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Availability and prices of non-lead gunshot cartridges in the European retail market

Abstract

To analyse those factors that inhibit or facilitate the shift from lead to non-lead ammunition, it is important to evaluate the extent to which hunters can purchase suitable non-lead products. Based on an Internet search, we identified 22 European and 6 North American manufactures of non-lead shot cartridges distributed in 10 different countries. During the web search, we found non-lead shot cartridges available in retail stores with online sales of these products in 22 of 29 European countries. The most common non-lead shot type was steel shot, although bismuth, tungsten and copper were available in some countries. We conclude that non-lead shot cartridges are available to purchasers in most European countries, but in a limited variety. Availability of non-lead ammunition is not limited by production but by the demand at the national, regional, and local levels. Multiple manufacturers provide such ammunition, and their products may become available in any member state, regionally and locally, once the demand is established. The collective experience of Denmark, Canada, and the USA indicate that the demand for non-lead products will be stimulated by any intergovernmental initiatives to regulate lead ammunition for hunting and target shooting, especially when such initiatives are accomplished through well-enforced national regulation.

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Notes

  1. http://www.afems.org/.

  2. http://www.cabelas.com/.

  3. http://www.huntinglife.net/.

  4. Lead shot is made traditionally by dropping molten lead through sieves into cold water from a great height in shot towers, or by the “bleimeister method” where molten lead is dripped from small orifices into a hot liquid, followed by rolling along an incline to remove out-of-round pellets. Steel shot is made by hammering small pieces of low-carbon iron wire into spheres of desired diameter followed by softening (annealing) the shot in furnaces. These processes are energy intensive and more time consuming than traditional lead shot making.

  5. https://echa.europa.eu/da/-/echa-identifies-risks-to-terrestrial-environment-from-lead-ammunition.

  6. Personal communication: R. Cove, CEO, Kent Cartridge, Markham, Canada.

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Acknowledgements

We thank colleagues and reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier text. Funding was provided by the personal financial resources of the authors.

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Correspondence to Niels Kanstrup.

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Kanstrup, N., Thomas, V.G. Availability and prices of non-lead gunshot cartridges in the European retail market. Ambio 48, 1039–1043 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01151-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01151-8

Keywords

  • Ammunition
  • Availability
  • Demand
  • Gunshot
  • Non-lead
  • Steel