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HydroWad Non-Toxic Game Range

Hull Cartridge have been manufacturing award winning shotgun cartridges for clay and field since 1947. The face of game shooting in the UK is evolving. Lead shot for game shooting will eventually be phased out. Many of you are now looking to the alternatives.

So how do we deliver a credible performance while reducing impact on the environment? One of our options and the most cost effective one is steel, soft iron. Our steel game loads have been used extensively for wildfowl shooting in the UK and hunting on the continent for many years and continue to be available in polyethylene plastic steel wadding.

However, long term we have to look beyond the mainstream single use plastic wad for alternatives. At Hull we’ve been collaborating with experts in biodegradable materials and together we’ve developed Hydrowad.

Hydrowad’s material Conforms to CE EN13432. It’s 100% plastic free, non-toxic and will degrade in the field over a period of time. With a cup wad Hydrowad not only throws a dense pattern at range but for use with steel it aids barrel protection.

In its opening season Hydrowad is also incorporated in our extreme range lead shot game loads. These cartridges have been thoroughly tested in the field by our team of expert shots prior to launch.

“The new Hull Hydrowad is better than I would have believed possible. I now have no doubt the move to non-lead is nothing but a small hiccup for the shooting community.”

Adam Calvert
Director, Calvert Sporting

“The Hydrowad High Pheasant Extremes have really impressed me, not only with the stopping power through relatively little choke, but also with the lack of felt recoil - a fantastic development.”

Ed Solomons
World FITASC Champion, In-field Instructor

Can I safely use steel shot through my gun?

Hull Cartridge have been manufacturing steel shot (soft iron) cartridges for over 25 years. Current CIP regulations governing UK manufacture of steel shot cartridges set tight safety parameters to minimise pressures. In comparison these are lower than steel cartridges imported from the USA, whose use is not recommended under the current guidelines.

There are two performance levels for steel shot cartridges - standard performance for use in modern guns (post 1954) nitro-proofed and high performance steel for guns steel shot proofed and bearing the all important fleur-de-lys symbol 

NB. Standard performance steel cartridges can come in both 65mm and 70mm case length however the shot size must be no more than 3.25mm Fe.4.

It is imperative when purchasing that you select the correct performance level for your gun’s proof mark. Your gunsmith will check your gun’s condition, markings and offer expert advice.


CIP, London & Birmingham Proof House’s Barrel Proof Symbols / Equivalency Table For Use with Steel Shot Ammunition

*Please note the British Proof Authority will not give guidance on pre-1954 marks and recommends re-proof of such arms.

Steel shot should never be fired through damascus or twist steel barrels.


What is the correct choke for use with steel shot? 

In addition to selecting the correct level of performance there are recommendations regarding maximum choke use.
These are as follows:
Standard Performance Steel - no more than 1/2 choke;
High Performance Steel  - no more than 1/4 choke.


How do I select the correct shot size?

As a general rule you should increase the shot size by two sizes i.e. lead shot size 6 - steel shot size Fe.4.
What is regarded as a ‘good’ bird is very subjective. This varies according to the terrain of the shoot and the individuals themselves. With the correct shot size standard steel can be confidently presented to a 40-50 yard bird with the desired result.
Standard Performance Fe.5 shot - driven grouse, lowland partridge, decoyed pigeon;
Standard Performance Fe.4 shot - driven pheasant, roosting pigeon, duck flighting;
High Performance Fe.3 shot  - will extend the range at which you can cleanly despatch mixed quarry.

Remember your aim is for a clean despatch. If in doubt opt for the larger size in non-toxic shot.


STANDARD STEEL for guns Nitro-proofed post 1954, maximum 1/2 choke   

12Imperial Traditional Steel24Fe4, Fe5Hydro65mm - 12mm -2 1/2"
12High Pheasant Steel32Fe4, Fe5Hydro70mm - 16mm - 2 3/4"

HIGH PERFORMANCE  for guns Steel shot proofed, maximum 1/4 choke

12High Pheasant Extreme Steel32Fe3Hydro70mm - 20mm - 2 3/4"

Other Non-Toxic Options for the 2021/22 Game Season

With a density closest to lead Bismuth is the safe effective choice for owners of traditional, fine  guns with fixed choke, that are nitro-proofed. Manufactured in a larger shot size, to compensate for the lighter pellet weight, Hull Bismuth is ideal for fast paced lowland partridge and driven grouse. Selecting the No.4 shot size increases terminal energy at range for driven partridge and pheasant drives.

Bismuth is loaded with traditional fibre wadding and can be fired through tighter/fixed chokes. 12 and 20 Gauge are readily available, 16 and 28 Gauge will follow for the 2022 season.


12BISMUTH28Bi4, Bi5FIBRE65mm - 12mm 2 1/2"
12BISMUTH30Bi4, Bi5FIBRE65mm - 12mm 2 1/2"
20 BISMUTH25Bi4, Bi5FIBRE67mm - 8mm 2 1/2"
20BISMUTH28Bi4, Bi5FIBRE70mm - 8mm 2 3/4"
16BISMUTHAVAILABLE 2022FIBRE67mm - 8mm 2 3/4"
28BISMUTHAVAILABLE 2022FIBRE70mm - 8mm 2 3/4"

Our policy is one of continuous development. In order to take advantage of advances in componentry we reserve the right to change specifications without notice.