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Green Pellets


BY ROBERT MITCHELL USA SHOOTING CEO


“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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