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Posted: 4/15/2007 10:41:10 AM EDT
Well gents, I just purchased 10 acres in Lafayette County. I have a lot of work to do to the house, etc. before I start on the shooting range. Once I can stand to live in the house, I will begin piling up dirt to construct some berms.

I have some time to ponder what I'm going to do, so I thought I'd ask a group of guys who are shooting enthusiasts like myself for ideas. What are things that you'd do if you were building a personal range?

I plan to build it for CQB type shooting, but want something that is mutli-purpose (about a 50-75 yard range). If anyone has built one or has some ideas, please feel free to respond. I'd really like to get some input; lay out, construction material ideas, and etc., so my range turns out great!
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 11:17:13 AM EDT
Personally for a CQ range I'd built it in a "T" shape, with the entrance at the bottom of the T and everything else enclosed with very high berms.

Then you can put whatever you want in the middle of the "T" and have the option of turning either left or right to move further. It would give you alot of flexibility as you came up with different scenarios to play through.
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 2:26:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/15/2007 2:32:45 PM EDT by Officer960]
Yeah, ten acres is not big enough for a firing range complex à la CMMG's place. It's plenty amble for a small, personal 50-75 yard shooting range that will occupy about 1/2 acre. BTW: 1 acre = 1 football field (minus the end zones) Not trying to be a smart ass, I didn't know what an acre was "size wise" until I started looking for land.

Sorry, I didn't give more info regarding the property in my original post. I plan to go 20 or so feet in height for the berms. Buddy with a bull dozer and berm building experience is on standby. He has already scoped out my land to help pick the best area for the range and dirt pushing, etc. I am well over 1000 feet from anyone, and there is nothing but wide open fields and woods to the north/east/west of me; it’s MO DOC public hunting land (where incidentally people shoot rifles).

I'm looking for ideas regarding the layout of the actual range to give me the most versatility. Also looking for things I might not have thought of, like to place a small shed/building to store heavy metal targets nearby.

I'm really interested in ideas anyone has regarding rigging some type of (cheap) turning target system.

Edited after I thoroughly read Duke's post.
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 3:19:51 PM EDT
Well here's my idea for your range. You can put a "shoot house" made of scrap wood frames, a couple of old doors and sheets or plastic tarps in the middle of the "T", and have about a 230 degree arc of firing, with the option of exiting the shoot house either to the left or right. If you actually go into the left or right branches of the T you actually have a 360 degree firing arc to work with, assuming you're alone and running these drills all by yourself.

Its really simple but the possiblities for what you could do in there are endless.



As far as cheap turning targets, there are some that are simple to make, you just have to pull a (very long) line to turn them. Its best to have a partner manipulate the line (from behind you) at random.

Another fun setup for targets is the thoracic cavity balloon. Basically you blow up a balloon and tape it to the back of your target in the vital area, then tape the balloon to the target backing. It takes thick tape like duct tape to do it. Anyway, when you hit the thoracic cavity, the balloon bursts and the target either falls down to the ground, or swings from a little strand of ballon that didn't tear all the way. In any case that's a great setup for "shoot at the vital area until the threat ceases" training, and it doesn't cost much except for the time it takes you to air up the balloons.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:19:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2007 6:21:51 AM EDT by Officer960]
Thanks Mike, I appreciate your input and diagrams.

I added some pictures to help give an idea of the "lay of the land".




The top picture is the property showing how it lays in relation to the conservation land to the north. The range will point north. The bottom picture is a closer shot of the property.

Orange = rough property line
Yellow = proposed range location
Blue = proposed enlarged pond

Thanks again to everyone for posting ideas and I look forward to more!
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 5:28:16 PM EDT
I would go with 20 feet + the height of the highest target for berms. It may seem like a PIA now, but if a round goes out you wont think so. And I think you need alot more land for a range.

Link Posted: 4/18/2007 9:55:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2007 9:57:26 PM EDT by Officer960]

Originally Posted By paul1911:
I would go with 20 feet + the height of the highest target for berms. It may seem like a PIA now, but if a round goes out you wont think so. And I think you need alot more land for a range.



20+ foot berms - check

A lot more land - Several people have weighed in about the land issue. Believe me I wish I had more, but I’m working with my SWM income. So, can someone please explain to me why I need more land if I have adequate berms and no neighbors to the north, which as I’ve stated is hunting land where high power rifles are shot without berms?

Again, it's going to be a private range, Population: me. There won't be any yahoo's playing grab ass there.



This diagram is done to scale.

Berms = 20 ft
Shooter = 6' 5"

You'd have to intentionally shoot over the berm within 20 yards (which is where 95% of my shooting will be done) or extremely careless, which I’m not. Anything farther than that will be even more carefully aimed.

Is there something that I’m missing here or what?
Link Posted: 4/19/2007 11:43:34 AM EDT
I think the easy way of accomplishing what your looking for on the land you got would be to build a large U shaped berm. You could figure out the size needed
Link Posted: 4/19/2007 1:23:45 PM EDT
Without actually knowing the lay of the land... IE the grade.... does it slope up hill toward the CA? if so you can dig into that grade and get part of your berm for free...
then use that excavated earth to make higher berms.... make sure you compact your material for the berms While I like Mikes plan I think you are looking for a simpler range.... not 360 so that said it is not too tough to make a square or rectangle....
you can also help build up berms with old tires filled with dirt..... but make sure you can compact the earth berms.... cool things can be done...
Link Posted: 4/19/2007 7:09:25 PM EDT
Thanks for the further input guys. Anyone have any ideas where I can get some cheap (inexpensive) metal targets? Is Metalman still around? IIRC he used to construct them.


Originally posted by AK4784 I think the easy way of accomplishing what your looking for on the land you got would be to build a large U shaped berm. You could figure out the size needed


I liked what Duke suggested, but agree with you that it’s a little much for such a small range. I think a simple U shape would suit me best. I’m going to go with the K.I.S.S. principle on this one.

AFSOC – thanks for the input. There is a natural slope that will aid in not having to move so much dirt. The guy who is going to doze the area for me built an outdoor shooting range for the PD and its held up very well. He came out with me and we spotted this area as the easiest spot for him to achieve the tallest berms.

liquidcooled - I have plenty of fallen trees in the wooded area to the east, however I think I’m going to go hunting for some old railroad ties. I have a connection or two there and it’d end up looking a lot better. If not, trees it is.

Trent – man, long time no hear. You acclimated to your new job yet? I’ll give you a call soon! My new job, two houses, etc. is kicking my A$$!
Link Posted: 4/19/2007 8:35:26 PM EDT
yeah Marshall is still around.... he is holding 3 poppers for me... he is out in wellsville... hit him with a PM....
Link Posted: 4/20/2007 1:13:34 AM EDT
Hell yes, snap a few pics when you done!
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 7:18:31 PM EDT
im in the same boat, i need some ideas and help planning a range on my family's property

these are some pictures of the property





Link Posted: 4/22/2007 8:07:10 PM EDT
SO excuse my ignorance but 20FT berms Shit thats HIGH, I mean really thats really freaking high. Is there some mathmatical equation for figuring it or is that just what everyone says to do and people keep saying it? Most of the shooting ranges I have been to dont even come close to that. And I know a ton of people that have ranges set up on thier land with just a back stop built, It sounds like this guy is trying to make a nice shooting range but 20' would cost a ton of money, I just would not go that High probably ten feet with trees logs whatever piled on top.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 9:33:13 PM EDT
bh5505 - looks like you have a lot larger plot than I to play with. Lucky you! How many acres is that?


Originally posted by 69camaro
SO excuse my ignorance but 20FT berms Shit thats HIGH, I mean really thats really freaking high. Is there some mathmatical equation for figuring it or is that just what everyone says to do and people keep saying it? Most of the shooting ranges I have been to dont even come close to that. And I know a ton of people that have ranges set up on thier land with just a back stop built, It sounds like this guy is trying to make a nice shooting range but 20' would cost a ton of money, I just would not go that High probably ten feet with trees logs whatever piled on top.


69camaro - I agree with you, its overkill. Most of the public (and private club) ranges have to do this for liability/insurance reasons. Some dip $hit will invariably be screwing around and shoot over a shorter berm. For someone to shoot over a berm 20 FT tall, they’d seriously have to be doing something asinine, this helps the “case” of the range. For us private range owners, if you are a careful shooter, and understand the limitations of your range, ten foot berms would suffice with a short distance (15 YD) range.

I'm going 20 ft because I can, due to the lay of my particular land. I've got a spot that has a great slope that can be cut out and leveled. The dirt removed to level it will go back up to the berm. It will only be 20 FT tall on the side facing the shooter. Also, luckily I have a friend who is donating his time and machinery (i.e. bull dozer and bobcat) to this project, or frankly it probably wouldn't happen.

Also, I'm simply not going to run the berm back all 50 YD of mine; there is no point. Any shooting on the move (read: shooting while I am actually moving) will be up at closer ranges.

Incidentally, I've talked to all the neighbors and everyone (all two of them) said they were surprised I asked. I made sure they understood there would possibly be FA on the range from time to time and they said, "Ah, no big deal. ol' Jimmy over there has lots of machine guns. He shoots 'em all the time." Somehow, I doubt Jimmy has 20 foot berms on his range.
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