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 Muzzleloader Projectiles
Shooting muzzleloader creates smoke

Round Ball muzzleloader bullets are the best option for traditional muzzle loading rifles with slow twist rates.  They retain some of the characteristics of their lead counterparts while taking advantage of new metal technologies.  They have been used successfully for years but do have differences from lead.  Non-lead can either be purchased or cast at home.  The California certified factory made TomBob ITX are available in 5 sizes and are made of tungsten and are harder than lead.  Home cast versions can be made with standard casting equipment using a mixture of 93% Bismuth, 7% Tin.  These have similar hardness to a high-antimony lead ball, are slightly lighter and are California certified.  Pre-mixed ingots are available from Roto Metals.

Russ showing test bulletshot groupingSaboted Bullets are undersized and fit into a plastic cup that falls off once the bullethas left the muzzle of the rifle.  They can be tipped or un-tipped and are mostly hollow-points like centerfire rifle bullets. The sabot can be tight and require substantial pressure to fit down the barrel of a rifle and require cleaning between shots.  The bullets open with 4 or 6 petals and retain most of their weight.  Saboted bullets may not be suited to low twist rate barrels butcan bevery accurate in appropriate rifles.  Manufacturers include Barnes, Hornady, Knight, and Cutting Edge.

Hornady shot groupingNon-Saboted Expanding Bullets are similar to saboted bullets except they are full bore diameter and do not use a plastic sabot, instead depending on other mechanisms to hold gases and create a seal.  They are generally hollow points and open similarly to saboted bullets.  These bullets can be easier to load than saboted bullets because they have parts which grip the barrel and are actuated by the pressure of being fired.  Examples include Federal Trophy Copper and Thor Bullets.



Find Bullets

We understand that finding ammunition for a particular rifle can be difficult, especially so with hard-to-find calibers.  While HWNL does not endorse any manufacturer or retailer over another, here are a few helpful tips to find ammo:

» To find common cartridges, use a search function such as gunbot.net or ammoseek.com.

» If it isn’t found by using a search function, find a custom ammunition loader.  Custom loaders can make any known cartridge, and some will use once-fired brass from the client to reduce costs.

» Visiting your local gun store and asking for non-lead ammunition may be the most convenient way to purchase non-lead ammunition. Knowing what brands and bullet models are available in non-lead before going to your local store is always a good idea.

» Bullets are widely available and we have found 293 cartridges loaded with non-lead bullets made by custom loaders. 

» Lastly, email nonlead@iws.org and use our experience to help you find the cartridge for you.


California DFW List of Certified Non-lead Ammo



  EMAIL US nonlead@iws.org