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Green Pellets


“Green” Pellets are Finally Here

Various compositions of lead, tin and antimony have traditionally been the ingredients used in pellets and smallbore ammunition since, well, forever. The com- bination of these products provide adequate weight and fi rmness, yet are mal- leable to allow the projec- tile to form into the lands and grooves of the barrel to provide the necessary seal required for accurate shoot- ing.

In recent years, however, lead pellets (those with lead as the primary component) have come under increased scrutiny and criticism. Lead is a toxic substance and can be ingested by handling of lead material (pellets), then touching the face or con- suming food or drink that has come into contact with lead particles. Lead has been signifi cantly reduced

or eliminated in many com- mon products today such as paint, cosmetics and toys. Though a “hazardous” ma- terial, lead is a manageable substance

that poses no

health risks to athletes that train and compete when proper hygiene and range cleaning practices are fol- lowed. (See the Guide to Lead Management for Air Gun Ranges available on the CMP website at www.odcmp. com/Comm/publications/ PDFs/LeadMgtGuide.pdf). Regardless of effective

safety precautions in place, critics continue to promote their “danger” message. The result is an increas- ing number of youth airgun programs being negatively impacted by a prohibition against using lead pellets. This situation has become acute in various school pro- grams where Three-Position

Air Rifl e competitions are popular,

and therefore

impacts - or in some cas- es, prevents — the prac- tice of our sport. Over the years, there

have been increasing efforts to use materials other than lead as the primary compo- nent of pellets. Results have varied, but so far have not met the accuracy required for elite competition. Prog- ress continues to be made and FINALLY, the market leader in competition pel- lets, Haendler & Natermann (H&N) from Germany, has developed a non-lead pellet that is very accurate. Their H&N Sport Match Green pellet compares favorably to premium match-grade pellets. Recent testing pro- duced three ten-shot groups having no fl yers with all pel- lets scoring a “10” on the ISSF 10 meter air rifl e target. Premium pellets matched to a top-quality gun will pro- duce a slightly better result. The Match Green pellets are very impressive and entirely adequate for all but elite- level competition. We look for better improvements as manufacturers continue to seek accuracy with alterna- tive material combinations. Additionally, other manufac- turers are joining in the ef- fort as demand for lead-free pellets grows.

Lead-free pellets are

more costly than traditional pellets, but prices will come down with increased de- mand and resulting higher production.

At this time,

the cost is approximately double that of competition lead pellets. Pyramyd Air, a USA Shooting sponsor, is the largest

distributor of H&N

pellets in the United States. Pricing discounts may be available through the USAS website. At USA Shooting, we

are very excited to have a high-grade, lead-free pel- let becoming available for air rifl e and pistol shooting. This product will allow those programs banned from us- ing lead-based pellets to be active and increasingly competitive in the Olympic shooing sports, thus allow- ing more athletes to partici- pate and pursue the Olympic Path.

National Team member Dempster Christenson tested the Match Green pellets on the card shown with groupings of 10 and 20 shots.

March 2015 | USA Shooting News


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