I first got this question while doing a propane delivery in Molalla. But it’s come up a LOT since then.
No, the tank won’t explode if it is shot. Fire needs oxygen to burn, and there isn’t enough oxygen in the tank to fuel an explosion. The bullet is also not hot enough to ignite the propane.
Propane has to be pressurized in order to become liquid. Since the tank is under such pressure, shooting it can cause it to shoot backwards as it releases propane at a very fast rate.
There are not many propane tank shooting accidents annually, but when a tank is punctured or rusted for any reason, propane can leak onto the ground. Unlike oil, propane is not toxic to the soil, plants, or animals. However, in the event of a spill, you should still call your propane provider right away.