You are correct when you say that there are shells that pattern better than others, and I understand the dynamics of shot hardness (i.e. antimony content) and the disadvantages that can occur with hotter loads due again to pellet deformation.
I would have no use for promotional ammo if I were shooting competitive trap (especially because of the ranges) or any of the other sports if I was shooting for anything other than recreation. As in all sports, and I'll use golf as an example (since I was a participant in the game for several years) I came to realize that my scores would not improve simply by spending more money on my equipment. The best ball available and a lowly rangeball would hardly make a difference in my game. What mattered was how well I struck the ball. Furthermore, my game would not appreciably improve if I went out and traded my $200. clubs for a set of Pings, or whatever was the hot brand at the moment.
My clay shooting is with friends, who I often shoot better than in spite of the bargain ammo I shoot, or their better guns. Its about fun, and the affordability of that fun. You see, on a teacher's salary I can hardly justify shooting more than a couple thousand rounds a year, and with that amount of practice, I'm not likely to challenge the professionals of the sport anyways, even if I wanted to.
Would I hit a few more targets in a round of sporting clays if I spent $40-$50 on a case of 12 gauge shells instead of the $30-$35 I usually spend?
But the price of that performance improvement is not cost effective for me personally. Every thirty bucks I save on ammo pays for a round of sporting clays, and other things far more important than the sport of shooting itself.
I posted my message because the thread was "1 oz #8 shot." My comments were not off topic. I made no claim to the superior quality of these Winchester Super Game loads, but rather my motive was to let some folks know that these shells were being sold at an incredibly low price...the lowest I've seen around these parts for the last two years.
I have looked into the reloading issue and have concluded that it would make no sense for me as a 12 gauge shooter. I respect those who have the time and interest in reloading, but I'm perfectly content with what I can find in the marketplace, ready to shoot.
Shoot what you like, afterall, it's your money.