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Posted: 12/3/2011 5:04:46 PM EST
I had no idea which forum to put this in, because there doesn't seem to be one which addresses building one's own range.

A family member bought an 80 acre ranch in Colorado. Said family member wants to build a shooting range and, you guessed it, I am the "consultant." For now, at least.

80 acres sounds like a lot, when your house is on 0.1 acres. After visiting the property, I don't think it is nearly big enough to host a range.

The parcel is 5 miles outside a small town. Except for a small stream, the land is pancake-flat. Few trees, and those short and far between. The plot is an approximate 3:1 rectangle, ~350 yards by ~1100 yards, oriented north-south. Two sides are on county roads. The remaining sides border similar ranches, both occupied.

Obviously, berms would have to be constructed, as there is no natural backstop. So what happens when someone misses the berm? I've yet to send an ND clear over the berms at my club, but it could happen. Even if we could put the firing line at the extreme end of the parcel (we can't, there's a barn in the middle), 1100 yards is well short of the maximum range of all but the very weakest handgun rounds. Ricochets are yet another potential problem.

I just don't see it happening. Is there a safe way to build a range on 80 acres, given the absence of useful terrain features, trees, roads on two sides, and neighbors on the others?
Link Posted: 12/3/2011 5:39:42 PM EST
As you already mentioned ,you need a backstop.
You probobly have in mind building a little 8' high mound and that is why it seems unsafe, which it is. I would expect to end up with a pond and suggest a backstop 30'-40' high and 100' long to be safe at long ranges.
Link Posted: 12/3/2011 8:44:57 PM EST
Where does a pond come into it? The land owner wants to build a shooting range, not a fishing spot.
Link Posted: 12/3/2011 10:10:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By Objekt:
Where does a pond come into it? The land owner wants to build a shooting range, not a fishing spot.


Maybe thinking the dirt for the massive backstop will leave a hole on the property and will subsequently fill with water

Link Posted: 12/4/2011 3:59:27 AM EST
You might want to read this ...... http://www.nrahq.org/shootingrange/sourcebook.asp


It will answer most of your questions. Are you looking to keep this private or opening it up to the public one day? Lots to think about either way. If you go the commercial route I'd suggest someone attend an upcoming NRA Range Development and Operations Conference.


Link Posted: 12/4/2011 6:24:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/4/2011 6:29:18 AM EST by Objekt]
Strictly private use, which greatly simplifies the problem. Still, I'm thinking that the cost of building 40' berms will be sky-high.

Then there's the issue of drainage. All that dirt has to come from somewhere, too.

So far I've been reading a Department of Energy document on range design: DoE Range Design Criteria document
Link Posted: 1/21/2012 2:28:58 PM EST
I built mine as a pistol range, so there isn't a great amount of distance. The berms are about ten feet high and were created by scraping the range area level. Surrounded by woods and farmland, so not exactly the same situation you might find yourself in.

I agree on using that range construction book. I bought a copy about 10 years ago. It is a good resource.
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