With over a thousand high school clay target teams across the nation, there are nearly just as many shooting ranges serving those teams. While each one features regulation trap and/or skeet fields, ranges vary quite a bit in terms of their location and the environment around it.
Many ranges are located in rural areas surrounded by woods or grasslands, while other ranges are situated in more urban areas. In urban areas, it’s common for ranges to be close to roads, homes, even airports. With the close proximity of vehicles and homes, there are always people that become concerned about shooting sports nearby. The answer, of course, is that everything and everyone is perfectly safe.
Understanding the physics of how far a shot pellet will travel is far too complicated for this article, but the science can be simplified to a simple formula: the distance a projectile will travel is related to how heavy the projectile is, and how much force is applied launch to the projectile.
Below is a chart of the maximum distances various shot sizes can travel:
As you can see, smaller and lighter pellets don’t travel as far. And while these are the maximum distances for shot-shell pellets, in reality the vast majority of shot falls within a range of 100-150 yards from the center of the trap house. At the maximum distance, the energy left in a shotshell pellet is so small that it literally couldn’t hurt a fly.
WHAT ABOUT ALL THAT LEAD?
On average, each shotshell contains over an ounce of lead. With over 26,000 athletes shooting during the League’s spring season, that means over 800,000 pounds of lead were shot during the spring competition.
Over the years, scientists and medical professionals have become more and more aware of the potential health and environmental dangers that arise where there are high concentrations of lead. To reduce the health risks and environmental issues, the typical shooting range will have a lead reclamation plan.
Lead reclamation means that every few years, a shooting range will ‘reclaim’ the lead from fallout area, collecting all the spent shot by using large machines that can separate the heavy lead from the lighter soil.
As you can see, clay target ranges are safe for the surrounding areas, and take care of their environment, too!