Lead-Free Hunting Bullets

Lead-Free Hunting Bullets

Among today’s excellent lead-free hunting bullets are, from left, the Barnes Tipped TSX, Cutting Edge Raptor, Hornady CX, and Nosler E-Tip.

This is an edited excerpt from the last 65 pages of The Big Book of Gun Gack III, which contain questions from the members of the website 24hourcampfire.com, where I post answers frequently in the forum “Ask The Gunwriters.” Gun Gack III’s Chapter 20 is an updated version of the magazine article mentioned in Geno’s question.


John, thanks for that magazine article on non-toxic bullets. As I am now back living in California where lead-free bullets are mandatory, I am looking for a suitable bullet for a .222/20ga Savage O/U. From what I’ve been able to gather it is probably a 1-14 twist. Plans are to use it wandering around the BLM land behind our place for rabbits, quail and perhaps a coyote if the opportunity arises. (I’ll be using my plentiful supply of steel shot in the 20-gauge barrel for the quail.)

My question is which bullet might prove to be more suitable for saving edible portions of any rabbit I might take, the 30-grain Barnes Varmint Grenade or the 40-grain Cutting Edge Raptor? I noticed the .22-250 was a 1-12 twist and thought perhaps the Raptor might work in the Savage also, even given the substantial decrease in velocity. I’m at about 4400′ elevation and it’s generally dry here in case that might affect stability somewhat.

Do you have any info on 9.3mm non-toxic bullets, as that’s about the only other caliber I have a question about for handloads.

Thanks for including the rimfire info also, as that’s going to be an issue in this state for hunting purposes. I may have to pay a premium as we now are not allowed to order online unless we ship to a licensed dealer. I’ll have to see if our local store carries any of it and if not have it sent there.


My Thoughts On Lead-Free Hunting Bullets

I have used lead-free hunting bullets in the 9.3×62. The powder charge with 286-grain Barnes TSXs was 64.0 grains of Big Game, two grains less than I use with the 286 Partition. Have also since worked up a load with the 210-grain Cutting Edge Raptor, 66.0 grains of RL-15 for around 2850 fps, but haven’t used that particularly Raptor in the field–though based on the results with other Raptors it should work well.

Both these loads, by the way, are listed in the chapter on the 9.3×62 in Gun Gack I. Chapter 20 in this book is a somewhat revised version of the magazine article, because so many readers found it useful in one way or another.

I suspect the 40-grain Raptor will stabilize in a 1-14 twist in your typical hunting conditions, and would definitely ruin less rabbit meat than the 30-grain Varmint Grenade.

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