consideration to the Semi-Automatic shooters of the world, proving again that it listens to what its customers want. Pigeon Power, with its 70mm case, is a breath of fresh air to those of us who use semi autos, for years we have suffered with manufacturers making 65 and 67mm cases. With Pigeon Power it is ‘goodbye’ to the days of feed jams with their perfectly designed 70mm case.
Marcus Iddon of Express, dropped off a quantity of cartridges in both plastic and fibre wad for me to test in the field. Opening the outer packaging revealed boxes of Pigeon Power in a design not seen before. Express have put their new logo on the box which works well and fits right in with modern branding. The rest of the box supports subtle yet very clear information and design that allows anyone to understand that this is a cartridge for the field. It’s nice to see designs on cartridge boxes that don’t give the impression that whatever is inside will be something so extreme, that the RAF should give them to their fighter pilots!
The red case, in my opinion is the best colour in field conditions, sporting a 10mm brass, which isn’t too small that it feels cheap, but isn’t too large where it’s just adding aesthetic value. Let’s be honest, when you’re talking about a field shell that’s starts at £175.00 per thousand these are very affordable and something for both the consumer and competitors to look out for.
I chose two locations to test the cartridges. Day one was a large wood just outside the village of Penkridge in Staffordshire, and the weather was bitterly cold, cloudy and windy. Former professional mountain biker and superb shot Stuart McLeod joined me and thank goodness we had the rechargeable Hot Rox hand warmers. These little gems kept our hands warm all day, which for anyone working or playing in the fields is a must. (Editors Note – We have a thorough HotRox review due next week – in the meantime check out their site : www.thehotrox.co.uk)
Anyway, we got into position and waited for the pigeons to come. Within two minutes of setting up, pigeons started to come to the side of the wood. I marked out my bird, a right to left quarterer at around 30 yards out, and with the pull of the trigger Pigeon Power claimed its very first kill in the UK.
I chose to use fibre and Stuart plastic. Within 20 minutes I had already used a box of 25 of the Pigeon Power and was able to pull off some exceptional shots. The Dianna wad gave lots of confidence when the cartridge went off. We’ve all shot those fibre cartridges that sound like rear end wet gas, but these were smooth, crisp and FAST. So fast that I found on some birds I was pushing too hard on the lead and over doing it, so I changed my style and then the kill ratio was very pleasing.
Stuart shot the plastic wad variety and managed several 50-yard shots at crows with them being killed out right! Followed by many other good shots on a variety of species at various ranges.
We kept at it until dusk when the carrion family started to head for roost. The wind picked up and we were entertained with some of the finest pigeon shooting. Some were seriously high and fast to other ones turning into the wind and giving those nearly stalled shots. My Beretta AL391 with ½ choke and Pigeon Power was a brilliant combination for these birds, with some astonishing kills over 60 yards out! Having used three boxes of Pigeon Power with over 50 birds in the bag I was more than pleased with the results.
A second field test – day two
Day 2 was at home in Oulton, Staffordshire and this time I was trying out the plastic wad variety. Another friend named Rob Dimond who is a very keen game shooter joined me. I changed my choke to Skeet. With ½ choke and fibre, I think I was over choked even at 40 yards. I was right.
The weather conditions were much improved and we set up again on the edge of the wood in Oulton looking out across some astonishing views of the borders between Staffordshire & Shropshire. I’d been watching this wood for some time and worked out a very clear pattern to how pigeons were coming to and from this large wood. It wasn’t long before they started coming from the feeding fields some three fields away. They seemed to take an eternity to get to the wood, behaving a lot like Grouse hunkering the contours of the ground keeping low against the wind. It was nice to open Day 2’s bag with the AL391, emptying all of its three shots at two Pigeons from 30 yards out which I pulled down.
Rob opens up at a group crossing left to right at 30+ yards out. He knocked one of them down, now this group were pushing hard to get out of danger, but opening up at them for me was some extreme range, pulling off a shot that later we measured out to be 81 yards from the hide!
The wind got stronger and the Pigeons just got harder, with the topography of the ground we were shooting in effect a days driven Grouse. I’m glad I opened up to skeet, as some of the birds when they got to the hide were close. But don’t be fooled Pigeon Power pattern extremely well.
My opinion would be if plastic wads weren’t a problem and you were allowed to use them, I’d opt for those, mainly for two reasons. Plastic wads always perform better and they’re cheaper. However, it wouldn’t faze me to shoot the fibre. After all when you are killing Pigeon and Carrion at over 60 yards out… it speaks for its self!
Pigeon Power get a 10/10 from me.
Pigeon Power - Technical Specs
|Cartridge||Power Pigeon from Lyalvale Express|
|Wads||Plastic by Baschieri & Pellagri & Fibre by Dianna|
|Shot Sizes||1400 fps clean burning and low recoil|
|Guns Used||Beretta AL 391, Semi Auto, Beretta UGB25 Xcel Auto, Beretta DT10|
|Retail Prices||Plastic Approx, £175.00 per 1000 & Fibre Approx, £190.00 per 1000|