Our author Fabio Antolini is an experienced shotgun hunter. Here is his personal experience from a fieldtest with the new shotshells form the Italian manufacturer Baschieri & Pellagri: The hot summer hours in North Macedonia flow slowly and pleasantly while we are traveling with Roberto Meloni and our young pointer dogs still in training. The first hours of the morning and those preceding sunset are those that offer us the best temperatures for walked-up hunting, yet we are often distracted by the flights of wood pigeons and turtle doves that, from the woods surrounding the valley, reach the center of the fields full of ripe sunflowers. We observe them first in admiration, then in curiosity, and in the last two days of our stay, we decide to allow ourselves a few hours of rest and entertainment in search of those emotions, that at the beginning of the season these cunning wild birds can give us with their sudden flight. I've taken with me only two packages of Baschieri & Pellagri cartridges that could help us in this hunt, the Mygra Colombaccio cartridges and the new Balistite cartridges, both in 20 gauge, suitable for the semi-automatic shotguns we have. Before sunset we observe the trajectories followed by the wild animals as they leave and come back to the woods, and we consequently decide where to prepare our shelters. We adopt some simple solutions taking advantage of some shrubs and existing natural shelters at the edge of the sunflower fields, counting also on the help of some pigeon decoys that I decide to place in a secluded position and close to the woods, where these suspicious wild animals are used to stop to feed.
Video: Baschieri & Pellagri Mygra Pigeon and Balistite 20 gauge. Turtle doves and wood pigeons field hunting
At first light the following day the unmistakable silhouettes of turtle doves begin to cross the blue sky flying over the sunflowers that make them perfectly camouflaged and allow them to disappear immediately from view. As always, you have to be quick and ready to shoot, but the sight of these wild birds already satisfies us, reminding us of the beautiful opening days we experienced in Italy. It's also time for the wood pigeons that, more slowly and in small flocks, reach the cultivated fields and become immediately wary of the first shots. The shooting distances increase immediately but with the lead shot #7 Balistite in the first barrel and the lead shot #5 ½ Mygra Colombaccio immediately following as second and third round, killings are clear and safe. There are not many cartridges available because this was not the purpose of our trip, but the pleasure of a pleasant surprise is often worth more than a planned trip. However, we decide to stop even before we run out of cartridges, with 7 turtle doves and 6 wood pigeons in our game bag – enough to satisfy our spirits, and ready to get back on the road with the dogs waiting for us. The quality and not the quantity of the shots made us fully satisfied, the exaltation in the quick shots on approaching turtle doves that appeared suddenly and then the aimed shots at pigeons at high heights have given real emotions to us, which we fully enjoyed in the silence and solitude of that plateau difficult to forget.
Baschieri & Pellagri 20-ga Mygra Colombaccio and 20-ga Balistite: field of applications and charactasitica of the new shotshells
Baschieri & Pellagri offers the Mygra series of cartridges with specific characteristics designed for migratory game and related types of hunting. In the case of the Mygra Colombaccio we have a cartridge that proves to be usable in hide hunting with close range shots, and a perfect solution for medium and long range shots when hunting in a field, as in our case. Available in both 12-gauge and 20-gauge, this cartridge is loaded with F2x36 powder and 36 g of #5½ lead shot in 12-gauge. In the 20-gauge cartridge used in the hunt we just described, the load is 31 g of lead with M92S powder. In both cases, the shot pellets are white graphite coated with 5% antimony to increase sphericity and hardness, in order to provide a regular and dense pattern at long ranges. In both gauges, the shotshell features a plastic wad with a cup and a star-crimped body. A notable feature is the velocity of these cartridges, that reach 400 m/s. This ensures safe performance on wood pigeons that, especially in field hunting, can reach challenging distances and heights with a few wing beats.
The Baschieri & Pellagri Balistite is also available in the 12-gauge version with a 34 g load and has proven itself over the past few hunting seasons to be a cartridge capable of providing reliable results from the first days of hunting in warm, dry weather up to the most typical winter conditions for hunting sedentary game and wood pigeons. A fundamental characteristic of this cartridge is the consistent performance guaranteed by the special powder used by Baschieri. What stands out with the Balistite is the excellent ratio between pressure, velocity and pattern achieved thanks to this new powder, which contains a different percentage of nitroglycerin, around 30%, compared to traditional powders that contain around 10%, thus improving burning and consequently ballistic performance. In the new 20-ga version we used, a proof velocity of 400 m/s was calculated. The 20-gauge Baschieri Balistite is available in lead shot numbers 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 and 10, thus being able to satisfy hunters of both sedentary game – such as pheasants, partridges or partridges – and of small and medium migratory game, as in our turtle-dove and wood pigeon hunts.
For further information on Mygra and Balistite cartridges please visit the Baschieri & Pellagri website.