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Joint statement by the Directors of the UK's leading shotgun cartridge manufacturers





UK GAME CARTRIDGES

Joint statement by the Directors of the UK’s leading shotgun cartridge manufacturers

Statement: Friday 28th February 2020

From: Rodrigo Crespo of Eley Hawk, Paul James of Gamebore, David Bontoft of Hull Cartridge and Roger Hurley of Lyalvale Express

We, the UK’s leading shotgun cartridge manufacturers, hereby address the announcement made by BASC and other organisations on Monday 24th February, stating their “wish to see an end to both lead and single-use plastics in ammunition used by those taking all live quarry with shotguns within five years”.

Firstly, BASC and their fellow organisations had NO consultation with the UK cartridge manufacturers prior to the announcement being made.

The UK manufacturers have now discussed the matter collectively. We believe the organisations have looked at a limited amount of products and assumed that these are a viable answer to the issue at hand. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This is a major concern to us for a number of reasons, reasons we would have explained to the organisations prior to the publication of their announcement, had we been given the opportunity to do so.

Europe is currently experiencing a steel shot shortage. A move from lead to steel shot for the majority of UK’s shotgun ammunition will inevitably put more pressure on the market for raw material. This would create further shortages in the short term and push up the price as the steel shot industry invests to increase capacity.

The examples of overseas markets successfully transitioned to steel shot such as Denmark and the USA water-fowling sector, should not be used as proof of a solution. This is because the steel loads used in these markets in any significant volume are loaded with plastic wads. In addition to this, the US and Danish regulations allow steel cartridges to be loaded to a much higher level of performance than here in the UK, to increase the lethality of the pellet.

Limitations to performance levels of steel ammunition currently allowed in the UK mean that we are already facing tougher challenges when developing an effective steel load compared to those used overseas. Couple this with the move away from plastic wads and we are even further limited on performance. We would like to see an increase in the performance levels allowed before we can begin to develop loads effective enough to produce clean, humane kills in the various types of shooting carried out in the UK.

There are indeed a handful of non-lead ammunition options with biodegradable wads currently on the market however, at this stage it is simply impossible to make these commercially viable. We cannot make a complete switch over to these products within a five year period without substantial investment into the industry. BASC and its fellow organisations do not have an understanding of the manufacturing processes involved and are therefore in no position to determine the length of time required to evolve.

Tungsten and Bismuth materials are very limited in their availability and significantly more costly to produce than steel. This will result in huge increases in costs, based on raw material prices, for smaller gauge shooters who cannot use steel. This may price many shooters out of the sport.

Right now, we need to decide which to eliminate– lead or plastic? We cannot avoid using both. At present the only commercially available options are lead shot with fibre wads, steel with plastic wads or unaffordable premium non-lead shot. Shooters and land owners will need to consider these options and then decide which option is preferable going forward.

We must be clear and educate the organisations as to what is realistic and achievable. Although the development of non-lead, non-plastic alternatives are in the early stages of development, it will be considerable time before a full range of options are available to shooters. This process is a long one that will require vast research, development and investment.

Collectively, we do agree that the industry needs to evolve to become more environmentally friendly. We anticipate this happening as larger industries continue to invest in plastic alternatives which will naturally filter down to ours and other smaller industries. These major industries are in a better position to develop the alternatives, the smaller industries such as ours will then follow. It is unrealistic to expect a relatively small industry such as ours to be at the forefront of the development of such materials.

Moving forward we will continue to encourage the use of steel shot where required, but at this early stage we have no alternative option but to support the use of lead with fibre wads as the solution to the issue of plastic pollution. Where non-lead shot is needed, we encourage the shooters to collect their used plastic wads where possible and dispose of them accordingly, as we know many already do so.

Lastly, we are committed to investing into the alternatives. Our collective goal is to develop high performance ammunition for all shotguns and gauges using sustainable materials and therefore secure the future of shooting. We simply ask that the organisations and individual shooters understand that doing this within a five year window without significant support is IMPOSSIBLE.
 

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The limeys are just a bit behind the state of California in their way of thinking. The politicians need to be voted out and someone smarter put in office. In a country that is so restrictive on their citizens to legally own and use firearms is beyond all logic. Some of the great firearms companies are still in London and have failed miserably in fighting the laws restricting guns.
 

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Paper hulls with steel heads, fiber wads and steel shot. Everything biodegradable. Only problem is the damage to the shotgun barrel without the plastic wad.
 

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To be clear this isn't the UK government trying to ban lead. This is an effort from BASC a nongovernmental pro hunting and shooting agency.

It is their belief that the outdoor industry should be proactive on the lead issue and are thus they are leading a voluntary campaign to stop using lead for hunting.
 

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The amount of people who recreationally shoot and hunt in the UK has to be incredibly disproportionate to the population with the hoops one needs to go through just to own a firearm plus associated costs. I am by no means an expert on international 'shooting sports/hunting' but the amount of led and plastic expelled by a relatively small group has to be an absolutely small drop in the bucket compared to plastic and waste generated by general industrial practices outside of the ammunition realm (waste probably much worst than lead).
 

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The limeys are just a bit behind the state of California in their way of thinking. The politicians need to be voted out and someone smarter put in office. In a country that is so restrictive on their citizens to legally own and use firearms is beyond all logic. Some of the great firearms companies are still in London and have failed miserably in fighting the laws restricting guns.
The UK does not have a single document that comprises its Constitution, nor does it have a Bill of Rights in the nature of your series of Amendments that provide certain guarantees. Hence there is no real legal basis for campaigning against firearms restrictions as is provided by 2A in the USA.

Down under we have a written single constitutional document, but no real guarantees of freedom that are relevant to firearms.

Consequently, the Governments were able to effectively ban handgun ownership in the UK, to severely restrict ownership of semi auto long arms in Australia, and so on. Apparently NZ is about to follow Australia's lead regarding semi autos, following the Christchurch shooting.

I don't know the political situation in the UK very well, but I can assure you that down here there have been multiple campaigns over at least 35 years to try and minimise government interference with shooting sports.But it's awlays a political, not a legal, struggle.
 

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To be clear this isn't the UK government trying to ban lead. This is an effort from BASC a nongovernmental pro hunting and shooting agency.
It is their belief that the outdoor industry should be proactive on the lead issue and are thus they are leading a voluntary campaign to stop using lead for hunting.
Voluntary campaign?A conservation organization like this as it is now, is counterproductive to hunting and sport shooting. They should be spending their dollars and time fighting for their constituents rights to use lead.They are spearheading the elimination of lead for hunting in the UK. Next step will be sport shooting. Total capitulation.Then they will claim they have been the soul and conscience for all participants of global shooting and hunting.Incremental reduction of sportsmen’s ability to participate in their chosen activities. They will shove it down the Brit’s throats and their will be no fight.They are subjects of the crown. Not citizens. Roll over and die.They have no problem with modern wind farms that kill untold amounts of waterfowl, songbirds and raptors.Lead has a much smaller impact.But they don’t use specialized science.Just prey on the gullible emotions of the easily misguided masses.
 

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Voluntary campaign?A conservation organization like this as it is now, is counterproductive to hunting and sport shooting. They should be spending their dollars and time fighting for their constituents rights to use lead.They are spearheading the elimination of lead for hunting in the UK. Next step will be sport shooting. Total capitulation.Then they will claim they have been the soul and conscience for all participants of global shooting and hunting.Incremental reduction of sportsmen’s ability to participate in their chosen activities. They will shove it down the Brit’s throats and their will be no fight.They are subjects of the crown. Not citizens. Roll over and die.They have no problem with modern wind farms that kill untold amounts of waterfowl, songbirds and raptors.Lead has a much smaller impact.But they don’t use specialized science.Just prey on the gullible emotions of the easily misguided masses.
It seems like there are many in the UK who vocally agree with you Remdog.

I don't have a horse in this race, it is their country they can do what they like with their ammo, but I find the whole discussion very interesting.

I am sure we will be dealing with the same issues in the future (or now if you are a CA resident).
 

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Probably some crap organization will get this brought up in the states before long.
If they can’t get our guns they will go after the ammo.
Sure not as good here as it used to be but still the best in the world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gamebore Cartridges

Further to the joint statement of 28th February, we reiterate in the strongest possible terms that Gamebore had ZERO consultation with any of the 9 shooting organisations, nor were we invited to attend any meetings to discuss a voluntary phasing out of plastic wads and lead shot. Gamebore were at no time made aware that meetings were taking place to discuss the subject and at no time were we asked for any input.

Gamebore were made privy to the announcement only on Wednesday19th February, three working days before the publication in The Times on 24th February, in the form of a single email and telephone call from the Gun Trade Association. By this point the decision had already been made, with the announcement already written and signed. This does notconstitute consultation.

We trust that this now answers the large volume of questions being asked regarding Gamebore’s involvement.

Gamebore is currently the largest supplier of non-lead shotgun ammunition in Europe, amassing a wealth of information and experience over many years of research, development and manufacturing. We absolutely would have welcomed the opportunity to give guidance on manufacturing capabilities had we been approached.

Moving forward, we remain dedicated to the task at hand and assure shooters and fellow industry members that our efforts to develop alternative products will continue.
 

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I saw yesterday on the CPSA's own website that clay target shooting is not included in the published statements about future non toxic shot requirements for hunting in the UK.
Devonian.
 
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