Deer Hunting Goes Green: Brenneke Lead-Free Shotgun Slug


Deer Hunting Goes Green: Brenneke Lead-Free Shotgun Slug



A suitable replacement for lead has been a Holy Grail for ammunition manufacturers for years, as they come under more and more pressure to make lead-free projectiles available to hunters.  It has not been an easy search.


As shot shell makers found when lead pellets were prohibited for waterfowl hunting a number of years back, there is TKOPackageno known material with the same weight-to-size ratio as lead.  The lesser density of steel shot can be overcome to some degree by increasing its velocity and size (velocity and weight being the two primary components that determine the energy transferred to the target).  It’s a different technological challenge when it comes to rifle bullets or shotgun slugs, though.


Copper projectiles have shown promise, but the raw material is expensive and generally each must be individually machined rather than cast.  Harder alloys will not grip a barrel’s rifling, or worse, can destroy it.  Softer materials cannot provide the penetration, impact and stability in flight a hunter must have.  So what’s a good, environmentally conscious deer hunter to do?


Germany’s Brenneke® has shaken up the hunting world with the introduction of its new lead-free, non-toxic TKO™ (Tin Knockout) 12-gauge shotgun saboted slug.  Brenneke invented the modern shotgun slug in 1898, and they’ve spent the past 116 years researching, improving, and perfecting their creations.  The TKO is made of tin—yes, the same food-safe material used in that can of beans you had last week.  Tin in itself is no substitute for lead, though.  The technology that Brenneke applied to lowly tin is what resulted in a slug of remarkable power and performance.



TKO with Sabot

Yes, a high velocity is part of the equation; the TKO’s 2/3 ounce (roughly 290 grain) slug leaves the muzzle of a 12-gauge at a blistering 2,001 feet per second.  It is still travelling at 1,102 fps 100 yards downrange.  Vastly more critical, though, is the incorporation of Brenneke’s weight-forward design and massive frontal area—both of which have made Brenneke slugs the most efficient hunting projectiles ever created for a shotgun, for well over a century.


The TKO produces 2,607 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle—more than a .30-06 rifle shooting a 165 gr. bullet at 2600 feet per second.  The TKO sheds energy downrange much more quickly than a rifle bullet, as does any shotgun slug, but at 75 yards it will still wallop a deer with over 1000 foot pounds of force.  It maintains an extremely flat trajectory, dropping less than two inches over 100 yards.


Energy and velocity by themselves, however, do not automatically make an effective hunting projectile.  Bullets and slugs must also be hard enough to penetrate deeply, and constructed to cause instantaneous, massive wounds to ensure quick, humane kills.  The Brenneke TKO hits with the full force of a broad frontal area up to 58% larger than other sabots.  This results in tremendous shocking power and complete energy transfer.  Unlike bullets and slugs that rely upon expansion to kill game, always an iffy process that can vary greatly depending upon the size of the game being hunted and shot placement, Brenneke’s distinctive design actually expands relatively little.  Instead, it makes full use of sheer size and deep penetration.


It goes without saying that any projectile must shoot accurately.  The TKO is easily capable of five-shot groups under three inches at 75 yards.  The TKO makes full use of the inherent accuracy many shotgun sabots can provide, but without the decreased stopping power that plagues less well-designed sabots. The Brenneke TKO is the first lead-free slug to perform superbly in both rifled and smoothbore shotgun barrels, using any choke.  It is highly effective on deer-sized game to 75 yards or beyond.


It’s a new world out there for the hunter, who must consider environmental issues unheard of just a few short years ago.  Brenneke’s new lead-free TKO is completely safe for you and other living creatures.


Unless you’re a deer.


For more information, visit

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