Lead-free ammunition: for an ecological transition

Lead-free ammunition: for an ecological transition

One of our aims is to reduce our environmental impact, both in the design process of our products and during our hunting activities. Furthermore, the law regarding single-use lead and plastic is becoming stricter.
To support this development, our team are working on the ammunition design by adopting lead substitutes such as copper or steel, and by designing a rapid biodegradable wad. Want to know more? You're in the right place

Changes to the law

As a result of the ecological transition in progress and to protect our hunting grounds, the use of lead is tending to disappear. For some years now, many pioneering countries have been questioning this material and its negative effects: Canada, for example is encouraging its hunting population to limit its use.
Within a few years, the ban on the sale of and the use of lead ammunition should come into force in Europe. Attention, this restriction should begin sooner for bullets (Brenneke types, rifle bullets).

This ban is a logical consequence of the law on wetlands of December 2020. Note that this prohibits the use of lead ammunition in and around wetlands and within a 100 m perimeter (buffer zone). It also means that those using lead ammunition must prove that they are not using it in the areas concerned.

Don't panic, there are many substitutes for lead which have just as many qualities. This is why we are designing a range of lead-free ammunition at Solognac. For the change to be effective, are also counting on you to make this transition work.

What this new ammunition is made of

As you can see, lead is out! So, which materials will replace it? Mostly steel, which, as you already know from our Steel range, is nowadays best suited for use in wetlands (for waterfowl hunting, for example).
Other substitutes are being introduced, which are less commonly used but are more widespread: copper or even tungsten.
Nowadays, it is a new innovation which allows us to set in concrete the support for this ecological approach.

Lead-free ammunition: for an ecological transition

Eco-design wad

This project clearly falls under our aim to better preserve our hunting grounds in order to reduce the impact we have on our environment. It took almost three years to be able to find a solution, but now we can say that our eco-designed wad addresses our main concerns: reducing our environmental impact.

Lead-free ammunition: for an ecological transition

Environmental impact

The raw material that makes up our wad is derived from biomass. i.e. it is made from natural renewable resources, such as sugar cane, cassava or corn. Nowadays we use this material, because we know that it naturally breaks down much faster than plastic: it breaks down by almost 40% over eight months while standard plastic takes almost 500 years. This means that our wad can be thrown away with organic waste because it is made up of components which don’t have undesirable effects on the environment: it naturally decomposes.


The idea, which seems easy on paper, is not necessarily so in reality. You should be able to get the same feeling from our eco-design wad as from our classic wadding.


Lets start again with the example of XL 100 32G Steel: nowadays, this ammunition no longer has to prove itself. With a 4.5/5 rating, it is a favourite amongst our users. Fired from a Browning Maxus with a 76 cm half choke barrel, these cartridges offer grouping at 30 meters, the average for its type:

And with 90.5% of the shots on target, the challenge is great!

Lead-free ammunition: for an ecological transition
Lead-free ammunition: for an ecological transition


Here are the final tests regarding the latest version of the wadding. We can guarantee a grouping as follows:
Fired at a speed of 410 m/s - like the current XL 100 32 g - our eco-design wad ensures that the steel load has an average concentration of 92% for shots with a standard 30 m target (always shot with a Browning Maxus 76 cm half choke barrel).

Our team’s advice

For those who are not used to this type of lead-free ammunition, you must pay attention to two important points:

First, you will need to know a few key points about your gun like with all ammunition. First of all, the gauge and case length: 12/70 mm, 12/76 mm, 20/70 mm, etc. generally the first figure corresponds to the gauge and the second to the length of the case.

Once you know your gauge, the second point is specific to lead-free ammunition. You will need to know if your gun has undergone the steel ball test represented by a fleur-de-lis stamped on the barrel.
Modern guns very often are steel ball and 76 (magnum) chambered and allow a wide range of ammunition to be fired without fear. As for older guns, often with a chamber of 70 or less and very rarely tested, you will have to use suitable ammunition in the form of “low-pressure” or “standard” cartridges, which are less effective than their “high performance” counterparts, but still perform well at moderate distances.

Regarding the shot size, the alternative ammunition is available in pellet sizes which are often bigger than the pellet ammunitions. This is simply because, in order to find a suitable ammunition for your game, you will need to increase your usual bullet size by two numbers in order to switch to lead-free ammunition.
Example: game shooters who usually shoot with a cartridge loaded with a No.6 lead should change to a cartridge loaded with a No. 4 steel or other substitute.

Lead-free ammunition: for an ecological transition

Now that you are convinced by this new ammunition, don’t hesitate to test it. It's thanks to you that this change will be possible!