To lead or not to lead, that is the question

Published: Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 05:51 PM.

This week I received phone calls and had some conversations with people who were upset about recent announcements that lead bullets were no longer going to be produced. Their biggest fear of course was that ammo would not be available, and if it was, that it would be three times the price. A little bit of research later, I hope to ease some of those panic moments.

Lead-Free ammo, available in almost every size imaginable, represents itself as being “non-toxic.” I find a bit of humor in this, but I clearly understand the meaning.

Though we tend to call all pistol and rifle ammo bullets, the bullet itself is just a part of the whole that ejects forward when the trigger is pulled. The shell casing is ejected at the point of firing and the powder is burned upon ignition.  In a shotgun it is referred to as “shot.”

The majority of the lead-free ammo replaces the lead with copper for pistols and rifles, and steel for shotguns.

The State of California banned the use of lead ammo in hunting. They post on their website numerous suppliers of lead free and available ammo, most coming from major suppliers.

There are lead-free indoor gun ranges across the country and some that have been in business for years. I could not find where they were out of ammo or having a hard time getting ammo to keep their facilities running. These ranges catered to pistol and rifles.

I watched a video on YouTube that showed the residual effects of lead based ammo in a deer that had been shot. Amazing how much of that stuff scatters and gets into the meat.

In doing my research I found that a wide range of ammunition is already available with little price difference. We carry a line called “E-Range” in our shop that is lead free ammo designed for gun ranges.

There is no doubt that lead free ammunition will cause less stress on the environment, including avid shooters who will no longer come into contact with it as well as employees of gun ranges. I can’t find a valid reason to fear the loss of lead ammo; in fact, I remember buying gas in my youth and having a choice of leaded and unleaded. Amazing that we all survived when leaded gas went bye-bye.

Remember, before you panic, seek the knowledge to make a sound decision. Not all change is bad.


Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.

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