There has been a renewed interest in both pro gun and anti gun forces to replace lead ammo with a nontoxic alternative. There has been an expansion of hunting lands that prohibit the use of lead ammunition, and there has even been concern about lead exposure for those who frequent indoor ranges. Currently, indoor ranges have to deal with EPA permits, million dollar filtration systems and the fear or lead exposure. So as an industry there has been a renewed demand for lead free ammunition. The most affordable lead free ammunition I’ve found comes from Clark’s Armory, an online retailer specializing in lead free ammunition. They sell Alchemist armory’s Z Clean 9mm ammunition.

The Z Clean Zinc Difference

Z Clean ammunition is made entirely from zinc and features projectiles made entirely from zinc. Z Clean also uses lead free primers and manufacturers Zinc ammo for a multitude of calibers. The current going rate for a box of 50 Z Clean is $13.75 at Clark’s Armory. That places it only a few dollars above standard 9mm. Z Clean 9mm ammo is 100-grain projectiles at 1150 feet per second.

Z Clean

I got to the range with 300 rounds of Z Clean, and a wide variety of different guns. This included the CZ Scorpion, CZ P09, the Kel Tec Sub 2000, the Ruger LCR 9, and my AR 9 AR 15. My logic being I needed to see how zinc projectiles functioned out of a variety of guns, and not just one or two.



Let’s go ahead and touch on reliability. Every round through every gun was flawless. There was no misfires, jams, failures to eject or extract. The ammunition ran great in every platform, including easy ejection from the Ruger LCR. Each gun ran the ammunition without a problem. I focused on putting the majority of it through the Kel Tec, the P09 and Ruger LCR 9.

Z Clean
Z Clean in the LCR 9mm


I didn’t know what to expect from Z clean as I’d never shot zinc ammo, or even 100-grainin ammo. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Of course accuracy is subjective to shooter and gun, blah blah blah, but I was also shooting standard copper plated FMJs that day. Dare I say the Zinc ammo shot a bit better? The LCR 9mm is the hardest gun to shoot accurate out of the bunch, but I saw a noticeable difference between my standard Winchester White box and the Z Clean ammo.



This increased could be due to the slightly less recoil I the Z Clean put out. That recoil reduction was really only noticed in the Ruger LCR 9mm as well. In the rifles there doesn’t seem to be recoil with any round, much less the ability to notice 15 grains 50 fps. The same could be said for the P09. However, the little hand slapping LCR 9mm can tell the difference.

The Downside of Z Clean

So there is only one downside the Z Clean, and that’s I can’t shoot steel targets. The Zinc ammo is designed for soft berms and professional built range backstops. Due to its nature there is an increased chance of ricochets when shooting steel so that’s a major no no.


Final Word

I’m glad the industry is recognizing there may be a need to move away from lead. Regardless if you agree or not it’s better to prepare than to see legislation pass without a backup plan. I’m personally glad Alchemist is producing the ammo and Clark’s Armory is offering it, and a lot more lead free ammo at affordable prices. If a small company can produce Zinc ammo for a few bucks more than the big boys and their mass production then the price of lead free ammo can only go down.

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If you want some Z Clean, or want to check out some other lead free ammo sources check out Clark’s Armory here. I want to thank them for sending me a goody box, and you guys for reading.


This article is courtesy of The Arms Guide.