My step-son has a starling problem, and asked my advice on a decent, entry level rifle. Got that covered, I told him he can use my Diana 34. But then he asked about non-lead pellets. I know there are several out there, but I've never tried them or paid much attention to them. Seems I've seen a few less than enthusiastic reviews, and that they're kind of expensive, but that's as far as my attention has gone. So now I need some advice, and it would be especially helpful if that advice were specific to a .177 Diana 34. Mine likes CPL's, BTW. Thanks, people!
i cant answer it really but looking at fishing tackle and pb - shotgun - ammo around the world - more testing and research, options etc need to be explored . Lead is superb but there must be other ways . please don't give my the tree hugger response .......
I do not know about airgunners per se, but the "Wildlife commissions" have a lot to say. There is a ton of info on the net against lead shot. Here is just one:
Medical research shows that lead can harm human health even at low exposure levels.
Lead poisoning is widespread and preventable. Some of the adverse effects of lead include learning abnormalities and behavioral problems in children. Kids are more vulnerable to lead than adults; but lead effects all human health and the environment. Lead, is one of the most hazardous, toxic metals because of its ability to accumulate as it is absorbed in a body. Lead also has a long life in the environment.
Lead is used in making ammunition because the density and hardness of lead provide desirable ballistic properties. Lead shot from hunting and recreational shooting can expose dozens of bird species and other wildlife to the toxic effects of lead poisoning. Every year over 600 tons of spent lead shot end up on or in Washingtons lands or waterways. Many animals are directly exposed to lead when they mistake lead fragments for food or grit, people or animals can then be exposed if they eat an animal killed with lead shot. Not long ago, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl in North America died every year from the ingestion of lead shotgun pellets. Since the 1991 nationwide ban on hunting waterfowl with lead shot, lead poisoning in waterfowl has been greatly reduced.
I would say that usuage depends on your love of wildlife. I do not use non lead pellets in airguns, but probably will in the future if I were to go hunting. I live near a Beautiful Wildlife area and it is a fact that non-lead shotgun pellets have helped the native wildlife.
In some rifles even at long range. Varmintair uses Dynamic pellets on ground squirrels at 80+ yards from several different rifles. They maybe mandated where he hunts for lead ban reasons. Non lead pellets can be very expensive so most people don't use them unless absolutely neccessary. A good quality domed lead pellet will do the job just as easily. Stay away from the ultra light stuff (Gamo raptor and some of the Skenco stuff). If they want to try them go ahead, you both may be suprised and not just by the price.
I have been shooting the PCP 2 pellets in one of my guns for a while and I have to say they are very accurate. They have great penetration as they are harder and do not deform like lead pellets. I think these are a good alternative pellet if you do not want to shoot lead the only downside is they cost a lot more.
I do not worry about it very much (other than not keeping the pellets in my mouth). Most of the issues with birds were migratory waterfowl and bio-accumulators. Each shotgun shell has more lead than 50 .177 pellets. Shooting dozens into small bodies of water per outing is a whole lot different that shooting single pellets at a pest birds (very limited quantity and concentration). Problems with humans have been focused mostly on indoor ranges and to a lesser extent casting with poor ventilation. Both of those tend to involve lead dust/fumes. While many skeet ranges are changing to metal shot - I have not heard much issue with them (even when the average shooting probably goes through the equivalent of 5,000 pellets an outing). The only other issues I have really heard much of were cleaning up military ranges.
When lead hits a backstop at sufficient velocity (and correct angle) the bullet tends to turn to lead dust rather than deflect. I have seen really interesting sparks when shooting steel targets at dusk with .22lr. The heat of the impact will ignite the lead dust. I can only expect that that dust is not entirely combusted (and the lead oxide afterward probably is not too health either). Still I have not heard of any major issues at private outdoor ranges.
I've been shooting them for four years now. I was forced to find an alternative to lead because a couple of ranches I hunt in California, banned the use of all lead ammo on their properties. I primarily shoot the 22 cal PCP-2 14.5 grain version. In many of my guns, they shoot every bit as well as the most accurate lead pellets in those same guns. A hunting buddy shoots the TM-2 version out of his Daystates, and gets excellent accuracy from them as well. We're shooting California Ground Squirrels out to 80/100 yards with them no problem. They are also very efficient killers.
One thing I have learned though is, you need to thoroughly clean your barrel before making the switch to shooting tin. They do not like any lead or lube residue left in the barrel, and don't lube them like you might with your lead pellets. Also, shoot a dozen or so tin pellets down the clean bore, to condition it to the new metal, before getting to serious about shooting groups. Check out Airguns of Arizona's site for the DYNAMIC tin pellets. Different designs are offered for different types of guns. In other words, there are different versions offered for PCP's, than for spring powered guns. Also several of them have a couple of different head sizes available. I would give AoA a call, tell them what you are going to shoot them out of, and they will know what to recommend. Just like with any pellet, lead or tin, there's no way to know if your particular gun will shoot them well without trying them in it.
As far as cost is concerned, they really aren't anymore expensive than the JSB Predator, which is a very popular hunting pellet. I don't think anyone is going to take either of these pellets and just go plink pop cans with them, but for an actual hunting application, they aren't expensive at all.
For example, at AoA, a tin of 200 count .22 caliber JSB Preds runs $12.75. In comparison, a box of 400 count PCP-2 tin pellets runs $24.15, that works out to about $12.08 per 200 pellets vs the $12.75 of the JSB's. In some cases, like with the .177 cal tin pellets, there are a higher number of pellets per box for the same $24.15.
There are some non-lead pellets around that aren't very accurate in any gun I've tried them in, but the DYNAMICS are the exception. The down side is, they are the only show in town, and if they don't happen to shoot well in your gun, there isn't another brand to try.
I was introduced to the Dynamic Sn2's by a Yellow forum member Luis Ruiz when I went to check out AoA a few months back. I was a little skeptical about non lead pellets and how much they cost, but I thought give em' a try. I'm glad I did. They're very accurate in the right gun, very accurate. I was blown away that how well it grouped, in fact it shot better than the prefered pellet in one of my guns. Some think it's a gimmick, don't knock it until you try it. Like all guns and pellets, you just gotta try em' out and see which guns shoot them well.
The issue with lead pellets in this case has nothing to do with the potential shootees and everything to do with the shooter. He's an electronics geek, and I'm pretty sure he was born with a soldering gun in his hand . He had his first kid almost a year ago, and I think he's finally growing up a little. Lead poisoning is insidious and cumulative, he's finally realizing he's not indestructible, and is making efforts to limit his exposure to potential toxins. For those that pointed me toward the Dynamics, I'll give AoA a call and see what they have to say. Later.
A few basic hygiene rules will help prevent high lead levels in your blood.
- Wash hands after shooting
- Don't eat while shooting
- Keep your fingers out of your mouth while shooting
- Do not put pellets in your mouth
- Use a silent pellet trap when shooting indoors.
Many years ago, my lead levels were high from shooting powder burning handguns indoors with a poor venting system. I shot all winter long with some friends and also casted tens of thousands of rounds per year. My doctor monitored my levels after I quite the powder burners. I converted to airgun shooting in my basement and used a "duct seal" pellet trap. My shooting volume was a couple of tins a month (1000 pellets/mnth). I was a bit concerned with my lead levels because I also sleep in my basement. I think my next blood test was close to a year later and my levels were down to normal again. I had almost no measurable amount in my blood. IIRC the levels dropped from 1.9 to .17 units (emol/L?).
Many materials can be unsafe if used improperly... styrofoam containers, Saran wrap, #1 plastic containers, cleaning agents, etc. The environment would be better without a lot of this stuff. I heard the other day that it apparently takes 700 years for plastic to decompose.
25-30 years ago I used to keep a few pellets in my mouth when I was shooting starlings in the fields next to my neighborhood, as it made it faster to load the next shot. At that time I think the packaging said that lead caused birth defects, and at 10 years old, I wasn't worried about birth defects. Now I wish I'd have been a little smarter. Then again, that extra finger I grew comes in handy now and then...
And I follow those same rules when I shoot. BTW, you forgot eye protection . Still, that doesn't address the issue of putting lead in the environment.
In my case, that comes home to roost, literally. I have a flock of chickens, and I don't want "my girls" sucking up lead, both for their health and mine. I shot a starling off one of my fences the other day, 15 yard shot with my .177 TX, dropped the bird like a rock and the pellet kept going, left a crease in the steel siding on my shop. I pass up lots of shots because most of the area around my house doubles as chicken yard. If the tin pellets work in my gun, I could kill more starlings without the wife squawking about lead in the pasture, and killing starlings is a good thing . Later.
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