EPA Considering ban on any ammunition containing lead!


From the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Full details at http://www.nssfblog.com/epa-considering-ban-on-traditional-ammunition-take-action-now/

“…{T]he Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) … is now considering a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) – a leading anti-hunting organization – to ban all traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, a law in which Congress expressly exempted ammunition. If the EPA approves the petition, the result will be a total ban on all ammunition containing lead-core components, including hunting and target-shooting rounds. The EPA must decide to accept or reject this petition by November 1, 2010”

[Although Congress exempted “ammunition” from EPA regulation, the petition argues that they would only be regulating “components” such as bullets, shot or primers for which non-lead substitutes may exist.]

“The EPA has published the petition and relevant supplemental information as Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-0681. If you would like to read the original petition and see the contents of this docket folder, please click here [http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#docketDetail?R=EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-0681]. In order to go directly to the ‘submit a comment’ page for this docket number, please click here [http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#submitComment?R=0900006480b3974b].”

Note that this does not address collector ammunition in any way, although EPA regulations would undoubtedly get there eventually.

If you oppose this potential meddling with ammunition I urge you to click on the contact link above. Ignore the blocks on the left side (organization, etc) and just enter your comments and submit. They basically add up the numbers for or against a proposal, so comment early and often.

Read the full NSSF release and the EPA pages as well.


Similar proposals have been kicking around in Europe for a while.


Insanity - It most likely will go nowhere but it is worth keeping an eye on. Just think of what would happen to copper prices if all the projectiles had to be made from sintered copper or solid copper hollow points. The pre-1982 U.S. pennies which are 100% copper would all be worth allot more than one penny due to copper spot value!


The same thing has been pushed in California and now Texas, with an obviously biased study funded by anti-gun/anti-hunting groups leading the charge towards only no-lead hunting bullets in various areas.

Somehow, they’re really concerned with the condors ingesting lead from hunter’s centerfire rifle bullets in downed game or gutpiles, but don’t seem so alarmed by the more prevalent amounts of recovered lead from fishermen’s lead weights.

Next really good deal I find on ammo, I’m stocking up again (not that I’m running out or anything).


DKconfiguation–Just in the name of accuracy, the current (1982-2010) U.S. Penny actually has only 2.5% copper. It is 97.5% zinc.

Using the latest metal prices and the specifications above, these are the numbers required to calculate melt value:

$0.8784 = zinc price / pound on Aug 25, 2010.
.975 = zinc %
$3.2067 = copper price / pound on Aug 25, 2010.
.025 = copper %
2.5 = total weight in grams
.00220462262 = pound/gram conversion factor (see note directly below)

The NYMEX uses pounds to price these metals, that means we need to multiply the metal price by .00220462262 to make the conversion to grams.

  1. Calculate 97.5% zinc value :

    (0.8784 × .00220462262 × 2.5 × .975) = $0.0047202

  2. Calculate 2.5% copper value :

    (3.2067 × .00220462262 × 2.5 × .025) = $0.0004418

  3. Add the two together :

    $0.0047202 + $0.0004418 = $0.0051620

[color=#0000FF]$0.0051620 is the melt value for the 1982-2010 zinc cent on August 25, 2010.[/color]

This information comes from the following web site that calculates the melt value of all U.S. coins.

coinflation.com/coins/1982-2 … Value.html


The implications would be very far reaching in the commercial sector.
Its all very well to imagine that the ammunition manufacturers would “just” have to switch to copper bullets but how could they do it?

Just for the sake of example lets consider one manufacturer, Sierra, Their range of bullets is 171 different bullets. The culmination of decades of R&D, many of their bullets are at the cutting edge of ballistic technology in the commercial world.

To start developing a new range of copper bullets from a standing start would be a massive hill to climb.The work involved in testing and development of all those new bullets would be beyond their capability in the timescale.

Copper bullets have a different cross sectional density and ballistic coeffient. They would have to be approx half as long again to give the same weight.
Longer bullets have implications for rifling twist and accuracy in existing barrels, of which there millions out there that simply wouldn’t be suited to copper bullets without losing accuracy because the twist is too slow.

Not to mention loading density in the cartridge so all the loading tables would have to be reworked.

Thats without getting into issues like expansion in hunting bullets. The only way to do that would be with a long hollow point which would make the bullets even longer and bring down the cross sectional density even more.

Plus all their machinery would be scrap. Its hard to see how they could survive the financial burden or maintain the volumes of production necessary to survive?.

Also the implications for calibres like .22 with the high volumes of production involved would be massive. A box of .22s would cost as much as a box of .17 HMR and it would wipe out the plinkers and the sport shooters overnight. an end to the cheap .22s

There is also the problem with calibres like .380 Auto where a longer bullet just isn’t possible so they would have to go to alternative cores with added expense.

This proposal has wide reaching implications for the industry and I’m sure many manufacturers would just go under. Presumably thats what they are hoping.


I’m sure you’re right there Vince that this is all planned out.


Mr. Merchant, I think DKconfiguration was referring to the pre 1982 pennies, whose actual copper content was .950 and also had .050 zinc (or for pre 1962, .950 copper and .050 mix of tin and zinc). Which, on the whole, should be pure enough for the bullets he envisions. It’d sure put a new mean giving someone your two cents, worth.


bacarnal -yes that is what I meant - the pre-1982 pennies are the total copper ones that are “worth more”. My first collection was my U.S. coin collection and although it has sat in a safe and hasn’t moved for many years, I still keep my eyes open for pre 1969 (especially pre-1964) dimes & quarters for their silver content, especially with today’s metal prices.


The folks pushing this scheme really don’t care about what (if anything) can be done to substitute other materials in bullets or primers. They simply want to ban them under any pretext they can.

It is absolutely essential that everyone submit comments opposing this proposal, and to do it over and over again until the comment period closes.

The goal is to stop such idiocy, not find ways to make it palatable, or to stock up on ammo before a ban. Next they will ban discharge, then possession of any “lead” ammo. They must be stopped!


As for the metal value of coins, a British pre-1992 2 Pence coin (solid bronze) was worth 3 Pence a few years ago when the price of copper went sky high. However, it is illegal to melt down UK coins in the UK. There was a rumour around at the time of someone taking a car load of them through the channel tunnel to France to scrap them there.


Foxnews just picked up the story: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/27/conservationists-target-lead-ammunition-fishing-tackle/
If the tea party / conservative steam roller of late is any indication, then the issue should be squashed in committee by those fearful of being ousted or fearful of this kind of unwanted publicity in an election cycle (hopefully).

One would think that if the conservationists were truly concerned about heavy-metal poisoning in the environment, then they would more seriously take up issue with their beloved compact-fluorescent bulbs (mercury containing) and their beloved hybrid & electric cars which use batteries laden with heavy metals sourced from grotesque moonscape mines in Canada & China which lay waste to the land to retrieve nickel & lithium. I love how the above article has NRA spokespeople pointing out that the number of nesting eagles has increased by 700% from 1981 to present in spite of the supposed lead threat, and also that banning lead ammo would devastate the revenue for conservation that is derived from an 11% excise tax which manufacturers pay on ammunition (90% of which contains lead)


Out of respect for Tom Jefferson, who advanced the decimal dollar in the United States, I have to point out that a “Penny” is a British coin and in the U.S. we have have the “Cent”. While “penny” has been used to describe the U.S. cent for many more years than I’ve been around, in ammunition terms it’s kinda like calling a .243 Winchester a .30-06 Springfield. While they function the same, they are different and not interchangeable!

On the lead ban issue, beware the EPA’s designs for the future of shooting ranges that have operated for many years. They will be deemed the next “Super Fund” sites where billions of tax dollars will be needed to clean up the evil lead.



Lead in indoor ranges is already an issue without it being added to. Our own club’s range had to have an expensive push/pull ventilation system fitted a few years back. Air pumped in at the shooter’s end and pumped out at the target end to create a converse flow. We are required to “de-lead” the range every six months which requires us to dress up like spacemen in disposable overalls breathing equipment and gloves. All of which, including the lead and the old equipment has to then be taken away by a licenced contractor who charges us heavily for the service.
Because our range is a company club range it is classified as industrial waste. If it were a private range we could dispose of the lead ourselves but no scrap dealers want to take range scrap because it is contaminated with sand which is required to be there as part of the range authorisation.


Vince - that contractor probably then sells the lead, making another good profit on top of what he gouges you guys to haul it away. Great racket.

John Moss


All that over-regulation on the ranges just raises prices on shooting there (or closes them down), which in turn encourages people to go off into the woods or gravel pits somewhere and shoot off endless rds. So that puts recreational quantities of lead projectiles directly into the ground which I think is worse than having a “contaminated” range confined indoors. Not that either of those is truly a serious danger to anything anyway. What a world.


Years ago we used to give the lead to a bullet caster called Derek who would recycle it back to us as bullets to sell in the club. he has now gone out of business. Another small victim of the present "political correctness"
In those days the same lead would go round and round, fired recyled then fired and recycled again and again. And the club would make a bit on the sales.


FOX News .com just published an article by Reuters indicating that the EPA has denied the petition filed by environmental activists seeking to ban lead in ammunition and fishing tackle. EPA said that such a ban “is beyond the agency’s authority.”

I assume this news is accurate, although there is so much phony information on the internet, who knows what is right. The byline is dated August 17, 2010. If so, it is good news and finally, in our “new” government, an agency has admitted it didn’t have the authority to do something. Quite surprising considering the Totalitarian bent of the Obama Government.

John Moss


John - the article was dated Aug 27th, yesterday - http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/27/epa-rejects-calls-ban-lead-ammo-fishing-tackle/?test=latestnews which is a pretty fast response to the petition. Good that they denied it anyway.


DK - yes, you are right about the date. That was a typo I didn’t catch in my review. Like I have said, I am getting very sloppy. Thanks for clarifying it. I just got home from a meeting that meant a total driving today of 450 miles - it is becoming typical. Fatigue coupled with age is wonderful.

John Moss