In time for the 2017 season of competitive shotgunning, Federal has announced a new, innovative target load—the Gold Medal Grand. The company is pretty excited about this product, and if the list of claims it’s making about it holds up, this enthusiasm will be justified. Among the features touted are reduced felt recoil, more consistent patterns, more reliable ignition, and excellent reloadability. Federal says these shells will start shipping in January.
The reduction in recoil from the load is a function of the wad design. The wad consists of two pieces with an air pocket in the middle. The pocket acts as a “cushioning chamber,” which delays the compression process so that the recoil hits a shooter’s shoulder a bit later and with less force. According to Federal’s tests using shotguns bolted into fixtures, the shells generated 5 percent less recoil than current Gold Medal offerings and between 11 and 17 percent less peak force than shells from other makers.
Over the course of a multi-day shoot involving hundreds—or even thousands—of rounds, that will make quite a difference.
The new wad also allowed Federal to use different propellants in the shells, and this, coupled with shot that’s made with 5 percent antimony lead for hardness, has created better patterns. Shooting a 30-inch circle at 40 yards, Federal says pattern density is 77.09 percent versus 72.96 percent with standard Gold Medal loads.
By using brass-plated steel instead of just regular brass as the material for the head of the shell, Gold Medal Match shells ignite more consistently than traditional shells. Federal says they confirmed this at their testing facilities via standard SAMMIapproved drop-test procedures. Because the head of the shell forms a pocket for the primer with less give, it will ignite with less force and more consistently with firing pin strikes that are off-center.
The hull design of the Gold Medal Grand has an integral base wad for durability. Federal says reloaders can expect to get an average of 16 to 17 reloads from each shell.
These 2 ¾-inch shells will be offered in 10 different configurations in 12 gauge only. Shot selection includes both No. 8 and No. 7 ½ in payloads of 1 oz. or 1 ¹⁄₈ oz. Muzzle velocities range from 1,100 fps to 1,245 fps. MSRP is $10.95 per box of 25.