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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

federal premium high over all shotshells

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Bust Clays Like An Olympic Shooter With Federal’s High Over All & Gold Medal Shotshells

When you’re an Olympic trap shooter like Derrick Mein, who will be representing the USA in 2024 Olympic trap shooting events in Paris, France, you require the very best shotshells for both competition and practice. You need hard-hitting shells promising the ultimate in consistency and performance. In Mein’s case, that means Federal Premium’s High Over All (HOA) lineup of shells—his go-to loads in many national and international competitions throughout the world, as well as during his intense practice schedule.

Engineered for the most elite trap, skeet, and sporting clays shooters, HOA shotshells were developed in 2021 and introduced in many 12-gauge options. Shotgun competitors of all levels were soon snapping up the HOA boxes and winning numerous events with them—and are still doing so!

derrick mein with federal premium high over all shotshells
Federal’s High Over All is the company’s top-of-the-line clays shotshells used by many competitive shooters, including Olympians Derrick Mein (above), Austen Smith and Vincent Hancock. Mein’s load of choice is the HOA12HC1 7.5 (12GA 1OZ 1,290 FPS 7.5 shot).

But you don’t have to be a Federal-sponsored shooter to take advantage of the technology and consistency of the line of HOA shotshells and Federal’s other premier options. Federal has the rest of us covered, too, with HOA loads in 12, 20, and 28 gauge, and .410 bore, plus Gold Medal Paper shells in 12 gauge. All are offered as 2¾-inch shells except for the 2½-inch .410 options.

Mein also relies on Federal Premium Gold Medal Paper shotshells in competition and his practice. Bottom line, with either Gold Medal Paper or HOA, Mein has all the options he needs to win.

These top-of-the-line options are Federal’s greatest target loads of all time. They are made for competitors of all levels, from shooters at state and national championships to those busting clays with friends on the weekends.

The HOA Way

The HOA product line consists of 31 loads, including 16 12-gauge, five 20-gauge, and five 28-gauge options, plus five loads in .410 bore. The shells are available in a variety of payload weights and velocities, and in shot sizes No. 7.5, 8, 8.5, or 9. HOA shells utilize Federal’s outstanding Podium wad design that features a cylinder-shaped compression zone to support the payload of high-antimony pellets. 

The Podium design also provides unmatched protection from deformation at ignition for the best patterns and fewer flyers. The soft-shooting wad’s unique profile allows loading in tapered hulls, the hulls featured in all HOA’s 12- and 20-gauge options.  

HOA Feature Highlights

The most popular HOA options are the 12-gauge HOA12H in shot sizes 7.5 and 8. Each of these 2¾-inch shells holds 1 1/8 ounces of shot that leaves the muzzle at 1,200 feet per second (fps). Like all HOA shotshells, the HOA12H options feature:

federal premium high over all shotshells

1: A solid brass head to make resizing easier.

2 & 3: Integral base wad and tapered, single-piece plastic hull allow reloading with a wider selection of wads, and more reloads per hull.

4: All-new Podium wad improves patterns and cushions the payload at ignition.

5: Hard, high-antimony lead pellets resist deformation and deliver more energy downrange.

6: Eight-segment crimp.

The H&B Federal HOA Range Report

Newsflash: I’m definitely not an Olympic-level shotgunner. Just ask the dozens of mourning doves I miss every year on opening day!  

But I had an impressive shotgun on hand and needed to give the HOA shotshells a go. The shotgun was a 12-gauge NEMO Arms NXS Sport over/under. The NXS features 30-inch steel barrels, stock, and forend made of Class A Turkish walnut and a crisp trigger. The stock also sports an adjustable cheek riser.

The NXS arrived with five screw-in chokes. The unit itself arrived cradled in a beautiful Negrini locking hard case outfitted with a padded red interior. 

I used a foot-operated clay thrower to give some HOA shells and the NEMO a workout. After I figured out leads (took me half my ammo supply), the load/shotgun combo worked as advertised. The NEMO was spot on. It shouldered nicely and swung easily. The fiber-optic front sight got me on target fast, while the ejectors popped out empty shells like a pro. The walnut forend sported deep checkering that contacted my hands nicely. 

Above left: Even with the shot pulled slightly high, HOA did the job at 30 yards aiming at a 20-inch circle.  Above right: With a little help from the wad (middle, right), Federal’s Gold Medal Paper filled this 20-inch circle nicely at 30 yards.
Above left: Even with the shot pulled slightly high, HOA did the job at 30 yards aiming at a 20-inch circle.  Above right: With a little help from the wad (middle, right), Federal’s Gold Medal Paper filled this 20-inch circle nicely at 30 yards.

Paper-Test Particulars

I set up large paper targets at 30 yards to pattern the HOA shotshells. Standard shotgun patterning is usually done by firing at 30-inch circles and seeing how well the pellets filled (or didn’t) the inside of the circle. But many of these patterning targets include 20-inch circles centered within the larger circles. Since I couldn’t locate any sheets for the full-sized circles, I opted for 20-inch circles. 

For the NXS Sport, I used a full choke on the top barrel and an Improved Modified choke for the bottom barrel. Patterning was impressive with the HOA shells. There is no way a clay could get through the patterns I shot untouched.   

Federal Gold Medal Loads

Many trap, skeet, and sporting clays shooters prefer the more traditional paper-hulled shotshells, and Federal has just the lineup for these shooters in the Gold Medal Paper line of 12-gauge shells.  

Gold Medal loads feature Federal’s exclusive paper hull design and a two-piece wad that utilizes SoftCell technology to decrease perceived recoil and produce more uniform patterns than one-piece designs. The brass head ensures flawless cycling and extraction, and the lead shot is masterfully engineered for the optimum blend of hardness and density for even patterns and maximum downrange clay-busting power.

I also ran Federal Premium’s 12-gauge Grand Paper 2¾-inch shotshells during my clay shooting and later in patterning. As I did with the HOA, I shot the Grand Paper at 30 yards into 20-inch circles. The shotshells produced very even and dense patterns that were decidedly not friendly to orange clay pigeons. 

Federal's HOA and Gold Medal loads paired extremely well with NEMO Arms' NXS Sport 12-gauge
Federal’s HOA and Gold Medal loads paired extremely well with NEMO Arms’ NXS Sport 12-gauge.

Ready To Shoot Federal’s HOA?

Mein is not the only athlete sponsored by Federal Premium who is shooting in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris. Other Federal Premium-sponsored shotgunners in the 2024 Olympics include Austen Smith, who will be competing in women’s skeet events, and Vincent Hancock in men’s skeet. All of them trust Federal with their gold medal hopes and dreams.

If they are good enough for these Olympic-level shooters, the HOA and Gold Medal Paper shells will certainly make the rest of us proud.

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Best 12-Gauge Shotgun Ammo for Sporting Clays
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