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7 Reasons Why I Choose to Use Lead-free Ammunition

7 Reasons Why I Choose to Use Lead-free Ammunition

Introduction 

Regardless of the lead ammunition bans that are starting to occur across the country, my perspective is that there are enough reasons to thoroughly convince me to choose to use lead-free ammunition. Over the past few years, lead exposure has become a hot topic, particularly in our drinking water. We aren't going to touch on the politics of those issues, but rather take a long look at the benefits of using lead free ammunition compared to traditional lead ammo. We'll investigate topics such as lead exposure, projectile performance, and a few other ways to compare the differences between the two types of bullets. Our perspective is that there is a legitimate reason to choose lead-free ammunition in most, if not all, shooting activities.

 

Protecting My Family: Lead Exposure in Hunter-Harvested Wild Game 

Let's start with what I perceive as likely being one of the major reasons why folks currently purchase firearms & ammunition: hunting. I am a hunter. Starting as early as I can remember I awaited the day that I could suit up on the first day of buck season and anxiously wait for an antlered beast to come into my view. I also recall my father taking a "four point" buck on the first day in the Eighties and marveling at the harvested animal. We ate well that winter, and we ate everything we killed. All game we took back in those days was taken with lead bullets. No big deal, right? 

Since then, it appears that there is significant evidence to suggest that consumption of wild game harvested by traditional lead bullets increases lead levels. Studies by both the North Dakota Department of Health (you may need to copy/paste this link: https://www.ndhealth.gov/lead/venison/Fact%20Sheet%20Blood%20Lead%20Level%20Study%20Results.pdf) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources specifically recommend that children and pregnant women should not eat venison harvested with lead bullets. This is because younger children & pregnant women are especially vulnerable to lead exposure - according to the CDC, "No safe blood lead level in children has been identified."

Taking these two items into consideration - that lead isn't safe and eating game taken with lead bullets increases levels of lead in the blood - it makes it really hard to continue to use lead bullets when hunting. I'm not saying that this choice is clear to anyone. Even if the research above overestimates the risk, if my family is planning on eating with me, I'm going to use lead free ammo. Just ponder this thought for a second… how much would you spend to limit the lead exposure to your family? We’ll talk about the costs in a bit, but I can assure you that this is one of the absolute cheapest ways to do so.

One of the arguments I've heard against this risk is that since hunters traditionally cut out the wound channel because the meat from the wound channel isn't usable, doesn't that mean that they are cutting out the lead fragments? The answer is no. Most hunting bullets are traveling at such a high speed that when they hit the target, traditional lead bullets often lose >50% of its weight during impact, splintering into incredibly small pieces. In the Minnesota Bullet Fragmentation Study, they found that, on average, lead bullet fragments were found up to 11 inches away from the wound channel. Because these particles are incredibly small, they are not noticeable during normal eating or inspection of the meat. 

I'm not sure there is any way to totally eliminate the lead in your harvested game unless, of course, you are using lead-free ammo.

 

Lead-free Ammunition Performs Well

I’ve heard a lot of stories that lead-free ammunition doesn’t provide the same level of performance as traditional lead ammo.  I’d argue that on all fronts, lead-free ammo is as good as, if not a better option, in most situations.

Lead bullets are effective because lead is heavy and malleable - it hits something and it deforms. The unfortunate reality is that is doesn’t deform uniformly every single time. Additionally, during impact the lead bullets fragment, losing most of their mass. Neither of those are a big deal alone. When compared to many lead-free projectiles, however, it makes a difference. 

Other than the hollow-point, the ammunition industry hasn’t seen a lot of innovation over the last hundred years.  In recent years, the advances in projectile design in the lead-free ammunition space has been truly revolutionary.  I’d argue that the lead-free bullets fit into two categories: Traditional Design and Innovative Self-Defense rounds.  In most of the new rounds, copper is often used as the lead substitute, which is much harder.  

In the traditional design, copper rounds & copper hollow points don’t fragment the same way lead does because of the increased hardness.  By not fragmenting as much, the projectiles retain most of their bullet weight at impact.   Because of this, you can use a lighter bullet. Copper has about 3/4 the density of lead, contributing to a lighter bullet that is the same size of a lead bullet. This enables one to craft much higher velocity rounds.  Some side-effects of both of these characteristics are that there is less recoil with a lighter bullet, allowing you to follow-up an initial shot with a more accurate second shot.  Hollow points function better at higher speeds, too.  And, one could make the case that a lighter, faster bullet is more effective in self-defense situations, though that point is controversial.  There are enough benefits without that added bonus.

When it comes to innovative self-defense round, there are many options.  Because copper is harder than lead, in order to cause maximum damage, we need the bullet to fully expand. In order to accomplish this, some manufacturers often machine fault lines or build the bullets for specific ballistics, such as mushrooming or splitting deliberately and then spinning end over end throughout the wound channel. This can be effective at causing larger wound channels than normal lead bullets.  Coupled with lighter, faster rounds & one can get incredible penetration along with multiple wound channels, always a benefit when trying to incapacitate an attacker.

Black Butterfly Buzz Saw

On top of all these self-defense implications, more often it is the hunting use of lead-free ammo that garners the most attention.  There are some fantastic options out there. Because of the reasons listed above, i.e. a lighter, faster bullet, lead-free ammunition can be the perfect component to your hunt.  A faster bullet gets to your game faster.  Simple.  That means if you are shooting a moving animal from even a mid-range distance (<100 yards), you will have to lead the animal by significantly less.  That translates to higher precision and more humane kills - easy to lead by one foot vs. two feet. 

But, don’t just take our word for it!  A study was done to check the efficacy of multiple copper rounds vs. a traditional lead round. It appears that the ammunition matters a lot. Two of the copper rounds didn’t perform as well as the lead one, but the other copper round performed in line with the lead round. What does this suggest? Probably not much right now because there was only one lead round. However, it could mean that when choosing lead-free ammunition, there are wider variances the consumer has to consider.  Finding the correct round for your weapon probably means more than anything else, too! And, that is traditional guidance when choosing ammunition.

 

Isn’t Lead-Free Ammunition Expensive?

Because lead-free ammo is not as common as traditional ammo, lead-free ammo is “small batch”, which drives up the cost per unit. They cannot be compared to traditional lead cartridges that are made by the billions (exaggeration). It’s simply not an apples to apples comparison.  You wouldn’t compare Pappy Van Winkle with Old Crow, would you?

Because of the smaller quantities, there is often more precision in the manufacturing process, much like what is done for premium lead ammunition. Lead-free ammo will almost always cost more than the cheapest lead ammo, but when comparing premium lead ammo to lead-free ammo, they are very closely aligned. All in all, us hunters spend a lot of money on our gear, but often don’t spend much thought on ammunition or just buy what’s on the shelf at Walmart.  

Think about it, we buy blinds, guns, gear (add extra for cold weather gear), some of us buy guided hunts, even hunting licenses are expensive these days.  If I start spending an extra 10-20 cents per round on my hunting ammunition, that’s not going to even be a drop in the bucket.  It’s just another opportunity for sportsmen to further optimize their hunting experience, whether using premium lead or lead-free ammo.  And, consider all the benefits to having cleaner harvested game that’s safer for your family.  You are spending a lot of money to make sure your hunt goes well, why not invest in higher quality, cleaner ammunition.

But, some of you might pause here…  and think: “I don’t hunt”.  Why would I care about using more expensive ammunition for plinking?  How much does a box of 50 9MM rounds cost at your local Cabela’s or Bass Pro?  I just did a quick search on Cabela’s and, for a 50 9MM round box, I couldn’t find anything cheaper than $13.99.  Funny, we have some Zinc ammunition made by high-quality manufacturers Alchemist Ammunition for $13.75.  While it currently isn’t available in all calibers, it’s a realistic option for available calibers.  And, Polycase has started to product the PolyCase Inceptor RNP.  It’s a training round, meant to perform like the ARX and it comes in at a super reasonable price for 50 rounds - $15.99.  That’s the same range of your traditional lead ammo, even the base varieties.  Furthermore, if your preferred defensive round is the Inceptor ARX (which is a great choice), why not try shooting the RNP to see if your gun shoots them similarly?  That way, you can train with a round that is handled comparatively to your non-training round, which isn’t what we can say about all other training rounds.

While cost may have been a significant hurdle in the past, the reality is that today lead-free ammunition has some incredibly affordable options.  And, when comparing hunting ammunition, understand that the higher quality the ammo, the more you’ll generally pay for that ammo - whether that ammo is lead-free or not.  And, if you happen to compare similar quality ammunition, you’ll find that lead-free ammo isn’t much different than traditional ammo.

 Alchemist Ammunition Z-Clean at the range

It’s Safer for Everyone Involved

Let’s say that you go the local range pretty often, you make some friends, especially the folks that work there.  That’s what the shooting sports are all about.  Seems normal.  Well, did you know that folks who work at the shooting ranges are at a much higher risk for lead exposure because of lead in the air?   The reason is that when you shoot traditional lead ammo, you are putting small lead particles into the air in many ways:

  • Vaporized via the primer, which often contain lead compounds
  • The friction between the barrel and the bullet
  • When the powder explodes against the base of the lead bullet
  • When the bullet fragments at the point of impact

We’ve all been the range, and the ventilation systems are one of the most noticeable experiences for an indoor range.  They are there to minimize a lot of the exposure for both the shooters and range cleaners.  But, it doesn’t do a perfect job.  Even with great ventilation, the air around shooters is often above toxic lead levels (over 50mg/m3), with ranges as low as 14mg/m3 to about 35,000mg/m3!  That means, by shooting lead bullets at the range, you are putting your friends at the range at risk.  Not a really hard conclusion to make.  That said, it is their choice to work there - they probably enjoy the comradery and the knowledge that they are helping folks improve their ability to defend themselves. 

On top of that, you also put yourself at risk when using the range, but unless you are there as much as the workers (or even police officers), you probably don’t have to worry as much.  But, maybe you should at least get yourself evaluated if you are at the range often, even if you are shooting lead-free ammo.  And, if you are taking youngsters to the range, remember the CDC says that there is no safe blood level for children.  So, potentially think twice about taking your child or take extra precautions when going to the range.

I’m not trying to scare you away from lead ammunition… people have been using it for years!  That said, the dangers due to lead exposure are real.  You can lower your risk for lead exposure by using lead-free ammo (your direct breathing space will be cleaner).

While using lead-free ammo will reduce your impact, you’ll still want to take proper precautions when using or returning from the range (indoor or outdoor), such as:

  • Use lead-free ammunition (of course)
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while at the range
  • Wear gloves while shooting
  • Have dedicated ‘range clothing’ to wear for each trip
  • Always wash your hands after shooting
  • Take a shower immediately after using the range
  • Wash your clothes immediately after using the range

And, it isn’t just indoor ranges.  You are at similar risks outdoors, depending on a number of factors, such as wind direction (in an indoor range, the ventilation system should be pulling the toxic air away from the shooters.

Because of all the issues with lead exposure, and the large cost that some ranges pay to reduce that exposure to their employees and customers, some ranges are opting for a lead-free only policy.  We don’t necessarily advocate for that - we think that choice is the best option out there, but we do see the merits of it.  If we were to establish a new shooting range (outdoor or indoor), we’d probably take that lead-free option because of the peace of mind for our employees.

 

It’s Better for Specialized Training and Realistic Self-Defense Training

When I was recently looking into purchasing some heavy steel targets to set up a permanent outdoor range (for personal use).  I noticed some warnings from manufacturers that I shouldn’t shoot within 50 yards or more sometimes.  Apparently, ricochets are a real problem and that is why they recommend shooting at heavy steel targets from distance.

 

There is an option for safer shooting at short distances, even at less than five yards.  It’s called frangible ammo & it happens to be lead-free! Simply, most frangible ammunition is a compressed copper powder projectile.  Heavy duty presses combined with some bonding additives allow for a usable projectile to be created.  Because the round is copper powder, it basically disintegrates whenever it impacts something harder than itself.  No ricochet, no deflection, just powder.  How cool is that?  So, you can shoot at incredibly close ranges with no risk of being hit by a ricochet from a lead fragment or copper jacket.  I haven’t personally experienced it, but folks with experience shooting at close ranges tell me that ricocheted copper jackets hitting their hands is not out of the ordinary.  

Most rooms in homes are less than 30 feet long (10 yards).  I don’t really expect to have many situations where I have to defend myself against someone who is greater than 10 yards away.  Why not train in close quarters?  Using frangible ammunition enables you to have more realistic self-defense training:  It’s not just as good as traditional ammo, it’s actually better.

Keep in mind, quality matters here (like always). There may be some drawbacks from lower quality frangible rounds, such as losing projectile material in the barrel, causing uneven trajectory.  By using higher quality frangible rounds, you can mitigate this risk. Then, you can have an incredibly exciting shooting experience and improve your ability to defend yourself in more realistic self-defense scenarios - something you can’t get reliably with traditional lead ammo. 

 

The Impact to our Environment

I often tell my non-hunting friends that hunters were the first conservationists (I used to have a bumper sticker that said the same thing).  They laugh and think that is the funniest thing in the world because they think that killing animals is the opposite of preserving them.  Then, I go on to explain how hunting licenses started and that our plentiful game in the US is a results of hunters wanting to self-regulated.  Then I share some facts about whitetail deer population in North America around 1900 vs. today (500K vs 30M+) and some of these other reasons.  It is often an interesting lesson for them.  I'm of the thought that we need to continue to preserve our own legacy as hunters, and I think that means being great stewards of our landscape.  Traditional lead ammunition has an impact on our environment, whether we want to believe it or not.  And, the cost to stop that isn't outrageous.

The berm behind my house has thousands of lead bullets in it.  While that seems like a lot, consider places where folks actually shoot often, like outdoor ranges.  For safety reasons, a lot of outdoor ranges have built up dirt backgrounds to absorb most fire.  Consider how much lead has actually been deposited in that hill?  Whether or not the lead has leached into groundwater (it can), that’s probably not an area that I’d like to reclaim and plant my garden in there.  

Furthermore, let’s think about one of the reasons why the army has abandoned traditional lead ammo.  Cleaning up the berms used as shooting backstops is costly if done right. They’ve also found that the new, lead-free round is more effective!  

Taking it one step further, the military has called for biodegradable bullets.  How incredible of an idea is that? Why would the military go to those lengths if the traditional lead ammo didn’t have ill effects for the environment?   

 

Lead Bullets Unintentionally Kill Bald Eagles and Other Wildlife

As a hunter and lover of nature, it hurts me when animals are put at risk due to actions taken by humans that are easily and cheaply preventable.  Again, as a hunter, I often think we can only count on hunters to make the right choices because we are often those that get the most utility out of nature and the outdoors.

People always reach out to me to tell me about every lead-poisoned bald eagle they hear about.  In 2011, 21 eagles with measurable levels of lead (6 with toxic levels) were admitted to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

I’m sure that throughout the US, hundreds of Bald Eagles are sickened by lead every year and perhaps hundreds die of lead poisoning.  It is believed that the majority of these birds get the lead poisoning because they eat the entrails & carcasses of hunter-harvested game taken with lead bullets.  It’s sad – that’s our national symbol, and there is nothing more American than a bald eagle. That’s all I can say.

The Bald Eagle: Our National Symbol at risk due to lead poisoning

California instituted its lead bullet hunting ban to protect the condors.  It’d be a shame if, just by using lead-free ammunition, we’d be able to get better return for our investment in saving these incredible birds.

Since 1991, there has been a ban of lead shot for use in waterfowl hunting because of the toxicity to the waterfowl.  It’s been estimated that since that ban, one to one-and-a-half million waterfowl have been saved annually.  Think about how many more hunters get into hunting because of the excellent experiences they have out in the field - I’m sure a million extra waterfowl per year has increased that number.  While there have been some hiccups, the ban has largely been successful.  

All in all, if using lead-free ammunition increases the opportunities for all of us to experience the majesty of nature even better, then count me in.

 

Conclusion

We’ve covered a lot here.  I think the issues around my family’s health are the most important to me.  And, given it isn’t substantially more expensive to shoot with lead-free ammunition, that’s an easy choice to make because I still get to spend time in the hobby I enjoy.  It’s also important to me that the performance of the rounds is just as good.  The research clearly shows that there is no drop-off in performance on both the hunting and self-defense front. Another incredibly compelling reason is the impact lead ammunition has on the environment & wildlife (the ones you don’t intend to harvest).  Forget about the bans & the politics, that doesn’t change the fact that lead-free ammunition is simply better for most all scenarios.  And, because of that, I choose to use ammunition that is lead-free.

 

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How to Harvest Running Game and Calculate Lead Distance

How to Harvest Running Game and Calculate Lead Distance

Introduction

One of the hardest things to do in all of hunting is to hit an animal running flat-out, quartering away from you.  Today, at Clark Armory, we are going to teach you how to do that.

Disclaimer(s): To maintain sportsmanship and respect for the animals we hunt, it's best to not have to shoot at a moving animal. And, only take the shot if you are fully prepared to make a humane kill.  This list is not exhaustive - feel free to add comments and share other tips & tricks to improve odds of successfully taking moving game.  While most references here will be made to deer, the lessons apply to any larger game.

Safety

First, we are going to talk about safety, since it is the most important thing when handling a firearm.  If you are in the position where you must shoot at a moving target, you are probably there due to necessity.  Perhaps you are on a deer drive (that's where mine came in Pennsylvania) and a 9 point buck jumps out in front of you.  Time to react, right?  Adrenaline tends to take over in these moments, and a little bit of preparation for this situation goes a long way, especially when a moving target is a high likelihood.  Here are some ways to increase your & innocent bystanders' health.

When you first get to your spot, plan your shooting lanes.  You should always do this, but when there is a higher likelihood of a moving shot, be certain where your "no go" shots are.  It's far more likely that you have plenty of time when a big game animal enters your range on its own accord.  You can patiently wait until the animal comes over the ridge or hill crest enough that your backstop is the side of the hill, rather than the unknown over the crest.  When that animal is running at 30 mph, and you need intense focus on getting your shot placement correct, other things will receive less attention.  Be prepared and plan for that by creating scenarios, such as: if a deer reaches the 100 year-old oak tree in the fence row (random example), it is out of my range.  Be conservative in determining those boundaries on a running animal, in the heat of the moment, it may be easy to miss them.

Coordination

We are going to assume that most times when one must shoot at a running animal that the situation is generally one where the animals are being pushed via deer drives or other methods of moving game (we recognize that driving deer is a controversial, but traditional method of moving deer). If driving deer or running them with dogs (common in VA and the South), the biggest safety concern is to identify where your partners (human and K9) may appear.  One of the ways that we planned our drives out with my hunting group was to actually draw the terrain on large index cards.  That was the days before smartphones!  Either way, those index cards allowed the group to all be on the same page.  "Driver 1" will be coming through this channel, "Sitter 1" will be sitting here, etc.  Timing is another consideration, here.  You'll definitely want to know about how long it will take "Driver 1" to come through the expected channel.  For example, if you expect it to take him or her ~20 minutes and after 10 minutes sitting, you hear footsteps on dead leaves, it's time to start preparing for an opportunity.

Taking all of these items into consideration will dramatically increase your likelihood of much improved safety when taking a shot at moving game.

Practice

We love shotguns at Clark Armory, especially shooting clays!  They are also great training devices for getting used to shooting moving targets.  Few things are more important for shooting a moving target than getting used to the practice of following game (or clay pigeons) with a steady hand.  This is key when shooting targets or game.    So, find a spot, buy a few boxes of clays, a hand slinger, a few friends & have a great time practicing.  Repetitions matter in this game, just the same as going out and getting used to shooting your rifle to find the best ammo for your gun. If you make following game with your aim second nature, you'll be able to spend your precious concentration on more important things, such as looking at the terrain where the game is running.

Another popular method is to get some old tires and cut some cardboard to fit where the wheel would normally reside.  From there, one could have a friend (from a safe place) either roll it down a hill or you could have a more elaborate set-up where it hangs from a tree and swings like a tire swing.  Again, practice safety on this - you'll want to make sure that you where your bullet will go.

Pick your Gear Wisely

As with any adventure, picking the appropriate gear comes first and foremost.  Assess your situation - are you likely to have to shoot at running game.  If you are driving deer or running them with dogs, they answer is yes.  So, how would your gear choices be different if you expected to have to shoot at moving game?  

Ever notice that, unless the shotgun is rifled and being used for slugs, they never have scopes and have simple iron sights?  The expectation is that you are going to be shooting at fast moving game & targets and iron sights are better for that. But, most of those shots are relatively short.  A lot of time groups engage in deer drives because of the nature of the terrain - thick undergrowth where the deer like to hide out.  From experience, most shots when driving deer come at close range <50 yards.  I'm a big fan of using the basic shotgun set-up as a starting point, especially if buckshot is legal in your location.  If it isn't, firing up something like a Winchester Model 1894 .30-30 is a great choice (and my personal choice in Pennsylvania)! These historic guns are great for sporting open sights & basically made for the conditions in dense Eastern US forests where white-tailed deer thrive & shooting distances are often short.

Other options are offset sight mounts.  They enable you to have both a scope on the top of the rifle and offset iron sight or red dot mount, so that you can have your cake & eat it, too! Here is a great example.   

All that said, having a scope isn't a deal-breaker.  There are tons of applications where a scope is perfect for hitting running game.  In particular, they are great for getting the precision lead you'll need for animals greater than 50 yards out. Everyone has their own preference for optics, find one that you are comfortable with and practice finding your crosshairs quickly.  

Know Your Prey

We've cobbled a little table here of the land speed of popular big game animals in North America.  Another thing to keep in mind is the style of running, such as when this particular species is running at full speed do the vital areas stay at a consistent height off the ground?

 Running Speed of Common North American Game
Animal Speed (MPH)
Pronghorn antelope 61
Elk 45
Coyote 43
Mule deer 35
Caribou 35
Grizzly bear 35
Moose 35
White-tailed deer 30
Black Bear 30
Wild Boar 30

Source: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004737.html

Know your Velocity (FPS) & Lead Free is faster (almost always)

We are talking about the Feet Per Second here of muzzle velocity.  Most rounds will have this detail on the side of the box.  This is one of the most important inputs into calculating how far one must lead a running animal since it determines how long it will take for the bullet to reach your prey. 

Doing a quick scan of the available rounds on our website suggests that lead-free rounds as a whole have a higher muzzle velocity than traditional ammunition. When all things are equal - same size bullet, same powder charge, etc, the muzzle velocity should be basically the same between lead bullets and non-lead bullets.  However, lead is >25% denser than copper (most lead-free bullets are made of copper).  This means that, given the same sized projectile, the lead one is going to be heavier and slower, given the same powder charge.  Or, one could match grain and get a larger projectile, which means more damage.  Either way, the outcome is generally better for humane harvesting of game, running or not.  If the game is running, that means you'll have to lead the animal by less distance.  That's always good and allows for more precision.

Naturally, you'll also want to know more about how your bullet drops at distance, but that is the case for all shots, not just those on running game.  We won't address that here.

Putting it all Together: Use our Helpful Tool to Determine Lead Distance

It is time to put all this information together in order to help you determine how far to lead the animal.

Start with the speed of your animal from above, enter that here (MPH):

What is the speed of your projectile, in Feet Per Second (FPS):

At what angle is the animal running at: "Broadside" = 90, "Quartering Away" or "Quartering Toward" = 45.  Use anything from 0-90 to test & play with the tool.  Enter that angle here:

Ok, last input.  How far away is the animal, in yards:

 

Sounds pretty far, doesn't it.  Intuitively, it feels like a bullet gets to its location instantly, but we like to use math here at Clark Armory to dispel any myths out there about hitting running game.  

Implementation

One thing be totally aware of is that you are not going to have this calculator on hand when in the field!  I like to prepare for these items, by crafting a few scenarios ahead of time that I can manipulate when in the field.  For example, if you are hunting white-tailed deer, your first input to the calculation is 30 mph.  If you are hunting with one of these .308 G2 Research Trident, then you know that your velocity is 2690 fps.  

From there, I like to craft 2 specific scenarios, one where the animal is quartering away & one where the animal is running broadside.  And, I like the distance to be 50 yards.  The reason I like 50 yards is because I don't want to shoot a running animal more than 100 yards away and I know that a lot of these shots occur at 25 yards or so.  If I use 50 yards, I can double my lead distance to get my 100 yard lead distance and half my lead distances to get the lead distance for a 25 yard shot.

Then, once I'm in the field, I like to find those 25, 50, and 100 yard perimeters around my location.  That way, I'm very ready to take advantage of my preparation.  Complicated?  Maybe, but shooting running game isn't easy and calls for more precision.  You generally can't get one without the other.

Conclusion

We hope that this was a valuable read for you.  We know the topic is controversial and we stress as sportsmen that one should only shoot at running game if appropriately prepared to make a humane kill.  Always be aware of your surroundings ahead of time - it's hard to do that in the heat of the moment.  

Again, this piece isn't supposed to be the exhaustive requirements to take running game.  This is to be a great starting point to learn some of the details in taking your shooting game up another notch so you are prepared for any scenario in the woods.

Feel free to leave comments on additional tips for our readers, I'm sure they'll thank you.  And, share this with a friend who might be interested in using our calculator.  Thanks for reading.

Extras!

And, if you want to have fun at home, here is our calculation so you can do this on your own.  You can even add additional variables that might make your calculation more precise for your exact application.

Time to bullet impact = Distance in Yards*3/Bullet Velocity

Animal Speed in FPS = Animal Speed in mph *5280/3600

Angle Multiplier = cosine(90-angle)   - Trigonometry reminder: Make sure it is in degrees, not radians

Feet Necessary to lead = Time to bullet impact x Animal Speed in FPS x Angle Multiplier 

To go one step further, you might want to calculate the speed that your bullet slows down, especially if you are shooting from long distances.  But, to be honest, if the distance is far enough, you can probably wait to shoot.

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