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Posted: 1/3/2006 7:09:09 PM EDT
I'm thinking about opening an indoor shooting range here where it is very cold in the winter and very windy year around. I'm really interested in the pro and cons of owning and operating an indoor range. I'm particularly interested in the rules and regs especially concerning ventilation and insurance. Any input would appreciated.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 7:42:05 PM EDT
Same here. I was thinking of throwing $20k into such an enterprise with a few friends, and would have already if another venture I was invested in hadn't gone tits up.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 7:45:35 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 7:46:27 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 7:48:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2006 7:49:37 PM EDT by www-glock19-com]
double tap
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 7:49:24 PM EDT
tag
Been trying to get the boss intrested for years
however this is a good source

Rangeinfo.org
mainly outdoor info though
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 7:51:23 PM EDT
I'm actually livivng in a area that I know could make money off one and I'm trying to figure out why no one has.

There must be local codes that make it too much $$$.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 7:57:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2006 7:58:34 PM EDT by Boom]
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 8:02:17 PM EDT
I was looking into that as well...I think I am in an area that would thrive on an indoor range....

My preliminary research shows that the cost is much greater than I had thought....I contacted...and I cannot remember the name of the company but they are based in Utah...the cost of a bullet trap 50 feet wide is about 400k....yes...that is correct...400k not a typo....there are other alternatives such as the ground up tire backstops but the long term cost of cleaning and clearing hotspots is greater than the initial outlay of the 400K for about 10-12 lanes assuming 3.5-5 foot lanes.

On top of that there is the ventilation as you mentioned....these folks recommended an outfit from the midwest and for that you are looking at another sizeable outlay of cash....



Link Posted: 1/3/2006 8:10:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2006 8:10:29 PM EDT by DasRonin]
About 5 years ago I supervised the installation of a four position 25 yard firing range into a government building. I operated the range until I retired in November. It had computer controlled targets and a compressed rubber backstop.

It cost between 300 and 400K to build, and it cost about 3k to rebuild the backstop each time. It did not take a lot of use to "consume" the backstop.

I could see someone easily spending 2 mil on an indoor range. Maintenance is also expensive with epa scrubdowns needed on a regular basis.

good luck
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 8:16:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 8:16:13 PM EDT
The local range that just opened up near me is decent. They had an article in the paper that said the two guys that opened it (lawyers), invested 1,000,000 in the building and range in order to comply with air-quality standards and a safe bullet trap system.

Better have deep wallets, me thinks.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:03:38 PM EDT
Thanks for the input guys. I'm really thinking that something like an indoor/outdoor setup similar to what the Air Force has up here has might be a better way to go. I think if I installed a heated concrete floor instead of, or in addition to overhead radiant heat, it might not be too expensive. I really want something that will allow people to shoot that is out of the wind though. This is literally the windiest city in the country. 40-50mph gusts are not at all uncommon. I'm thinking something enclosed on 3 sides with a wall 3' high in front with walls on both sides of the shooting "alley" and some kind of slats above to stop wind turbulence. Would I be able to get away from the air quality problems with a set up like this?
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:13:08 PM EDT
I think Captnpooby helps manage a shooting range.

Patty
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:20:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Boom:
... The range I ran went with Rangetech. It was a real bitch to keep up and running. ...


The NRA Indoor Range here in Northern Virginia also uses RangeTech.

On paper, it sounds like a great system.

In reality, maintenance is incredible. In addition to simple repairs that their own employees do to damaged or failed equipment, they have to bring in a RangeTech contractor at least twice a month for more involved repairs.

Admittedly, a major problem for the NRA range is that it’s 50 yards, which makes the bullet trap hard to hit (or, more accurately, makes the electrified carrier rail easy to hit – bringing the lane down).

The fact that there are all sorts of clueless shooters with AR’s, AK’s and such blasting away on the range doesn’t help.

There’s got to be easier ways to make money!!
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 10:36:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wirebrush:
...Would I be able to get away from the air quality problems with a set up like this?


I’m no expert, but I’d think that would get you out of needing a proper ventilation system. Still you may encounter other state or local ordinance issues since then the lead from your range isn’t being captured.

A few idle thoughts:

A ventilation system for an indoor range should have its intake behind the shooters and the exhaust near the backstop. This means the moving air will take the lead, smoke, etc. downrange away from the shooter. The moving air must be under enough pressure to accomplish this, which will require some big fans. If not heated, this moving air can be pretty cold. Obviously, the range must be fairly well sealed up to avoid leaks and maintan the proper air flow. The exhaust air must be filtered before being discharged or re-used.

An outdoor range doesn’t need this, but does need a clear area downrange for bullets that miss the backstop. This means a lot of land! You might be able to get around this with bulletproof baffles above the range to prevent bullets from escaping.

I’ve never seen moving carriers (that move the target from the shooters position downrange to whatever distance they want) for an outdoor range. I’d think exposure to the elements would be an issue here.

However, if you don’t have moving carriers, you’ll have to periodically call a cease-fire so shooters can walk downrange and change their targets. This is a major pain for everybody involved.

You can avoid a lot of expense by requiring lead-free ammo on your range. However, this makes the range dramatically less usable. (IMHO, this approach is really suitable only for LE agencies.)

Keep in mind that existing ranges in your area may be grandfathered. A new range might not be able to duplicate their construction.

Research everything thoroughly before doing anything! A gunstore started up business not too far from me recently with the intent of later adding a range. They’ve since been told they can’t since they’re in the flight path of nearby airport. They’re now looking to move!
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 4:59:01 AM EDT
Never operated one but I knew the owners of one pretty well and got to pick their brains on it...

Lots of issues to contend with.

1st) Cost...look around for places going out of business and see about buying whatever old equipment they have (target carriers and bullet traps esp)

2) EPA/OSHA regs...cleaning up the range, EVERYBODY wears a GOOD mask, HEPA filters on vac's, waste gets disposed of as toxic material. Frequent blood tests for lead for everybody.

3) Bullets leaving the range...Unless you're way out in the middle of a HUGE plot of land, you better control all the bullets fired on that range...just ONE getting out can result in a lawsuit that will not only shut you down for good, but ruin you financially...Near a populated area, you won't even get a permit most likely if it's open to the outside at all. Also factor in noise control.

4) Business plan: Don't count on selling JUST range time to people to make ends meet, you need a solid retail side of the business. This means sell products that people want, not just guns but accessories to them. i.e. Get an FFL...The range will draw people in, having guns to purchase lets them have a place to shoot them...it's a self-feeding circle. Training and competition...People can come there to get training, that's your chance to show them how much fun it can be to shoot REGULARLY...you want regular's for a steady income. Note that selling what people WANT, doesn't necessarily mean what YOU think they want, or even what's BEST...lots of folks want cheap, not premium stuff. have Guns to rent. Companies offer special discounts to places that rent their guns, $5 for a gun rental and they MUST shoot YOUR ammo (none of their reloads or outside ammo, to protect your rental guns)...you make a little on the gun and a little on the ammo...

5)Competition, hold competitions every month that are FUN for people...the range I frequented held bowling pin match's every week in a bay that spectators could watch (heavy bulletproof glass windows)...they cleared at least $1000 on JUST that every week. Eventually people got bored with it and it died out.

Around 10+ years ago it cost them around $1M to open the place. 2 years later the owner told me they were more than breaking even on the payments...after another 3 years they got greedy and started milking even their regulars and screwing them over. Closed soon after.

Better plan on NOT turning a profit for at LEAST a couple of years while you get established.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 5:23:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Boom:

Originally Posted By DasRonin:
About 5 years ago I supervised the installation of a four position 25 yard firing range into a government building. I operated the range until I retired in November. It had computer controlled targets and a compressed rubber backstop.

It cost between 300 and 400K to build, and it cost about 3k to rebuild the backstop each time. It did not take a lot of use to "consume" the backstop.

I could see someone easily spending 2 mil on an indoor range. Maintenance is also expensive with epa scrubdowns needed on a regular basis.

good luck



Das I see you went with Rangetech for your carriers. They have a good system if you can keep the tracks clean and the computers running. The range I ran went with Rangetech. It was a real bitch to keep up and running. We did around 500 to 600 shooters per week.



I did not pick Rangetech. GSA picked them without consulting with me. The last month on the job the computer totally failed to communicate with the shooting booths. Communications problems was a common problem, but it was usually isolated to one or two booths that was only an occasional problem. It finally went totally deaf, dumb & blind. I had more problems after the computer upgrade and the IR remote never worked. I never had trouble with the tracks. My constant problem was communication issues between the computer and the booths. There were issues from the very beginning. I was not pleased with the customer service. I will limit my comments to this! No longer my problem!!!
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 5:30:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/4/2006 5:32:45 AM EDT by PBIR]
I helped to manage a 25 yard range until March of this year. We used shredded tires to trap/decelerate the round & about an inch of steel plate behind that. Then a walkway of about 3' wide and a cinder block back wall. The range was previously owned and there were a few punctures in the plating that had to be patched. No penetration of the cinderblock though. I can only guess the rounds used the overwhelming majority of their energy to get through the backstop.

The biggest drawback to that system is the cleaning. 1-2 times a year you have to pull all the material out to gather and remove the lead & jacketing. As you might guess, very nasty job. The shredded material is pretty robust but the owner was in the process of putting in new material after 2 years (about $10K IIRC).

I didn't handle the insurance aspect but I know we were looking at opening a paintball killhouse nextdoor and the ins. was going to cost more for that than for the range.

We had 9 lanes and ran 3 industrial air filters. Again, I can't tell you the model specifics but the intakes were about 2.5' wide and 1.5' tall. The intakes were right behind the firing line and the filters were ported behind the backstop. Here is a good read on the subject of adequate ventilation to start with.

We sold 3 levels of memberships & also had a walk-in fee. In addition to the range, we had a FFL and a retail outfit in the front. If you have any other specific questions feel free to IM me.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 5:31:18 AM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:26:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wirebrush:
Thanks for the input guys. I'm really thinking that something like an indoor/outdoor setup similar to what the Air Force has up here has might be a better way to go. I think if I installed a heated concrete floor instead of, or in addition to overhead radiant heat, it might not be too expensive. I really want something that will allow people to shoot that is out of the wind though. This is literally the windiest city in the country. 40-50mph gusts are not at all uncommon. ?



You live in Livingston I bet.

the math doesn't work.
I did this exercise for Bozeman (more people, more money to spend)
Be honest, most people in Montana go outside, even when ti's COLD. so, let's say 6 months are pretty much gone. Hunting season is gone. maybe 4 to 5 months of solid shooting where you are the only option. and really only in the evenings, because most people work during the day. Sure, you can get cops to come in, but really, how much business is that? it's not like ti's NYC or something with cops everywhere.
And I believe there's an outdoor range in Livingston that's pretty cheap, and the one down by Manhatten/3 Forks is only like $50 a year.

and to compete with that you need to spend at least a million bucks.
There's a reason most ranges are way out of the city.

Brian
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:28:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By www-glock19-com:
tag
Been trying to get the boss intrested for years
however this is a good source

Rangeinfo.org
mainly outdoor info though



In Fremont?
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