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underground range

Discussion in 'Rallying Point and Range Discussions' started by Slovak111, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. Slovak111

    Slovak111 Member

    I am building an underground range for pistol shooting. It wil be 25 yards one stall. I have a concept but I would like some real world experiences on design, layout, berm type, HVAC and building design. It will be under my drive way out of site. I was told cinder blocks filled wiwith concrete for walls, concrete sheets for roof and a 6 inch concrete floor. Need info on track and lighti.g as well. I have plenty of materail specs on the different components but I want the best design for theleast amount of cost. The lane is 6 foot wide by8 foot tall by about 85 to 90 feet long. thanks in advance to all who reply.
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

  3. Slovak111

    Slovak111 Member

  4. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Well-Known Member


    sounds like a cool idea keep us posted
  5. twofifty

    twofifty Well-Known Member

    land survey..

    ..get one as the road allowance probably reaches a ways up the driveway.

    How will you access the range, from your basement, or via outside stairs?

    Drainage will be a consideration.
  6. grock5k

    grock5k Active Member

    This is the coolest idea!
  7. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Well-Known Member

    Putting it under the driveway? Make sure of the weight allowances on your ceiling. Don't want to roof to come crashing down on you because a big truck pulls in.

    Other than that, I've thought about doing something similar, only not under the driveway, but in the side yard.

    But other than the obvious (buried utility lines and pipes and whatnot) sounds like a fun idea.

    Berm layout isn't so much as issue as a bullet trap. I wouldn't want to dump lead so close to my house (I'm on a deep well, for 100% of my water supply).

    Lighting should be easy, just run a junction box, wires and fixtures down there and have it all wired into the main power lines coming off your breaker box. I'd add an additional breaker for the range. HVAC system, same concept. Depending on how you access, a simple recirc fan should work just fine.
  8. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't go with a recirculating fan - Then you're breathing all the lead dust you generate from shooting. Need adequate ventilation and filtering.
  9. wyohome

    wyohome Well-Known Member

    Have you considered 8' culvert pipe?
  10. Slovak111

    Slovak111 Member

    I am looking at different materials for the wals. The culvert square pipe is one thought. The HVAC must draw the air from firing down range and be filtered out of range. I am still stuck on the berm. I may just use a sand berm. Seems the best way as the only shooters will be my wife and I, so maybe 50000 rounds per year fired. Thanks again for everyones support.and comments.
  11. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    Maintaining the berm could be an issue. Whatever material used will likely have to be carried in by hand and down steps (unless it daylights). This won’t be a problem until maintenance is needed, but it needs to be addressed in your design. There are modular bullet traps (they stack like a modular block retaining wall). I don’t know much about them; just enough to be dangerous from talking to my LGS owner.

    Using precast box culvert will likely be the most cost effective. They will be heavy, but if you can get the truck close enough to the excavation, the delivery truck may be able to set them, with the help of your excavator butting them up. If not, you’ll need 2 excavators and one will have to be fairly large. Culvert manufacturers can close the ends or make a bend or similar to accommodate your access, but some cast in place concrete work will likely be required. The culverts have a bituminous gasket between joints, but depending on your location, drainage features and waterproofing / vapor barrier may be required. Cast in place would be another good option. I would avoid block construction.

    Soil conditions could have a big impact on budget. If you’re in FL, water table issues will have to be addressed. If you live next door to me, the excavation will be made through rock. If applicable, make allowances for your conditions.

    I don’t know anything about ventilation. Good air in, bad air out, I guess…

    I couldn’t think of anything better to do during a tornado than a little target shooting. :)
  12. Slovak111

    Slovak111 Member

    thanks for the reply. we are in the Midwest. got a lot to consider with this project. thanks to everyone that I replied
  13. metalart

    metalart Well-Known Member

    The most important thing, don't forget that we will need lots o pictures once you get started!
  14. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Well-Known Member

    I've seen pictures of a similar project before; they used the large culvert (with manhole access) at the target end, but not for the entire length of the shooting lane. Most of that was much smaller diameter, with the opening in the basement either at bench height or offhand standing height. When not in use, a small door closed off the tunnel, which eliminated heating/cooling loses. This would also decrease construction costs greatly.
  15. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Well-Known Member

  16. Stantdm

    Stantdm Well-Known Member

    This is a neat idea.

    Be sure to check on building permits if your in an area that requires them. Make sure there are no EPA issues with lead involved. You may be required to do some pretty expensive filtering and use a water trap to capture bullets unless your going to only shoot copper bullets. If your in a residential neighborhood and inside city limits be sure what your doing is allowed by the codes and the zoning.

    I think the most cost efficient way to build one, as zoom6zoom noted, would be to construct a small "basement level room" and at a slightly higher level on one side run a 36" round concrete or CM pipe for a shooting lane by excavating a trench and then covering the pipe with earth. Targets can be sent along the pipe with an electric motor and chain system, or you can set them in from above by covering the impact area with a small shed and insulated door to keep noise down.

    There used to be an indoor range in the Denver area that had a set up that had 100 yard rifle lanes and 50 foot pistol lanes. It worked well but was not a place you would want to work at for a long period of time. I was told it was eventually closed as they could not justify the cost of improvements required to make it a safe workplace due to lead levels in the air. This was, as I recall, before copper bullets were on the market.
  17. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    If you use outside air instead of recirculating part of all of the air you won't have to filter it, but it drives your heating/cooling costs up since you're conditioning outside air instead of reusing already conditioned air. Clean air will need to enter behind you on the back wall of the shooting area and be drawn down range. You can pull from the bullet trap end or half way down, but don't 'blow' the air across you. Pull it. Be certain that the air being exhausted isn't drawn back into your range through any path. This may require a stack for the exhausted air. If you filter you'll need a considerably more expensive setup initially, but the operating costs will be lower since the filter won't have to be changed that often with just the two of you shooting. The filters aren't cheap, but unless you live in a moderate climate you'll spend more on heating/cooling 100% outside air.

    You will have to make provisions for removing lead from your range in the event the house is sold or inherited or a bank won't loan a buyer the money for it. If the downrange walls/ceiling/floor are armored with steel this is easier and cheaper than block or concrete. It probably won't be worth the expense of steel, but concrete isn't that difficult to decon.

    If you have access to the bullet trap directly from outside you need not make the length of the range the same height/diameter as the bench end. This will save on the excavation and the materials used in the construction, but it will be less convenient for repairing target handling cabling along the length of the range if the height/diameter is too small. I'd size such a structure just high enough for me to sit on a rolling mechanic's stool without banging my head.

    If you have 4-ft of earth above your range you'll be assured that nothing will escape to the great outdoors through your concrete ceiling.

    I suggest lighting the range either with light pipes from above or lights moving on your target carrier. Lighting fixtures get shot and the fewer you have to shoot the fewer you have to fix.
  18. osprey176

    osprey176 Well-Known Member

    Been kicking a similar idea around for a while.If you used 3' sewer drain pipe it might be easier than building a concrete tunnel. Stronger,too,in case that truck pulls up in your driveway.The sections interlock with O-rings,I believe,keeping them sealed.On the other end,you might use a septic tank filled with cardboard,or some other type of media.That way,all the lead is contained in a sealed barrier that can't leach into the ground water.You would have to modify the tank to fit the larger pipe,but you could most likely find a "blem" at your local septic tank manufacturer,to help keep costs down.My idea was to fit the inside of the shooters end with about ten feet of culvert,and to that,attach several rings of plywood and foam to act as sound baffles.You could mount an exhaust fan on the tank,vented to the surface.For major maintenance,the lid on the tanks come off.Anyway,just more to think about.
  19. JDMorris

    JDMorris Well-Known Member

    Sand bags make a good berm that's replaceable and removable.

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