Dangers of indoor shooting


The Grand Baboon
March 2, 2012, 03:29 PM
I have a question concerning the dangers of shooting indoors with regards to lead poisoning via a 22. LR.

I've read that once a lead bullet impacts a target (like a metal target trap) it produces "lead dust" that can become airborne and cause lead poisoning. I was wondering if the same can happen when shooting into a box of about a foot thick of old magazines backed with 2x4's with supersonic 22. LR rounds? For further clarification, the shooting would take place in a 30 ft long concrete storage room with 8" of reinforced concrete in all directions.

Would this be a bad idea, or should I just go bear the below-zero cold for a couple months until it warms up?

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March 2, 2012, 03:37 PM
The indoor shooting range by me has decent ventilation, but it is fairly new. I can feel the air rushing by when I enter the range. Do a search of other threads, there are some posts similar to this.

Me? If your just popping off a 100 rounds to pass the time every couple weeks I wouldnt worry about it. In low ventilation, I would think the strong smell of burning powder and ricochets in an enclosed space would chase me away before lead dust became a major concern.

March 2, 2012, 03:38 PM
If you don't have ventilation, don't do it. It'll produce a little dust no matter what, plus there are muzzle gases to deal with. When you shoot a .22lr, the base of the bullet liquifies very slightly and actually throws a little dust out of the muzzle from the get-go.

March 2, 2012, 03:40 PM
Indoor ranges have high-volume ventilation systems that draw air from behind the shooter and exhaust it downrange. If you're thinking of shooting in a close area that does not have that form of ventilation - don't do it.

The Grand Baboon
March 2, 2012, 03:43 PM
Excellent, thanks for the help.

March 2, 2012, 05:35 PM
Theres a common misconception that the risk of lead comes from the bullets....it doesn't, it comes from the primer...

Primers are made from lead stiffinate(sp).....and when you shoot, the lead from the primers are aerosolized and that is the lead you need to be careful of....If you don't have the means to remove that, don't shoot.

March 2, 2012, 05:57 PM
Google is your friend

Lead styphnate


March 2, 2012, 06:25 PM
My biggest fear was my buddys wife with a broom. :)

She went shopping, we retired to the basement to rip off a couple of mags, she forgot something and came back home. We didnt know, she didnt know, we all found out. :D

March 2, 2012, 06:41 PM
I've found that if the range is a little "iffy" on the ventilation that shooting revolvers with cast lead rounds definetly produces a cloud of lead dust or something in the air that leaves a sweet taste at the back of my throat. Shooting at the same position with jacketed rounds even from that same gun doesn't do this. So I strongly suspect that something is produced by lead bullets in addtion to the primer gasses.

Tempest 455
March 2, 2012, 06:47 PM
I can guarantee you shooting a few .22 round here and there is WAY less hazardous than going to a public range where hundreds of thousands of rounds are shot.

Just use a fan behind you to push the cloud in front of you.


March 2, 2012, 08:08 PM
So I strongly suspect that something is produced by lead bullets in addtion to the primer gasses.
Lead taste sweet. Lead mixed with vinegar was used as a sweeter by the Romans. Look up Sugar of Lead.

March 2, 2012, 08:17 PM
I shot indoor bullseye indoors in the winter when I lived up north. After the first time, I wore a filter mask. Guys ribbed me until I asked them if they blew their noses after shooting. The next week when we shot, everyone was wearing a filter. I haven't shot indoors since.....chris3

March 2, 2012, 10:03 PM
If it tastes sweet, its probably lead.

March 2, 2012, 10:10 PM
i shoot at an indoor range and my concern is with folks who neglect the rules and are careless in handling their weapons. :eek:

March 3, 2012, 12:56 AM
Just use a fan behind you to push the cloud in front of you.

No, you want to pull the clean air across you and away from you. Blowing air on you creates turbulence that can actually prevent contaminants from being effectively carried away. Regardless of whether you pull the air downrange in the direction of the targets, up away or off to the side you still have to exhaust the air. If you don't exhaust it out of the space you're in you're simply moving it around in the air and increasing the concentration with each shot. Ranges filter and use makeup air to keep the airborne lead levels down to minimally acceptable levels. If they don't use the proper types of filters it does little good at trapping the fine lead particulates.

If you don't have a means to exhaust the air from your home indoor range then you should switch to lead free ammunition.

The Lone Haranguer
March 3, 2012, 09:23 AM
If you're going to shoot extensively in such a facility, you should devise a method of ventilation. Besides the lead particles from the various sources, smokeless powder (which isn't completely free of smoke, just much less so than black powder) and primers give off fumes. Whether outright poisonous or not, inhaling any noxious gases over the long term is never a good thing. While I would defer to the experts on the design, I suspect a large fan behind and above you and some vent stacks in the ceiling would probably be sufficient.

March 3, 2012, 10:33 AM
You need somekind of ventilation to pull out the bad air.

March 3, 2012, 11:05 AM
Also you would want the vent to have a capture filter that can be disposed of some safe way. If you just blow the air outside, you are just moving the problem to some one or some thing down wind. I would also think that it would be best to find the cleanest ammo feasible. You may also have an issue of disclosure should you ever sell your place.

Safe indoor ranges are expensive and outdoor places remote enough are getting harder to find. We as a shooters need to support efforts for cleaner ammo, things like the TNJ herters/blazer bullets that are no more expensive than other range ammo. Items like the win-clean line are good but still too expensive for most people.
I can not understand the use of cast bullets, just not worth the risk in my opinion. Better we change our actions rather than having "government" force changes on us.

The Grand Baboon
March 5, 2012, 01:33 PM
Well, if I do decide to build a ventilation system (which is entirely inside the ream of possibility) what type of filters do I want, and how do I ensure that the filter/fan system is doing it's job correctly? Are there "lead sensors" available?

March 5, 2012, 05:05 PM
Commercial ranges get much heavier use and need to do this since they recirculate a portion of their air to keep conditioning costs down, but for a private use range you don't need to filter air that you are only exhausting.

March 6, 2012, 08:22 AM
Find a hydrponic grow suply store. They still fans that can move 1000cfm and are made to work with ducting.

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