basement firing range?


December 13, 2003, 03:59 PM
Anybody have a basement firing range? What's involved? Legal considerations? Environmental? (lead toxicity, sound). Could it be muffled enough so that someone upstairs wouldn't hear?

Someday I hope to build a dream home...

Any links to direct me to?

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December 13, 2003, 04:39 PM
I have talked with a firearms collector/dealer here in Ohio who says he has his own pistol range in his basement. He mentioned it matter of factly in conversation and I have no reason to not believe him. He lives alone (divorced and kids grown and gone), so no one else to get hurt. So, maybe it's do-able. Of course, he also said his home sits on quite a few acres of land out in the country, which would probably make it easier.

Seems like lots of people out West are able to shoot on property out in the desert or on ranches. If that's legal, don't see why an indoor range would pose any more danger/problems. But, you'd probably do well to consult your local State Attorney General's office and the local ATF office (or whatever they are called now).

December 13, 2003, 05:34 PM
There are two pretty big arguments against building a range in your house:


You'd have to install some really awesome ventilation and have a way to block the room with the range off from the rest of the house to keep lead dust from circulating through your domicile. Probably not harmful in small doses, but constant, long-term exposure is what you would call a very bad thing.

2)Accumulated gun powder

Not all of the gunpowder is consumed from every round fired. If you go to an indoor range and sweep up, you'll get a little pile of powder. This stuff is still flammable, so it's a fire hazard. In fact, earlier this year there was a fire at the Glock plant in Smyrna, GA and the hypothesis is that unburnt powder that had accumulated on the range was somehow touched off.


Because it would be so cool to just be able to walk down into the basement and blast away...

December 13, 2003, 08:16 PM
I'm also of the camp that says this isn't a good idea, be it a real range or simply shooting off a few rounds of .22, due to lead build up and ventalation issues. However, if you are thinking ahead to your "dream home" how about planning on a few acres and an outdoor range or if climate or land prices make that undoable, you can always put up a large concrete "shed", maybe buried somewhat, that is completely separate from the home. Short of that, I would assume that at the low velocities involved, and the lack of anything buring, that setting up a pellet range should be ok (some of the most gun fun I remember, is as an older teen and young adult having shooting "matches" with cheap Crossman pellet guns in my best friend's basement).

December 13, 2003, 08:20 PM
I had a basement range in my previous house, I kinda miss it cuz my current house has no basement.

The house was built into a hillside so I had a basement garage, total distance available available inside the foundation was 70 feet. It was out in the sticks, so legal and neighbor issues were nil.

It was a one lane range, not commercial, so ventilation and powder buildup was never an issue, though my brother & I shot pretty extensively there.

The main issues were bullet trap. I used a commercial 1 sq. foot plate trap. In the event a bullet missed that, there was a 4 x 4 foot 6" thick oak wood boards backstop. We didn't let people use it who couldn't keep the shots in the plate trap ;) The trap limited us to .22s and .38 gallery loads.

Ventilation wasn't hard, the basement had casement windows set in dugouts below grade, We opened the ones down range and put big fans if front of them blowing air out of the basement. Refresh air leaked in through the garage, or you could crack the garage door.

The plate trap collected lead, lots of it... I eventually took to dumping the lead from the trap in the weight box of my tractor.

That about covers it, not hard with the right circumstances..... Impossible with the wrong circumstances.... (like NO basement...) :(

Oh.. and soundproofing so you couldn't hear it upstairs would probably be a fool's errand.... Would take LOTS if insulation... and still probably be heard.

Scooter .45
December 13, 2003, 08:36 PM
I've just discovered Aguila Super Colibri .22 ammo. It's super quiet, 20 grain bullet fires off primer only (no powder). About 500 fps, recommended only for handguns because bullet may not have power to clear long rifle barrel, although I have no trouble shooting it with my rifle. Thud the bullet makes when it hits the paint can is louder than the actual shot! sells 500 rds for $12.97. If you're careful with a backstop, you could shoot it in your backyard.

David Wile
December 13, 2003, 10:29 PM
Hey folks,

Living on ten acres out in the country and having a house 103 feet long (does not include garage) does allow one to do some things you can't do in a townhouse. I have a shooting range in the back pasture where I generally shoot at 100 yards or less.

I also have a shooting range in the basement where I can shoot 72 feet from muzzel to paper. Before I retired in 1997, two other folks from work and I had our own shooting league every Thursday night after work. We shot bullseye from 50 foot line. Backstop was plate steel about 4.5 feet wide by 6.5 feet high. Installed at at 45 degree angle, it provided an apparent target area a little bigger than four feet square. The bottom of the steel plate is imbedded in a sand trap that is two feet deep. This means the steel target covers an area from about knee high to a little over six feet high. A small exhaust fan is all that is required to keep smoke out of the range, and I really don't bother to use it for 22 ammunition.

As far as sound suppression goes, forget it. I have no insulation between the basement and the ground floor. My wife never complained - even when she was watching the TV. I think she was happy to have me home rather than playing cards somewhere our out doing whatever else.

After I retired, things changed, and our shooting league disbanded after a while. Now my range gets very little use except for my testing different bullets and loads.

If you want an idea of our spread, you can see some pictures at my web page where we are advertising our place for sale. Want an indoor range? Take a look at the web page and give me a call.

To tell the truth, it is more work than I care to keep up with any more, and I am ready for the townhouse.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

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