Approved Shot Types

The ban on the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl was phased-in starting with the 1987-88 hunting season. The ban became nationwide in 1991. Nontoxic shot regulations apply only to waterfowl, defined as the family Anatidae (ducks, geese, [including brant], and swans) and coots. Nontoxic shot is defined as any shot type that does not cause sickness and death when ingested by migratory birds.

Approved Nontoxic Shot Types For Waterfowl Hunting in the U.S.
Approved shot type*
Percent Composition by Weight
Field Testing Device**
Bismuth-tin97 bismuth, and 3 tinHot Shot®***
Iron (steel)iron and carbonMagnet or Hot Shot®
Iron-tungstenany proportion of tungsten, and ≥1 ironMagnet or Hot Shot®
Iron-tungsten-nickel≥1 iron, any proportion of tungsten, and up to 40 nickelMagnet or Hot Shot®
Copper-clad iron84 to 56.59 iron core, with copper cladding up to 44.1 of the shot massMagnet or Hot Shot®
Corrosion-inhibited copper≥99.9 copper with benzotriazole and thermoplastic fluorescent powder coatingsUltraviolet Light
Tungsten-bronze51.1 tungsten, 44.4 copper, 3.9 tin, and 0.6 iron, or 60 tungsten, 35.1 copper, 3.9 tin, and 1 ironRare Earth Magnet
Tungsten-iron-copper-nickel40–76 tungsten, 10–37 iron, 9–16 copper, and 5–7 nickelHot Shot® or Rare Earth Magnet
Tungsten-matrix95.9 tungsten, 4.1 polymerHot Shot®
Tungsten-polymer95.5 tungsten, 4.5 Nylon 6 or 11Hot Shot®
Tungsten-tin-ironany proportions of tungsten and tin, and ≥1 ironMagnet or Hot Shot®
Tungsten-tin-bismuthany proportions of tungsten, tin, and bismuthRare Earth Magnet
Tungsten-tin-iron-nickel65 tungsten, 21.8 tin, 10.4 iron, and 2.8 nickelMagnet
Tungsten-iron-polymer41.5–95.2 tungsten, 1.5–52.0 iron, and 3.5–8.0 fluoropolymerRare Earth Magnet or Hot Shot®

*Coatings of copper, nickel, tin, zinc, zinc chloride, zinc chrome, fluoropolymers, and fluorescent thermoplastic on approved nontoxic shot types also are approved.

**The information in the “Field Testing Device” column is strictly informational, not regulatory.

***The “HOT*SHOT” field testing device is from Stream Systems of Concord, CA.

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