Building a homemade range - Need ideas


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atomd
May 8, 2007, 02:23 PM
Hi folks. One of my summer projects is going to be building a homemade pistol/rifle range on some property we own. The property is large and remote enough to be extremely safe and has enough highly elevated area to use one as a nice back stop. We also have a backhoe so making one or modifying one won't be a problem. I shoot on this property now but no one lives on it. Everything I use must be cheap and difficult to steal since I've seen brass there that isn't mine before (that was surprising!) and no one is there to watch over it. I'm afraid if I bought some nice gongs or something of that nature, someone might take them. What I'm looking for is some ideas for the following:

1. Targets: I'm looking for something reactive, self-resetting, cheap, and replaceable on a stationary frame/chain/etc. I don't want anything that will blow to pieces unless it's easily biodegradable. I also don't want to have to worry a lot about ricochet but I want it to be at least somewhat durable so I don't have to change it out constantly. I've seen some close calls with steel so that worries me a bit. Different sizes and types would be nice. Mostly for cf pistol because I use a lot of paper for rifle. Decisions, decisions....ballistic polymer maybe? That seems light enough that I could take it with me if I wanted.

2. Benches: I know I've seen some bench plans somewhere. The simpler the better I guess. Maybe converting an existing table or bench is a good idea. I'm not sure on this one. It has to stand up to the weather though.

I want to start of very simple and modify it as I go. I also don't want to spend a fortune on it. Any ideas or pictures to share? Thanks in advance!

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ARGarrison
May 8, 2007, 03:06 PM
Do-all makes Centerfire and Hi-cal steel spinners and dualing trees now. They are not cheap cheap, but at the end of the day you can take them with you. Someone made self-sealing plastic target in the past no idea who, how much, and I never used them.

As for target holder our county law enforcement went cheap route and put three 4x4 post in the ground then streched chicken wire across the post. They hang their targets to the chicken wire with clothes pins.

We use picnic tables for benches. We buy the kits and build it to suit our needs. Make the gaps in the table top smaller and move the bench seat back farther or do away with the afixed bench seat and have a seperate bench or chair. Water seal or paint the table.

I've seen plans for a shooting table/bench made from a sheet of plywood. I'm sure it's from an old boyslife project, but Indiana Hunters Ed uses the benches for muzzle loader training. I don't like the set up personally, seems to me your sitting on the ground, after all I belive it was sized for boy scouts. I'll look and see if I can turn anything up.

longrifleman
May 8, 2007, 03:18 PM
http://www.horstguns.com/ShootingBench.htm

I recently built a modified version of this. Mine is free standing on a concrete slab, but one set in the ground might be just right for your situation.

I have some steel swinging gongs made of scrap steel, at least .75" thick, 1.0" is better, I set in front of some 30" oak logs set on end in a semi-circle, in addition to standard paper target holders made of 2" lumber nailed to the logs.
The logs were cut from down trees, so they were free except for my hurtin back.

I don't have a proper earth berm, but I shoot across my own land. Dang flat ground anyway.

Walkalong
May 8, 2007, 03:19 PM
Pour concrete benches etc. Not that hard to make and won't get stolen, burned etc. Use cheap outdoor carpet to cover. :)

kellyj00
May 8, 2007, 03:30 PM
see if you can't find an old childrens swingset or two, hang some simple steel plates off them and you've got a pretty solid target.

For pistol, I've seen some fellas weld chain between a bunch of 4" round or square targets and hang them from an overhang made of 4x4's... they work pretty good and 'jump' when you hit one. Rusting isn't a huge issue if you paint them with grey primer and use lead bullets.

For any gun, I'd suggest just using old milk jugs full of water or other trash that has an obvious reaction when you hit it. Balloons are fun and cheap if you live in a fairly low wind location (doesn't work so well on the fields of KS very well). A package of 100 balloons would last you a while for less than $1. Also, never underestimate the power of plain old dirt. Fill an old cereal box with dirt and put a hollow point into it... it goes everywhere if you don't close the top.

Also, phone books (if you cast your own lead these are Great because you can save the slugs, remelt and cast them again...or so I hear).

Now, for seating and furniture...just cut down a tree and use a 24" -36" diameter log as a bench. It'll last longer than you think and it's free. Also worth mentioning... you probably want to dig out a fire pit of at least 6 foot diameter and about 2 feet deep. This works great for refuse disposal, lighting on summer nights and warmth on winter days.

As for cheap shooting rests, I'd suggest just buying up a few 4x4x8 pressure treated lumber from home depot for about $6 each. Use a post hole digger (or auger if you've got one) and put them in like fence posts. Then, hang a 4x4 between them at about 30" or so (sitting position shooting) so, the total structure should be 30" high and 8 feet wide... that's 2 4x4's...total cost $12. Now, get a sheet of pressure treated plywood. Cut it down on your table saw (or skill saw with a guide) to 2ft by 8ft. Put it down on top of the 4x4 beam running across the middle and paint with a good OIL BASED white paint. The 1/2" plywood is gonna be about $25-30 and the paint is $15 a gallon at walmart if you don't mind White. Be sure you get some paint thinner while you're there, that's the trade off on oil based paint.

By the time you're done you'll have spent about $60 and you'll have some paint and wood left over. If you've really got a wad to spend, I'd get a tarp or two to catch your brass.

If you're in the south central Kansas area, give me a shout and I'll come out and help... just as long as I'm one of the first to use it when it's done!

Chuck R.
May 8, 2007, 03:39 PM
I also built my own range on 40 acres we bought. I cut into the side of a hill to make the backstop and established the top of my dam as the firing line for my 200 meter range. I had the 30x30 meter area graved to make my pistol range, so practicing movement and finding brass isnít a problem.

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a5/CFRHunter/Img0806.jpg

I use 2/3rds IDPA targets from Arntzen made from AR500 for pistol and rifle targets along with IDPA silhouettes in stands I had welded up. I made a table with the help of a friend of mine using synthetic decking boards for the top. We also made a couple 4x4í target stands out of steel for zeroing/testing loads, they also double as barricades/walls when we practice IDPA stuff.

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a5/CFRHunter/Img0831.jpg

I also built the Horst bench and dug it into the ground, but I used synthetic decking boards for the top and seats.

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a5/CFRHunter/Img0829.jpg
View from the 200 meter bench.

Itís definitely a work in progress. Next Iím going to put in a graveled prone firing point next to the 200 meter bench, then a 300meter position. In addition Iím always looking for new targets and a stand for our bowling pins.

Chuck

Lashlarue
May 8, 2007, 03:42 PM
If you have one neighbor within hearing distance, expect law enforcement to stop your little endeaver. I used to drive 20 miles into the desert outside of Las Vegas, there was a perfect spot for shooting a natural wash 20' deep with a 40 yd. plateau at the bottom.Hundreds of shooters would shoot there during the week.The closest house was 5 miles away, but if the wind was right they could hear the gunfire.At least that is what they claimed. The last time I went the state posted the site as a no shooting zone...

Chuck R.
May 8, 2007, 03:57 PM
If you have one neighbor within hearing distance, expect law enforcement to stop your little endeaver. I used to drive 20 miles into the desert outside of Las Vegas, there was a perfect spot for shooting a natural wash 20' deep with a 40 yd. plateau at the bottom.Hundreds of shooters would shoot there during the week.The closest house was 5 miles away, but if the wind was right they could hear the gunfire.At least that is what they claimed. The last time I went the state posted the site as a no shooting zone...

Itís possible, you really have to check your local zoning, but in your example you didnít own the land. Iím in a rural area, and shooting on private property is common.

I also checked my zoning and ďspecial useĒ requirements before buying the property and building the range to include calling the County Commissioners Office. For personal use, meaning non-commercial or ďClubĒ, Iím ďOKĒ. I also checked with my insurance company and all is well as long as itís family and or guests, and Iím on the location while shooting takes place.

I make it a point to keep my neighbors in mind (even though the closest is .5 miles away) by not shooting at odd hours and only using the range 2-3 days a week.

Chuck

TechAlG
May 8, 2007, 04:41 PM
If you have one neighbor within hearing distance, expect law enforcement to stop your little endeavor.

Or you could do what I did...invite the neighbors to help make some holes in the targets. I happen to get along great with the neighbors near the land I own. It's the one's in the city where I live that bother me....

CountGlockula
May 8, 2007, 04:44 PM
Question: Do you need some sort of permit?

atomd
May 8, 2007, 04:50 PM
Great ideas ideas so far. I like the concrete idea and we do have a mixer, but the problem is getting some of these things out there. I don't have an atv and you can only drive in so far before being forced to walk for a while. It is private property and there isn't any zoning on it that would cause any problems. The nearest neighbor could probably hear the shots in the distance but considering I shoot there now....and apparently other people do also, that it won't be a problem. It's far enough away that it wouldn't be loud at all and I only shoot during daylight hours a couple of times per week.

Some of these targets are expensive! >$150 for most nice ones it seems. I am going to start looking around for some scrap steel. I'm not sure where to look yet though. I've been looking at some on http://www.justshootmeproducts.com

They are iffy though since I've read mixed reviews. Thanks for the ideas. Keep em coming!

Double Naught Spy
May 8, 2007, 06:00 PM
1. Targets: I'm looking for something reactive, self-resetting, cheap, and replaceable on a stationary frame/chain/etc. I don't want anything that will blow to pieces unless it's easily biodegradable. I also don't want to have to worry a lot about ricochet but I want it to be at least somewhat durable so I don't have to change it out constantly

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=shaffer+shifter

I like these targets. They are steel and there is a ricochet potential, hence shooting pistol no closer than 10 yards or so and rifles no closer than 25. The target is reactive and challenging. It is sold by Evans Targets in Oklahoma. http://www.evanstarget.com/prices.html

beaucoup ammo
May 8, 2007, 06:14 PM
Chuck R. I think that's what heaven must be like! Wow! Enjoy..and good luck to you, Double Naught Spy.

1 old 0311
May 8, 2007, 06:15 PM
I think I saw plans listed on the NRA site.

DMK
May 8, 2007, 06:52 PM
Here's a pic of our local forestry service range. Might give you some ideas. The target stands are made from small trees they cut down on site and stretch chicken wire across. The berm in the back is probably 20' high. The benches are lagged down to the concrete pad.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=51850&d=1169511928

Zundfolge
May 8, 2007, 06:57 PM
Also might want to check with your insurance company (assuming you have some sort of insurance on the property).

Some will drop you if you build a range on your property (but they won't drop you if you just shoot on your property without building any sort of range ... go figure).

Rembrandt
May 8, 2007, 07:15 PM
Built my own several years ago, 50-100-200 yard rifle-pistol range. Bench is steel tubing and treated lumber, cost less than $100 in materials. Bench sits inside one of the out buildings, open a window and ready to shoot. Target frames are steel set in concrete, swingers will take handgun or center fire rifles.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v405/Rembrandt51/Bench9.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v405/Rembrandt51/Targetframe2.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v405/Rembrandt51/Shootingrange.jpg

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