View Full Version : Lead free 22 rounds

12-31-2008, 6:12 PM
I am taking my son varmint hunting, and I was wondering if Copper bullets will pass for the lead free zone.
If not does anyone know what would be legal to hunt with the copper coated 22lr bullets. I think it is tree squirrels, and a certain type of rabbit. If anyone knows it would be greatly appreciated if you could shine some light of this for me.


12-31-2008, 6:59 PM
Varminting is shooting non-game animals, ground squirrels, jack rabbits, etc. small game hunting is for animals that you harvest and take home, cotton tail rabbits, tree squirrels, etc.

There is no lead free 22 ammo available at this time so varminting is not legal in the condor zone with the 22 lr. There is 22 magnum lead free being made though. Winchester is supposed to start making 22 lr lead free ammunition in 2009.

IIRC, You can still hunt small game animals, cottontail rabbits, tree squirrels, etc. with the regular 22 lr ammo.

I'm assuming that you both have hunting licenses and that the small game that you are chasing is in season.

12-31-2008, 7:45 PM

What are the regulations and options for hunting with .22 caliber or smaller rimfire
Rimfire firearms are not legal in California for hunting big game or for depredation killing
of big game animals (these are primarily deer and wild pig in condor range).
Rimfire firearms are legal for nongame animals (coyotes and ground squirrels primarily)
and for sport hunting of small game mammals [hares (jackrabbits), cottontail, and tree
squirrel]. However, for nongame animals the Commission has prohibited use of lead
projectiles in .22 rimfire or smaller firearms as part of this regulation change in condor
The Commission has not addressed the issue of hunting small game mammals because
that section of the regulations was not “opened” for potential change. Therefore, hunters
can legally hunt jackrabbit, cottontail, and tree squirrel using lead projectiles, but not
ground squirrels in the same area. Part of the reasoning for this is that unlike nongame
animals that are hunted and usually left in the field, game species must be retrieved and
not wasted.
The Department and Commission are of the understanding that non-lead projectiles for
rimfire are not readily available or manufactured at this time and that the only non-lead
rimfire is in .22 caliber magnum, and not for the very popular .22 short, long, or long rifle.

I've read the regulations over and over. The way I interpret the regulations, you can't use lead on non game (coyote, bobcat, ground squirrels) and big game. Jack rabbit appears to be a small game animal. Also upland game allows the use of lead shot. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.