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Lead free shotgun hunting without steel shotgun shell

Gunfinder Magazine

Sustainability and environmental friendliness are the defining themes of the 21st century and there are also changes in hunting that are intended to benefit them. Thus, the state governments, the federal government, but also the EU Parliament impose more and more requirements on the hunters in this country, which allow and require new ways of hunting and new equipment.

Some, like e.g. the relaxation regarding the use of thermal imaging and night vision technology, pleases the hunting community, others again meets with criticism. For example, the ever-advancing ban on leaded ammunition. Using the example of shot ammunition, the hunters put forward a number of counter-arguments that cannot simply be dismissed out of hand:

On the one hand, the flight characteristics of steel shot are worse than those of lead shot. In case of doubt, lead shot can be fired farther because it brings more energy to the target. With steel shot, a maximum distance of approx. 30 meters must be observed. The fact that lead shot brings more energy to the target should also be taken into account when choosing the shot grain: With lead-free ammunition, the grain size should be somewhat larger than with lead shot.

So the changeover is already big, especially for long-established hunters who have hunted their entire hunting life gladly and well with leaded ammunition.

If we stay with the shot ammunition, there is now even another problem for some:

Steel shot ammunition has so far been considered the alternative to lead shot cartridges par excellence. However, in order to be able to fire steel shot with a shotgun, it requires a steel shot load, since steel shot is significantly harder than lead-containing shot ammunition.

Now there are hunters who own old, emotionally valuable shotguns with which they have always shot lead shot so far, who do not have a steel shot proofing (marked by the 'lily') but would like to continue hunting with it.

Provided that the shotgun and especially its barrels are completely intact and of good quality, subsequent firing with steel shot is also possible via a firing office. However, this process is associated with much, much effort and also some costs.

An alternative is now offered by ammunition types such as bismuth shot, or also called bismuth shot. These can be fired from any shotgun barrel - even without steel shot and regardless of choke bores - and are lead-free. While bismuth shot is not exactly inexpensive, the expense is greatly reduced as these cartridges can be quickly and easily purchased online or through your trusted gunsmith. They are therefore the ideal alternative for those who do not hunt very often with a shotgun, but do not want to miss the basic practice of this type of hunting despite not having a steel shotgun.

Since bismuth shot is just coming into fashion and the large ammunition manufacturers such as Rottweil or Eley are slowly beginning to produce and offer it in various calibers, it is to be hoped that the price will also be somewhat lower in the future due to more market participants.

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