Noob question: how much of a restriction...?

Nov 2, 2005
North Central MA
Feedback: 19 / 0 / 0

I went to my local gun shop (very helpful people at Match Shot in Gardner) and they told me there is only one indoor range nearby. It is the Gardner Indoor Pistol Club.

The only problem is they have limitations on ammo:

1) Lead or certain frangible ammo (like the stuff SIG academy uses I think)
2) 1000FPS limit (except .22LR)

How limitting will this be to me? Can I buy centerfire rounds that will be within the limit? Is lead only a significant limitation?

Thanks in advance,
that's pretty much what the restrictions at Riverside used to be. A few years back they decided to allow jacketed, though.

the 1000 fps limit means you won't be shooting magnum ammo or stuff like .357 Sig. Most of the common rounds are under the 1000 fps limit - .45, .38. I'm not sure about 9mm... and I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen lead loads in 9mm. I'd think that 9mm would be OK, though.

The lead only limit I think will rule out Glocks with factory barrels; apparently the factory barrel on a glock doesn't like lead ammo.

As for "frangible" ammo... Not really sure without being more specific.

If you're limited to lead, reloads can be a good lower-cost option for ammo, and you can find them with lead bullets pretty easily. CCI Blazer ammo is right out, I think, because I believe they only make jacketed stuff.

Hope this helps you.
My clubs indoor range also only allows "Lead Midrange loads only" They don't allow any jacketed or magnum loads. I reload for my .45 so that isn't an issue, I only really reload lead because it's cheaper to do than jacketed. However I don't have any problems finding lead ammo for my other guns. Four Seasons has a special shelf that only has lead ammo. They have 9mm 38, 40, 45, etc. Plus, if you attend any of the local gun shows, there is a company from NH called M&M Reloads. You can buy 200 round packs of lead reloaded .40 for around $25

I thought it would be more than an issue when I first joined my club, but it honestly hasn't gotten in my way.

The last time I was at the Gun Room in Shrewsbury, a few years ago, they had commercial lead RN reloads in several calibers, including two that I bought - .45 ACP and .380 AUto. I can't remember the manufacturers' names - perhaps 3-D or Williams. I'm sure they load 9mm Para. with lead bullets for indoor use.
There's a company just over the line in Woonsocket, RI - Bullseye Guns - that makes decent reloads. Price is very good, function is good... ammo is a bit dirtier than factory, but hey... ya gotta clean the gun anyway.
So it sounds like no problem! I wonder the guy at the shop made it sound like such a drawback?

I have no feel for the velocities of varoius calibers/loads. Any suggestions for a good resource?

Is there a draw back to lead ammo? gun jamming? cost?

Thanks for the input so far,

matt said:
So it sounds like no problem! I wonder the guy at the shop made it sound like such a drawback?
Because if you get a .38 Super you can't shoot it there, if you want to shoot any of the magnum calibers (.357, .41, .44) you can't shoot it there, you can't shoot +P loads there (IIRC, most +P are well over 1000 fps).

Also with the exception of your "frangible" loads (Guess he means stuff like Glaser Safety Slugs), you can't shoot what you'd probably carry, either. No JHP (Jacketed Hollow Points), etc.

matt said:
Is there a draw back to lead ammo? gun jamming? cost?

Well... leading is more work to clean out of a barrel. Shouldn't jam anything, I'd think. and it is cheaper than jacketed.
Frangible is available in most LE supply stores. I think Four Seasons may have had some too. Cost is +50% over standard jacketed ammo. The bullets are made with a sintered metal that turns to dust on impact (less of a beating on the steel plates on the range).

Lead bullets puts more lead in the air. If the ventilation system isn't very good, you will be inhaling lead dust and "may" result in health problems. That is why I stopped using the indoor range at Sharon F&G many years before I quit there. After a shooting session where I was the only one on the range, for a day or two every time I blew my nose I would see black residue . . . not good for your lungs/health!
Except for the heavier subsonic rounds, most 9mm are over 1000fps. We bumped the indoor range limit at Westford Sportsmen to 1300fps after installing the new backstops, with no restrictions on bullet type, though I expect that we'll balk if anyone ever shows up with AP or tracer for handguns. [wink]

What is so different about a backstop that can take lead only, as opposed to one that can take jacketed?

Generally the thickness or toughness (not the same thing) of the steel. Also the support members may be inadequate for the pounding of jacketed ammo. Lead tends to splatter, whereas jacketed ammo will dent the steel over time and lead to potential weakness.
Velocity Limits

We had a lead only/1000 fps limitation at the Hopkinton Sportsmens club for years until someone decided to test it. I was appointed to the test committee, and the testing consisted of spraypainting a section of backstop and shooting it with 100 1350FPS+ FMJ 38 supers. Once we reported that there was no sign of damage, the rule was rescinded (it's now "traditional pistol calibers only") and we have not had any problems since.

In general, it's a good idea to question assumptions if you are not sure they are valid.
When I joined my club... I had to put in the customary 5 hours of work to complete my membership requirements. The task at hand..... Deleading the indoor pistol backstop. The backstop sits at an angle, that goes to a sand berm on the floor, that is angled itself to another steel plate on the floor. There were PLENTY of jacketed rounds that we recovered from the sand, and I inspected the backstop quite a bit.. I didn't notice any dents or areas that looked like they had been stressed.

I would like to find out what the exact specs would be for a backstop setup to retain jacketed ammo. Does anyone have any idea where I might find this info? I would be interested in seeing what we have, and what would be needed to allow jacketed ammo...

We used to have a "lead only" rule for the indoor range, but it had nothing to do with the backstops. The place where we recycled the lead would only take it (and pay us) if it was almost all lead. If we ever got more than a certain percentage of copper mixed in, it was rejected. The new recycler we found doesn't have a problem with copper, so we dropped the restriction.

Lead bullets also result in less splash back than the jacketed bullets. Under the old system, we could tell when people were using jacked ammo in violation of the rules by the separated jackets that frequently bounced back 10-20 yards from the target line. When we dropped the restriction we added a curtain in front of the backstops that catches and stops almost all the splash.

Hmmm interesting. My indoor range already has those curtains hanging. They are a VERY heavy, rubber like material that is self healing.

I'm wondering exactly why that restriction is in place. I think I will have to get in touch with the person who is head of the Indoor Pistol committee. It seems kind of silly, that if the range is technically setup to handle the jacketed ammo, why we wouldn't be able to shoot it.

I guess I have to start asking questions.

Top Bottom