Lead-Free Pellet FAQs
For hunting, a pellet which can deliver high velocity accurate shooting can be especially effective in pest control. An excellent lead-free option is the RWS Hypermax pointed .22 which have the added bonus of high penetration for improved pest control performance.
Any pellet which delivers consistent and accurate results is going to lead to great functionality on the range. One the best lead-free pellets in the H&N Field Target Trophy Green .22 (and .177), which offer a consistent and effective all-round performance.
Some of the best lead-free pellets for target shooting and competitions right now would be the H&N Field Target Trophy Green, which are very accurate for mid ranges.
Extreme lead exposure can result in poisoning, which can cause many health problems, ranging from kidney failure, muscle and joint pain to an increase in infertility and risk of miscarriage. Lead poisoning with pellets largely occurs with accumulated lead dust from shooting ranges, or the contamination of water sources and food chains via ground tainting.
To cause more wear than the lead-based alloys of the currently standard pellets, the lead-free pellets would have to be harder. Research shows that the tin-based alloys of most lead-free pellets is of a comparable hardness to the lead and therefore won't cause any more wear than the lead-based alloys.
Some lead-free pellets are not compatible with break barrel rifles, because these rifles tend to not create enough pressure when firing the pellet. This results in the skirt not expanding properly against the barrel, which would lead to lower power and worse accuracy.
Copper pellets are not lead free. Rather, they are lead pellets given a copper coat. This makes the pellet safer to handle as it removes the risk of lead dust and residue gathering on hands or clothing.
As there is a difference in the weight of the pellets, there can be differences in performance. However, consistently accurate results up to 35 yards are to be expected. The best results are typically found when lead-free pellets are used with rifles that do not have a too high muzzle velocity, as the increased velocity of the pellet leads to an increased rotation and a subsequent loss of accuracy.
As copper and lead-free pellets are harder than typical lead pellets, this can cause the pellet to not deform as much on impact. When pellets deform, they tend to stick and expand in the object, but due to the harder metal this can sometimes cause a ricochet as there is less deformation.
Cleaning the barrel regularly is always recommended, but there is no special reason why it should be done before using lead-free pellets. If there are concerns with accuracy whilst using pellets, thoroughly clean the barrel and try again.
Lead-free pellets can be louder in some rifles as they are lighter and therefore and fired at a higher velocity which can lead to a more noticeable firing noise. For the best results try using a rifle with a moderate muzzle velocity.
Consistently accurate results can be achieved over distances of up to 35 yards. This of course can depend on the pellets used and the wind conditions of the day.