HSE Lead Shot Threat



If you shoot muzzle loading shotguns this may be your last chance to keep the sport alive act now – deadline 10 Dec!

The recommendations of the HSE Opinion on lead in ammunition have now been published and are, in summary a partial restriction is proposed on lead in ammunition for rifles and pistols of any calibre or type, breech or muzzle loading, as I understand it mainly for two reasons;- 1) For live quarry rifles it has not been shown that there is an adequate substitute that is equally effective  – using a less dense metal means the bullets have to be longer to retain kinetic energy and that affects their stability and the accuracy is impaired, so leading to less clean kills.  2) For most target shooting lead recovery is possible, indeed it is necesary to preserve the safety of sand bullet stops – there will be a ban on the use of lead in rifles and pistols in ranges that are not approved for the use of lead ammunition, but HSE expects that most ranges will be so approved – it will ban, at least in theory, checking your rifle at a target in the field to zero it.  Unfortunately there is no such luck for shotguns – a time limit of five years is proposed for live quarry, including game, shooting, and 3 years for clay shooting – there will be a derogation for shooters in international competitions where lead shot is required by the competition rules..  There is the statement that 22% or shotguns can fire steel, and no mention of muzzle loaders.   There is now a chance for us to have our say on the practical and social implications of a ban on lead in muzzle loading shotguns.  The survey closes on 10th December, and it is vital that every shooter of muzzle loading shotguns (specifically) replies to the survey as soon as possible.  Alternatives to lead for the antique muzzle loaders that many (or most?) of us use are not proven not to damage soft iron barrels, and in any event the muzzle velocities using black powder, and the breech pressures that these guns will stand will not let us achieve the high muzzle velocities that are necessary to give our  reasonable sizes of shot in alternative metals like bismuth sufficient  pellet energy to work at the ranges we need. We don’t have the option open to breech loaders of upping the charge!   Changing to larger shot sizes means much leaner shot patterns at range, resulting in more pricked birds.  There has been no research on the use of Bismuth in old barrels so there is no evidence that it is not going to damage guns that have survived for up to 200 years so far.    I don’t really enjoy game shooting with breech loaders – the bags are too large and its too easy to get trigger happy – I prefer the enforced slower pace of muzzle loaders!  My interest in clay shooting is partly as an adjunct to game shooting, and partly as because I enjoy all aspects of our great heritage of old guns – many still in fine condition, from restoration and repair to collecting and using – a gun is not a real historic artifact in my view if it can’t be fired, which is why I restore guns to working condition even if I’m actually never going to shoot them.  Clay shooting is almost invariably a social activity – you very occasionally see a lone shooter using the ‘delay’ button on the clay traps, but for the most part its two or more friends – my clay shooting friends  are an important part of my circle of friends with whom I share a common interest in old guns, not just in propelling spheres of lead towards disks of clay!   Many, but not all, of my fellow shooters are post retirement and it also a significant part of their social life – one of the things that impresses me is the support many give to any of us who become ill or find it difficult to join in.   If we do not succeed in getting a derogation for muzzle loaders it will kill off the sport overnight – there is no alternative – its up to us to make a strong case in response to the survey, and to enlist other muzzle loading shooters.  – it not an opportity for a general rant, however!   We acknowledge that it is actually a small number of people involved, but itstherefore a negligible contribution to the problem and almost certainly puts much less lead into the environment than the live quarry rifle shooting that will continue to use lead – but the individual impact on those people will be significant

Click on the links below ;-

HSE Opinion report  



See also Martin Crix’s comments (MLAGB shotgun rep) – better put than mine and in more detail!

Martin Crix comments etc


 Posted by at 4:16 pm