Build-my-own Firing Range help
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Thread: Build-my-own Firing Range help

  1. #1

    Build-my-own Firing Range help

    Hi all,

    I'm new to the group and think this is awesome. I live on a 5-acre property with a 44x84 pole barn that I want to set up a firing range in, mainly for handguns. This would be for personal use plus a few friends, not for general public use. I live outside city limits and am currently checking on what county requires so those bases are covered. What I mainly need is any input regarding inexpensive materials to use for the backdrop. I've read other forums and most discuss outdoor ranges which won't work for my location. I really don't want to bring in a few tons of dirt to use either. I know there are commercial materials/backdrops etc as well but my budget is limited. I have 2 one-ton bales of hay but I'm not sure about the stability of that, especially after a few hundred rounds have started to break the hay down.

    Any suggestions about backdrop materials is appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2.   
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sunny South Florida
    Posts
    486
    Good luck with your venture, I have little real information to help however remember how important it is to have sufficient ventilation in an indoor range. Gunfire creates many nasty gases and other dangerous emmissions which need to be adequately exhausted to keep from slowly killing yourself.

    If it is cold outside, you may decide to close up the doors and find you have far less than sufficient natural airflow to do the job so be certain you figure the requirements equipment and installation of ventilation in your project.

  4. #3
    Yes, ventilation and sound insulation are both factors as well as ricochet protection. I do have neighbors about 100 yards away. I just talked to the sheriff's department and what I want to do is legal, I just have to minimize noise so I don't generate complaints. I am proficient in carpentry so I can basically frame in an enclosed area inside the barn, insulate it well, then put the backstop at the other end. Doesn't look like it's going to be a low-budget venture to do it right. :-) But it would pay for itself after a couple years considering what gun clubs charge to use their facilities. Keep shooting!

  5. #4
    The expense and complexity coincide with how much time you wish to spend maintaining your back drop. Something as simple and inexpensive (initially anyway) as a couple of rows of 1" OSB sub-flooring would be sufficient to stop handgun bullets. (I sometimes find them lodged in the first sheet of OSB.) Of course, this would require you to periodically replace the OSB and clean up a mess of wood chips.

    Also, obviously if you plan on shooting a rifle, you'll need to significantly beef up the layers of OSB.
    The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. - Thomas Jefferson

  6. #5
    utimmer43: Yes, I thought about just using layers of wood. This would not be a rifle range, handgun only but up to 45auto so it still needs to be substantial. OSB is cheap so replacing it every once in awhile wouldnt be a big deal. I'm setup for framing, tools and all and they're even stored in the barn. Gears are whirring.....

  7. #6
    Out of curiosity, where are you located? I've heard that old tires are good for that, but i think you would need lots of them.

  8. #7
    I'm in north Idaho. Tires is an option I've read about as well. Thanks

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sunny South Florida
    Posts
    486
    Dang, thats a way from South Florida. Guess I won't be able to pop over on the weekend and help

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingoat61 View Post
    utimmer43: Yes, I thought about just using layers of wood. This would not be a rifle range, handgun only but up to 45auto so it still needs to be substantial. OSB is cheap so replacing it every once in awhile wouldnt be a big deal. I'm setup for framing, tools and all and they're even stored in the barn. Gears are whirring.....
    I'm picturing some sort of rack that would enable you to easily cycle the layers of OSB. IOW, once the front layer is getting pretty chewed up, you pull it out, move each sheet forward one position, and add a new one to the back. I sometimes find .357 sig FMJ rounds lodged in the first layer, so 2 or 3 layers would probably suffice. Just for overkill sake make it 6 layers (with 2" between each layer) and you're good to go. If a 4' x 8' area is smaller than you want, be sure to alternate the seams so that they don't line up.

    Hmm, I hadn't even considered doing this myself, but now my gears are turning.

    Make sure you post some pictures when it's finished.
    The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. - Thomas Jefferson

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cajun Land
    Posts
    367
    To get started, you can contact the NRA. That had some folks that would give info and assistance for opening and building public ranges. Don't know about personal range though.
    There's Something Goin' On Here, and it Ain't Funny!!!

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