Condor’s Top Cited, #8: Transitioning to Non-Lead Ammunition

Continuing our series highlighting our most cited papers from 2014 and 2015, this week we feature Considering the switch: Challenges of transitioning to non-lead hunting ammunition by C.W. Epps, from the August 2014 issue of The Condor.

This commentary accompanied a review of the ongoing problem of lead poisoning in birds, which will be featured in a future post. Epps explores the technical challenges involved in finding viable alternatives to lead ammunition for rifles (for which, unlike shotguns, the performance of each individual bullet is crucial), the potential economic costs to hunters, and the problems that would be involved in enforcing an outright ban.

Instead of a ban, Epps suggests a program of outreach and incentives focusing on the owners of modern centerfire rifles. “In many cases,” he writes, “hunters may just need to be exposed to the new ammunition in a way that reduces initial cost and overcomes limited availability of non-lead options.”

Read the full paper at