The passing of time is an unstoppable force, and we can often be worried about how it may affect us, our household, and our way of life. One area in which our country has not only embraced the future, but invested and triumphed in it, is our very own industry – shooting!

Our industry, and mainly in a collective and collaborative form, has for years been investing, designing, engineering, and testing new products to address the issue of lead shot, and how (if the total ban on lead happens) we can use steel shot without the use of plastic wads. For years we have been presented with promising products, only for them to not really do what they say on the tin or for an array of issues to arise; this has pushed the use of steel shot back again to the only option that would work, which is plastic wads. The situation was hardly future-proofing the sport, and certainly wasn’t helping to look after our environment either.

Now, I’m a patriot, and anything the UK makes, designs or invents, I’m up there championing the cause… however, I’m not so blinkered that I can’t accept there are many nations on this planet, and that when one of those countries comes up with the goods, we must acknowledge it. In keeping with that statement, I must tip the forelock to the Italians, especially those scientists, engineers and researchers at Baschieri & Pellagri, and here’s why…

The Green Core system

Baschieri & Pellagri brought out the Green Core wad system with a range of wad designs to suit all materials we use in shooting, including lead, Bismuth, tungsten, copper, and the one that has everyone’s attention – steel! The development of new biodegradable polymeric compounds was possible thanks to a research contract with the Centre for Industrial Research of the University of Bologna. This investment gave birth to Green Core 100% biodegradable wads. The wad begins to break down within six months, and the biodegradation is activated by carbon in the ground. How this works is way past my level of science, but it is undoubtedly a super cool and revolutionary way of making something biodegradable. It certainly ticks one of many safety boxes. Because the Green Core system is activated by carbon and not by moisture, it eliminates the concern that if at some point your cartridges get damp, the wad will start degrading, causing a possible fusion of the steel shot inside the case and a very unhappy day if that cartridge is then fired.

So, Baschieri & Pellagri have taken care of safety, the environment and the future with its Green Core wads, especially the full cup wads used for steel. The full cup design also allows complete protection of the barrel from the shot, and although the Green Core is a bio wad, it performs as well, if not better, than a plastic wad. Honestly!

So, that’s all great news, but there’s even more to come! Because the Fiocchi group bought the British cartridge manufacturer Lyalvale Express, and Fiocchi also owns Baschieri & Pellagri, Express has been given the Green Core system to load into their own cartridges. That makes Express the only cartridge manufacturer in the UK to have access to the Green Core wad technology and means the Green Core system is available to British shooters, without the wait for deliveries from overseas.

Lyalvale Express Ultimate High Performance Steel

I’m familiar with Express’s High Performance steel shell from the days when it was loaded with the Earth Wad, but now that it’s loaded with a Green Core Full Cup wad, it’s gone up a few gears in performance and lethality!

The red lettering on the cases is reserved for high performance steel, so you’ll never mix it up with your standard steel!

The 3" shell comes loaded with either 32g steel in shot sizes No.3 or No.4, or in 36g with shot sizes No.3 and No.1. The bright silver/grey metalliclooking case gives it some edge, like a sharp, shiny knife, while the red print on the case relays the vital specs and serves another safety purpose – the red colour indicates high performance steel, not standard steel, so you’ll know instantly which you are putting in your gun. It’s a simple but very effective way to differentiate between the two.

shooting pigeons
Drennan has found the loads work well on a range of quarry, from pigeons to high-flying game birds

It’s hard to describe its performance as anything other than mind-blowing, and the fastest steel shell I have used to date. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the speed is up there with competition shells, if not faster! It has proved to be absolutely lethal so far on everything I’ve shot with it, from pigeons and crows to early season game birds.

Shooting high performance steel with a Green Core Full Cup Wad brings confidence and allows the shooter to focus on the task at hand, without worrying about Mother Nature.

I once thought that the high bird days in Devon, Wales and other UK sporting destinations would soon be a thing of the past, as lead was phased out and steel became the norm. This cartridge has changed my mind. No-one could have predicted how bright the future might look when you can load your gun for day’s game shooting with Lyalvale Express Ultimate High Performance Steel and that revolutionary new Green Core wad system.