How has the lead ban work in other countries

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We’ve all seen the conversation about the lead ban coming in 5 years time. While there is still questions about how this will work in the UK because for many we only shoot lead. Its important to look how its worked elsewhere. We know that there have been longstanding bans in other countries. Namely the USA, Netherlands and Norway. These countries have had varying levels of success but have stuck with it in the most part. In America there is limited levels of Driven shooting. Instead they shoot many migratory birds or HPR style over dogs. The ranges are reduced due to the birds being shot on the way into a predetermined point or because they are flushed just in front. For these ranges the ballistics of steel aren’t comparable. The Netherlands changed their expectations and aim to shoot the birds within 25 yards. This has its pro’s and con’s in terms of clean kills but the damage done to the end product being adversely effected. In Norway its not been possible to shoot birds at a closer range and after 10 years the ban was reversed. In the case of Norway we see that the ranges became and issue and with steel the way it was this made shooting live quarry inhumane.

What can we change?

The biggest problem I envisage is us changing expectations of driven shooting. Where a lot of these countries have accepted the ban their expectations didn’t include 70 yard birds. They also weren’t disgruntled by the use of semi autos which is the perfect platform for steel shot. In many cases they didn’t have traditional side by sides paired with the high birds. While I don’t think we should be expecting to see semi auto’s for our high birds shoots. We will have to see the manufacturers create compatible performance for the market to make those birds achievable. I can’t see this happening in the 5 year window so i think as Guns we might have to hope for middle ground. The shoots will have to bring the birds to different flushing points to bring high birds down to 50 yards. As guns we will have to understand that some of these monster birds are out of reach.

So whats next?

This isn’t doom and gloom however. Its been clear in the USA that this conversion is more than possible. While their guns are in general proofed to higher tolerances this isn’t an impossible target to aim for for European manufacturers. With higher tolerances we may be able to have bigger cartridges. This may achieve a middle ground with the birds coming down and the ballistics of steel being extended. We also may see more and more semi auto’s coming to the average cabinet. Not for driven shooting but instead to supplement more every day shooting especially for pest shooting. To shoot the volume of cartridges required for effective pest control in steel a semi is definitely preferable. It’s certainly worth looking into the countries that have already implemented a ban as it may give some perspective of whats yet to come.

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