Range Construction- targets, advice, etc.
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Thread: Range Construction- targets, advice, etc.

  1. #1

    Range Construction- targets, advice, etc.

    As we begin construction our handgun range, we have more ideas than we could fit on 100 acres. We have began what will be a 50 yard long X 50 yard wide handgun range for teaching our courses. The stages of fire and target ideas change daily, not certain if this meets criteria for "congrats" or "condolences"....never the less, we are underway. If you have any advice from previous experience please share. If you have some surplus range gear, we'd be interested in hearing what you may have.
    Thanks in advance--- Scott

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  3. #2
    I would also like to hear from people who have ranges or experiences or ideas. I have the space, I need ideas. Right now, I have a tree for a backstop. Not ideal by any means, I know. Not even adequate. There are no public ranges anywhere near me, but I need to practice.

  4. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy Reist View Post
    I would also like to hear from people who have ranges or experiences or ideas. I have the space, I need ideas. Right now, I have a tree for a backstop. Not ideal by any means, I know. Not even adequate. There are no public ranges anywhere near me, but I need to practice.
    If you shoot the tree enough, you won't even have it because you will kill the tree.

    A range can be constructed. All it takes is money. I built a range on my land. It has a 20' berm backstop and side berms that slope down to about 15'. The range is only about 60' deep, but I built it for my pistol classes.

    I had to divert a ditch around the range to control the flow of water, so it would not enter the range. Total cost for the dirt work was around $2000 plus nine pallets of grass and water to get it going. I use portable target stands but have built a permanent backstop out of crossties, lumber and two types of backing board. I am planting trees around the range for shade, but they probably won't get big enough to shade me, but my kids will appreciate them.

    I know folks that have built a backstop out of crossties, but you have to stagger them so the bullets cannot pass through the cracks between the ties. And it takes a lot of crossties and you must be sure there is noting behind the backstop for a mile or so.

    Hope this helps.
    Certified NRA Instructor in Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Basic Shotgun, Personal Defense in The Home, Personal Defense Outside the Home and Refuse to Be a Victim.
    Oklahoma Handgun License Instructor; NRA Benefactor Life Member; NRA EVC, District 2, OK

  5. #4
    Yeah, the tree didn't look too good to start with. It looks worse now. By crossties, do you mean railroad ties?

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy Reist View Post
    Yeah, the tree didn't look too good to start with. It looks worse now. By crossties, do you mean railroad ties?
    That is correct. You can usually buy them at home improvement stores or at farm stores.
    Certified NRA Instructor in Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Basic Shotgun, Personal Defense in The Home, Personal Defense Outside the Home and Refuse to Be a Victim.
    Oklahoma Handgun License Instructor; NRA Benefactor Life Member; NRA EVC, District 2, OK

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabbitcreekok View Post
    That is correct. You can usually buy them at home improvement stores or at farm stores.
    Or if you live near a railroad, they always have someone nearby that sells the old ones on the cheap. Old tires also works well as backstop material...stack them on their sides as high as you need and cover them with dirt.
    If you are going to hang paper targets, instead of using a lot of wood backdrop to staple the target to, I've seen something else that is unique. Take two 2x8's and hang them horizontally with three feet of vertical clearance between them. In the three feet gap, hang plastic fence meshing. Use spring loaded clothes hooks to hang the paper targets to the plastic mesh. The mesh will last a good while and is cheap to replace (compared to using plywood). Just one reminder... don't shoot at the 2x8's and you won't ever have to replace them until they rot out... this really saves on wood replacement costs.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote."
    ~ Benjamin Franklin (maybe)

  8. #7
    We've got about a dozen of them and they're getting ready to completely replace at least 50 miles of railroad ties here so there should be plenty for sale. How tall and how deep should they be stacked?

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy Reist View Post
    We've got about a dozen of them and they're getting ready to completely replace at least 50 miles of railroad ties here so there should be plenty for sale. How tall and how deep should they be stacked?
    A lot depends on what you plan to shoot at the backstop and what is behind. A minimum is two ties thick, with the second row staggered to cover the cracks between the first row. The standard for a backstop is usually 20 feet high and remember you need a U shaped range with stops on the side. They should be 15 feet high. These numbers are from memory. Some research would give you the best figures to use.

    So much depends on what is around the range where you are shooting. We have had two incidents here in Oklahoma where people were killed by rounds fired and they hit and killed the victims and the shooters did not even know they had hit anyone. Or even knew that anyone was around.
    Certified NRA Instructor in Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Basic Shotgun, Personal Defense in The Home, Personal Defense Outside the Home and Refuse to Be a Victim.
    Oklahoma Handgun License Instructor; NRA Benefactor Life Member; NRA EVC, District 2, OK

  10. #9
    That all sounds reasonable, a great big pile of dirt sounds easier. What we will be shooting are .22, .380, .38, and 9mm pistols. No rifles. Now I have another stupid question. About how far will these go if they don't hit anything? There is absolutely nothing for one mile. Then there's a seldom traveled road, then another mile of nothing. They will probably be shot straight at a height of about four to five feet.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy Reist View Post
    That all sounds reasonable, a great big pile of dirt sounds easier. What we will be shooting are .22, .380, .38, and 9mm pistols. No rifles. Now I have another stupid question. About how far will these go if they don't hit anything? There is absolutely nothing for one mile. Then there's a seldom traveled road, then another mile of nothing. They will probably be shot straight at a height of about four to five feet.
    A great big pile of dirt is the very best thing to use for a backstop and don't forget about the sides leading up to the backstop. A range should be a great big pile of dirt shaped line a U. Research on ballistics will tell you how far the various rounds will carry.

    I know you plan to shot straight at a height of four to five feet, but all things do not go as planned. The recommended height for a backstop is 20'.
    Certified NRA Instructor in Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Basic Shotgun, Personal Defense in The Home, Personal Defense Outside the Home and Refuse to Be a Victim.
    Oklahoma Handgun License Instructor; NRA Benefactor Life Member; NRA EVC, District 2, OK

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