Putting an indoor firing range in your basement?


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TheOtherOne
May 12, 2003, 02:20 PM
Who has done it and does anyone know where you can get information on what you need to safely put one in and keep things quiet so you're not bothering neighbors?

I'm looking for a house to buy soon, and actually may build one... if I do build, a nice place to shoot handguns in the basement would be something I would want to add (if the budget permits).

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p35
May 12, 2003, 02:30 PM
I've seen a lot of indoor ranges have to shut down recently because of lead contamination. I would think long and hard before doing that where my family lives.

jjmorgan64
May 12, 2003, 02:40 PM
I have one, but not one you'd want to duplicate.;)

A couple of things to consider, good insulation for sound obviously,
Good ventilation, with the draw going away from you, and exiting outside the home. The fan should pull from the far end of the range and intake air should be supplied from the shooting end.
Obviously an adequate backstop, my next home will have a cutout on the basement wall, with an angled steel plate directing the lead into the soil. I currently use the same setup in a portable unit.

If you have a small, possibly portable wall with a window/hole for shooting through so that the muzzle is on the other end of the wall this can lower your heard decibels. I've heard tires strapped together, with the muzzle in the tires will work well.
Lastly good neighbors, and a locking door into the range, keep anybody out.

Lastly I don't recommend doing this, but what do I know.

TheOtherOne
May 12, 2003, 02:46 PM
Yeah, I would have to figure out how to collect up all the bullets a couple times a year. I'm sure ventilating it some would be an issue too... but then ventilation would let more noise escape the house??

These are the kind of things I want to figure out.

I'm also not 100% on the legality of it. But the whole reason I even thought of this is because my sisters neighbor has a range in his basement. He's a retired cop... so maybe he just gets away with it but I'm sure he's done it right because he has a VERY expensive home. I'm going to have to try and get my sister to pry some details out of him as to how he did it. I just thought there would be something good online of how to build one safely and what to buy, etc. (hey there is for everything else).

braindead0
May 12, 2003, 02:46 PM
And make sure you've got hazmat gear and sweep up the lead dust that will accumulate in the range (and dispose of properly, as it'll have powder in it too.).

I'd think the best bet would be to have a corridor dug off the basement that slopes down until you can create a totally underground shooting bunker. Good exhaust fan at the other end.. bullet trap..etc....

It would probably be cheaper to buy enough land for an outdoor range ;-)

10-Ring
May 12, 2003, 03:13 PM
A friend's dad had one in their basement. It was really a wall of phone books in a brick room. Back then, I thought it was cool, looking back, it probably wasn't the safest place to play :scrutiny:

AK103K
May 12, 2003, 03:15 PM
Aww comon, all you need is a few old logs and a lawnmower! Thats what we used to do at my buddys before he got divorced. We would put the lawnmower outside by the window and start it up and let it run. (Noise camo :) ) Then we'd go downstairs load up a couple of mags and let'em rip. Thats about all you could get off in full auto before you couldnt see or breathe. :) The real scary part was when his wife came home between us going down and starting to shoot. We couldnt hear her with our ear plugs and ear protectors on. She didnt know we were down there. First mag and she came flying down with a broom and commenced to beat the hell out of us! :D Uh, another tip, dont shoot 30/06 in the basement and make sure you put sand bags on the tripod legs on a concrete floor. :uhoh:

RustyHammer
May 12, 2003, 03:20 PM
... might be a bear selling your home if you ever decide to do so.

You'll have to disclose that you've used the basement as a firing range and that lead and contaminants may be present in some form in the basement.

Potential inspection, clean-up, certificates, legal fees could all come back to bite you.

Just something to think about.

Rusty

Felonious Monk
May 12, 2003, 03:42 PM
TheOtherOne--He's a retired cop...so maybe he just gets away with it but I'm sure he's done it right because he has a VERY expensive home. Somehow that quote contains 2 statements that, when taken together, tend to make me go hmmmmmm....

Retired Cop :uhoh: VERY expensive home.



AK103K-- dude, I just went back and re-read that post. You jes' ain't RIGHT! :what: :D

Slabside
May 12, 2003, 04:13 PM
Contact Jim Scoutten via his website at...
www.jimscoutten.com or
www.americanshooter.com
The show did a short segment on this type of thing.

redneck
May 12, 2003, 05:58 PM
Couple thoughts.
1. Holes in the basement walls are bad. Drainage around the house would be a real problem. Much better to go with a false wall and back fill with sand. Solves any problems with flooding, dirt caving in through hole, or critters digging in.
If your building the house, and have a poured foundation it would be really easy to have the basement extend beyond the house in one direction. Block foundation would probably work too, but would have to take more into consideration, capping it off, labor, drainage etc.

2. Noise
Line the entire interior (walls and especially ceiling) with Dowboard, at least 2" thick. In addition to normal insulation. I guess this is less of an issue if your only planning on .22's but if you want heavier stuff you want more insulation.
Ventilation should be run out through a peice of stovepipe. If you can swing it, it would be perfect for this to feed into a chimney. Directs sound upward, and works like a muffler as well.

3. Backstop. I would make the entire wall downrange a sandwhich of 1/2" or so plywood and sheetrock or thick dowboard. Something that resists ricocething, is the main concern. It will be backed by a concrete wall and lots of dirt, you just don't want a round coming back at ya.
The actual target area, I would make a box on the floor and fill it with sand at least a foot deep. A large angled steel plate for a back stop to direct rounds down into the sand. Back the plate with lots of dampening material so it doesn't ring. Another low plate angled across the front of the box to prevent any rounds from escaping that skip off the sand. That way they're all in one spot to clean up too.
You could shoot into logs or something but they would need to be replaced fairly often I think.

And by all means check with someone who knows what the hell they're doin before you take any of my advice :D

benEzra
May 13, 2003, 10:36 AM
If you avoid the lead issue entirely by using ONLY totally lead-free practice ammo from day one, some of the ventilation and cleanup requirements will be much easier to deal with. (Lead-free is more expensive and probably less suitable for defensive use, but you'd probably save money in the long run.)

M1911
May 13, 2003, 10:41 AM
Yeah, I would have to figure out how to collect up all the bullets a couple times a year. I'm sure ventilating it some would be an issue too... but then ventilation would let more noise escape the house??The spent bullets themselves are not a major contributor to airborne lead. The major contributors to airborne lead are 1) lead compounds in the primer and 2) a small portion of the base of the bullet vaporizes during combustion. The airborne lead will be all over the place. It will land on the floor and your shoes will track it into the rest of the house. The unburnt powder on the floor will also be a fire risk.

If you really decide to do it, I strongly suggest you ONLY use non-toxic ammunition. Non-toxic ammo has lead-free bullets and lead-free primers. However it is 3 to 4 times more expensive than regular ammo.

A better idea would be to get yourself some airsoft guns -- no powder or lead involved.

foghornl
May 13, 2003, 11:20 AM
I have a range set up in my basement, but the only weapon allowed in there is the Daisy Official Red Ryder Range Model Air Rifle......

"....No, kid. You'll shoot your eye out...":evil:

Owen
May 13, 2003, 11:23 AM
The NRA offers a range design handbook. I haven't seen it, but I've heard its worth its weight in gold.

TheOtherOne
May 13, 2003, 01:38 PM
I'll have to look for that info from the NRA and American Shooter. Thanks!

I really don't think the lead issue would be much of a problem. It's not like I'll be shooting off 250 rounds a day, every day.

It would just be nice to have a place to go and shoot off a magazine at 3am when you wake up and feel the need!

:D

For serious shooting, I would still go up to the outdoor range...




Somehow that quote contains 2 statements that, when taken together, tend to make me go hmmmmmm....

Retired Cop VERY expensive home.Yeah... :) I doubt he was raiding the evidence room or anything. He probably just got into Real estate or something.

M1911
May 13, 2003, 02:41 PM
I really don't think the lead issue would be much of a problem. It's not like I'll be shooting off 250 rounds a day, every day.I can't agree with that. Not at all. You'd be amazed at how much powder residue builds up on the floor of a range after only a couple hundred rounds total. Again, I strongly recommend against this. I've got elevated blood lead levels. You really don't want your children to get exposed to lead.

Zundfolge
May 13, 2003, 03:22 PM
If you do shoot in your basement, here's the stuff to use.

http://www.pmcammo.com/pmc/pmcgreen.html

http://www.pmcammo.com/images/greenBox.jpg

M1911
May 13, 2003, 04:18 PM
That's the stuff. Winchester, Remington, and others have similar ammo. Not cheap compared to standard ammo. But very cheap compared to decontaminating your house.

Watch-Six
May 13, 2003, 04:29 PM
Last I heard the local sportsmans club here still had an indoor range in the basement of their building. I used to use it a lot. If you were the only one there it still got very smokey even with the fans on. Probably not very safe for a variety of reasons. I don't shoot there anymore. With todays lead issues you would be very foolish to contaminate your home. That is both from a health and financial loss standpoint when no one would buy it. Just my opinion. Watch-Six

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