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Thread: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

  1. #1
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    Default New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    As some of you know we recently purchased a new house in Bucks County with about 2.6 acres of land that is attached to about 20 acres of unused woods. And NO I do not want to hear from the rest of the state how cheap land is where you live!

    So, since we are leaving care free Townhouse living (damn baby!) I was toying with the idea of setting up a personal shooting range. Shooting in my townhouse, while not impossible (trust me on this ), was not the best of set ups.

    I'm thinking of maybe a 25 yard range for pistols and many carbine shooting. Maybe short range M14 training as well. Nothing crazy just to shoot a few mags whenever I want without the need of packing up for the range.

    Any thoughts on how best to set up a back stop? Its mostly woods so some tree will have to give it up for the cause. I know the neighbors will not be a issue because on our last trip there somebody was shooting near by. From the sound I say it was a 30-06, Lynn thinks 308. Real Estate guy I think took us seriously.

    Its new construction so I briefly thought about something in the still unfinished basement but I don't think it would be practical.

    Also, if anybody knows of a good plumber (putting a extra bathroom upstairs) and general contractor (to finish the basement) let me know.
    Post Warning: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously na´ve.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    The military often uses sand bags in any configuration that is appropriate, but I use big piles of dirt.

    The trees may also come in handy; stretch elastic cord between two trees, then use bull clips to hang targets.

    Really all sorts of options with practically no investment.

    BTW, if you will be clearing any trees, you can cut them into 2 foot lengths and make a wood-pile backstop.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    I am sure you have dirt and sand around, that is the best way.

    Also, look for natural backstops. We have a spot on the property there is goes slightly downhill then climbs uphill. I usually just use it for a quick test of the .22 or a handgun but it works fine. I would also see how the basement is set up. We used to babysit at a house with a shooting bench down in the basement. It sat halfway in the doorway and still under a balcony. The gun safe and ammo was about 3 feet away and the kitchen was just down the hall. It was a great way to go shooting.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    There is nothing wrong with using soil as your backstop. An 18" thickness will stop most cal. .30 rifle rounds, but more is better. Just make sure you build it on your property. The woods behind might be "unused" but they belong to someone. You also want your backstop to be somewhat higher than you require and your minimum thickness should be at the top. Use soil that is relatively free of large rocks since they cause ricochets.

    Of course if you want you could build an indoor range in your basement, just go out through the basement wall with 18" diameter reinforced concrete pipe for what ever distance is needed to get your 10 meter, 15 yd., 50' or 25 yd. range from your firing line on the opposite side of the basement. The the soil at the end of the pipe becomes the butts and you use a clothes line set-up as a target carrier with a light or you could get fancy and end the pipe at the butt with a manhole arrangement to contain electronics for light and turning target system, ventilator and a trap to recover spent bullets to re-use as cast-your-own or to sell as scrap metal.

    Good luck with the new house!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    you can use a pile of dirt or sand. I would submit you want it at least 6' X6'X3' thick at the top/ if you want to go to the extra trouble you can use plastic bags to make sandbags arrange them in a U with the open part facing toward the fireing line. fill the U with dirt or sand. as others have mentioned beware of large stones in your fill. nothing bigger than 1/2" going smaller is better.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    +1, good info


    Quote Originally Posted by Brick View Post
    There is nothing wrong with using soil as your backstop. An 18" thickness will stop most cal. .30 rifle rounds, but more is better. Just make sure you build it on your property. The woods behind might be "unused" but they belong to someone. You also want your backstop to be somewhat higher than you require and your minimum thickness should be at the top. Use soil that is relatively free of large rocks since they cause ricochets.

    Of course if you want you could build an indoor range in your basement, just go out through the basement wall with 18" diameter reinforced concrete pipe for what ever distance is needed to get your 10 meter, 15 yd., 50' or 25 yd. range from your firing line on the opposite side of the basement. The the soil at the end of the pipe becomes the butts and you use a clothes line set-up as a target carrier with a light or you could get fancy and end the pipe at the butt with a manhole arrangement to contain electronics for light and turning target system, ventilator and a trap to recover spent bullets to re-use as cast-your-own or to sell as scrap metal.

    Good luck with the new house!

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    Smile Re: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    Philly i have a range on my farm in beaver,we are useing our old tires stacked full of dirt,a good way to use them and keep them out of sight. I might add that i made my bench out of 1and five eighth black walnut,two shooting positions, this is my treat for being a tree doctor for 30 some years and owning my own sawmill. Anyone can shoot here if there nice. Mtn Jack

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    Default Re: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    First you may want to check your township zoning ordinance for noise, etc. with regards to the shooting range. With that said, the set-up I have on my property has a 10 foot drop in 350 feet. My range is a leveled off swath 10 foot wide with the 45 degree berm as a backstop.
    A pile of dirt high and wide enough should work well, add a bit of landscaping around it and a good shooting position or two. I am putting red gravel down at 3-7 yards and 25 yards to recover the brass and a shed/bench rest at the farthest point. Try to align the range in a north to south direction to avoid the early/late sun.
    There are some good safety tips on the web for building a range. I bought the NRA range book on CD which has beau coup info on personal and commercial ranges.
    Veritas Vos Liberat

  9. #9
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    Default Re: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    Did not mention but the land is very flat so I would need to build whatever I use.

    Mtn Jack, good suggestion. Can you post (or email me) pics of your set up?
    Post Warning: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously na´ve.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New House - Build a Shooting Range?

    A side note since you are building. A guy on another forum had a vault room installed in his basement when he was building his house. It was double thick block walls and a bank vault door. He kept all his guns in there like a walk in safe. While your building you may want to consider somehting like this, if you haven't already.

    I'm sure you could just get a good steel door too.
    Adams County Sport Handgunners Association - President

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