building a private shooting range


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Omni04
June 21, 2005, 06:08 PM
Hmmm i was doing some thinking at work today. And please dont flame me because i don't know much about legalities or construction. but would it be possible to build your own one lane indoor handgun shooting range?


it could be 15 feet by 75 feet, maybe bigger or smaller. I have no idea what the legalities are, would you have to talk to the BATFE? I know theres laws and regulations about firing in city limits, would this still be considered illegal? What if you weren't in city limits? Id imagine the back end would have to be 12-18 inches of concrete, you would need ventalation as well. Plus good insulation to suppress some of the noise. How much would a project along these lines set one back? I was thinking around 10 grand, pending you don't have to hire any labor.

Im sure there posts regarding this but i couldn't find any on a search. Has anybody talked about making something like this? (I know preacherman has probably considered it, right after the ammo closet!)


any input outside of, its illegal, go away would be greatly appreciated. And if i make one you are all invited over! :)

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dolanp
June 21, 2005, 06:20 PM
It would greatly depend on the locality. I think city ordinances are your biggest concern. Also you'd be bound by homeowner rules if you live in a subdivision with an HOA. As far as I know the Feds have no involvement with shooting ranges.

If you're really considering it, the best person to ask would be a lawyer in your own city who can advise you of local rules. I know that's sort of a cheap answer but that's basically what it comes down to.

Omni04
June 21, 2005, 07:49 PM
hmmm well im glad the idea isn't too extreme for THR! :) i was mainly looking for building ideas. Would concrete even work? Im sure it would stop bullets, but it would chip and crack. What are indoor shooting ranges usually made out of? I remember i took a tour of the FBI headquarters and they showed us there shooting range. They were demonstrating an H&K and after the shoot the agent answered our questions. I asked if i could have the target and she signed it and everything!

anyway i was too young to worry about what the range looked like, and that has been my only experience with an inside shooting range.

Zundfolge
June 21, 2005, 07:57 PM
would you have to talk to the BATFE
No ... unless you where also going to open a gun shop to go along with the range.


You will have to check with your city and county government about zoning issues ... in general, if you're outside town you can shoot anywhere on your own property as long as you are shooting X distance from homes, roads, etc.



as for building, you might find some good info here http://www.nrahq.org/shootingrange/index.asp

Cesiumsponge
June 21, 2005, 08:06 PM
I hate repeating grapevine rumors, but I heard through one guy that claims he knew someone who built his own underground range by purchasing several commercial storage containers (those big ones hauled by 18 wheelers), hooking them together, then proceeding to dig a trench, drop them in, and bury them. I don't know the legalities but that might be an idea (if it turns out to be legal and feasible).

With that said, the actual difficulty and cost of doing that doesn't seem high at all. I would think you'd need to obtain a chunk of magnesium and bury it while it is electrically-connected to the containers so it wouldn't rust the containers itself. The walls are usually ribbed sheetmetal so you could easily attach baffles to the sides to deaden reverberation and reduce richochets. A backstop would be constructed of tires or whatnot and fear of penetrating the actual container would only result in bullets hitting buried soil. Ventilation wouldn't be too hard to rig up and it would be very quiet with respect to your neighbors. They might just think its some sort of bomb shelter.

Can'thavenuthingood
June 21, 2005, 08:23 PM
Here ya go. About 2 years ago these were $1700 per foot. Come in 8 foot modules.
http://www.snailtraps.com/

Or use a culvert, a really long culvert.

Vick

M2 Carbine
June 21, 2005, 08:55 PM
Like has been said above, it depends on where you live.
And it depends on how elaborate you want to make it.

I've been shooting in my back yard since 1967.
This has been the, pretty simple, pistol setup for a few years now.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Bell406_206B/Steeltargets.jpg

Omni04
June 22, 2005, 12:04 AM
wow so it isn't too outrageous of an idea? I like the bomb shelter shooting range that is such a great idea! :)

what is on the end of shooting ranges to stop the bullets? woud concrete even work since it will eventually crack and chip? or would that takes years? also would anybody be able to give me a ball park estimate on the price of the whole project? i know theres tons of variables, but would it be closer to 5grand or 15grand?

Cesiumsponge
June 22, 2005, 12:29 AM
Concrete would be subject to ricochet if it is anywhere near a 90 degree angle with respect to the shooter. An indoor range here uses what appears to be a loose shredded material piled up against the back wall at a 45 degree angle with a small partition wall in the front so the stuff doesn't spill everywhere.

I've seen shredded rubber stuff sold as "Supertrap" for this purpose and maybe that is the same stuff. The top few feet of the wall is also angled at 45 degrees the opposite way so that the backstop wall material and that top part of the wall are 90 degrees (hard to describe with words). If you have access to lots of tires and a shredder, you could probably make your own for free (though I don't know if you can get tires now without steel cords in them)

Sandbags work great too but might suffer in the long run if you can't figure out a way to keep the sandbags from emptying themselves once you shoot them up. Dirt is free though.

Some companies sell an angled steel plate setup that ricochets a bullet into an inescapable droptank that collects the pieces. However, I think using a hard backstop indoors can increase airborne lead when rounds hit the hard surface and break up.

I think two staggered layers of tire columns filled with sand against a wall would be an ideal cheapo DIY setup. Sand should be easily contained and when you shoot holes at rubber, it shouldn't leave holes big enough for sand to leak through since holes in rubber seem to close in on themselves.

*edit I just realized playgrounds sometimes have that shredded rubber covering instead of bark. It might cost less than that Supertrap stuff I saw.

Zundfolge
June 22, 2005, 12:36 AM
I've always thought it would be cool to get several lengths of 6' concrete pipe, dig a trench and bury it in the back yard butting up against the basement wall, then cut an opening into it from the basement.

put some sort of trap at the other end and viola ... indoor underground range :)


maybe a sheet of steel at a 45 deg angle over a 2-3' deep hole filled with sand or some other material.

kinda look like this (maybe my ascii art skills will pay off)

----\
|
|_|

hcker2000
June 22, 2005, 02:35 AM
Sand is a good bet aside from being messy. You could pile it up at the end of the range to the roof and that should be enough sand to stop it. The tires with sand inside all so sounds like some thing worth a try.

Red_SC
June 22, 2005, 10:35 AM
This is something I plan to do as well. I wouldn't do it in my basement, because I don't want airborn lead contamination inside my house. I just moved Saturday to a house with a 24X48 shop. Before too long, I want to put an indoor lane all the way down one side of it. My dad works at a steel mill, so I plan on getting steel plate from him for a backstop. I'll angle it 45 degrees down. I'm open to other ideas, though.

HankB
June 22, 2005, 10:51 AM
Precautions have to be taken so an errant shot won't endanger a neighbor or anyone else.

Bullet traps of various types are available - I remember they demo'd one a couple of years ago on the American Shooter cable TV show that was made out of chipped, compressed, and reshaped shaped old tires. Another type I remember reading about was based on the "snail drum" principle.

For .22 rimfire, a piece of 1/2" cold rolled steel, angled down at 45 degrees into a sand trap, will do the trick - trust me on this.

I'd try to separate the range from the "living" area of the house, due to lead contamination.

I seriously doubt people with their own indoor ranges even worry about local codes unless they're shooting something the neighbors can hear . . . more than one indoor range has been operated in a basement in places like Chicago and Minneapolis. :evil:

jobu07
June 22, 2005, 11:32 AM
Yeah, I know a few guys with bullet traps in their basement. Fun stuff to shoot once in a while. Not something you want to do with anyone else home though... :uhoh: Gets kinda loud in the rest of the house, so I hear...

If you are really concerned with the legalities, go to a town board meeting and ask the town/village/city fathers about any codes prohibiting it. If none, have at it! I think the idea of burying some shipping containers in your back yard sounds pretty neat.

M2 Carbine
June 22, 2005, 12:49 PM
Red_SC
This is something I plan to do as well. I wouldn't do it in my basement, because I don't want airborn lead contamination inside my house. I just moved Saturday to a house with a 24X48 shop. Before too long, I want to put an indoor lane all the way down one side of it. My dad works at a steel mill, so I plan on getting steel plate from him for a backstop. I'll angle it 45 degrees down. I'm open to other ideas, though.
-------------------------------------------------------

Red don't shoot at steel inside. Much of the bullet splatters into a fine lead dust cloud which coats everything around and fills the air with microscopic lead particles.

I tried a steel bullet trap in a 50 foot barn range. The lead dust cloud showing in the target spot light was scary so I moved outside.

Even shooting outside on a no wind day I give the lead dust a couple minutes to disperse before I change targets.

Omni04
June 22, 2005, 12:51 PM
Yea, whether neighbors hear it or not, as long as it doesn't exceed the legal decibal limit i thought be in the green. Id still want to have a few good inches of concrete on the end. Not for permanent protection against bullets, but in the event the tires or sand would fail. Out of curiosity, what did you mean when you said a couple layers of staggered tires?

Stack them horizontal and fill with sand, but then but one more set in front inbetween the previous ownes so it looks like a bowling alley?


OOOOOOOOOO
.OOOOOOOOO


like that right? That seems about right :) I wouldn't have to worry about 22 lr's bouncing back would i? :)

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