Email from Lead Action Group.

Moonraker68

Well-Known Member
This week's Shooting Times reports that an email thought to be from the Chairman of the LAG (John Swift, ex BASC Chief Executive) indicates that he supports a 'phased out and eventual elimination of lead based ammunition'. I've been a long standing member of BASC, and have posted in support of them on SD many times. If this is correct, however, I can't help feeling badly let down by someone whose salary my sub's helped pay. He may no longer be involved in BASC, but it still leaves a bitter taste.
 
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merlin

Well-Known Member
Haven't Norway (?) just repealed a ban on lead ammo? (.....sure I read that somewhere!). Shouldn't BASC be using that as leverage? And isn't this the time for the NEW Chief Exec to show his mettle? (<= do you see what I did there??)
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
I absolutely agree with you on all counts.

However, the non lead thing does fascinate me. I'm sure there are a number of people on this forum who swear by Barnes bullets. I'm not one of them, never tried, as quite happy with my lead ones, but a lot of experienced stalkers swear they do an excellent job.

When you get into the physics of it all, non lead bullets all have a lower specific density than lead. No one has started making bullets out of metals like Bismuth yet to my knowledge. So a 180 grain .30 cal bullet made of copper has to be longer than it's lead alternative to reach the same weight. Length in a bullet is a good thing, offering higher BC's if designed correctly yet retaining the same SD. What's not to like about that.

The argument therefore has to be about penetration and expansion. The Barnes bullets are claimed to retain 90% plus of their weight and I think Nosler claim the same sort of thing for their E-Tip. Penetration is not an issue in that case. They are definitely going through. So the issue must be expansion.

The way the Barnes open up their petals is quite spectacular. Perhaps they don't give quite as much frontal area when expanded as a well mushroomed Partition, but is this a design thing or a factor of the metal used? Could they be improved? Probably.

The only thing I would question is the use of copper bullets in slower calibres. The all copper bullets expand best at high velocity. Fire a 180 grain from a .308 at a beast 300 meters away and terminal velocity is going to be in the region of 2100 fps. Expansion at that speed is not great with a copper bullet. Send a 140 grain down the road from a 7mm Rem mag and terminal velocity will be more like 2500 fps. Expansion at that pace is pretty good so there shouldn't be an issue.

I think we could probably all live with copper bullets, but we will have to go for a light for calibre bullet to get the speed for expansion or typically go for faster calibres if we want to keep the SD. I think manufacturers should have plenty of scope to improve bullet design, both in terms of optimising BC and improving expansion.

Long term I see no reason why we shouldn't move away from lead, IF indeed it is that bad for the environment and our diets, but the bullet manufacturers are not ready yet. Given time hopefully they will be.

Just my opinion. I'm sure there will be a queue to shoot down my logic :D
 

sikadog

Well-Known Member
The E mail could not have been written by anyone that shoots as it states that lead cartridge and the non toxic replacement are of comparable price.
How is £7 for 25 and £35 for 25 comparable.
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
Steel is comparable price to lead and sometimes cheaper.

The lead shot thing is a tricky 1, they're are so many alterior motives and bitching going on behind the scenes.

If John Swift has said that its a disgrace,(but it would also not surprise me if that is not the case and has been leaked/edited malicously?) it's also a disgrace that BASC don't have a proper reppresentative on the group.
BASC have quite rightly said no change unless there is UK led scientific evidence there is a problem, i really hope they stick to that.
 

Hedgehopper

Well-Known Member
I have switched from bismuth to steel, it certainly isn't any worse when it comes to killing ducks vs bismuth. However neither are as effective as lead and I do believe that there is an animal welfare issue as both lead to a higher number of injured birds. The biggest problem with steel is that it is the devil' sown job getting it with a fibre wad. That precludes its use in the majority of cases.
 

Ronin

Distinguished Member
Ive used copper bullets extensively for all my stalking for a number of years.

I shoot a few deer a year of the four larger species.

One thing with copper (cost aside) - which isn't an issue when you cop are the outlay of the bullet against the value of the carcass...


Back to the point - you absolutely MUST use on average 20 - 30 grain LIGHTER bullet weight than conventional bullets.

If you don't, you will not achieve the velocity required for down range expansion and they pencil through.

So if you're using 308 and 150 grain, you need 120 g copper

6.5mm and 130 grain, id suggest 100 grain copper

etc etc

They work, and work very well, but you need to have the velocity to get them to work properly...
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
Very interesting RedMist, bang on my theory. You just don't get the SD when you go lighter. But at 30 cal weights for our species I doubt it makes much difference. Bet it would if you went 6mm though. the boys with the .243's would need to get down to 80 grain or so to get the speed up.

I still think the bullet manufacturers have a long way to go in optimising BC and expansion. I can't be that hard can it?
 

Ronin

Distinguished Member
Very interesting RedMist, bang on my theory. You just don't get the SD when you go lighter. But at 30 cal weights for our species I doubt it makes much difference. Bet it would if you went 6mm though. the boys with the .243's would need to get down to 80 grain or so to get the speed up.

I still think the bullet manufacturers have a long way to go in optimising BC and expansion. I can't be that hard can it?
I used to use Barnes which were good, but differed in accuracy lot to lot so I was messing about quite often with load development as I absolutely want consistent accuracy..

Ive now found a source of GS Custom bullets which so far work very well - reliable expansion and terminal ballistics on the end user...
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
I've not been keeping upto date with this lead ban thing as I thought it was just for waterfowl originally but reading this it would appear we are talking all ammunition, like someone already said bismuth shotgun cartridges are just too expensive and you find steel are banned from alot of clay clubs due to ricochets and then I think about the Practical Shotgun and mini rifle comps I do and the average round count on a comp would be 200+ rounds (300 on some of the speed comps) so an all out lead ban would kill off alot of areas of shooting due to prohibited costs or unavailable alternatives. Or do I have this wrong and it's just aimed at live quarry ?
 

Kalahari

Well-Known Member
To look at Redmist's experience:

"Back to the point - you absolutely MUST use on average 20 - 30 grain LIGHTER bullet weight than conventional bullets."

Aren't we then starting to have problems with the smaller calibres in Scotland and the 100gr. lower limit?

Best wishes,

David.
 

Pine Marten

Well-Known Member
The E mail could not have been written by anyone that shoots as it states that lead cartridge and the non toxic replacement are of comparable price.
How is £7 for 25 and £35 for 25 comparable.
Given that back when he was BASC chairman, John Swift once said that there had never been so much shooting available "for those who can afford it" and that he saw that as a good thing, I think you'll find that he could very well have written that.
 

Pine Marten

Well-Known Member
Just in case anyone thinks I'm slagging off John Swift with no evidence, please see the minutes of BASC Council Meeting from 26th July 2012 when members asked him to amend his previous statement:

Concern was expressed that game shooting can be seen as elitist Adherence to
standards and regulations is central to its promotion and defence.
It was requested that an amendment be made to the phrase “….. opportunity has
increased for those who seek and can afford it” (on page 3, 5th paragraph under
Continued Opportunity) as it gives the impression BASC is promoting itself to those
people who can afford to go shooting.


Page 8, section B.5:
http://basc.org.uk/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=406

I don't think Mr Swift has made life easy for his successors.
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
I think the antis learnt a lot of lessons with the hunting ban - banning the hunting was a mistake but if they had banned, say, dogs then it might have worked out for them. So they've been working on lead bullets for a long time now and "campaigning scientists" have been doing a lot of work providing "proof" that a few lead bullets fired by hunters and target shooters are destroying civilization as we know it.

The fact that the lead has to be dug out of the ground before we can shoot it back into it is overlooked, it is a natural product after all and we are just returning it from whence it came.

That I can see there is a lot of "awareness" and "definite knowledge" among the general public and media that lead is bad and kills babies on Christmas Day but there appears to be very little actual science to show this to be true. There also appears to be very little science to show the effects of lead when it comes to deer stalking where a stalker might fire a few bullets over many thousands of acres over the period of a year. I suspect the antis are connecting problems with, say, large scale lead mining directly with shooting a few bullets into the peat on a 50,000 acre highland estate when it is likely that the impact of these events will not be connected in any way.

I have also noted that they are doing considerable research into the backstops on target ranges which might actually get quite a lot of lead fired into them over a year. The last paper I saw on this appeared to demonstrate some very weak negative effects on some specific metrics which would incline me to suspect that the effects of less concentrated shooting of lead bullets (stalking say) are not going to be measurable. Given this it is likely that the antis will try to connect all shooting into one target for their spite as if the various types of shooting were to be considered as separate areas for study then they would have to pick us off one at a time and this would be a lot more work and, I suspect, evidence would be impossible to gather for most sporting shooting.

With this in mind if we want to retain lead bullets for stalking then I think we should continue to demand that it is on a "science only" basis and we should also insist that stalking is not the same as target shooting so demonstrating a slightly negative effect on some metrics caused by target shooting demonstrates absolutely nothing about stalkers shooting lead bullets.
 

JabaliHunter

Well-Known Member
I still think the bullet manufacturers have a long way to go in optimising BC and expansion. I can't be that hard can it?
+1

The hard bit is producing bullets that still stabilise in the common barrel twist rates produced by the firearm manufacturers. If people are prepared to have custom barrels, you could see high BC non-lead.

The broader problem is the wider perception (BASC included) that there are suitable non-lead alternatives for rifle bullets and thus no-one is prepared to put their head above the parapet and fight on this specific issue - they only care about lead shotgun pellets and will fight for those...
 

Pine Marten

Well-Known Member
they only care about lead shotgun pellets and will fight for those...
I think it's a fallacy to think that the two can be separated. Typically you use a lot more cartridges in a shotgun than you do in a rifle. There are exceptions of course but if every time you go to a clay ground you fire off two boxes, and every time you go on a driven shoot you fire off 100 rounds, then the price difference between lead and bismuth is something like a factor of three or four. Given the amount of cartridges, that's a lot of money. Also, just in terms of absolute amounts of lead thrown around, shotgun pellets are a lot more than rifle bullets. Rifle bullets are a minority specialist interest subsection in this argument.

The animal welfare argument on its' own (pellet effectiveness) isn't enough either because there are plenty of people on the other side who will argue that you could avoid this problem by not shooting animals. None of these issues exist in isolation.
 

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