I'm now at the point where it's time to design and construct the shooting range on the property I purchased earlier this summer. Please review these parameters and ideas, and then add your $0.02.
1) Safety is priority number one.
2) We have a very good backstop (small hill) and anything that overflies the hill will land far from any buildings or people.
3) Looks like we can accomodate a hundred yard distance without any problem, although I haven't measured any distances yet. At farther distances like 100 yds., I shoot AR15, SKS, old bolt action military rifles like M44, etc. I don't see getting into a .50 cal, although I can see getting a muzzleloader someday.
4) I want to put in a shorter range for handgun, .22 plinking, etc. We want to have something for kids that doesn't involve a long distance. What distance is best for this?
5) The range has to accomodate trap shooting.
6) Eventually we want to build a small shooting house but I will need help with that. I think that project is too big for just my son and I to do alone.
7) I bought some treated 6x6 and 4x6 posts at an auction that I intend to use for the target stands. Figure they will stand up to lots of errant shots over the years.
I've been spending a lot of time out there lately clearing brush and building deer blinds, so if anyone wants to take a look and give me some advice, just let me know and we can arrange to meet. The property is about 6 miles south of Loogootee or about 16 miles north of Jasper. The logging road up to the site of the range is not automobile friendly.
As things are always bigger in Texas, here's a shooting range, off Dad's back porch at the farm:
I was gonna suggest ya use steel for targets as a can of white and can of yellow Krylon make for quick fix of targets, but as we use paper at 100 for zeroing, see no need for steel on your 100 yard range......
BTW, farthest target on range above is 800 yards.
Looks like the ducks better 'duck'!
Well, seeing as how I only live about 30 miles or so from Loogootee, I can probably offer a helping hand sometime. That is, when I'm not deer hunting myself.
25 yards is a good depth for a pistol/short range. If you have a high enough backstop you won't have to worry about pistol bullets bouncing over it if it's only 25 yards away. Shotgun pellets disperse and drop at a relatively short distance. On a manual clay thrower (on a decent mount) with a moderate arc, the clays only travelled 20-30 yards ( at the club I used to manage).
If you want to build a nice range and if you're an NRA member, you can contact the NRA. They have a whole group of people that will give you ideas and assistance.
It would be nice to have a single covered, cement pad that you could use to shoot from for all distances. For handgun and rimfire I would set up a good berm at 25 yards. I would buy a set of falling plates from Blackwater Lodge. The hill is your 100 yard backstop. At 50 and 75 yards, in line with the hill, I would sink pairs of PVC pipe in the ground, too be used for target holders (2x2 legs). I would also put swinging steel plates at various distances for a simple reactive type of target. You hear the hit and see the plate move.
On the main covered pad I would eventually set up 2 cement tables and a small equipment shed.
On the large hill I would build earth berms to the left and right of the target area. Probably get some old railroad ties to put on the hill, horizontally.
From the main covered positon I would also start to build a "5 stand" type of clay set up, adding to it every year!! That berm at 25 yards could be the start of a good covered position for additional throwers from incoming shots.
Eventually I would set up other clay positions around the 100 yard area cleared for the range.
I would add a shooting tower by the main shooting pad.
I would try to see if I could get power out to my covered position/shed, then see what clay throwers I buy! I would eventually move in to the shed and let my wife have the house on the hill.
I would recruit guys like me, preferably Republicans, to help set it up in return for letting them use it!
I would contact the NRA for their info too.
In your case I would also consider it as a possible spot for fund raisers, like a Turkey shoot. Clear enough room for a large tent with portable propane heaters.
This idea is definitely in the plan. It's gonna be tough though since the rugged, off-road location won't permit access to a ready-mix truck. I'll have to buy a bunch of sackrete and get a gas powered mixer. Fortunately there is a pond right next to the range site where I can draw water.
I am reluctant to add any more berms since the site is remote and the area between the hill and the concrete pad is part of the watershed for the pond. If you saw the site, you'd understand what I am talking about. The hill should be all the berm necessary.
I'm going to use heavy timbers for the holders and install steel plates. We like reactive targets!
Cement tables will be too heavy unless there is a way to cast them in place. I will probably build heavy wooden tables and assemble them onsite.
This is optimal, but very expensive. Way too expensive for me at this time. Also the hill is steep and to tear it up with a dozer or backhoe will invite erosion and silting in of the pond.
That part sounds like phase 10 of a 10 part project!
I've thought about the same thing...holding fundraisers on the range. First I have to improve the access because right now if it is raining, a 4x4 truck is the only way, besides walking, anyone is getting up there. In the meantime, if I can get some help, we will schedule an ARFCOM outing when there is something to shoot at!
Thanks for all the ideas. Much appreciated!