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Indoor shooting range health hazards?

This is a discussion on Indoor shooting range health hazards? within the Handguns forums, part of the Gun Forum category; I prefer outdoor ranges but for different health hazards. What I notice is that most "old timers" I talk to (or maybe yell to) is ...


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Old July 28th, 2013, 05:11 PM   #16
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I prefer outdoor ranges but for different health hazards. What I notice is that most "old timers" I talk to (or maybe yell to) is that they're nearly deaf. They tell me that they been shooting most of their life.

But here's the thing I noticed. Well it took me a while to piece together, but my uncle is also a lifetime shooter at a range and he's been going to ranges for most of his adult life. But yet he's perfectly able to hear and isn't "deaf."

So I wondered and figured my uncle always go to outdoor ranges in the woods and never goes indoor. Yet every old timer I talk to say they been indoor ranges. I recall one time I went to a indoor range in my area, and this guy was shooting this magnum gun, and when I got home, my ears were ringing and I got so scared I went to every doctor and vowed to never go into a range unless nobody else was in there or spaced out.

Overall I suppose being deaf would suck and me being already hard of hearing, I go to outdoor ranges and wear double hearing protection. Matter of fact, I spent enough money on hearing protections that could buy a nice gun just to protect what I got.

My advice is if you know someone who suffered something, especially in your family, don't take any chances. Chances are you got the same genes as they do and probably end up with the same potential for that to happen to you. So my advice is to take every precaution you can to protect your health, especially if you are able to avoid it.

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Old July 28th, 2013, 05:24 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by DukeRustfield View Post
I couldn't believe it, but a range really close to me actually let me shoot my M14. After maybe 10 shots with me by the wall, I had to go home. The concussion from the muzzle brake about gave me a concussion for real.
Shooting indoors, I wear earplugs AND headphones, and not sissy little foam plugs either. You do get some awesome pressure waves in the smaller or confined ranges. You want to keep your mouth open a bit if it's really bad.

IMO, you're bound to pick up a bit of lead in all types of shooting. It's never good, but nowhere near as harmful in adults as in children. Speaking of children, I used to carry around air rifle pellets in a pants pocket and both it and my fingers would be black after a short while. Heck, gasoline was full of lead until about 1988. Anyway, I too plan to get my lead levels done but so far never think to ask when talking to the doc.

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Old July 28th, 2013, 05:46 PM   #18
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I've been casting bullets for over 30 years and had my lead level tested a couple times out of curiosity over the years and my levels were within safe/normal. 2 years ago I started shooting indoor bullseye in the winter each week and indoor smallbore. At the end of the first season my level was up to 16 at the end of this season I was up to 26. A couple of the older guys that shoot 3 times a week indoors are much higher than me. I don't want to give either up but probably shouldn't ignore it either.

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Old July 28th, 2013, 05:48 PM   #19
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I don't worry so much about the air or lead. I worry about having totally inexperienced people next to me trying to teach their even more inexperienced friends about guns.

Almost every time I go some genius will muzzle sweep me. Thats the biggest health hazard!

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Old July 28th, 2013, 08:07 PM   #20
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Lead exposure/ingestion is a serious concern.

Don't ignore your body's warning symptoms. Ever.

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Old November 30th, 2014, 07:24 PM   #21
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I rarely shoot indoors but good information regardless.

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Old March 19th, 2015, 01:01 AM   #22
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indoor lead

I shot a winter postal match (yes, a postal pistol match) in Phoenix some years ago. One of the shooters had shot for years at an indoor range in Michigan for Ford employees. His lead contamination was high. Shooting indoors, he wore a respirator to prevent further lead ingestion.

WTB in Quantico has an indoor range with an air system on the roof as big as a doublewide. Incredibly, use of the range was severely curtailed because of lead contamination.

As a bullseye pistol shooter, one of my phases was to shoot a 38 Special automatic for centerfire. Over the course of several hundred rounds, the extended front sight would accumulate about 1/32" of lead. That narrow front sight covered only a small portion of the cone of lead vapor created with each shot.

My local indoor range is filthy. That gray dust on the deck isn't sand. I don't go there anymore.

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Old March 19th, 2015, 04:04 AM   #23
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Around here, mostly all of the indoor ranges are accessed through double doors. As one is opened, the other is closed. Seems redundant to me, until I realized this was 'code.' Lead exposure is the reasoning here. Lead particulates are microscopic, and easily inhaled. Even by folks who never actually enter the range. I have friends who've sworn off of indoor ranges, due to lead poisoning, from, you guessed it, indoor shooting ranges. I avoid 'em like the plague; which they are.

Use of an OSHA-approved mask/respirator might change my mind, but I doubt it. Hell, outdoor ranges are just as bad, especially if one is surrounded by a bunch of shooters. At our funclub (outdoors), we have used ginourmous fans when there are many shooters on the firing line. Helps, but not a cure-all.


louie, out!

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Old March 19th, 2015, 08:29 AM   #24
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Airborne lead is a health concern - Especially if you are tying to conceive a little one with your mate. Iíve been wearing a mask since the early 80s at all indoor ranges. Current, ammo is mostly copper coated now Ė less lead vapor. Most people look at me as if Iím from another planet. OH not when Iím wearing my mask though

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Old March 19th, 2015, 09:58 AM   #25
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FYI most of the lead contamination indoors comes from vaporizing the lead in the primer not the bullet. Nearly all indoor ranges in my area are very old and most require plain lead bullets only due to back stop design and are very dirty. When younger I shot at such a range several times a week and my lead level was high. I now limit myself to one match shooting league indoors which results in about 16 trips a year to the indoor range.
Most modern indoor ranges have better ventilation and many require lead free ammo. This makes it hard to shoot a 22 however as there is only a couple lead free 22 choices and they are rather expensive

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Old March 19th, 2015, 02:05 PM   #26
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I used to spend a lot of time at a poorly ventilated indoor range. I started worrying about the same thing and asked my Dr. to check my blood for elevated lead. The test results revealed elevated lead. I then went to Home Depot and bought a very efficient mask that screens out almost all toxic chemicals and metals. It was pretty cheap and the replacement filters were inexpensive as well. After using them I had none of the post shooting symptoms that you mentioned and when you look at the filter you will see how much bullet emission you avoided inhaling.

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Old March 23rd, 2015, 05:30 PM   #27
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The closest indoor range to me won't let us pick up our brass. They say that the environment regulations require them to wear PPE when they pick it up. I think it is just so they can keep the brass and re-sell it. So, I do most of my shooting in my back yard. I'm planning to put in a backstop at about 150 yards to stay loose. Then I can pick up my own brass.

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Old March 23rd, 2015, 05:34 PM   #28
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The local indoor range is a mess it's grandathered aas no other ranges can be opened. I refuse to shoot there.

Lead is a major issue, the guy that works there has got to have high levels.


The place actually catches fire a few times per year a sunburn powder burns on the walls. They just let it all burn off.

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Old October 6th, 2015, 05:22 PM   #29
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"A local indoor range, a range I have shot at, the air suction is very good. Really moves the smoke away. But one worker there has the same Family Doctor as I. Doc told me, this guy has very high lead levels in his blood."
Other than the topic at hand, this shows why I do not have faith in HIPAA.

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Old October 6th, 2015, 07:31 PM   #30
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Most indoor ranges I shoot at will not let you shoot lead rounds. They go as far as checking your ammo. You shoot jacketed slugs only. I wonder about black powder shooters. I know they shoot outdoors and most of the smoke is from the powder, but still, that lead ball is usually a bit bigger and cast with softer lead. I'm sure there's lead residue in the vapor after they fire. I too cast slugs, something else for me to consider. -Lloyd

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