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In 2020, Horton & Sons set about finding a solution to the problem that a ban on lead ammunition would inevitably cause. Hortonium has been created over a period of 18 months in conjunction with a Metalurgist (Andrew Robb) with some 50 years’ experience and a Ballistics expert with 49 years’ experience in the gun trade (Gary Clark). In May 2022 we filed our first patent for Hortonium 1 and Hortonium 2. The first patents our company shall have filed since 1912. In November 2023, we agreed a Joint Venture agreement with our manufacturing partner Interpower Induction, who have facilities in Michigan, The UK and India. This gives our potential customers the opportunity to purchase product in Europe and the US. The short video below gives you an overview of InterPower Induction.


The focus currently is on Hortonium 1, a fantastic replacement to lead shot, solid small calibre bullets and an alternative to the traditional lead core in jacketed bullets. Hortonium 2 is planned for further development in 2025, which we intend to provide as a superior alternative to copper jacketed munition and other applications.

We do not produce ammunition, we supply ammunition manufacturers with Hortonium in raw material, in the volume and format they require from either the UK or the US manufacturing sites.

Hortonium Shot

The reason Hortonium is superior to other alternatives on the market today can be seen in the chart below.

Hortonium table comparison

Hardness – Gun barrels are made from steel of varying grades, yes some are chrome lined which has its own issues if it wears, cracks or if you dent your barrels. The hardness of the shot will have obvious impact on the longevity of the gun barrels. As you can see in the table above, Hortonium’s hardness is very close to that of lead itself. Subsequently, Hortonium will not demean the lifespan of the barrels.

Malleability – The more malleable a projectile, the better the kinetic energy of the shot transfers to the quarry, resulting in cleaner kills.

Permitted Choke – The softer and more malleable the projectile, the tighter the choke which may be deployed, providing consistently tighter shot patterns at distances that you may expect only to achieve with lead.

Permitted Wad – Old English guns were manufactured for use with paper cartridges and fibre wads. The barrels were never intended/ constructed for use with large elongated plastic wads and with very hard and unmalleable projectiles propelled at very high pressure. The use of fibre wads is more forgiving to any gun and use of hemp based wads are also environmentally friendly.

Density – The heavier a projectile, the longer it retains kinetic energy, thus improving range. Hortonium is comparable to Bismuth, Copper and some of the lighter Tungsten Matrix type shot. Easily remedied by either increasing the shot size used (i.e if you normally use a 6, switch to 5) or something we suggest is increasing the Hortonium shot size to obtain an equivalent overall weight. So, 5 shot size becomes a 5E (Equivalent) etc. This would mean a slight reduction in pellet count or shorter wad to achieve the same pellet count.

The video below is a drop test of Hortonium vs Lead, Steel and Bismuth. See the results for yourself. A common response from advocates of Bismuth shot is to say that it does not shatter. However, metallurgical testing proves that it does. The Royal Society of Chemistry describes it as ‘brittle’. While Bismuth can be alloyed with tin, the two elements do not molecularly bond at an isotope level so will not withstand pressures generated in some loads or upon certain impacts, the video illustrates this perfectly (shot used is from a premium UK cartridge retailing at £1600 per thousand).


Hortonium Small Arms Ammunition

When we set about creating Hortonium, we paid particular attention to the current production techniques normally deployed in the manufacturing processes of the various small arm calibres. Most smaller calibre bullets are formed from lead wire on large coils and then stamped by various methods Hortonium can be extruded into wire of the most common gauges used in these manufacturing processes.

This is important from the cost of manufacture for any ammunition producer, switching to Hortonium wire vs traditional lead wire is far more cost effective and easier than huge capital expenditure on new machines to create copper alloy bullets etc.

We have tested some 15 different calibres including 22LR (yes 40 grain plus and subsonic), 243, 270, 308, 38 Special amongst others, all performed like lead in terms of grouping and upon impact/penetration into ballistic gel.