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There is quite a difference between some cheap shot from the likes of Thamesley and better stuff from Anchor or ZLT. The preston ones are ok too I think.

The cheap stuff if hard, not centrally cut and will damage lines. It really is next to useless. Higher quality shot is softer (easier to add and remove not so likely to damage line either in place or while sliding up or down the line), centrally cut (more streamlined and therefore much, much better when using a 'bulk' - more than one next to eachother to build up to your required weight).

Lead shot is banned from sale in the UK over a size 8 because the material isn't environmentally friendly (freshwater rules). Saying that, lead obviously isn't illegal at sea so.... since lead makes the best SOFT shot, I do seriously wonder that if you bought some in Rurope, whether you could use it at sea.

If you want faster fall rates (smaller weights for the same 'weight') then tungsten shot are the next to consider. It's also more environmentally friendly.
 
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