Written by:
Thimbleby Estate

Published on:

Red leg ready! It’s time for partridge season!

After a very successful start the ’23 season with great grouse numbers being reported across our moors we are seemingly into partridges like a flash. We have compiled a suggested kit list to help you get the most from your September season to target those red-legged missiles.

Guns for partridge: 

September partridges are generally known to follow the contours of the ground and are ‘on-you’ before you know. A light and nimble gun is generally best for this quick, reactive shooting. Below are two excellent options that offer fast accelerating barrels.

  1. Zoli Pernice Round Body 29.5″ 12GA

This flagship Zoli game gun with a balanced weight of bang-on 7lbs and elegant round body, shallow action. This gun has slender lines running fore to aft: the slim Churchill style rib gives a ‘pointy’ sight picture and slim stock profile with semi-pistol grip make it feel like it wants to go! The beauty of the famous Zoli barrels is that they are able to maintain a low weight, while avoiding snappy recoil even with 32gm shells – the silver soldered construction and long forcing cones achieve this. Look no further for the ultimate modern game gun…

  1. Webley & Scott Imperial sideplate 28″ 12ga side by side

The Webley & Scott 700 is a British boxlock icon that is still often seen in faithful service today. Webley’s are now made in Turkey, which is certainly not to be ‘sniffed at’ as we have seen some seriously respectable gun making from them in recent years – at seriously respectable prices! This new model is based on the renowned 700 and maintains the traditional handling charm, while being able to take 3″ high performance steel loads. Many new side by side models can have the tendency to feel bulky and ‘numb’; this Webley does not fall into that camp. The key feature that allows this is the rather impressive factory fitted ‘thin-wall’ chokes – very reminiscent of a famous company’s offering beginning with T! This allows the barrel to be tapered right to the end, removing the typical multi choke ‘bulge’ that adds weight where we don’t want it – at the very end of the barrel! This is truly an impressive product from Webley & Scott!

Cartridges for Partridges:

  1. The Partridge Cartridge

It does what it says on the box! This is a firm favorite from Hull that really does suit the quarry perfectly. As partridge are a small quarry with an equally small ‘vital’ area the key for consistent kills at range is pattern density. To achieve this, the initial offering aimed at modern ‘high partridge’ was loaded with 32 grams of 5.5 shot (2.75mm). This is an excellent combination as the slightly larger pellet than the traditional ‘6’ carries slightly more energy however maintains a great pattern at distance with a high pellet count with the 32 gram shot weight.

A second offering has just been released aimed more at traditional low land partridge loaded in 28 grams of 6.5 shot. This is ideal for shots out to 40 yards and ensuring birds are not ‘beaten up’ at close range – very important as we want this delicious meat to end up in the food chain! This is an excellent quick and smooth load that would suit lighter guns, especially side by sides.

  1. STEEL! Grand Prix Traditional 30gm 4 12GA & VIP Game 24gm 4 20GA 

Eley have been ahead of the curve with their steel offerings in the past 5 years. We have selected two well established loads in both 12ga and 20ga. These are Grand Prix Traditional Steel 30gm 4 and VIP Game 24gm 4 20ga. As we have discovered in practice, it is best to gain two shot sizes when moving from lead to steel, therefore these loads are roughly equivalent to a number 6 – ideal for partridge. Both loads are standard pressure and therefore can be used in the majority of nitro-proofed guns with choke less than 1/2. Through pattern testing it is very apparent that we don’t need much choke to get the most out of steel loads. They inherently pattern tightly and consistently due to almost zero pellet deformation and the bio-cup wads that hold the shot together when exiting the barrel (Eley’s Eco wad in this case). Another factor to bear in mind is that due to the lower density, we get more shot, i.e. pellets, per weight of load. So in these two loads the shot takes up as much room as a lead 32gm and 28gm respectively. From this we actually have much greater pattern density at range than would initially be expected when reading the numbers on the box, and therefore making them perfect for partridge!


  1. Swatcom Active 8 Ear Defenders

These are the gold standard for electronic hearing protection. Worn by the majority of Thimbleby instructors who spend the majority of their day with these in place on their head, we know they must be comfortable! This is mainly due to the gel ear ‘seals’ that mould comfortably around glasses and ensure no harmful sound reaches the ear, especially the bones behind the ear that in-ear plugs do not protect! The clear and amplifiable sound allows you to hear the beaters warn of an incoming covey of partridge or the next door gun muttering after you have wiped their eye!

  1. House of Cheviot Shooting Socks

We carry a full range of the excellent quality shooting socks from the House of Cheviot in the brightest of colours. We all know there’s a silent competition that occurs on the morning of a shoot day – who can turn up in the loudest socks! Kit yourself out with some winners before the first day out!