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Old December 8, 2018, 03:52 PM   #1
Old Stony
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Shooting lead in California

Just a little curiosity on my part. It's my understanding that after the 1st of the year it will be against the law in Kalifornia to fire any projectiles with lead in them. I was wondering if this is the case, are muzzleloaders just out of business or possibly not considered firearms in the crazy state. If they are considered firearms there, it would seem that round balls or mini balls would be illegal?
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Old December 8, 2018, 06:07 PM   #2
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Was just looking long and hard for anything pertaining to this new rule, and I managed to dig up a lot.

Summary: The banning of lead ammunition seems to be only in effect in hunting lands, with specific intent to "protect the condor population". The law is actually implemented in 3 stages, from 2008, to 2015, and finally, a full ban on July 1st, 2019, but only on land used for hunting. Target and defensive ammunition does not seem to be affected, unless you are using them...again, on hunting grounds.

Summary for muzzleloaders: For hunting, it seems like the only options available would be sabot rounds loaded with non-lead alloy bullets. No PRB's and no minies and no BP revolvers. Expect an increase of business in modern in-line and 209-ignition rifles in this state. For target shooting and those who carry black powder revolvers for defense or Old West competitive events, nothing will be affected, hopefully.

Here are some snippets from the coverage of this law:

Quote:
Effective July 1, 2008, the California Fish and Game Commission modified the methods of take to prohibit the use of projectiles containing lead when hunting big game and nongame species in an area designated as the California condor range.

In October 2013, Assembly Bill 711 was signed into law requiring the use of nonlead ammunition when taking any wildlife with a firearm in California. This law requires the Commission to adopt by July 1, 2015, regulations that phase-in the statute’s requirements, but it must be fully implemented by July 1, 2019.

CDFW conducted extensive public outreach during 2014 and proposed regulations that phase-in the nonlead requirement. This outreach effort included question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, meetings with hunting organizations and a series of eight public workshops throughout the state. CDFW then presented draft regulations, as modified by public input from these workshops, to the Fish and Game Commission.
Quote:
•Phase 1 – Effective July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition required when taking Nelson bighorn sheep and all wildlife on state wildlife areas and ecological reserves.
•Phase 2 – Effective July 1, 2016, nonlead shot required when taking upland game birds with a shotgun, except for dove, quail, snipe, and any game birds taken on licensed game bird clubs. In addition, nonlead shot required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, nongame mammals, nongame birds, and any wildlife for depredation purposes.
•Phase 3 – Effective July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition will be required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California
***Note the red highlighted text***

This is from the Q&A section:
Quote:
What about target shooting or firearms for personal protection?


The regulations do not require use of nonlead ammunition when target shooting. Use of lead projectiles for target shooting is legal unless CDFW or another government entity has determined otherwise for lands they administer. The regulations do not prohibit the possession of concealable firearms containing lead ammunition, provided the firearm is possessed for personal protection and is not used to take or assist in the take of wildlife. With the exception of ammunition for concealable firearms possessed for personal protection, hunters may not possess lead ammunition along with a firearm capable of firing that ammunition in locations where nonlead ammunition is required.
Keep in mind though, AFTER JULY 1, 2019, AIR RIFLE AMMUNITION is among the items covered by the ban. If you are using an air rifle to hunt varmints on your own land, even though your land may not be under the condor-protection umbrella, you still would not be able to use lead pellets.

If you want the full article regarding the condor-protection program and how the lead-ban will affect your HUNTING activity, the page can be found here:

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/...ibed-in-ab-711

They may or may not still have a coupon program in effect where you can exchange your non-approved ammunition for state-approved products when using them to hunt on protected ground.
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Last edited by Rachen; December 8, 2018 at 06:43 PM.
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Old December 10, 2018, 06:52 PM   #3
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Maybe the next step is to use nontoxic gold bullets.
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Old December 10, 2018, 08:00 PM   #4
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Will this law lose standing and end when the other factors in California finally render the Condor extinct in the wild?
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Old December 11, 2018, 07:05 AM   #5
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I sincerely doubt the law will ever lose standing. If anything they will then probably go after things like primers leaving some type of residue in the environment, or maybe gun oils that could possibly rub off on something else, etc..... The whole situation is just another instance of the camel's nose under the tent. Condors have nothing to do with it, it's all about gun and people control.
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Old December 11, 2018, 10:28 AM   #6
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Just a note. We don't encourage pejorative terms like California with a "K". Good people live there who fight for the RKBA and good people who are just people.

I edited that out. To be blunt, it's childish.
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Old December 11, 2018, 12:13 PM   #7
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Glenn,
Thank you!
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Old December 11, 2018, 03:41 PM   #8
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I'd like to apologize if I offended anyone by the use of a "K" in the word California. I lived in California for many years and have lots of friends out there still that I correspond to regularly...and it might surprise you how many refer to the state in the "K" manner. No offense was meant by my spelling.
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Old December 11, 2018, 04:19 PM   #9
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Years ago, I experimented with bismuth and zinc as casting metals. They produced good bullets. I was doing it primarily for lighter projectiles and increased velocity, but it would work for non-toxic bullets as well. Whether the CA DFW would recognize them as an approved non-toxic alternative would be a question to ask, but the bullets work.
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Old December 11, 2018, 06:43 PM   #10
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Thanks for that, Old Stoney!
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Old December 11, 2018, 10:43 PM   #11
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Thanks Scorch. Are the weights comparable?
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Old December 13, 2018, 03:08 AM   #12
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Weights for bismuth are about 90% of lead, weights for zinc about 60%
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Old December 13, 2018, 05:15 AM   #13
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I'd think it could get interesting watching a game warden's face as you explain to him your round balls you are hunting with are made with bismuth and not lead. It wouldn't surprise me if you ended up having to prove it to a judge in the end, so you could avoid the fine, get your muzzleloader back from the authorities, etc.....not to mention the hiring of a lawyer to defend you.
Maybe this is overthinking the situation, but it's just a strange situation anymore, anywhere along the west coast.
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Old December 14, 2018, 02:56 AM   #14
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Lead and bismuth look different enough that a trained eye can tell the difference. But game wardens aren't always trained, that's why I suggested running it past the folks at CA DFG.
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Old December 14, 2018, 03:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorch View Post
Lead and bismuth look different enough that a trained eye can tell the difference. But game wardens aren't always trained, that's why I suggested running it past the folks at CA DFG.
This could get to be an interesting situation out there. If those alternatives would make it through the approval processes, it would sure help a muzzleloader guy..
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Old December 14, 2018, 05:59 PM   #16
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There's a guy on another forum I belong to that's experimenting with .40 caliber bullets and .45 caliber sabots out of a Walker. He says in an army cylinder you can't get but 20 grains of powder under them but he says they looks promising.
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Old December 15, 2018, 01:06 AM   #17
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I'm pretty sure that if you hunt with an air rifle, even after the implementation of phase 3, the lead prohibition does not apply. Both the flow chart and the question regarding air rifles in the FAQs bear this out.

I don't mean to be critical, just pointing out what the regulations say.

Last edited by prob; December 16, 2018 at 03:24 AM.
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Old December 15, 2018, 09:48 PM   #18
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Does anyone know how does zinc and bismuth affect the rifling grooves and the inside of the bores? Because common black powder knowledge would tell you that lead is the only suitable projectile.

If I were hunting with a .58 caliber rifled musket, it would feel so......off...to load the gun with a plastic sabot with a polymer tipped copper bullet inside. I don't know about anyone else, but I am a lead bullet adherent. Unless I am shooting modern high velocity smallbores.
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