I'd like to build a small shooting range


Big Larry
March 31, 2006, 02:02 PM
Looking for some information. Brainstorming if you will. I have 10 acres, and would like to build a safe area to do some practicing and plinking. I'd like to be able to have at least a 200 yd range, which I have space for. My concerns are how to ensure I trap all bullets. My thoughts at the moment are in the infancy stage. Railroad ties and dirt embankments in a fanned out mode. (is this making sense?) Yes, I do have neighbors within seeing distance, but I have a lot of mesquite trees between us. But, not enough to stop bullets. That's why I want to trap everything.

Any other thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

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March 31, 2006, 02:24 PM
We're looking at property around here, which is all pretty flat. When we looked at a place that was just dead flat, I commented to my wife that I'd never be able to put in a range. She thought about it and suggested that since we'd probably dig a new basement for the structure, I could probably have a pit with one sloped side dug, shooting from the top of the slope down into the back of the pit. It would mean shooting at a slight downhill, but the backstop would be very solid. Another thought, though more expensive, would be to put in a cement culvert in a trench. Pretty hard to get large enough diameter for a long range like you are proposing, but a possibility for shorter distances.

Big Larry
March 31, 2006, 02:36 PM
I like that culvert idea. That's a good thought. I'll keep it in mind. If I wind up and use it, I'll be sure and let you know how it goes. I like it.

March 31, 2006, 03:14 PM
Snailtraps are a good way to go if you want to catch everything to keep it out of the dirt and recycle.

And its enviromentally friendly.



Chuck R.
March 31, 2006, 03:37 PM
I have put a 100-300 meter range with a 30-meter pistol range on my 40 acre property. I kind of lucked out though because I own a portion of ground that slopes upward from my 10 acre pond dam. I use the 200 meter dam as my “shoot lane”, and I put in a firing point on the hill where my house will sit (some day) and that gets me 300 meters straight line, downward slope. I had a contractor come in a dig out part of the hillside to establish a backstop and he then graveled in my 30 x 30-meter pistol range. Due to the natural slope and property line I ended up with close to a 25-Foot tall backstop. That, and no neighbors behind me, and I’m all set.

I went with a single large backstop, and moveable target stands for each distance. I simply built each target stand height to ensure that the bullet impacts would be COM on the berm.

The club I belong has the same problem that you do, nice flat ground. They ended up building 20 ft dirt embankments as backstops for each range. The only problem will be the cost. The contractor that did the range work and some work on my dam was fond of saying: “Dirt’s free, but getting here is what’s gonna cost ya.”

You can also elevate your firing positions. This will help with the safety factor (angle) and also with mirage and you won’t have to keep your grass like a golf course if you do a lot of prone practice.


March 31, 2006, 05:00 PM
for several years. I have 9 acres but there are neighbors close enough that anything more than a 22 might cause problems. Hard to tell though because new year's eve sounds like a war. My neighbor across the road has 100 acres and he said I could shoot over there but I would have to build the range. If I use a piece of culvert at the bench and shoot into a sandhill with another larger piece of culvert, I should be ok. My property is dense with trees but the only time you hit a tree is when there is one between you and the deer......chris3

March 31, 2006, 05:15 PM
You can make the culvert things work for you. Put them NEAR the shooting point so you will be limiting the bullet travel at the start. Shoot THROUGH them at the target. Too much visible target? Put window on bench side of the culvert. If it can't ....start out .... too high, it ain't gonna go up once it's through the thing. Might even be able to use smaller pipe if you can see the target through them.

March 31, 2006, 06:22 PM
Your real concern is accidental high shots and ricochets. This is what I recommend. Build a wall 8 feet high with a horizontal slit 1 foot high, about 4 feet off the ground. Build identical walls at 10 feet and 30 feet. Then at a distance of 100 yards, build a 15 foot tall backstop. Shooting through these slits should guarantee that no bullets fly over the backstop. This will limit you to 12" of drop at 100 yards.

Otherwise, if there are people in the area behind your backstop within the theroretical range of your ammunition, it would be unethical and unwise to shoot under those conditions.

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