@ 11:09 am (GMT)
Steph FosterI am sorry guys, this is a very long post however I think that this is such a big subject that the length is justified.
I have to admit that I am really not convinced or sold on the idea that lead projectiles are responsible for environmental lead toxicity. I think it is a very limited and narrow view point. Rather like having a house that is suffering from sinking foundations, dry rot and termites but deciding that the front door needs replacing.
Just a quick note on the subject of lead toxicity in the environment.
Here are the common pollutants that make up smog in the US:
Criteria air pollutants are common throughout the United States. These pollutants can injure health, harm the environment and cause property damage. U.S. EPA has identified six criteria pollutants:
Nitrogen Dioxide (one of several Nitrogen Oxides)
Ozone (formed from precursor Volatile Organic Compounds)
How do these things get into our environment I hear you ask?
Lead (Pb) is an elemental heavy metal found naturally in the environment as well as in manufactured products. Lead can be released directly into the air, as suspended particles.
Historic major sources of lead air emissions were motor vehicles and industrial sources. Motor-vehicle emissions have been reduced by the phasing out of leaded gasoline, but lead is still used in general-aviation gasoline for piston-engine aircraft. Lead that is emitted into the air can be inhaled or can be ingested, primarily through contact with contaminated soils or other surfaces.
Primary stationary sources of lead today include:
o lead smelters
o waste incinerators
o lead-acid battery manufacturers and recyclers
Other industrial sources of lead emissions can include:
o metals processing
o iron and steel foundries
o copper smelters
o industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers
o glass manufacturers
o cement manufacturers
Thankfully since the early 90s responsible forwards thinking Countries such as the United States have been lowering their emissions and doing sensible things like getting rid of the lead in their gasoline. Also, manufacturers have very sensibly shut up shop in their own country and sent all the dirty stuff off to other places. This is a process called shitting in someone elses nest. So this must mean that the environment in the US is now cleaner than it has ever been.
Sadly there is this weird thing where everything on this planet is interconnected. Here is how it works:
The U.S. is producing less air pollution, but smog levels are still rising in the western U.S. because of pollutants released in Asian countries that then drift over the Pacific Ocean. Researchers say their findings show the importance of a global approach to preserving air quality.
"Scientists found Asian air pollution contributed as much as 65 percent of an increase in Western ozone in recent years," NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai. "China and India, where many consumer products are manufactured, are the worst offenders."
The problem, scientists say, is that Asian countries' emissions of nitrogen oxides which sunlight then breaks down in reactions that produce ozone have tripled since 1990.
Oh look, here is another article excerpt:
This isnt the first time China has been identified as the source of U.S. air pollution. Last year, a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that pollution blown across the ocean from China can account for 12 to 24 percent of sulfate concentrations on the West Coast. In 2006, the study found, pollution blown in from China caused Los Angeles, California to experience an extra day of unhealthy smog levels.
Scientists measured ozone levels recorded at springtime for the past 25 years in 16 national parks in the western U.S., including Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon. The parks' locations farther away from cities, where smog is typically expected, made them ideal spots for the study.
The team looked at levels in the spring when wind and weather patterns push Asian pollution across the Pacific Ocean, said Meiyun Lin, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who led the study. In the summer, when those weather patterns subside, ozone levels in the national parks remained well above normal.
Asian air pollution was, by far, the biggest contributor to smog in the West, the researchers found. The team also looked at other factors, such as wildfires and methane from livestock. Asian air pollution contributed as much as 65% of the western U.S. ozone increase, while wildfire emissions supplied less than 10% and methane about 15%.
Hmmm, could I possibly be suggesting that the lead poisoning found in birds that have their main habitats in the Western US states could possibly be acquiring lead from sources other than lead projectiles?
But isnt it so much easier to just point the finger at one little minority group - hunters using lead projectiles, and say they are the ones doing all this damage! Theres not enough of them to actually fight back and they are basically quiet, law abiding citizens who just want to enjoy their weekends.
Because lets face it the REAL problem is our ridiculous consumerism! Its funny how Mark said in his last post that people dont want to change. I absolutely agree with him in this, however his context is completely wrong. Today people dont want to lose their choice of 5000 pointless hair products, air fresheners, fabric softeners, deodorants, plastic frikkin bags how many variations of zip lock, string tie, snaplock, snack size, sandwich size fucking bags does the population need! McDonalds god damn kids toys! WTF! Yes, .002% of the US population using solid copper projectiles will totally save the environment. Good call.
The truth is that while, yes we do care for our environment, in a casual, you know Id miss it if it wasnt there kind of way, really we dont actually want to look too closely at our environmental problems in case we have to make real changes. We dont want to go back to simpler times, we dont want to sacrifice our comforts and indulgences. So the easiest thing to do is find a red herring, feed people enough information so that they feel like something can be done about the problem but not so much information that it upsets the comfortable complacency of our gross and wasteful consumerism. And business goes on as usual. Copper bullet syndrome is actually a very clever way of being seen to do something positive while making no actual difference at all and even making money on the deal.
[b]I have to say that the one thing on this whole thread that I really take exception too is the inference that only with close up shots can there never be any mistakes. Recently, forum member Andrew Murray posted results with his factory rifle, out of the box. This rifle grouped around 4 MOA following its break in with Andrew employing good form. This is the reality of how many rifles shoot out of the box. Without a good barrel break (copper allowed to continue to build up) and with less than ideal form, expected groups can be around 6 at 100 yards. We have just finished studying yet another rifle which produced identical performance out of the box. At just 200 yards, the potential group size is 12. Add to this a traditional type mono bullet moving at low speeds for the recoil sensitive generation (and / or their ultra light light rifles), and the result is a risk of narrow gut shots wounds. It is amazing how quickly a poor close range shot can become a 600 yard follow up for a hunting guide. There is something arrogant about suggesting that close up shots never go badly. There is as much scope for a poor close shot as there is for a poor medium range or long range shot. In fact at very close ranges, animals may become aware of us at the moment we are about to fire (the typical bush snap shot), resulting in some degree of shot placement error if the animal moves as the trigger breaks, plus offhand error. There are many references in this knowledge base to using soft and fast expanding yet heavy bullets for bush hunting as a means to overcome such errors. The information contained within the .35 Whelen article is one such example.
How unfortunate that it is the animals we hunt that end up paying the price for our convictions. The reality of past mono copper projectile designs is that in many instances, as long as everything is absolutely ideal they are adequate to OK. Personally, I prefer to use something that allows me some margin of error because interestingly enough things dont go the way I plan fairly regularly.
At the end of the day substituting one form of cruelty for another is not progress and will not save the environment.
There are some interesting new bullet designs coming along now. But as Nathan has stated in his copper bullet article (Cartridge research section), the technology is still very new. It may be decades before we have wide spread and readily available access to non-lead based bullets that can outperform current designs throughout the velocity spectrum.
We are a wasteful, greedy species and we have over populated this planet. We manufacture excessive amounts of unnecessary junk to satisfy our need for instant gratification, what we don't use we dump and now that the consequences of our behaviour as a global society are being felt we start finger pointing. Finger pointing at one very small group of people and making them the scapegoats for all environmental problems is utterly ridiculous.