Last Bullet-Producing Lead Smelter Shutting Down at End of Year

Regulations, bans have brought the "green" bullet


When the last bullet-producing lead smelter closes its doors on Dec. 31, it will mark  a major victory for those who say lead-based ammunition pollutes the environment, but others warn 'green' bullets will cost more, drive up copper prices and do little to help conservation

The bid to ban lead bullets, seen by some as harmful to the environment, started slowly more than a decade ago. But with two dozen states, including California, banning bullets made of the soft, heavy metal, the lead bullet's epitaph was already being written when the federal government finished it off.

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  1. Since when did this country ever have an ecological crises caused by lead ammunition?

  2. 2 dozen states have banned lead bullets? What? I’d really like to see the statutes and regs that state that. Perhaps they’re conflating waterfowl hunting requirements—that ban the use of lead shot—with a ban on lead bullets altogether? For one, what do they expect a .22 LR to shoot? The vast majority of bullets I see for those are all lead. Also, airgun pellets have been 100 percent lead in my experience.

    There are some ecological effects on waterfowl from using lead shot to hunt them. How much so, I don’t know. Lead in bullets being a problem for anything other than say the California Condor, which really needs to hurry up and go extinct already, I can’t imagine being anything other than background noise.

    I have a lot more questions than answers after this news blurb.

  3. 2 dozen states have banned lead HUNTING ammo. Plinking and target shooting with lead is fine, because that stuff typically gets cleaned up and isn’t a problem if it’s buried in the ground.

    Rifle and handgun bullets have never definitively proven to cause lead poisoning issues in wildlife like shot did, but there are a lot of states that ban lead core centerfire ammo for hunting out of (outdated but potentially valid) human food safety concerns. Not that it should matter, the market adapted and tungsten/steel shot and solid copper or bismuth core ammo is way better at getting clean, humane, fast kills. Low-volume shooters will never notice the cost increase, and the high volume guys roll their own loads.

    Lead in the environment is a real issue, but this is nothing but Fox and Breitbart tugging on the reactionaries puppet strings. Good on them for watching out, but they’ve got it wrong this time. Bullet lead comes from secondary recyclers, Doe Run is a primary ore smelter. ATK (CCI, Speer, and Federal), Hornady, Sierra, and the NSSF have all published statements that this won’t matter one lick. The major source of their secondary recycled lead is from car batteries, which get their lead from Australia and China, and have for years.

    The military switched to ‘green’ ammo not because of EPA regs or polar bears and manatees, but because solid copper and tungsten core ammo is ballistically superior to lead cores.

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