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Old February 26, 2007, 06:26 PM   #26
4V50 Gary
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What Tom2 says. Use frangible, non-lead bullets. Your basement will have a lot of airborne lead that will require cleaning - especially if you have or plan to have children around. Basement ranges aren't anything new and Gil Hebard's Shooting Treasury had instructions on how to do it. I never did because of the airborne lead. In all fairness, when it was written, awareness of lead poisoning, other than firearm infused lead, wasn't all that high. Modernly, now that we know better, we have to take precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. BTW, in an earlier job-incarnation as a rangemaster my lead was a bit high and we were using outdoor ranges. I had to stop shooting for a while until it dropped to acceptable levels.
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Old February 26, 2007, 07:32 PM   #27
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well,

indoor range I went to last time got this million dollar vent system. it was awesome, constantly a breeze of clean air comes from behind and goes downrange. the smoke from the shots floats downrange.

sure it isnt as safe as not shooting at all, but it is very good.

you got that in YOUR basement ?
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Old February 26, 2007, 10:06 PM   #28
Bill DeShivs
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THE SKY IS FALLING!
Lead exposure is not a good thing, but the minute amounts ingested in a home range will probably be insignificant. Good ventilation (an intake and an exhaust fan) should be used. Any unburnt powder can be simply swept/vacuumed up. Common sense and caution should prevail, but some of you young people take it too far. The lead exposure would be far less than a coat of lead based paint (which, BTW, won't hurt you unless you eat it.)
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Old February 26, 2007, 11:23 PM   #29
James K
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Lead and fumes can't be confined to the basement because most home HVAC systems distribute air through the house, using a furnace fan. So, IMHO, an indoor range is out except for air/CO2 guns.

Bill, lead based paint is not floating in the air, so I don't think that is a real good comparison. I recently lost a good friend to a whole bunch of diseases, mainly lead poisoning brought on by years of casting bullets and reloading in his unventilated basement, so I don't take lead dangers lightly.

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Old February 27, 2007, 01:07 PM   #30
M1911
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Bill, lead based paint is not floating in the air, so I don't think that is a real good comparison.
+1

Lead-based paint is not a danger if it is in good shape (that is, not peeling and not being eaten). Airborne lead from ammunition is an entirely different beast. The mall particles are airborne and breathed into your lungs. The particles can also get on your face and hands, and thus get ingested when you eat or drink.

The next time you go to an indoor range with poor ventilation, when you are finished and leave the range, blow your nose into a white tissue. See all that black stuff on the tissue? That's powder residue that contains lead.

Frangible, non-toxic ammunition eliminates the lead problem (note, however, that it does have many other heavy-metal compounds, so I'm always worried about the "unintended consequences" -- google MTBE for a typical example). However, it does not address the fire hazard of unburnt powder.
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Old February 28, 2007, 11:13 AM   #31
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so u mean u cant fire guns with out knowing ur being poisoned? isnt there a way around it?
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Old February 28, 2007, 04:52 PM   #32
M1911
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so u mean u cant fire guns with out knowing ur being poisoned?
Goodness gracious.

You can can fire guns without knowing a lot of things (like spelling and punctuation). You can also poison yourself in many ways (not using guns) without knowing it. I'm guessing, however, that what you wrote is not what you intended to ask. I suggest you reread my posts in this thread.

1) There is a difference between being exposed to some lead and being "poisoned." Many, many compounds are "poisonous" at high exposure levels, but innocuous at low exposure levels.

2) There is a difference between a well-designed, well-ventilated indoor range and a poor one.

3) You would not want to let your child play on the floor of an indoor range, particularly downrange of the firing line.

4) Most airborne lead at shooting ranges comes from two things: a) if the base of the bullet is exposed lead, then a small portion of the base is vaporized when the round is fired, and b) lead compounds in the primer that vaporize when the primer is discharged.

5) You can reduce the amount of airborne lead by using bullets that have a jacket covering the base, like JHP, TMJ, or plated bullets. Note that FMJ bullets are NOT jacketed on the base.

6) Frangible, non-toxic rounds do not have lead in bullet or in the primer, so they do not contribute to airborne lead. However, they are significantly more expensive than rounds containing lead.

7) Any decent NRA safety course will cover standard hygiene recommendations that will help reduce your exposure.

8) The NSSF has monographs on this subject.

9) Your exposure to airborne lead is generally less at outdoor ranges than indoor ranges.

Last edited by M1911; February 28, 2007 at 07:45 PM.
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Old March 1, 2007, 10:08 AM   #33
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9) Your exposure to airborne lead is generally less at outdoor ranges than indoor ranges.
I think generally depends on which way the wind is blowing.
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Old March 1, 2007, 07:02 PM   #34
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I think generally depends on which way the wind is blowing.
Yup. You can also get some exposure to lead on an outdoor range if you don't wash your hands and face when you're done.
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Old March 1, 2007, 10:37 PM   #35
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Well first to rain on the nay sayers parade,

I am a building contractor, I have built several indoor ranges for customers, ranging from a single lane, to a full 25 yard range with caswell target machines and six lanes.

We hired several environmental engineers and also had county health people involved. At the first range it was just a single exhaust fan at the target end, pulling air from the home and exhausting it out doors. At the rate of fire, percentage of use, and time not used, the county had no problem with just exhausting it to the air outside. Even at the end of a fairly long session, with hard cast lead bullets being shot, and the fan running at full speed, the air being exhausted had hardly detectable levels of lead. It barely made the meter tick over. air samples were well well below legal limit.

Furnaces do not pull air in at that lowest level usually, that is done from the cold air returns in the upper levels of the home, after our shooting test, the furnace air filters had no detectable levels of lead. none.

we had painted the floor to seal it with a semi gloss enamel and the residue that was swept up had very very little lead levels. tiny amounts.

Damp mopping reduced the levels present on the floor to ambient. that is, what would normally be on the floor of anyones house just from everyday living.

The statement that all that residue from your shooting would be extremely flammable is possible, provided that you never ever swept up or mopped your floor. That bit of unburned powder on the floor of a shooting range is the result of thousand and thousands of rounds being fired, at none of the ranges we have built has it ever been an issue.

The six lane range was built in the home of a Pro Bowl football player who had a very complete air sampling done after it was in use as he had youngsters in the home, from 1 to 5 years in age, the exact age that is so susceptible to bloodPb. He spared no expense, or rather his SO spared no expense and although the levels were never high enough even with 4 guys shooting (with the exhaust system running) they did register, so that it was decided the kids were not allowed in the range. after age 12, the effects of lead on the system are greatly reduced, and proper management can really reduce the lead in the body. This can be readily googled up but the right drinks can leach almost all the lead out.

SOOOOO paint the floor, mop up after you shoot, but wait a bit for airborne to settle out, and run a fan to pull "dirty" air out, if you have cold air return vents on your furnace in the basement, tape them shut when shooting; you should be fine.
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Old March 2, 2007, 09:39 AM   #36
mikejonestkd
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guntotin_fool,

Now I know who to call when I win the lottery and build an indoor range....

Thanks for the input!!
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Old March 2, 2007, 02:48 PM   #37
Smokin Joe
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Well first to rain on the nay sayers parade,
that is FAR from the shoot into cardboard box basement range the OP made.. hahahah...
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Old March 2, 2007, 04:06 PM   #38
JDG
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guntotin fool, Thanks for not beating me up, and for offering somthing more than just an opinion. Funny, I just bought a gun yesterday from a guy that shoots in a 22 rifle league, and he made mention that he plinks in his basement, every once in awhile. Go figure
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Old July 28, 2009, 06:00 AM   #39
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for what it is worth

Venting the basement can cause other risks such as radon issues. I do commercial radon consulting. Active and passive venting of a basement increases the amount of radon in the system, drawn into the basement from the substrate. I tested my basement for radon before I put in my basement shooting range. Exposure to airborne lead is highest in Central and South America, Middle East, Africa, Far East and Oceana due to use of leaded gasoline. Common sensitive tests can reveal your body lead content accurately.
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Old July 28, 2009, 10:55 AM   #40
M1911
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Common sensitive tests can reveal your body lead content accurately.
The test is inexpensive. Your general practitioner can draw the blood. Call ahead, however, and remind them that the lead test requires a particular vial, one which they likely do not stock and will have to order.
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Old July 28, 2009, 05:30 PM   #41
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Basement or Indoor Shooting Range

When I worked at an Indoor Range in the middle 90's, we all got tested for lead exposure every 6 months. Anyone over limits (none were) would be off of Range/Teaching/Shooting duty. Yes, you can absorb lots of stuff at some ranges. Vents for the dirty air are the first order, followed by Positive air pressure to vent the excess. That is why the vent systems cost so much. In a home basement, I don't think so.
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Old July 31, 2009, 07:15 AM   #42
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guntotin fool

What do you charge for a level II hazmat clean-up????


You know, asbestos or lead???
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