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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a wee bit of a delima. I spend much of my time shooting indoors and due to the smoke produced, I've decided to switch back to plated or jacketed bullets for health reason.

However, here's the problem. I can currently pick of Oregon Trail 200g LSWC's got around $50 per thousand from Cabelas. My other option is Winchester 230g FMJ at over $50 per 500.

Is it worth the price difference not to breath the gunsmoke?
(FWIW, I'm shooting about 200 rounds of .45 per month)
 

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I shoot lead indoors all the time. Some indoor ranges that don't have adequate ventilation are not allowing lead for the safety of their employees. The range I'm a member of has adequate ventilation and the range itself is separate from the gun store etc. So it's really your call, but if the range you shoot at has good ventilation, I'd continue to shoot lead. It's just paper, I see no reason to throw FMJ downrange. I have to admit that I'm also a cheap bastard as well. But do whatever you feel the most comfortable with.

I cast my own bullets as well, so my possible exposure is probably higher than yours. I had two blood panels done this summer and levels of lead in my system was normal. I think the most important thing is to wash up after handling or being around lead. What is going to kill me is not lead, but foods high in fat. Ice cream, french fries, you get the picture.
 

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Our ventiallation system is way of of whack and is currently preparing to go under construction in the spring to correct it.... $200,000 worth. My lead level got up to 37 once. 48 is considered at risk.

I as well as the others all shoot LSWC and RNL bullets to the tune of about 500 wk apiece. One guy wears a mask and practices 5 days a week.. shooting in a small bay with 185 LSWC, bullseye shooter and never moves all night. Average temp is in mid 40's, too. His lead levels were reduced by 66% in 30 days with the mask.

A large portion of lead parts per million in your blood stream will be what you ingest. Wash hands, face and hair, wash your clothes, and don't eat until you do all of these.

Now... is it worth the price difference to not have to breath the powder... it might be if you are at least moderately concerned with your health. If you have a period of 2 weeks when you do not shoot at all, then I would not worry about it. I used to be gone 4 months and didn't even think of it. I shoot 200 LSWC w/N310 and it still is smoky. Copper plated 200 RN was my load before. No smoke, no flash and easy recoil. I was exquisitely happy plated until the pricing increased beyond my reach. Try to find copper plated at a good price. Seems to me that 100/1000 is still high but you will be happier with no smoke to breath or obstructing your vision and interrupting your rythum on a stage or practice.
 

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I do approx. 25% of my shooting at a Bass Pro indoor range. Maybe 2 or 3 times a month during the April-Nov time, and 5-6 times a week, Dec-March. They claim their ventilation system meets all air quality standards, but when I had my blood level checked for the first time this past summer, it was 27. That's considered higher than normal. Because of the high lead level, one of the precautions I started is wearing a mask when I shoot indoors. I've always washed up thoroughly immediately after shooting, so the high lead level really surprised me. I'm not due to have it rechecked until after the first of the year, so I don't know for sure if the mask is helping or not.

The decision I made was to continue shooting lead. At least until I know if enough precautions can be taken to avoid high lead levels in the blood. If my lead level isn't down any at the next test, I'll have to re-evaluate the lead vs plated/jacketed issue. If I have to go to plated/jacketed it will really cut down on my shooting volume. I'm a "fixed-income" senior citizen you know. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies fellas.

I was loading Berry's 230g RN, but switched over to 200g LSWC for a while. I had planned to go back to Berry's,(due to the smoke/lead isse) but they are outrageous now and I can get Winchester 230g FMJ a lot cheaper. Of course LSWC are cheaper still.

I like my range, good people and all that stuff, but I'm not too sure about the ventilation. The gunsmoke seems to hang in the booth for a good 20 or 30 seconds or at least long enough to breath some of it. How do I say this without being gross? When you blow your nose after a range session and it looks like youve been stick welding or in a coal mine all day, there might be reason for concern.;)

BTW, I shoot around 400 roudns a month.
 

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Ventilation is the key. And some powders smoke more than others.

I shoot lead 100% of the time. In fact I just finished a Range session (300 rds) this afternoon.

I use Win231. It has alittle smoke but not much.
 

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There is a sticky post about Lead poisoning on the High road site. Its under reloading.Thehighroad.org Sorry I do not know how to make a link.
 

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You might reduce the exposure from your own weapon if you shoot plated bullets, but that doesn't mean you aren't getting any from everyone elses the way I look at it.
 

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I'm not sure that the amount of smoke from the powder or the lube provides any indication of how much lead is in the air.

If you shoot lead bullets that are sized appropriately and hard enough that they don't lead the barrel from gases blowing by and cutting them, you shouldn't be getting any more exposure than if you were shooting FMJ ammo that has an exposed lead base. (think about it...)

The only way to truly reduce lead exposure indoors is to shoot a totally encapsulated plated bullet or a WinClean style bullet that has the an enclosed base with the exposed lead at the tip of the bullet.

If the ventilation is adequate, I'd shoot lead indoors without worry. If the ventilation is inadequate, I wouldn't shoot indoors at all.
 

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Keep in mind that blood lead has a half-life of 30 days. Its concentration in the blood primarily reflects recent exposure and can revert to normal when exposure ceases. However, in considering repeated exposure, within days to weeks, lead becomes stored in tissues – particularly bones. Bone lead has a biological half-life ranging from 7 years to several decades. Although 0-9 mcg/dL of blood lead levels are considered acceptable, the AHA has previously indicated that as a practical measurement in determining risk, anything over 2 mcg/dL in blood lead level is considered a major contributing risk factor for stroke. Bottom line: avoid it as much as reasonably possible.

But of course, with some perspective thrown in, 1Blue had it right; if it's not one thing it's another. Something's gonna get you. Why does it always have to be something that we like?
 

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An indoor range I used to shoot at had a very poor ventilation system. People started coming up with elevated lead levels. I was one of them.

One of my competition buds doesn't reload, only shoots jacketed bullets, only shot at that range once a week and outdoors the rest. He came up with a 22. I reload, shot at indoor ranges at least once a week and in general had a much higher exposure than he did. I had a 24. We both quit shooting there and our levels dropped to normal.

There is much on the shooting forums about lead exposure. Although nothing scientific it appears it doesn't really matter what kind of bullet you shoot. You shoot indoors, the risk is elevated. Choose your indoor range wisely considering the ventilation system first and everything else second. The other thing to keep your exposure down is no hand to mouth actions prior to washing up. When you get home change clothes and shower to prevent cross contamination from the lead you brought home.

With this in mind, there isn't a health reason to dump lead for jacketed. Other reasons, yes, like reduced smoke. But health, no. I still shoot lead indoors and my levels are normal.
 

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I would never shoot indoors anymore without a mask. I wouldn't trust the ventilation system to be effective. also remember that just because you are not shooting lead doesn't mean the person right next you isn't. Just because you switch to plated doesn't eliminate your exposure to lead-those little primers punch it out too.

A mask at N95 would probably work, I would use a N100 since if I have to wear one I might as well use the most effective. There is a significant price difference however.
 

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Not to minimize the danger of exposure to lead, but come on. Just be smart. Wash up afterwards. How many of the posters here are over weight? Any of you smoke? How many of you have enjoyed a little too much to drink on occasion? Don't exercise regularly... If you fall into any of these areas and your getting all excited about lead exposure then I would ask you to redirect your concerns elsewhere. Just be smart and wash up afterwards. Shoot in well ventilated areas. (This holds true whether your shooting lead or not.) If an indoor range smells when you walk in, find someplace else. Use common sense.
 

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The lead in the range comes more from primers than the lead bullets themselves.
Lead Styphanate is one of the main ingrediants.
When it reacts it produces lead vapor in a very reactive (hot) state.
 

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Agent6-3/8 said:
However, here's the problem. I can currently pick of Oregon Trail 200g LSWC's got around $50 per thousand from Cabelas. My other option is Winchester 230g FMJ at over $50 per 500.
Too bad Cabelas is out of stock...I called and they didn't know when they would get more. Furthermore, I expect the prices to double when they get back in stock. They won't update the price until they get more in stock from Oregon Trail. Oregon Trail's wbesite lists them for $60/500. There is no way Cabelas will sell them for half of MSRP. Sucks...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
USMC 0802 said:
Too bad Cabelas is out of stock...I called and they didn't know when they would get more. Furthermore, I expect the prices to double when they get back in stock. They won't update the price until they get more in stock from Oregon Trail. Oregon Trail's wbesite lists them for $60/500. There is no way Cabelas will sell them for half of MSRP. Sucks...
I live just over an hour from a Cabelas, so lord willing I'm gonna head up there next week and pick up a few things. I'll probably end up buying Winchester FMJ, but if by some chance they have Oregon Trail in stock I'll go with that.

And $60/500 = :barf:
 

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The FMJ probably has the lead base exposed, so you need bullets where the base is covered.

I've read the lead in primers accounts for "about" a third of lead smoke. When the powder burns against the "exposed" lead base of any bullet...you can bet the smoke "hanging around" has a lot of lead in it, along with other stuff.

That said, I'd do a lot of "good" reading and "thinking". jjey3 post indicates he has!

At some point in the future, I'll be amazed if lead is still allowed for indoor shooting.
 

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1Blue said:
Not to minimize the danger of exposure to lead, but come on. Just be smart. Wash up afterwards. How many of the posters here are over weight? Any of you smoke? How many of you have enjoyed a little too much to drink on occasion? Don't exercise regularly... If you fall into any of these areas and your getting all excited about lead exposure then I would ask you to redirect your concerns elsewhere. Just be smart and wash up afterwards. Shoot in well ventilated areas. (This holds true whether your shooting lead or not.) If an indoor range smells when you walk in, find someplace else. Use common sense.
1Blue has an excellent point.
 

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I think some of you guys need to just do a simple test and see for yourself where all the smoke really comes from (hint, it has more to do with powder and lube).

Take a empty case, put a primer in it, chamber the empty case, and pull the trigger. See how much smoke there is.

Then, try out some different lead bullets with and without the waxy lube band. I think you'll quickly see how much more "smoke" you get from lead bullets with a groove filled with lube.


USMC 0802 said:
Too bad Cabelas is out of stock...I called and they didn't know when they would get more. Furthermore, I expect the prices to double when they get back in stock. They won't update the price until they get more in stock from Oregon Trail. Oregon Trail's wbesite lists them for $60/500. There is no way Cabelas will sell them for half of MSRP. Sucks...
I don't know how it works in the store, but if you backorder the item on their website, you'll get the price at time of order whenever they eventually come in. Add in the $4.95 flat rate shipping and any of the $10 or $20 coupons they've been sending the past few weeks and it's not a bad deal.
 

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kevins_garage said:
I think some of you guys need to just do a simple test and see for yourself where all the smoke really comes from (hint, it has more to do with powder and lube).

Take a empty case, put a primer in it, chamber the empty case, and pull the trigger. See how much smoke there is.

Then, try out some different lead bullets with and without the waxy lube band. I think you'll quickly see how much more "smoke" you get from lead bullets with a groove filled with lube.




I don't know how it works in the store, but if you backorder the item on their website, you'll get the price at time of order whenever they eventually come in. Add in the $4.95 flat rate shipping and any of the $10 or $20 coupons they've been sending the past few weeks and it's not a bad deal.
FWIW-When I called, they said the price would likely go up to MSRP.
 
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