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Posted: 11/24/2007 9:59:01 AM EDT
Hey brothers. As some of you may know, a buddy of mine and I are in the works of opening an outdoor range/Pro Shop down in Fort Polk Louisiana.

A new problem has surfaced. We have approx. 79 acres to work with. Now our problem is this, we will probably have to become earth movers to build these 15-20 ft. backstops. My question for you all is this:

Is there any way possible to create an artificial backstop, well not really artificial but something that could be used as a backstop rather than having to dig burms/and haul dirt from one location to the other?? I know its a long shot, but before we start getting bids to hire loggers/diggers I thought maybe some of you might have some idears that would pass code for such a thing??

If any of you brothers have any suggestions, well.....I am tasking them all downhanks Was a long day with my bottle of good ol Knob CreekKris/45Warrior
Link Posted: 11/24/2007 10:32:45 AM EDT
Here are a couple of thoughts:

You will going to want a layered impact berm. Rock in the center, covered with dirt, then lighter dirt then sand. You will be making the "classic" inverted V shape berm. I have seen indoor ranges that use a half V. The berm pushes out on the concrete wall and causes issues down the line (like the wall separating from the rest of the building). The advantages here are that the dirt can be sprayed with water to keep the natural and lead dust down, and can be mined to remove the lead and recycled. The bullets will stay more intact than a steal or concrete backstop.

The huge drawback to the dirt berm is it takes a lot of space. I'd consider Ecology blocks that lock together like giant Legos to separate the ranges from each other. These are 2'x4'x2' and weigh 500 pounds or so. Yes, you are going to need a backhoe, forklift, tow truck etc to move them, or cast concrete between the ranges. This will give you more range area so you can make more money (I am assuming you are doing this as a for profit business). These big heavy walls should also give you a way to hang overhead baffles when the need arises.

Personally I would plan on the entire range having to become an indoor range at some point. Yes, even rifle and shotgun. The tree hugger's are coming up with some inventive ways of shutting or stopping ranges from operation. One Federal Case out of Idaho last year has a NO BLUE SKY policy, and Noise Restrictions on it.

NO BLUE SKY = You can not see any of the sky from any conscionable shooting position on the line. So they are going from an outdoor range with no baffles to being having baffles.

Noise Restrictions = The court set db levels and the number of shooters that could go through in a year. I will get this wrong it was something like 100db was 10,000 shooters a year (that is not 10,000 unique shooters, but 10,000 customers total for the year ever time a customer comes back that counts as 1 shooter), 80 db was 15,000; if they could get it to 50 dbs it was unlimited. 50dbs is very quiet, just above a whisper so that would mean it would have to be totally enclosed.

Good Luck, the US needs more ranges.
Link Posted: 11/25/2007 7:38:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 45Warrior:
Hey brothers. As some of you may know, a buddy of mine and I are in the works of opening an outdoor range/Pro Shop down in Fort Polk Louisiana.

A new problem has surfaced. We have approx. 79 acres to work with. Now our problem is this, we will probably have to become earth movers to build these 15-20 ft. backstops. My question for you all is this:

Is there any way possible to create an artificial backstop, well not really artificial but something that could be used as a backstop rather than having to dig burms/and haul dirt from one location to the other?? I know its a long shot, but before we start getting bids to hire loggers/diggers I thought maybe some of you might have some idears that would pass code for such a thing??

If any of you brothers have any suggestions, well.....I am tasking them all down

Thanks guys, Oh and Happy Late Bird Day!!!!! Was a long day with my bottle of good ol Knob Creek

Kris/45Warrior



Build some crosstie walls, and have the dirt hauled in for free!!! Put up a sign saying fill dirt wanted...
Link Posted: 11/25/2007 8:12:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/25/2007 8:14:22 AM EDT by 45Warrior]
Alot to consider brother! Thanks for sharring your knowledge. Good thing is there is no zoning laws down in La.his
Thanks again for sharring your thoughts brother!

45W.
Link Posted: 11/25/2007 8:13:55 AM EDT
Hey now.....Thats a thoughtht
Link Posted: 11/26/2007 8:52:05 AM EDT
45warrior, most of the outdoor backstops i've seen have been earthen berms 10'-15' high. some i have seen (one in Louisiana) have had wood beams (trees) buried in the berm as close together as possible and leaning slightly toward the shooter to prevent ricochets from going up and over the berm. they stuck out of the berm 8'-12', i'd guess.

you will need to either rent a bulldozer or hire it done. the bulldozer should be able to take down most of the trees in your way. you can then cut the trees to length and use them in the backstop.

i would begin w/ the inside of the berm (side that shooter will see), then place your trees and support them, then build your back berm, make it thick enough to keep your trees from falling over. then remove your tree supports.

as others have said you can bring in concrete blocks or build a concrete wall and then pile dirt inside of your concrete to catch the bullets. you have to look at which is cheaper, running the bulldozer to build larger berms or bringing in concrete blocks or pouring concrete and then running the bulldozer or loader to fill in the dirt. time to break out the calculator and do some math.
Link Posted: 11/26/2007 10:12:14 AM EDT
my uncle built his own berms for his personal shooting range by stacking tires on top of each other than putting a post through them and into the ground, then filling with dirt. Tire places will let you haul off the old tires for free...
Link Posted: 11/26/2007 10:48:16 AM EDT
Recycling old tires will work for the structural core of the berm. They can be "baled" or cabled together so they don't shift around. In building road fills with them, they are laid down, packed with dirt by the dozer and covered lightly and then the dozer "walks the fill in" by tracking over it. This way you can build your structural core and slopes as you go. Most loose fill - dirt, rubble and such - will naturally fall on about a 1/2:1 or a 2:1 slope. Building it by benching it as you go up (walking the layers in) will give you a compacted berm. Let the dozer run up and down the slope as a final compaction because this way his tread patterns are horizontal across the slope. The entire berm can be seeded down with a permanent seed mixture like bermuda and some lespedezas - then mulch it to cover the ground. Its good if you can find someone who can hydroseed/mulch since it'll stick the seed up there.

You can use logs and stumps in much the same way as tires but bear in mind, they may decay if water and oxygen can get to them so make sure they are covered and compacted well in the center of the berm. If there is good timber on the site, consider using it to pay for the berm/grading work and having some sawed up on site for buildings, etc.

Using a row of cedar trees about 2 deep across the top and back of the crest may help with ricochet problems some - it'll last longer than a log parapet but its not solid. If you can find old black locust logs, they'll last!

An investment for the range would be a Bobcat or Skid loader so you can keep the front/firing side dressed up as it wears down. Annual reseedings with something cheap like rye grain or annual rye grass (winter) or brown top millet (spring) help keep dust down and control erosion too.

Just my input and opinion - Don't know your sites terrain issues but hope this helps. its
Link Posted: 11/27/2007 6:41:08 AM EDT
Very helpful brother. Might just try both idears and see what we can come up with!!! Thanks again for your knowledge brothers. We want to do this right, plus its always getting info from other gun nutts that know there shizz.....lmaohanks
45W
Link Posted: 11/27/2007 6:59:40 AM EDT
You might also keep in mind that bullets that impact on the burm do no always stay in the burm. Military night fire ranges where tracers are used graphically illustrates this. So, some in city outdoor range have an heavy wooden awning or some type of over hang to capture the rounds launching up after impact.

Check out this example photo.

http://www.liberatorcrew.com/15_Gunnery/Training/20_Tracers.jpg
Link Posted: 11/28/2007 11:01:50 AM EDT
One thing you might want to find out about before you start using logs and timbers is whether termites will be a problem.
Link Posted: 12/1/2007 9:53:48 AM EDT
If you are looking for some inexpensive labor, find out if there are any engineering Reserve or National Guard Units near you.
Link Posted: 12/1/2007 7:14:23 PM EDT
+1 on that brother
Link Posted: 12/1/2007 7:15:42 PM EDT
Now thats a thought! Offer free lifetime memberships to those that give a hand. Nice thinking brother! Plus cash, ammo, and ofcourse mass quantaties of Knob Creek
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