Here we are at the end of the Goose Season in Ohio and as such I'm starting up my reloading for the winter.
Each year I've made it a personal interest to see where the mass loaded cheapies are in their loading components as it floats so much year to year (month to month) in their manufacture.
Boughy and Cut apart the following:
$6.75/bx - Federal Walmart Pack (Maroon/Black,MP12) - 12ga, 2 3/4, 1200fps, 3Dr, 1 1/8Oz
$5.20/bx - Federal Top Gun (Blue Box, TG122) - 12ga, 2 3/4, 1250fps, 3Dr, 1Oz
$5.20/bx - Federal Ultra Clay and Field (Black Box, UC123SI) - 12ga, 2 3/4, 1255fps, 3 1/4Dr, 1 1/8Oz
Winchester Universal (Black Box) - 12ga, 2/34, 1200fps, 3Dr, 1 1/8Oz
$6.75/bx - Walmart Remington Sport Value Pack, Black shell, 7.5shot, 1Oz, 3.25Dr
The $5.20/bx ones I get at a local source by the flat.
Federal - Surprisingly the Ultra Clay and Field have a high brass shell. Thought that was silly, but ALL the Federals are all the same inside. All paper bases, Shot was all dull/deformed, Two piece wads, etc. Will use them to blow up fruit and other fun shoots. Pellet counts were on the light side by okay, however pellet size was all over from about 10's to 6's.
Winchester Universal - Surprised me, one piece wads (cheap but better than federal), shot was all more uniform than Federal, dark and shiny. A few deformed and cut in half, but would choose this over Federals by the looks. Base wad was plastic two piece.
Remington Value Pack (Green Box, Black Shells) - I didn't retain the box, I just took one from a buddy, but I'm going to probably go with these this year as I reload after shooting (usually only once with this ammo). Remington also had a one piece wad and what was more important to me, the Remington Value Pack shell was a one-piece compression formed hull!?! Pellets were nice dark and uniform in roundness and size with a couple that had a flat. Once piece wad. Of the 3 I cut open one had petals that were not slit through at the top beween at least one petal. So you may be shooting slugs at some targets and not know it.
The Remington hull has got my interest. I went downstairs and dug out an STS cut away and put the calipers all over them down to the base and by god I can't see a difference other than a bit more variation and thinner side wall thickness and the value pack.
In the end, what your store has may vary lot to lot, but thought I'd share.
In the end I would go with AA's or STS when its important and I can gather hulls back easily (down to my last fifty original AA compression hulls on about the last reload (9). Remingtons on the skeet range for reload.
Winchesters if nothing else.
Federals I will reload once maybe, but use them in scenarios where I probably can't get shells back.