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Shot Guns and Non-Toxic Shot - Peter Harris


With all shooting organisations asking for total complience, our firearms expert Peter Harris explaines in plain English...

So where must we not use Lead shot?

It is amazing after all these years of the imposition of using Lead shot for the shooting of waterfowl, the confusion on what, when and where you must refrain from using Lead shot and use a substitute such as soft iron (Steel) ,Bismuth , or a variation of a tungsten polymer ITM, ITX, Heavishot.
So where must we not use Lead shot?
We must not use Lead shot in England and Wales to shoot waterfowl / wildfowl.
In Ireland & Scotland we must not use Lead shot over water, wetlands, pools or SSSI's to shoot waterfowl / wildfowl , BUT we can use Lead to shoot Ducks over land.
Can I use my Grandfathers old side by side?
Yes you can provided it is in sound mechanical condition, it does not have Damascus barrels and you use the correct cartridge to suit the gun.
The International Proof Authority (CiP) advise not to use Lead alternatives through Damascus barrels.
There are two basic types of soft iron otherwise known as Steel cartridges, Standard Performance and High Performance.

Standard Steel may be used in guns that are mechanically sound, in Proof and proved at a Proof House under the normal rules of proof, providing you use the correct length of cartridge to suit the guns chamber length.
Check your guns proof markings or ask the gunsmith or cartridge manufacturer.
High Performance Steel can only be shot through guns bearing Special Proof marks denoted by a Fleur dy Lys stamp on the barrels. These guns are normally chambered much longer and can be up to 89mm 3 1/2" in depth.
So if you want to shoot steel in your gun make sure you use a cartridge of the correct length for your chamber and if you use High Performance Steel your gun must be proofed Special Proof and have the Fleur dy Lys stamp on the barrels.
I would also advise not to use a choke constriction of more than 1/2 Choke.
On a more personal note to those of you who ignore the law, if you continue to use Lead shot to shoot Ducks & Geese you are jeopardising the future of our sport. I do feel that there is not a material as efficient as Lead or that is as cheap and as readily available at the moment. But if you consider that a good days wildfowling is a dozen shots, despite the high price of Tungsten & Heavishot it will still be a relatively cheap day out of wonderful enjoyment.
For those of you who are currently enjoying early season duck drives, consider the cost to our sport if one of your ducks shot with Lead falls into the hands of the 
authorities??


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