“Most deer hunters have not switched to non-toxic copper bullets despite studies indicating that potentially toxic lead fragments disperse up to 18 inches from the wound channel in firearms-killed deer,” according to deluthnewstribune.com. “It’s not a stampede, that’s for sure,” Pat Kukull of Superior Shooters Supply tells the news org. “I’ve used them. They’re very effective. But there’s a cost factor involved. They’re almost $10 more per box.” Whoa. That’s a lot of Samolians. Not to mention the fact that copper bullets don’t come in many flavors. And that the research concluding that lead ammo hurts the environment isn’t conclusive (being charitable). Anecdotal evidence suggests that pester power drives the market. “Hunters [ammo seller Scott VanValkenburg] has spoken to who switched to copper bullets did so at the urging of their wives . . . Their wives said, ‘If you’re going to go hunting, you’re going to use non-toxic shot.'”

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21 Responses to Copper Hunting Bullets: Rare, Expensive, Unnecessary?

  1. Im with Curzen on this one, if im eating it, id rather avoid lead.

    Also, id say that the research that concludes that lead ammo hurts condors and other carrion eating birds is a lot more conclusive than you claim. My opinion, anyway.

  2. 10 dollars more a box is nothing, how many kill shots do you fire on game you plan to eat? Find a load that mimics it as closely as possible for groups etc. Many hunters have children as well, they handle exposure to lead completely different than you do.

  3. The increased cost is so darn tiny, you might as well. Considering I only take 2 deer a season,and only shoot 3 of my deer hunting loads at the range to make sure of my zero, that’s well under 10 rounds a year. I’m pretty sure I’ll never need to buy another box of my preferred Barnes TSX 6.5/120 gr ($33 per 50). If you are a bird hunter however, I imagine it would end up costing you quite a bit more.

  4. I don’t process my own deer so stuff like hamburger, sausage, etc. is meat mixed from several animals. I think I’m only guaranteed that the steaks come from my animal. So if the least common denominator is lead then there is probably not much point in me switching. I also can’t imagine a kill shot in the lungs/heart having much cross contamination to the meat you actually eat.

  5. Sure- whatever. So long as it isn’t made mandatory. It’s an extra ten bucks now. No big deal. Until copper prices rise.
    Wanna see what can happen? Look up a price on a box of Hevi Shot Dead Coyote. Have a seat before you do.

  6. I am curious, is there any real health risk from ingesting lead?
    I know that lead compounds can be toxic but it is my understanding that elemental lead is not soluble in the body. So, other than possibly cracking a tooth on a bullet fragment there would seem to be little real danger from bullet fragments..
    Look at all the people who have had silver/mercury fillings for years and all we get are some anecdotal stories of health issues related to them when the biggest problem is them expanding and contracting due to hot/cold foods and eventually cracking the tooth.

    • Use the google. Lead is just plain bad for you, especially when you inhale fumes or eat it. Lead is a neurotoxin and will trash your brain.

      Small occasional exposures are not going to do you in, so one tiny fragment in a deer is not a real risk. But ongoing exposures, even in small amounts are an issue.

      • This is especially true in children, since their tolerance is much lower and their brains are still in the developmental phase. They’re not kidding when they say you don’t want lead-based paint in your house with kids around.

  7. The Barnes TSX is a great bullet. I’m less familiar with the E Tip, although I have shot some of their 6.8 rounds (at least I’m pretty sure that I have – I’ve shot almost every 6.8 round from Hornady, Wilson C, and Silver St. Armory).

    I may actually switch to copper on my yearly whitetail hunt. Truth be told, I don’t eat a whole lot of wild venison, so I don’t think a little lead will kill me, and I’ve shot allmost all of my dear through the vitals, which get discarded on field dressing.

    • Which then leaves the lead behind for all of the animals that will eat that offal–coyotes, bears, vultures, condors, racoons, ferets, and so on and so forth….at least that is the complaint. Lead shot is disallowed in condor areas of southern California precisely because the condors eat the expended shot and die from the lead poisoning. And being a nearly extinct species, people get upset when they die needlessly. For a few pennies more per round, you keep the environment safer for next years hunt. The hunters have to rezero their rifles for the lighter loads. From what I’ve seen, copper expands very nicely and should be an excellent round, with penetration being the only real concern. And I think that cost will come down when these rounds are less “exotic.” (I don’t know about hunting rounds, but I remember seeing Wilson Combat all copper 165 grain .45 acp hollowpoints going for $50 for 20–OUCH! Not something you want to practice with.)

      • From what I’ve read, penetration actually isn’t a concern — at least not the lack of it.

        Copper being lighter than lead, a 150gr copper bullet will be longer than a lead bullet of the same weight, which gives it a better ballistic coefficient and more penetration. Plus, being made of a harder material, copper bullets retain more mass and are less likely to fragment. So a lighter copper bullet can theoretically do the same job as a heavier lead one.

        If I’m hunting for something I’m going to eat, then I’m using copper bullets. Similar or better performance + nontoxic = win. (For weekly plinking/practice time, not so much; cheap lead all the way.)

        But I don’t actually hunt, so all this copper talk is just hypothetical for me.

      • Good point.

        Hmm. There are coyotes all over WI getting lots of lead. From what I’ve seen, it doesn’t harm them much, and they eat a whole lot of entrails. Heck, the coyotes in WI are smarter than most of the voters in Chicago!

  8. http://www.nrahuntersrights.org/LeadIssues.aspx I’m reposting this link because it’s painfully obvious none of the “lead is bad” gang seen it in the above post. Go read all of it, it takes 5 mins. There has never been a documented case of a person getting lead poisoning from eating a deer shot with lead bullets, not ONE! It also addresses the bogus claims about condors eating lead bullets & it killing them, go read it for yourself. If you want to use copper bullets by all means do, just don’t push the lead bullets are evil sh!t on those of us that know better.

  9. Copper bullets aren’t exactly rare or hard to find any more. There’s Barnes, Berger, Cutting Edge, Nosler E-tips, etc.

    There’s tons of solid copper pills out there.

    From my own experience, I find that they increase accuracy over bonded lead/copper bullets. I have a rifle (factory original Win M70) that shoots 1″ to 1.25″ groups with Nosler Partitions. With Barnes TSX pills of the same weight, the groups shrink to under 0.75″ – with almost no load development.

  10. The cooper bullets made by the Barnes Company just work. My first experience with Barnes started with their deer slugs back in 2000, and the results have been great. I have seen my father shoot a doe at 125 yards, and down her with one shot with 100% expansion/weight retention. Brass Fetcher’s ballistics test show that their rifle bullets and handgun bullets have repeat performance. Lastly, the gun in my night stand is loaded with Barnes DPX bullets that are loaded by Corbon. I trust my life to their product, and you should try them.

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