March 23rd, 2015

Norma Debuts New Lead-Free “Ecostrike” Bullet

Silver Bullet Ecostrike Bullion NormaThe Lone Ranger used silver bullets… now you can too. Well, they’re not really silver, but they look like silver and they are lead-free. Norma’s new ECOSTRIKE™ bullet features a copper core with a proprietary silver-color plating to reduce fouling. Why is Norma offering a lead-free bullet? Well, in some locations, such as California, the use of traditional, lead-core bullets has been highly restricted. The Ecostrike give hunters the opportunity to shot hard-hitting, deep-penetrating projectiles, even where lead-cored bullets are banned. Norma explains: “The Ecostrike is designed to give… penetration deep enough to reach the vital organs even on large animals. The controlled expansion and a very high retained weight guarantee a consistent behavior and deep penetration.”

Being totally lead-free, Ecostrike bullets are California-compliant, and they can be used in other regions where lead ammo is restricted. Currently, Norma plans to offer Ecostrike bullets in four popular calibers: 7mm (.284), .308 (7.62 mm), 8mm, and 9.3 mm. Spanning the range from 7mm up to 9.3 mm, Ecostrike bullets will be available for the most popular big game cartridge types. Norma also plans to produce loaded ammunition featuring the new Ecostrike bullet.

Silver Bullet Ecostrike hunting projectile lead-free ecology Norma

Silver Bullet Ecostrike Bullion Norma
“Silver Bullet” Bullion cartridges are produced by the NW Territorial Mint. The Norma Ecostrike bullets contain no silver, just copper and a proprietary plating. But they do look like silver bullets.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 2nd, 2013

Last U.S. Lead Smelter Closes — Will This Affect Bullet Production?

The last primary lead smelter facility in the United States will be closing soon. The Doe Run Company smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri has been operating since 1892. The facility will be closed permanently under pressure from the EPA. According to MSNBC.com: “Doe Run Co. was ordered by the EPA to install new pollution control technologies needed to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions as required by the Clean Air Act. The company will instead close its lead smelter.”

Doe Run started life in 1864 as the St. Joseph Lead Company, better known as St. Joe, which started lead mining on a small scale in southeastern Missouri. In 1892 it started up its smelter in Herculaneum, where all smelting was consolidated in 1920.

Doe Run Co. Company lead smelter plant Missouri Herculaneum plant closing shut down

Cause for Concern? Our readers have been concerned that the closure of the Doe Run smelter will lead to serious shortages in raw materials for bullet-making. Readers fear that bullet-makers won’t be able to source lead, and so the output of bullets and ammo would be reduced. Curtailed bullet production would lead to higher prices, it is feared.

As it turns out, the situation is not as dire as it seems. At least one bullet-maker says the Doe Run smelter closure will have no immediate effect on its raw material supply chain.

Sierra Bullets Responds: Lead Smelter Closure Should Not Cause Supply Shortage
Addressing the issue of supply shortages, Sierra Bullets posted a notice in the Sierra Blog on November 1, 2013. Sierra Bullets Plant Engineer Darren Leskiw stated that the Doe Run smelter closure should create no problems for his company because it uses only recycled lead:

We have had many customers contact us about the closing of the last primary lead smelting facility in the USA. This facility is operated by Doe Run and is located in Herculaneum, Missouri and is just about a 3-hour drive from our facility in Sedalia, Missouri.

The main question asked is “Will this shut down your supply of lead?” The answer to that is no. First, Sierra buys lead from several different vendors to maintain constant supply. Second, this facility only smelts primary lead or lead ore. This is lead ore that has just been brought out of the earth. Sierra uses no primary lead at all and never has, so we use nothing directly from this facility. The lead we buy from Doe Run comes from their recycling facility in Boss, MO that is about 90 miles away from the smelter that is closing.

The facility we buy from is still going strong and delivering to us as scheduled. The lead from this facility is from recycled lead, mostly coming from car batteries. This is a continuing “in and out” cycle for them and the smelter closing will not affect this facility.

Our supply should not be in jeopardy and we do not anticipate any changes in our supply chain at this time. Could the lack of primary lead create a little more demand for recycled lead? Sure, but how much is unknown. Could this increase in demand also create an increase in price? Sure, but again, by how much is unknown at this time.

There are many other primary lead smelters in the world and so the flow of primary lead will not be shut off. Where there is a need for primary lead, I am sure there will be a salesman more than happy to pick up the business. In short, we do not see any reason for alarm. We expect our supply to continue and keep feeding our production lines which are still running 24 hours per day to return our inventory levels to where they should be.


Lead Smelting Operations Have Moved to Mexico
Posting on SnipersHide.com, one industry insider says shooters should not be overly concerned about the Doe Run shut-down, because smelting is still being done in nearby Mexico:

“The lead industry has been transitioning out of the United States for over a decade now. 85% of the lead smelting industry capacity migrated over the Mexican border where there are [fewer environmental regulations]. The remainder of production capacity will be online and running by the third quarter of 2014. There has been no production disruption to speak of in obtaining lead or lead products. The auto battery industry among others has prepared for this eventuality for some time….

The last lead smelter closing in December did not have enough capacity to supply even 10% of the battery industry much less the ammunition industry. The lead being used in ammunition today hasn’t been coming from the United States for years already. The closing of that plant will not have any appreciable effect on lead availability at all. There is a great deal of lead processed here being extruded, made into shot, converted to wire, etc., but the smelting operation is only one part of the production process.”

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June 3rd, 2013

Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit to Ban Traditional Ammunition

ammo ban lawsuit federal courtIn late May, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit filed by the radical anti-hunting Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and six other groups demanding that the EPA ban traditional ammunition containing lead components. NSSF filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last August. The court agreed with NSSF that EPA does not have the authority to regulate traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. EPA had already twice denied attempts by CBD to have the agency ban traditional ammunition, and the court had dismissed an earlier case brought by CBD seeking the same relief.

Traditional ammunition (with lead elements) represents 95 percent of the U.S. market and is the staple ammunition for target shooters, hunters and law enforcement, with more than 10 billion rounds sold annually.

“We are gratified that the court has found this second frivolous lawsuit, which is essentially the same as the one dismissed last year, was equally without merit,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry. In addition to NSSF, the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International intervened in the case.

“No sound science [shows that] the use of traditional ammunition has harmed wildlife populations or that it presents a health risk to humans who consume game taken with such ammunition,” said Keane. “Banning traditional ammunition would cost tens of thousands of jobs in America and destroy wildlife conservation that is funded in part by an 11 percent excise tax on the sale of ammunition. The protection and management of wildlife is properly handled by the professional biologists in the state fish and game agencies, as it has been for over a hundred years.”

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June 12th, 2012

Anti-Hunting Group Lawsuit Seeks Ban on Lead-Containing Ammo

lead ammunition component EPA banThe anti-hunting Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and six other groups last week filed a lawsuit designed to pressure the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into banning traditional ammunition containing lead components. EPA has twice denied petitions filed by CBD to ban traditional ammunition, citing correctly that it does not have the authority to regulate ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. If bullets with lead components are restricted, this would affect target shooters as well as hunters because nearly all match bullets employ a lead core.

“This is a frivolous lawsuit clear and simple,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for NSSF. “There is no sound science that shows the use of traditional ammunition has harmed wildlife populations or that it presents a health risk to humans who consume game taken with such ammunition.” NSSF called on industry members, hunters and shooters to support an amendment to the Farm Bill that contains legislation that would clarify the exemption.

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August 28th, 2010

EPA Rejects Challenge to Lead-Containing Bullets and Ammo

EPA Logo Ammo BanHere is some good news from Washington for a change. Perhaps motivated by official protests from the NSSF and hunting groups across the nation, the EPA announced on July 27th that it has rejected the petition from five environmental groups to ban bullets and ammunition that contain lead. The petition sought to ban lead-based ammo under the federal Toxic Substances Act. The EPA’s surprising reversal came just days after the EPA had invited public comments on the proposed ban.

EPA Lacks Jurisdiction to Ban Hunting Ammunition
In a letter to the petitioners, the EPA declared that it had no jurisdiction under the Toxic Substances Act to order or enforce a ban on bullets and ammo containing lead.

This should put to rest the challenge to lead bullets and ammunition — for the time being. However, the EPA announced it is still reviewing the environmental groups’ request to ban lead fishing sinkers.

8.27.2010 LETTER from EPA Denying Petition under Toxic Substances Act.

CLICK HERE for related story on EPA rejection of proposed lead ammo ban.

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August 26th, 2010

EPA Considering Ban on Traditional Ammunition and Bullets

EPA Lead Ammo BanFrom the Nat’l Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Lisa Jackson, who was responsible for banning bear hunting in New Jersey, 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.

Environmental activists want to ban lead shot, lead-core bullets, and even fishing sinkers. If the EPA approves the petition, the result [could] be a total ban on all ammunition containing lead-core components, including hunting and target-shooting rounds (even rimfire ammo). The EPA must decide to accept or reject this petition by November 1, 2010, the day before the midterm elections.

Click Here for More Details on EPA Petition to Ban Lead Ammo and Components.

From 8/26/2010 through 10/31/2010, the EPA is inviting comments on the Ammo Ban Petition. The NSSF urges hunters and shooters to submit comments to the EPA opposing any ban on traditional ammunition. Remember, your right to choose the ammunition you hunt and shoot with is at stake.

The EPA has published the petition and relevant supplemental information as Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-0681. To read the original petition and see the contents of this docket folder, CLICK HERE. To go directly to the ‘comment’ page for this docket number, please CLICK HERE.

What You Can Do to Help

1. Submit a comment to the EPA opposing the Ban. CLICK HERE to COMMENT.
2. Contact your congressman and senators and urge them to stop the EPA from banning ammunition.
3. Contact Lisa Jackson directly to voice your opposition to the ban:

Lisa P. Jackson
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-4700
Fax: (202) 501-1450
Email: jackson.lisa@epa.gov
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