April 20th, 2017

Try NO-LEAD Cleaner for Barrels after Shooting Lead-Alloy Bullets

Suhl Rimfire Benchrest indoor cleaning
We have used NO-LEAD Cleaner in rimfire benchrest rifles similar to this modified Suhl 150-1. It helped restore accuracy with minimal brushing.

NO-lead brushless lead remover Wipe-out Sharp Shoot-rMade by the same folks that created Wipe-Out™, and Carb-Out™, the NO-LEAD Brushless Lead Remover™ really works. Honest. If you are an active rimfire shooter, or if you shoot cast lead-alloy bullets in centerfire rifles and pistols, you should try this product. We now use NO-LEAD in our rimfire benchrest rifles, and in some centerfire guns that receive a steady diet of soft-alloy cast bullets (90%+ lead). (With rimfire guns, you don’t need to use NO-LEAD very often — maybe every 300-400 rounds unless you have a real fouler of a barrel.)

If you’ve got stubborn lead fouling in a rimfire barrel, or on a pistol’s muzzle brake/compensator, you should definitely give this stuff a try. We don’t know how but it does soften lead deposits. The manufacturer says you don’t need brushes, but we found that a bit of brushing (after NO-LEAD application) can help remove more serious lead build-up.

Frankly we were surprised to find a lead solvent that really works. We have tried a half-dozen or more other lead “cleaners” that promise to dissolve lead and most of them, we discovered, are nearly useless. There’s a reason for that, as the lead alloys used in bullets don’t react to typical petrochemical-based solvents. It took the Wipe-Out chemists over five years to perfect a new water-based solution that really does dissolve lead.

NO-LEAD Cleaning Procedure — Read Carefully
NO-LEAD Lead Remover is a clear, red gel that is easy to apply. Just swab it in your bore (or on muzzle brakes) with wet patches or bore mop and let it sit for a few minutes. (The manufacturer says you can leave the NO-LEAD for up to 20 minutes, but that long of a dwell time does not seem necessary with our rimfire barrels.) When it contacts lead it will start to foam and you’ll see that the NO-LEAD solvent turns a pastel pink when it dissolves lead. The pink comes from the formation of lead oxide. After the recommended dwell time, simply patch out the dissolved lead deposits (you can also use a nylon brush for stubborn lead build-up).

NOTE: After cleaning, it is very important that you get all the NO-LEAD out of your barrel, and neutralize it. We recommend following the application of NO-Lead with Wipe-out or Patch-Out to neutralize the NO-LEAD, clear the bore, and remove residual carbon and copper fouling. If you don’t have Wipe-Out or Patch-out, flush the barrel thoroughly with Rubbing Alcohol or even a solution of Dawn dish detergent — then re-oil the bore.

Be Sure to Neutralize NO-LEAD After Use
Remember that N0-LEAD is a strong, slightly acidic chemical that needs to be neutralized after use. If you leave it on a nice, blued barrel for too long, it can harm the bluing. NO-LEAD will remove all the surface oils from the barrel bore. For this reason it is recommended that you neutralize NO-LEAD with Wipe-Out, or Patch-Out, which both contain effective corrosion inhibitors. If you don’t have those products, once you’ve flushed the NO-LEAD with something like rubbing alcohol, then follow with a gun oil. Caution: A petroleum-based gun oil will NOT, by itself, neutralize NO-LEAD. You need to neutralize first, then apply the corrosion inhibitor (or do it all in one step with Wipe-Out or Patch-Out).

Where to Buy NO-LEAD Lead Remover
NO-LEAD Lead Remover costs $15.99 for an 8 oz. squeeze bottle with a flip-top spout. This product is sold directly by Sharp Shoot R Precision Products, www.Sharpshootr.com, or you can purchase NO-LEAD through many other online vendors. For more information, send an email via the Sharp Shoot-R Contact Form or or contact Sharp Shoot-R at (785) 883-4444. You can ask for Terry Paul, Sharp Shoot-R’s owner and the master chemist who developed the NO-LEAD formula.

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December 4th, 2015

EPA Bans on Traditional Ammo Blocked by Defense Bill

EPA TSCA Congress NDAA Defense Bill Obama Lead Ammunition Lead-based Toxic Ban

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) won’t be able to control, regulate, or ban ammunition thanks to provisions in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) recently signed into law. A clause in the 2016 NDAA amends the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) to preclude the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from asserting TSCA authority over ammunition and its component parts. This change is important because anti-hunting organizations have attempted, through legal actions, to force the EPA to to ban traditional ammunition made with lead components.

If the EPA had asserted authority under the TSCA to regulate ammunition, this could have severely impacted the production and distribution of all types of hunting and target ammunition, including pistol ammo, rifle ammo, and even shotshells. The EPA-limiting TSCA amendment contained in the 2016 NDAA was supported by Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain and House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry.

According to Rep. Jeff Miller (R. Florida): “[T]his common-sense language in the Defense Bill … will clarify, once and for all, that the EPA does not, and should not, have the jurisdiction to regulate traditional ammunition or its components. Enactment of this legislation closes one more window of opportunity for the EPA to overreach its authority while also averting unnecessary and significant cost increases for our military.”

Report based on NSSF Press Release.
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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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December 4th, 2010

ARES Color-Coated Cast Bullets from Slovakia

ARES color BulletsARES Puškárska Dielňa, a Slovakian bullet-maker, has come up with a new colorized bullet coating for cast lead bullets. This coating provides a surface barrier so that the lead does not contact the rifling in the barrel. In addition, no bullet lube is required and the colored coating reduces friction. As explained on the Wieder-Lader.de website, “Please take into consideration that ARES Colored Bullets are more quick than copper plated/FMJ bullets. If you used to [shoot] copper plated/FMJ bullets, please start reloading Colored Bullets (CB) with approx. 5% less powder and adjust the final quantity of powder on basis of your own speed measurements. CBs keep the barrel clean. CBs are ready for reloading, i.e. it is not necessary to grease CBs.”

ARES color Bullets

In the photo below, a .40-caliber bullet is shown before and after firing (the bullet was recovered from the target). You can see that the fired bullet (labeled “after”) has been engraved by the rifling, but very little, if any, lead was exposed.

ARES color Bullets

No this is not a hoax — no Photoshop tricks here. ARES offers a a full line of colored pistol and rifle bullets from .25 caliber up to .58 caliber. Ares even offers colored shotgun slugs. We haven’t seen ARES bullets in the USA yet, but they are sold throughout Europe by ARES Distributors.

ARES color Bullets

Don’t Snack on ARES Bullets
Though ARES colored bullets do look like Jelly Beans, they are most definitely NOT to be eaten. We will still have to wait a while for snack bullets, such as BIO-Bullets, the vitamin-enriched “Incredible Edibles” unveiled in our 2010 April Fool’s Edition.

Edible Bullets

Moly-Polymer Coated Bullets in USA
Precision Bullets in Texas sells cast lead bullets coated with a proprietary moly-polymer matrix. With this special coating, the moly does not rub off like most moly-coated pistol bullets. The coating is tough enough to survive heat that will melt the lead core (See Photo). This Editor has shot thousands of Precision Bullets’ coated bullets in my .45 ACP and .40SW pistols. These “Black Bullets” are extremely accurate and the leading in the barrel is dramatically reduced compared to normal cast lead bullets.

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September 7th, 2009

Lead Management Info for Clubs and Range Operators

If you are involved with the management of a range or shooting club, you need to be concerned with lead pollution issues. Both state and federal agencies are becoming much more agressive regarding lead issues for shooting ranges.

With the challenges ranges face these days you must be as proactive as you possibly can, especially when maintaining and enhancing the environmental quality of your facility. In an effort to assist range operators, NSSF is offering its booklet “Lead Management and OSHA Compliance for Indoor Shooting Ranges” for free to members. This provides an introduction to airborne lead management techniques and an overview of OSHA compliance. NSSF range members who want a copy of the booklet should contact Bettyjane Swann, NSSF manager, member services, e-mail bswann@nssf.org, telephone 203-426-1320.

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