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Thread: Lead Free Pellets

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Lead Free Pellets

    I've been coaching JROTC air rifle teams for a few years now. Last year, we were ordered to switch to lead free pellets.

    STarted up this year with some of the standard Daisy target pellets and also some H&N Sports pellets marketed by Champion's Choice. The Daisy ones were real problematic through our current rifles, but may work better in the Crossmans we will be fielding soon. The Champions choice ones seem to do about as well as lead except that we have a lot bounce back out of the trap and they don't deform like lead, obviously much, much harder.

    Both say they are a tin alloy. I think one said there is some Zinc content as well. I salvaged the lead ones we used to shoot for making muzzle loader bullets. I would think these being high in tin would be good for alloying, but don't want to try if there is zinc in them.

    Anyone know what alloy is generally used in these things?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    If you posted this on the lead and lead alloys forum, information might come a little quicker.
    To lazy to chase arrows.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Good idea, hadn't thought of that.

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub D-RIG's Avatar
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    Have you looked at the pellets from Predator International
    Many people say the Predator GTO pellets shoot very good .

    I do not know the alloy content of these pellets .

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by D-RIG View Post
    Have you looked at the pellets from Predator International
    Many people say the Predator GTO pellets shoot very good .

    I do not know the alloy content of these pellets .
    I spent a fair amount of time on the phone with the gentleman who markets those, good guy, and he sent me a sample pack I'll try out. Those are the only ones the CMP recommends for competition I'm told. We'll probably make a bulk purchase of those soon. The ones I have were the result of this requirement being placed on me very suddenly last year and I was scrambling to get some. Now that I've done some research, I'll get those.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Been considering trying some 11 gr RWS hobby .22 pellets in my vintage Crosman SA 6 revolver to try for a flatter trajectory to improve range. The 14.3 pellets are hitting 317 FPS for the first few cylinders full but after that velocity drops below 300.
    Not sure just what alloy these are made of. Apparently those who have used these in CO2 handguns have gotten fairly good accuracy at standard handgun ranges but I like to stretch things out to at least 20 +yards. My .22 and .177 38T revolvers and my .177 Umarex Colt Peacemaker are dead on at 20 yards using 14 and 7.7 gr pellets respectively. Velocity of those guns run close to 400 FPS for the .22 and 380 FPS or more for the .177.
    One of my customized 177 38T revolvers has a bit more punch than those in stock condition, it handles the 10.5 gr GAMO pellet with about as much punch as the .22 38T.

    Weight makes quite a difference in velocity. My customized S&W78g chrono'ed at 467 FPS using a 14 gr pellet and 449 using a 17.2 gr Ruger Super Point.
    Energy level and penetration of flesh calculations show the heavier pellet gave much better performance with estimated penetration of over 3 inches for the 17 gr vs 2.75 inches for the 14gr pellets.
    I rather doubt that pistols that already deliver good velocity with standard or heavy lead pellets would benefit much if any from a lighter pellet but those with marginal velocity like the SA 6 and some older guns very well could.

    As a side note I'm considering converting a smooth bore Umarex Colt to .22 with a spare rifled Crosman 357 barrel I already have. Boring out the shells for the .22 pellet should be no problem since I have a .221 machinist bit handy.
    There is not much leeway for increasing gas flow of the valve but with a bit of tweaking and using the 11 gr pellets I might get reasonable velocity. My rifled pellet version of this pistol handles the 10.5 gr Gamo pretty well so the conversion should work at least that well with lighter .22 pellets. The main attraction for me is that the .22 pellets are easier for my aging fingers to manipulate in loading, plus they smack a steel can with authority.

    I'd use the GAMO 10.5 .177 exclusively if the quality control was better. Too many pellets in every tin are over sized or out of the round and the hard alloy with "Black nickel" plating is not easy to force into a chamber too small for it. In fact some won't chamber at all. Those that do chamber take the rifling perfectly, with excellent accuracy and very good penetration of steel cans.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    The qualities of these non lead pellets is concerning sometimes. They obviously are much harder and faster. The Daisy ones tended to stick in the barrels of the older Avanti 887s my kids are using, I'll hang onto them to see if they work better in the new Crossmans. The ricochet and bounce out of pellet traps a lot, but I haven't had any bounce back close to the firing line yet. All my shooters wear safety glasses anyway. More concerning is that I have had a few go through the Kevlar curtain of our Creedmoor target system we use. Since we have to shoot in our class room here, that's a problem. There's stuff behind it I don't want damaged.

    I hate that I have to use these, lead is better all the way around and the non lead ones are expensive any way you slice it.

  8. #8
    If it is just a handling issue, H&N do copper plated pellets to. They are also expensive. The lead free version of H&N field target trophy are pretty good, but expensive.

    Put a pellet side by side with a lead pellet and try and melt them both with a blowtorch. Tin should melt before the lead.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    as for alloy content i found this poking around. its a bit long winded and i cant really confirm the accuracy of the data.
    Also would the MSD sheet provide the contents of the specific pellets ? I have some IIRC gammo lead free that say "aluminum" on the package.?
    I say gather them up and keep them sorted. when your bored melt a sample down and find a place to use one of them Xray space gun identifiers on it? it maybe worth it in the long hall to know what the alloy is even if it has zinc. I sell my zinc to a cannoneer and he pays me about 30% less than retail.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...Airgun_Pellets

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Don't know if it applies to pellets but lightweight zinc alloy casr boolits appear to achieve best accuracy if you use only these boolits till the bore becomes "Sherardized" whatever that means. I suspect its a sort of seasoning of the bore. Zinc boolits are noted for scraping away old stubborn copper fouling and lead.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Alloy pellets don't have a good reputation.
    A gun is like a parachute: If you need one and don't have one, you won't be needing one again.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check