View Full Version : in side black powder shooting

July 26, 2010, 08:51 PM
In 1990 when I bought my house there was a wooden shop bldg that we used as a band practice studio after lining inside walls with plywood and 1/2 inch styrofoam to sound proof. The J Teal Band quit and I watched the bldg just sit idle for years. I thought about shooting these guns in there but didn't want to suffocate in smoke. I bought a side mounted exhaust fan from Tractor Supply for around a $100. The smallest one. Fortunately I have a window air conditioner in front and pushes air to the rear where fan is mounted on rear right side. IT WORKS. Just an idea for you hobbists w/shop bldgs that might want to shoot in your own backyard.

July 26, 2010, 09:17 PM
Just curious . . . what are you shooting in to? Do you have a "trap" as a backer for your targets? How big is your building and what are you shooting? Rifle, pistol? I've heard of some shops setting something like this up for their employees on their lunch breaks, etc. but never for BP. I would imagine that the big fan from Tractor Supply would really suck the smoke out. Thanks for more info. :)

July 26, 2010, 09:34 PM
It is a wooden bldg 20X30. I shoot toward the rear with a 61 navy or 60 Army. All walls are 2 layers of plywood and the styrafoam sheet with exterior chip board but I put a 4X8 sheet of plywood against back wall and have table where I place blocks of wood -2X4 and 1X4. At 25 ft away an army colt w/30grains will blow through the 2X4blocks. If I miss it has to go through the plywood sheet--the 1/2 inch styro-another 2 sheets of plywood to get through. It won't. The 61 navy with about 20 grains at 25 fett will barely bust through a 2X4. AND yes --get the big fan I bought the small one as an experiment but sucks the smoke out good. I wish I had the big one though.

July 27, 2010, 08:40 AM
Unfortunately, I live in the city limits. Not allowed to discharge a firearm within the limits. So I wouldn't be able to get away with having a mini firing range at the house. Fortunately, 7 miles down the road I have some acreage outside the city limits and have my outdoor range set up. Damn though, its just way too hot and humid to shoot outside in the summer. Its just not fun when the sun is beating down on you when its 95 degrees and 90% humidity. Awesome that you have A/C! I tip my hat to you.

Speaking of shooting in the city limits....I have to admit I was a bad boy. On July 4th the girlfriend and I were loading up the ROA with BP blanks and shooting it up in the air out the back porch. The neighbors were none the wiser as they never saw the glisten of that SS revolver. 50 grains in an ROA make for a nice boom, flash, and smoke.

July 27, 2010, 09:24 AM
Shucks, Clem, we've done that every year for as long as I can remember! The neighbors think it's a hoot, including the city cop who lives next door. As it turns out, our city ordinance applies to weapons that shoot projectiles. I suppose that once somebody complains, they'll amend it to include blanks.

July 27, 2010, 10:49 AM
You are shooting bare nekkid pure lead balls in an indoor environment. Even with the fan the lead presents a hazard. Bad idea, IMHO.
And, be advised, soft pure lead at low velocities can ricochet like a rubber ball if it hits something hard.
I know this to be a fact from both many-many years of shooting traditional muzzle loaders and from my testing when I manufactured metallic silhouette targets.
Your .36 or .44 lead balls can ricochet when they hit something like a knot in the wood or a nail head. Bad idea, IMHO. I wouldn't do it.

July 27, 2010, 05:32 PM
Yeah, I thought about that. and you're right. But, the smoke was my first concern. i don't shoot more than 12 rounds in there and have fresh air pushing it to the fan. Maybe it's worse than cigarettes but maybe not. Eveything about these guns has some danger. Like misfires--ball getting lodged in barrel through carelessness- etc. The back wall has styrafoam that can't richochet. Can it? And wood might if you have a weak load. according to you it was a bad idea. I'll check on the lead hazard and also backstop being safe then will proceed or not. Thank you but I might just fire off a few rounds in there anyway. I guess cowboys shootin in saloons should have worried more about these hazards:)

July 27, 2010, 08:49 PM
Rifleman1776 - was interested in your comments on steel targets and your testing. I've shot at such targets with rifle (.36, .40 & .54 as well as smoothbore trade gun but at a minimum range of 50 yards. I never experienced a problem with richochet but do know it's possible. You say you made the targets and tested them. I saw some at a gun show a few weeks ago and was tempted to get a couple as I always enjoyed "hitting the gong". However, I'm shooting more C & B revolver now than rifle - .36 Navies. Using a load of 20 grains of 3F usually. My question is . . . in your testing and experience with the richochet and bounce backs of the balls from a C & B revolver, is there a safe range for these types of targets with a BP revolver? How far did the "spent" balls travel or bounce? I don't think I would have a problem with using that type of target with a rifle at say, 50 yards or further . . . . . but most of the time I'm shooting at about 25 yards with the revolvers and I would think that would and could be "iffy". I'd like to hear your thoughts on it and your experiences. Many thanks! Sincerely, bb :)

July 28, 2010, 03:13 AM
The average distance for a SASS steel pistol target is 7 yards. Pure lead just splatters and falls to ground under target. You'll find a bunch of lead disks about the size of a dime and thinner. Yeah they can ricochet but the odds of one coming straight back at you with enough force to hurt in such an environment is slim.

July 28, 2010, 03:42 AM
Empty bean cans are more fun and won't ricochet a round ball or jacketed bullet at 7 or 25 yards. I've shot metalic silhoutte competition for a bunch a years and still have a set of five 25 yard chickens for muzzleloaders. Pure lead does flatten out and drop when you hit thick steel plate or targets. Alloy or wheel weights are harder and I suppose could ricochet. Actually anything hit right can ricochet...so be careful regardless.
I have been hit in the toe of my boot by lead balls ricocheting off a round object like a gong. Also I found not to use Yugoslavian WWII steel jacketed 9mm boolits at an indoor range...(ya should a seen the sparks) I stopped shootin' them outta my Uzi when one nailed my boot pretty hard.
went and bought some of their lead hand loads. wish I'd a thought to safe some a them for collecting.

July 28, 2010, 08:17 AM
One of my friends was watching a customer try out his new .38, shooting at a gong about 25 yards away. A chunk of bullet ricocheted off and hit him square in the chest. It cut through his clothes and embedded in his skin. She took him to the ER, but he was okay.

I had a chunk of lead spatter me in the face once; I shoot 20-25 yards from my swinging gong. One time a piece of lead ricocheted off and hit my barn 50 yards to my left and another time a .22 bullet ricocheted off the plate and hit my parent's house with some force 15 yards behind me. Good thing the ricochets didn't hit a friend, a window, or my aboveground pool. It happens, that's why we wear eyes.

July 28, 2010, 02:54 PM
What experience I've had with shooting steel targets with ML rifle or tradegun was as Hawg described, but as I said, I've never shot C & B pistol at them. I always cast my projectiles - whether they be roundball or Minie for musket, out of as pure lead as I can find. Right now, I'm still using a large quantity of lead that is almost pure that came from cable sheathing (lead shielded cable). It's nice and soft. For the gentleman who suggested bean cans - I'll probably stick with those for the C & B revolvers - I've been using pop cans - the pop tab makes a nice place to hook a wire to to hang. Other than that, about the most sophisticated I get is a paper plate with a bull drawn on with black felt pen - what can I say? I'm cheap when it comes to buying real targets! I used to use kitchen matches and light them from fifty yards until they got to be too expensive - HA Ha! :D

Thanks for the replies on my questions - greatly appreciated!

When I was a kid, we had a steel "trap" - about 16" square that the sides angled towards the back. We'd use that to shoot the .22 in to and it was pretty nifty. We pretty much stuck to 22 shorts because they were cheap - the slug would splatter on the sides and the lead collected in a small compartment in the back. I don't ever remember any richochets or "bounce backs" but I do remember some while squirrel hunting. Not often . . but usually when the conditions were just right and the squirrel was in some tree such as a white oak.

Thanks again for the info! :)

July 28, 2010, 06:59 PM
I'm still tryin to figure this out. How can it bounce off a knot in a 1X4 board? Now, what about the smoke?

August 5, 2010, 09:13 PM
shooting this in this environment is not perfect but shootin Jim Shockey proves to be the best choice over others.