The future of hunting is being directed towards non-toxic alternatives.

Since the signing of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) in 1999, lead shot has been banned in UK wetlands. Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and now California have also banned all use. This decision is growing, with lead shot the subject of a partial or total restriction in 29 countries worldwide.

Does using alternative shot make a difference?

Fortunately, recovery is possible, with improvements recorded in areas where alternative shot is used. One study concluded that a ban on lead shot significantly reduced the lead shot ingestion in water fowl and prevented the deaths of approximately 1.4 million ducks in the 1997 Autumn flight of 90 million ducks, and demonstrates the extent of potential recovery.

What are the alternatives?

There are several, quality, non-toxic alternatives available and acceptance of these alternatives among hunters has increased over several years. 

Here at, we are committed to the promotion of steel. It is the cheapest, most widely used alternative and we feel it provides a viable, competitive option for those shooting in wetlands and those simply looking for an alternative to lead.

The Benefits of Steel Shot - A Summary
  • Steel shot is up to 3 times harder than lead.
  • It stays round and flies truer to the target. 
  • Deforms little upon firing, producing more even patterns.
  • Increased velocities produces greater strike energy.
  • Shorter, narrower shot strings.
  • Higher pellet counts due to lower density.
  • The cheapest, most widely used alternative.


Ballistically good and available in a wide range of loads up to magnum. No risk to guns. Available in fibre and plastic wads. Bismuth shells can cost up to 5 times the lead equivalent.

Tungsten Matrix

The nearest alternative to lead shot. Reports on performance are good. Loose shot is also available for home loading and punt guns. High density but more expensive - 5-6 times the cost of lead. Available in fibre and plastic wads.


Introduced to the UK in 1997. Comparable to steel in density. Performs better at shorter ranges. Can be loaded on fibre, plastic or cork wads and fired through any type of barrel in any gauge.

About Steel Shot Company

One of the first manufacturers of steel shot for cartridge manufacturing - Steel Shot Company Ltd have over 20 years of unrivalled experience in the shotgun manufacturing industry.
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Steel Shot Company Ltd
Unit 18, Redcliffe Road, Melton
Enterprise Park, Melton, East Yorkshire, HU14 3RS.

TEL: +44 (0) 1482 631 066 /
+44 (0) 7736 936592


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