Feasibility of an indoor range


April 27, 2003, 08:12 PM
What do you all think about the feasibility of a home indoor shooting range, say in the basement?

I have a basement that would probably be ok for shooting indoors, although some sort of backstop would have to be constructed. This would be for handguns only, of course.

If I were to open a window, however, too much noise would escape the house. How would proper ventilation be provided?

I think I have heard somewhere of someone setting up some sort of area for indoor shooting in their unfinished basement.

If there is a consensus that this would be safe, what sort of backstop could be used to completely stop bullets -- I assume it would have to be something multi-layered. There are different type of "walls" in my basement. Some are cinderblock, and some are dirt. It is a new addition to an old house.

Might this work, or not?


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Peter Gun
April 27, 2003, 09:00 PM
I think a lot will depend on your local evironmental laws and zoning. There are two houses in town here that have indoor ranges. Because of VT's relaxed zoning laws I beleive their only legal consideration is whether or not they cause a public nuisance.
If you dont have to worry about noise, then open windows with fans would probably suffice for ventilation unless otherwise regulated. You will have to have some sort of bullet trap. I dont think just shooting into targets would protect you from ricochet danger.
I know that commercial indoor ranges were recently legislated out of business here in VT. A new indoor clean air std was passed and with the amount of air that needs to be exchanged to meet that std, ranges became profitless because of the heating costs in the winter.

April 27, 2003, 09:14 PM
I don't care about environmental laws. The closest residence to me is probably 75 yards or so.

I think it would probably be prudent for someone to fire a pistol in the basement, and me be standing outside to see if it is going to be too loud.

I don't know how to rig up a "one time shot" type situation to see if the noise level is going to be controllable enough to make this happen.

I would really like to do this, but I definately won't unless I can ensure the noise level will be low enough.

This is going to be for my personal use only -- so screw environmental laws.

I'd say the likelihood of me realizing this project is about 10% - just because of the noise.


Greg L
April 27, 2003, 09:18 PM
A one time shot test could be done with a box full of phone books and 2x4's (alternating layers). Make sure whoever is firing the shot is accurate enough to hit the box though, you really don't want a bullet bouncing around the basement.

If the nearest house is 75 yards away I doubt if you will have too much of a problem with noise (if sealed up, windows open may be a different story - try it both ways).


April 27, 2003, 10:54 PM
Pulp egg carton material works well for sound proofing.

Music supply stores have 1 foot squares of soundproofing foam for about a dollar each.

Quilt padding hung over windows and doors works very well.

A good backstop would be old newspapers and phone books stacked up.

I shot a stack of old spiral notebooks with a hotloaded .44 mag FMC out of my win 94 carbine and it only penetrated about a foot.

We don't have basements where I live unfortunately or I would be doing the same thing.

Standing Wolf
April 27, 2003, 11:00 PM
It might be worth your while to make sure your locale doesn't have laws against discharging firearms within its jurisdiction and/or within X many yards of an occupied dwelling.

Firing through a plywood barrier into sand should solve the ricochet problem, although you'd have to replace the plywood from time to time.

If this site gets any slower, it's going to start going backweird! This is my ninth attempt to post this comment!

April 28, 2003, 04:10 AM
without a decent extraction system smoke can be a real problem after only a short time. Our club range has multiple suck and blow fans and even that isn't really good enough; when you blow your nose after a session and see the dirt that got trapped in there by your natural 'filters' you wonder how much more got inside your lungs.

April 28, 2003, 09:19 AM
Thanks to everyone for all the helpful advice, but I don't think I'm going to do it after all.

The main reason is the fear of the backstop not working, secondary reasons are ventilation and lastly, noise - which I don't really think would be a problem.

Even if I did construct a backstop, and test it outside -- I would still always be worried about it failing -- although, if I put it in front of a dirt wall, it wouldn't be the end of the world if the bullet went on through...

The risk is just too high.


April 28, 2003, 10:43 AM
No way would I want all that lead in my house.

You could not get proper ventilation without spending some serious cash.

Then - when you sell your home, you will have to disclose this and if they test for lead, you may have a problem - if you hide this fact, they may turn it into a baby room and sue you when their baby drops 40 IQ points.

Whats wrong with outside?

April 28, 2003, 10:53 AM
Well, the portion of the basement I would be using would be the unfinished part -- which has a dirt floor, and the ceiling is too low to finish it -- so the baby room would be out.

What's wrong with outside is - I live too close to other people -- a lot of other people -- also, it occasionally rains and is cold or hot, or the wind is blowing.

I have decided to only shoot at an outdoor range that is close to my house -- and not to build the indoor thing, basically because of the bullet trap problem, and also for the concern you stated -- the ventilation problem.


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