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SJ,
If the other posts haven't convinced you let me add my opinion...You Bet! Having shot registered trap for a number of years I used 1 oz of 8's exclusively for all my 16 yd targets. I always liked this same load (17.2-17.4 grains of Clays, Claybuster wad, AA hull and Winchester primer for a velocity of 1180fps) back to 22 yards for my handicap targets. I then went with a light 1 1/8 oz load of 7 1/2's for the same reason Pumper describes for the longer handicap distances. I also shot some informal skeet using my 1 oz loads of 8's and absolutely crushed those targets-almost to the point of overkill-so I backed off to the same load with either 9's or 8 1/2's. Then I discovered Sporting Clays. Again, the 1 oz loads performed flawlessly (wish I could say the same about myself).
When the club where I shoot regularly was just getting started a number of shooters were struggling to break out of the 50's and 60's. Their solution was to use more powerful loads, and guess what...they are still shooting in the 60's. I continued to use my "weenie loads" and marched right on past these guys.
My best scores at sporting have come when I did not switch chokes or shells all the way around the course devoting my attention to the targets. Too, at a clinic which I attended where we were required to attempt crossers at 60 yards from a high tower the same light loads of 8's broke targets with authority. All I did differently was choke up to full. The only reason I don't use a one ounce load of 7 1/2's is that I have never found a load that patterns well in my gun, and therefore, I have no confidence in them. No more targets than I see which require the use of 7 1/2s I will just stick with the 1 1/8 oz load at around 1180 that I like for them.
 

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Soreshoulder,
I will challenge you to do one thing-shoot a pattern with one of those 3 1/4 dram "screamers" and one with a load like the other posts have been discussing and make a simple visual comparison. I don't care if you choose to use a new shell (like STS or AA) or a reload along the lines of those described...and I don't care what choke you use or the distance you shoot from. I guarantee that the cheapies you speak of will not even come close to holding a pattern like the "lesser" loads, and that is what the post is all about-performance. Too, comfort in not having the added recoil from unnecessary speed factors into one's performance. Cheap is cheap, but like I have to tell my wife (who works at WalMart), a bargain ain't a bargain if it is something you don't have any use for.
 

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Soreshoulder,
I certainly respect the reasons for which you purchased the bargain priced shells, and I did not intend for my remarks in response to your original post to sound condescending. You are entirely justified to spend as you see fit, and neither I, nor anyone else, has a right to tell you otherwise. My reason for posting what I did was simply to discourage the original poster, SJ, from using the type shell you describe and expecting the same results from it as can be obtained from the use of the better performing shells that are loaded to the lesser velocity.
Heck, for close range quail hunting what you purchased would most likely be better, but since the question seemed to me to deal with performance at greater distances on clay targets that is how I tried to gear my response.
If it makes any difference, I, too, was a teacher-couldn't hack it. The kids were so unruly that I had to get out as I had no support from the administration. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those of you who are still at it. As far as salaries are concerned...most of us on this site are probably in the same boat. The small amount of disposable income we have could probably be put to better use, but our love of the sport is an important part of our lives, too. And yes, we will spend as we see fit on what we want.
 
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