Lead Ban Chronicles – Free Ammo Giveaway

May 1, 2012

Well, if you’re paying attention and quick on the draw, here’s a chance to get some lead-free ammo for little more than a few moments of your time.  The Ventana Wildlife Society is doing it again, giving away lead-free ammo for the asking… with a little more of a catch this time.  This stuff isn’t free, and they’re doing what they can, but supplies (and funds) are limited so, read below and, if you’re interested, get your request in there!

In March of this year, Ventana Wildlife Society announced a free, nonlead ammunition giveaway for residents of Monterey and San Benito Counties and quickly discovered that the demand exhausted our supply (we spent our budget of $37,000 in one day).  Since then, we raised another $15,000 that can go toward nonlead bullets.  I’d like to thank the Monterey County Fish and Game Commission for their recent $5,000 contribution. The rest of the funding was made available by private individuals who care about hunting, ranching and wildlife.  

Hunting and ranching has a long tradition in conservation and by using nonlead ammunition, we are continuing that tradition. We are convinced that lead from spent ammunition is the number one problem facing condors in the wild due to ingestion of lead fragments found in their food. We want to help hunters and ranchers to make a lasting switch to nonlead ammunition so that condors can survive in the wild on their own again.

This is the reason why we’re handing out free nonlead ammunition again! Starting today, May 1, 2012, we have opened a raffle drawing to win two, free boxes of nonlead ammunition.  We’ll give out 100 orders (two boxes each) in May 2012 and another 100 orders in June 2012.  If we could hand out free nonlead bullets to everyone, we would.  We decided a raffle was the best way to go to make it fair to all those interested in receiving nonlead ammunition in central California.  To everyone that is making the switch to nonlead ammunition, whether on your own or with our help, cheers to you!

To submit your entry into the raffle, go to

Kelly Sorenson

Executive Director

Ventana Wildlife Society


8 Responses to “Lead Ban Chronicles – Free Ammo Giveaway”

  1. Steve on May 3rd, 2012 06:44

    That’s pretty cool. I wouldn’t mind some free ammo. I also believe they need to come up with something non-lead. If lead is bad for humans it’s bad for animals too so lets find alternatives.

    What is in a frangible round?

  2. Phillip on May 3rd, 2012 10:48

    Actually, Steve, there’s no evidence that eating game killed with lead bullets or shot is harmful to humans, despite the fact that we’ve been hunting and killing animals with this substance for a few centuries now. The claims to the contrary by lead-ban advocates are unsubstantiated.

    Frangibles are usually made of lead, or the lead-free versions are generally made with sintered copper. I believe there are some made with tin, and some with bismuth also. Frangibles are good for home defense, and for some varmint/predator shooting (if you’re not using the fur), but they aren’t a good choice for big game hunting. They’re not legal for big game hunting in CA.

  3. Cort on May 21st, 2013 15:51

    Free ammo is always a good thing, especially now when you cannot even find ammo to purchase.

  4. John Clifford on May 22nd, 2013 05:12

    I have been shooting lead free rounds for waterfowl for years now with no problems

  5. Phillip on May 22nd, 2013 07:28

    John, so have I. In fact, I switched to steel shot in NC before the law required it. I remember how poor some of that early steel ammo was, but the industry caught up relatively quickly.

    However, it’s always worth pointing out a key fact about the difference between switching to lead ammo for waterfowlers (and other shotgunners) and switching for rifles and handguns.

    In the US, there are currently six shotgun gauges in use, 10ga, 12ga, 20ga, 16ga, 28ga, and .410. For all six bore sizes, shot size is the same, whether it’s #9 trap loads or BBB goose loads. The only difference is the number of pellets in a shell. Not to over-simplify, but the ballistic requirements for a shot charge are pretty minimal. You need a pellet that can be rounded, maintains velocity for a suitable period of time (or distance), and delivers energy on impact. So the challenge for the ammo makers was merely to find a suitable substitute for lead, and then to load that substitute into one of these six shell sizes.

    For rifles and handguns, on the other hand, the challenge is significantly higher. There are countless variations on caliber, chamber size, and ballistic performance. And many of these variations were developed based on some very specific properties of lead. To be sure, copper and variations using gilding metal (which is still copper) have proven to be an effective substitute for lead in many cases. However, the production process is different, the equipment required is different, and the technical speficiations for the output are different. Several manufacturers have been able to develop and offer alternative projectiles in the most common chamberings, but it’s highly unlikely that any company will soon offer lead-free loads for all of the variations. And the truth is, it is still a challenge for the hunter to find supplies of lead-free ammo for even some relatively common calibers… especially under the current ammo shortage.

    For hunting handguns there are other challenges. Because of the “cop-killer” legislation which bans handgun ammo that can pierce soft body armor (“bullet-proof” vests), manufacturers have a series of hoops to jump through before bringing a lead-free bullet to market. Barnes, arguably the leader in lead-free bullets, has been successful in getting their design to market, as have a handful of manufacturers offering frangible bullets made of various materials. Frangible bullets, of course, are not very good for most hunting purposes, and are illegal for big game hunting in some states. (They are, on the other hand, very good for home-defense.)

    The point of this ramble is that the argument about the limited availability of lead free ammo is entirely valid, and is likely to remain valid for a very long time. It’s not just whining from disgruntled hunters.

  6. tom mcginnis on June 8th, 2013 17:06

    I hope Illinois will no longer be the only state that prohibits CCW

  7. James Arnold on June 18th, 2013 22:07

    Every person needs to be able to defend them selves. I think Your amo giveaway is

  8. harry voss on June 24th, 2013 07:52

    cool idea