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Review of Gamebore’s Dark Storm Precision Steel Bio-Wad Quad Seal Cartridges

Initial thoughts from the Grouse Moor…

6 November 2020

Written by: Ollie Severn

Here at William Powell Sporting, we are very conscious of the changing landscape within the shooting industry. Alongside our sister company, William Powell, we have been working with cartridge manufacturers in their development of alternatives to lead shot. This has included detailed discussions and analysis of ‘viable’ alternatives to lead shot.

This close relationship with cartridge manufacturers is vital, in our opinion, as it allows us to properly inform our clients, giving them the best possible opportunities to get the most out of their guns, cartridges and ultimately their shooting.

When considering the potential impact a lead ban could have on the shooting industry, we have been looking in detail at what alternative guns and cartridges are available. This has included the development of a new range of ‘future proof’ Side by Side shotguns, and also the testing of a wide range of eco-friendly cartridges. Each step in this journey is a learning curve but one that we must face with an open mind, and with the benefit of an understanding of all the available options.

On a recent day in the field, our Sporting Agent Ollie had the pleasure of trying out the new Dark Storm Precision Steel Bio-Wad Quad Seal Cartridge, produced by renowned British cartridge manufacturers, Gamebore.

We spoke to Ollie shortly after he returned from the moor, to find out how he got on…

What were your first impressions of these cartridges?

My first impressions were very positive. They looked very smart, from the box to the cartridge casing itself. Gamebore always produce high quality products, and although the appearance has nothing to do with how they shoot, it does give you confidence when you feel like you’re using a quality product, from a brand that you are familiar with. Having said that, they are not too fancy or modern and do not stand out as ‘unusual’ when comparing their look to that of a normal game cartridge.

My first impressions of shooting with them were that they felt very smooth and were effective. They were a powerful cartridge, producing impressive contact without the recoil.

Gamebore claim that recoil is reduced with the quad seal compared with standard fibre wadded cartridges. How did you find the recoil with these cartridges?

I did not notice much recoil at all which may have been down to the cartridge itself, or the fact that I was shooting with a William Powell Prestige Over & Under, a gun designed for shooting heavier cartridges. I would therefore like to try these cartridges again on a slightly lighter gun, perhaps one of the new ‘future-proof’ William Powell Side By Sides (the Viscount or the Sovereign). However, based on this particular day in the field, I was very impressed by how comfortable they were to shoot.

Did you notice much residue left in the barrels after use?

Some cartridges are cleaner than others, and unfortunately, my experience was that these were not as clean as the traditional game cartridges I have previously used. However, like most, I clean my gun after every use, so a little extra dirt and residue is not a major inconvenience.

How effective were these cartridges?

These cartridges were effective, and I was very impressed by them. As we were shooting grouse and not high pheasants, I can only judge the performance of the cartridge on this particular quarry, which you tend to shoot at a much less extreme range to that of high pheasants. However, anything that was hit well ‘folded’ nicely. I felt confident and comfortable shooting with them, and certainly did not feel ‘under-gunned‘.

How would you rate your accuracy with these cartridges? Did you find that you were shooting as well as normal, better, or worse?

I feel that I shot on par with my normal standard. I took some challenging, long crossing birds, and shot them well. I felt that I was shooting fairly consistently, either hitting cleanly or missing all together, although that might be more to do with my accuracy than the quality of the cartridges! I shot with half and quarter chokes, an alternative of quarter and quarter may have been better when shooting birds that bit further away.

Did you notice any differences between these cartridges and lead alternatives that you are used to?

I feel that the average shot, of which I am one, would find it surprisingly tricky to tell the difference between these and normal lead cartridges.

My experience of shooting these cartridges is based on a day’s grouse shooting, and I would think the same could be said for any standard pheasant or partridge. However, when you are shooting extremely high birds, or if you are a particularly good, experienced shot, you may be able to tell the difference.

Given the changes that are forecast in the near future for game shooting, I feel that these would be a very good alternative to traditional game cartridges.

Overall, how do you feel these cartridges performed and would you want to use them again?

I would certainly be happy to shoot with these cartridges again. The technology used and development undergone by Gamebore to produce these cartridges is exceptionally impressive. They are comfortable and effective, and 100% environmentally safe, which is a major breakthrough in ammunition manufacturing.

Being one of the first environmentally friendly cartridges, I think Gamebore have done an incredibly good job. Alongside Eley’s Eco Wad and the latest offerings from Bioammo, it is a positive sign and proactive companies such as these are leading the way.

If you would like to find out more about environmentally friendly cartridges, please contact Will or Ollie on the details below.


Call: 01295 661033


All William Powell guns now come High Performance Steel Shot Proofed as standard. Ensuring that no matter how soon the switch to non-toxic comes, you'll be prepared.

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