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Non-lead ammunition works well

An excellent day spent using non-lead ammunition proves exactly what wildfowlers and duck shooters already know - steel does the job

Shot pheasants

Do your best to ensure that all shot birds are accounted for

A few weeks ago, I said I would report back from a day I had been invited on where most of the Guns had decided to use non-lead ammunition. (Read more on non-toxic shot.)

I am happy to report that everything went exactly as planned and that the steel shot we used performed no differently from lead. The day itself ran really smoothly. It was a slick operation, which was ably and professionally hosted by the estate owner. The drives all seemed to go to plan, or at least they did from the Guns’ point of view. And, as is typical of most keepers when they are on an away-day, I couldn’t help watching and wondering, trying to second-guess the drives and casting a critical professional eye over things.

The beating was first class, the picking-up was the same — no easy task with early-season partridges, the weather being warm and there being little to no scent— and keeper Mick and his team did a sterling job. It was a really great day and one of the few times this season when I will be standing in the line as opposed to driving birds over it.

Non-lead ammunition used

The steel we used was a standard load and light enough to be shot through my neighbouring Gun’s side-by-side. It performed exactly the same as a lead load would have done. Once we had all fired a few shots and started to concentrate on the birds, no one really gave more than a passing thought to what was coming out of the barrels.

Steel shot is the future and, as wildfowlers and duck shooters will tell you, it does perform. Add in the fact that cartridge manufacturers are doing their bit by putting a huge amount of effort into researching and developing non-lead ammunition and I really don’t think anyone has anything to worry about.