Counterpoint: Let’s NOT Phase Out Lead Ammunition


Counterpoint: Let’s NOT Phase Out Lead Ammunition

Recently, my esteemed colleague Kevin Felts posted an opinion piece in which he called for the banning (or at least the strict phasing-out) of lead in firearms ammunition.

Well, I respectfully disagree.

Sure, lead can be bad for you–if your exposure is extreme. But in my opinion, casting some lead-alloy bullets out the shed or garage, handloading ammo with bullets of cast or jacketed lead, or shooting at a gun range where lead bullets are allowed is highly unlikely to cause anyone physical harm or shortened life due to lead exposure.

And even if it does, let me observe that nobody–including the government–has the right to prevent them from doing so, even if the ban is “for their own good.”

Of course, if owners of indoor ranges insist that only non-lead ammo be used in their ranges, that is their right, and I will concede that employees who work inside of indoor ranges that allow lead may be exposed to levels of lead that are not exactly good for them. In those situations, they should be informed of the risks beforehand. It’s always their right to seek employment elsewhere if they feel it’s too risky.

Don’t Use Past Bans as a Guide

In his post, my friend looked at past legislation which outlawed certain lead products in the USA. To me, that’s flawed thinking. Government historically does too much and bans too much–so looking to past government bans as a blueprint for the future can never be a good idea.

I also believe that the banning of lead shot for hunting waterfowl was reactionary BS that did little or nothing to help wildlife, while doing much to hinder hunters’ ability to efficiently take the game they pursued, which may very well have been the real purpose of that ban (let’s all don our tin-foil hunting caps).

Aside from that, the best-performing bullets for most kinds of hunting are made of lead alloy, usually jacketed with copper. Sure, I know there all-copper hunting bullets, but I have never had good experiences with those. And there is no way you’re going to convince me that my use of lead in muzzleloaders, jacketed lead alloy hunting bullets, and lead shot for hunting with a shotgun is/are damaging my health or shortening my life.

Banning Lead is Anti-Gun

No matter what intention leads to the enactment of a ban on lead bullets, the end result will absolutely be anti-gun–because it will drive ammunition prices even higher than the (IMO) obscene high they’ve already attained, further hampering the ability of citizens to supply themselves with ammunition for their much-needed firearms.

Our new super-expensive ammunition will also be less effective than it was when it contained lead, making our guns less useful. No bueno.

Oh, and the 22 LR ammo that we all love dearly? Well, forget about it. That requires externally-lubricated lead bullets. So a lead ban would pretty much render millions (billions?) of rimfire firearms useless.

What’s Your Take?

Naturally, Kevin and I aren’t the only folks who have an opinion on this matter. What do you think? Please sound off in the comments below.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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