lead ammo

Legal Lead Ammo

| July 5, 2019
lead free 22
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

The California statewide ban on lead ammo is now in effect.  Sure condors and other critters will continue to choke on old wheel balancing weights, trash, and lead fishing weights, but that’s because the lead free movement isn’t really about the environment, its about gun control.

In California, I can hunt a variety of small game using Crosman .22 cal 14.3g lead hunting pellets 500 pellets runs $6.28 on Amazon or 1.256 cents per pellet.  However, it is now illegal for me to use lead 36g 22lr ammo to hunt anything. If it sounds stupid, its because it is.

lead free 22

So what gives? Certainly its not environmental concerns driving this type of legislation, or we’d see more effective legislation protecting the environment holistically.  In addition to the statewide lead hunting ammo ban, background checks for ammo purchases are now a thing.  The government will most definitely be keeping tabs on your ammo sales.

I went through a background check at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and bought 2 boxes of lead free CCI COPPER-22 ammo for my 22lr. *At 8.99 for each 50 round box, that’s 17.98 cents per round, a stark contrast from my average 3.5 cent lead 22lr rounds.  The process was made more simple for me, because I had given them my patronage and bought firearms through them, before they got on the anti 2a political band wagon.  I did not have to pay 19 dollars for the background check, which would have made the purchase of 20 dollars worth of ammo twice as expensive, and a deal breaker.

The combined legislation effectively increases ammo costs more than 4 fold, decreases the availability of ammo as there are way less lead free options, adds a burden of background checks, and effectively taxes the law abiding citizen a $20 fee to legally purchase ammo.

The laws do nothing to curtail gun violence, they arguably do nothing or next to nothing for wildlife, and they encourage legal gun owners to break the law and buy ammo where its less restrictive and less burdensome.

The laws do seem to do one thing, and that is to help pacify an anti-gun voter base, that keeps our legislatures at the helm of an otherwise great state. But its never enough for them.

For more on the BS about lead, read for yourself here http://www.huntfortruth.org/myths/

*I also want to be clear, that I am not criticizing CCI, they are producing a product to satisfy California’s small game hunters. It is understandably more expensive than lead.

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Can you hunt with lead 22lr in California?

| September 1, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Can you hunt with lead 22lr in California? As of August 2016 the answer is Yes.


There is a lot of confusion, and regurgitation, about non-lead ammo that I’ve heard when I’ve talked with other shooters, hunters, and especially sporting good store employees in Southern California.



Generally, folks don’t know that the lead ammo restrictions apply to the taking of small game with shotguns, taking of non-game, big game, and depredation shooting. However, 22lr and airguns over .177 are exempt from these rules until phase 3 of the statewide nonlead ammo implementation in 2019. The one other exceptions are Condor Boundaries, Eco Reserves and Wildlife Areas. You can find those here: California Area Maps


Unlike the sheeple, I read all the CA hunting rules, then read them again, then read the lead requirements, then read those again. As I understood the rules, it is completely legal to use 22lr lead ammo, as well as lead pellet gun ammo over .177, to take small game. LA County has its own pistol and rifle 22lr rule, but lead airgun pellets are still allowed.


To verify this, I contacted California Department of Fish and Wildlife via email and amazingly got a prompt, same day, response.


You are correct that the non-lead shot requirement is only for shotgun at this time. Phase two of the no-lead ammunition implementation states: nonlead shot will be required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, nongame mammals, nongame birds, and any wildlife for depredation purposes. Since a 22 is not a shotgun, this would not apply. You are correct that you must use non-lead ammunition in Condor Country, State Wildlife Areas, & Ecological Reserves.

-California Department of Fish and Wildlife, South Coast – Region 5


So enjoy the bunny hunting with your lead 22lr and lead airgun ammo while you can. Hope this helps clarify the misinformation floating around.


Lastly, a disclaimer. The information I’ve posted is what I could gather and confirm for myself. Your county or city may have its own ordinances and laws. I’m not responsible if you get in trouble by not being equally diligent and knowing the laws to abide by. Blah blah blah, don’t be an idiot.

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