Total metal jacket bullets encapsulate and trap this lead core. But when a full metal jacket if fired, lead can emerge from the muzzle. If lead bullets are used, even more lead is shed by the slug itself on its way down the barrel.
While the amount of lead from each bullet is tiny, it can travel in the air and accumulate on surfaces over time. The lead dust can circulate through HVAC systems that don’t have the proper filters at indoor shooting ranges.
In other cases, lead may travel though exhaust fans and accumulate on the roofs and within ceiling voids over the course of many years. Due to the inaccessible nature of these areas, lead often settles and accumulates over the years and leads to substantial lead concentration levels.
Indoor ranges need proper ventilation systems with negative air flow to capture the vapours and then send the filtered air back into the atmosphere. If the proper systems are not in place or filters are not changed regularly, you will find lead dust particles being trapped indoors leading to high concentrations in the shooting ranges atmosphere.
Diagram shows proper ventilation and air flow.
Making the switch from Lead bullets to other alternatives.
The Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Remediation at RMIT University in Melbourne found that high lead concentrations were widespread at shooting ranges. This lead to Australian shooters being urged to abandon their lead containing bullets for other bullets such as copper, tungsten, or bismuth. The problem is that lead bullets are cheap so getting the masses to switch may prove to be difficult.
Get your shooting range tested!
It’s no secret lead dust and vapours are a serious concern for our shooting community, especially in indoor ranges where the ventilation systems may not be ideal or maintained. To get your shooting range tested give us a call on (02) 9191 0877 or click here to message us.
You can read the RMIT publication here.