NEW SHOTSHELLS FROM NAMIBIA…NOW
As a lifelong U.S. citizen, it’s difficult to avoid an American perspective! We’ve had ammo shortages in recent years, but common types of ammunition are readily available in sporting goods stores, “big box” stores, hardware stores, and in small towns, sometimes in gas station convenience stores. This is probably amazing to hunters and shooters in many parts of the world, but I find it equally amazing that, until now, not a single self-contained cartridge has been produced in Namibia! It is, after all, a country much larger than France or Texas. It is also very much a hunting country, with the second-largest safari industry on the African continent. Ammunition is required, and in a farming and ranching society, a necessity for pests and snakes and such. But, until now, all available ammunition is either imported or hand-loaded.
Hanns-Louis Lamprecht of Namibia’s new Lamprecht Shotshell Company told me that when he went to the appropriate government agencies to obtain the necessary permit they were supportive, but uncertain…it had never been done before so what, exactly, was needed? It took nearly five years before everything was in place!
Hanns-Louis Lamprecht is 30-something, but perhaps he will forgive me for thinking of him as “young” because I became friends with his parents before he was born! His late father, Joof Lamprecht, was a farmer and well-known outfitter and PH, and for some years owned a gunshop in Windhoek. His mother, Marina, has always been equally involved in the business and has been a leader in NAPHA (Namibia’s professional hunter association). His older brother, Jofie, is also a well-respected outfitter and PH. Hanns-Louis wanted to try something slightly different…but, at the outset, I don’t think he guessed it would take five long years! It did, but that’s past history, and Lamprecht shotshells are now hitting the market in southern Africa.
I was in Namibia in July ’18 and I knew the shotshell project was coming to fruition, so I spent a few days on the Lamprecht home farm, Rooikraal, and got a quick tour of the factory. Understanding production was just starting, I guess I’d expected to see a production line of progressive loading machines. Uh, no, this is a serious and professional venture, using an automated and sophisticated European loading machine. At this time cases, primers, plastic wads, and propellant are imported from Europe. Shot is locally made Lamprecht “L” shot; that apparatus occupies an entire building. A short indoor range houses a pressure barrel linked to a computer, tracking velocity, ignition, and pressure curve. Starting from zero, initial production capacity if five million rounds per year, with pallets of ammunition being delivered.
Shotshells are manufactured in myriad array, but at the start it makes sense to keep things simple. At this time all shells are 12-gauge 2.75-inch, which is surely the most common in southern Africa. Initially Lamprecht is offering three loads. Target loads are Fiocchi, manufactured under license with versatile U.S. No. 7 ½ shot. The box is the familiar blue-and-white, the primary difference being the notation “made in Namibia.” Target load hulls are Fiocchi blue. Two game loads are currently offered under the new Lamprecht brand. Using U.S. No. 5 shot, this load is intended for tougher birds such as guinea fowl and ducks. Yes, I know, No. 6 is more popular, and some hunters prefer the coarser No. 4 shot…but No. 5, right in the middle, is extremely effective, to me a great choice. Then there’s a “mini-buckshot” load using lead T shot, deadly on geese and effective for close-range work on smaller antelopes and predators. This load has a clear plastic hull. Other loads will be added over time, but what a great start!
I had a chance to do some excellent sand grouse shooting with the Fiocchi (“made in Namibia!”) target loads, and we shot a few guinea fowl with the red-hulled No. 5s. When I did my part birds fell, and when I didn’t get the lead right nothing happened. The sand grouse is perhaps the most humbling of all gamebirds. Nobody hits them all, but I had the impression these were very good shells. Crimps are consistent and even, and both the target loads and game loads were noticeably clean-burning, with little powder residue in the barrel and no blow-back in a semiauto. Here in the States we have lots of choices in shotshells; in southern Africa you don’t have that luxury, but now there’s another option, locally made and it is good stuff! Check out Lamprecht Shotshells at www.facebook.com/lamprechtshotshell.