Bio Ammo Blue
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- Last updated: 25/01/2022
Some cartridges have a steel shot loading to save on lead pollution, whilst others I have tested go further with biodegradable wads. These new Bioammo rounds are 100% ecofriendly, they contain 0% steel, lead or plastic! Bioammo has developed the first 0% plastic cartridge on the market with biodegradable, bio compostable and non-toxic wads and cases. Clay or hunting loads are available here I am testing the new Bioammo Blue for hunting. The manufacturer has spent more than ten years researching, developing and now finally producing a new and different type of bioplastic material.
These are standard performance/ velocity cartridges (suitable for use in all shotguns) that shoot an alloybased pellet payload (non-lead, non-steel) with 0% plastic, making it superb for both the environment and the shooter. The alloy-based pellets have almost the same density, hardness, lethality and penetration as standard lead pellets but without the toxicity. Now I am listening!
Bioammo cartridges do not degrade in water but biodegrade in temperate conditions within 2 to 6 years, through the enzymatic action of naturally occurring bacteria. Remember, conventional plastic cases last for 450 years!
The cartridge wads and cases are manufactured from a triple-A patented vegetable biopolymer material, that is not just bio-degradable, it’s biocompostable too. They are designed to leave absolutely no toxic residue after degradation and are fully biodegraded into carbon dioxide, water, mineral salts and new microbial cellular constituents (biomass). You can even add them to the home compost. Also, the biodegradation process is clean and odourless due to micro-organisms, fungi and algae. They will also not adversely affect flora and fauna or will they affect marine and aquatic life. The wads are brown and so are visually less obvious as they degrade when compared to plastic wads. If the cartridge is ejected into water, it will sink and gradually biodegrade in the silt and yes, the base is metal, I wondered that too, but it is made of alloy so also is non-toxic and will rust away.
It is not as water-soluble as the starch-based cartridges are and so it is actually materially stronger. Water-soluble plastics cannot be used to manufacture cartridge cases due to their relative softness, low tensile strength and ability to dissolve in water.
Bioplastic materials such as Bioammo have good tensile strength to make cartridge cases that will also produce a uniform casing with a tight crimp or closure to stop moisture ingress.
Standard plastic wads of this gauge and size weigh between 42 and 46-grains. The biopolymer is heavier than standard HDPE plastic, so the bio wads weigh about 60-grains. As you will see, they are designed to provide a driving wad that ensures that the shot achieves excellent ballistic efficiency and patterning. They also provide very good protection down the bore if you use a non-lead pellet too.
Biopolymers are much more expensive to produce than conventional plastics. More material weight is required to manufacture each wad, so there is a quite substantial price uplift to take into account. The price per 1000 is £539 from Just Cartridges.
One important point is that they need to be stored in normal climates and then they will last 5 years, wet climates less, so don’t store them in wet wildfowling jackets!
I had the Bioammo Blue in both #4 shot and #5 shot sizes and all are made in 27-gram loadings.
The Bioammo #5 shot loading with its 27-gram load shows 31-32oz printed on the box, so I measured the payload myself at 428.8-grains/ 27.8-grams, so pretty good.
The #5 sized pellets are 2.85mm in diameter and weigh 1.6-grains/0.10- grams each. That equates to 270 pellets per cartridge. For comparison, a typical lead #5 weighs 1.99-grains/0.13-gram.
The #4 shot loading weighed in at 426.6-grains/27.6-grams, which is very good. The total payload equates to 225 pellets per cartridge as each individual #4 pellet weighed 1.8-grains /0.12-grams and were 3.23mm in diameter.
I shot two pattern boards with the ¼ and ½ choke fitted to the Browning Shadow and recorded the results. The #5 shot through the ¼ choke produced a total of 172 pellet strikes on the board. There were 44 inner hits and 128 within the outer 30” sectors. There was a void towards the centre, but overall, a very even pattern and quite centrally positioned.
The ½ choke with the same load transformed the pattern. Now, a total of 187 pellets hit, with 61 inner strikes and the remaining 126 spread around the periphery. Again, great overall density and even pellet spread, no upward bias and very good central pellet hits, right from the centre point.
Now, let’s look at the #4 cartridge performance. Starting with the ¼ choke again, we had a total of 139 pellet strikes, with good coverage of the outer 30”. As with the #5s, pellet strikes in the inner sectors were sparse, with only 35 hits, but this time there were no holes in the centre.
Once we switched to the ½ choke, we had a total of 200, #4 pellets, with a whopping 73 inner strikes and 127 outer hits. That’s much tighter.
There were very few holes, good overall density and an even pattern. The larger #4 shot much preferred the ½ choking, as it even surpassed the total pellet hits from the smaller #5 shot loading - just goes to show.
Testing with pattern boards proves what load a particular shotgun prefers and as with standard steel loads, the choice of choke matched to individual pellet size and overall charge weight total makes a big difference to pellet distribution.
I really liked the #4 loading on ½ choke and will be testing these on actual game soon, to see the striking energy of these novel Bioammo rounds. Consistent, proven and ecologically safe cartridges are rare but here they are. Yes, they are expensive but I for one was very impressed with the performance.