This article will be a two part article first I will cover the planning stage of building a shooting/firing range and the second post will be me documenting the creation of my personal shooting range. So the second post should be pretty picture intensive and full of lessons learned. Which brings on this article which is how-to/planning stage of sorts for people who want to build their own personal shooting range.
1. Start with the space
Where does one start when it comes to building their own shooting range? You start with the space or land, you want to ensure that where you want to put the range is an adequate place to put a shooting range. As always you want to think of safety and make sure that even though you plan to build adequate stopping measures that anything down range is safe. Keep in mind you don’t want to be a pest when shooting either. So make sure that you aren’t building your range where you will bother neighbors or endanger them.
2. Plan your range
There are many ways you can build a range from simple to advanced. Depending on what kind of shooting you want to do will dictate how your range is setup. For my range I wanted to have not only a deep backstop but I wanted two side walls that would allow me to do moving shooting drills. Your range can be any shape or size but a common shape is rectangular with 6-10 foot dirt walls.
3. Pick your range purpose
This will largely depend on what kind of shooting you’d like to do on your range. This can vary from long gun/hunting rifle shooting to handgun/combat pistol shooting. The man difference in the two ranges is the rifle/hunting rifle range doesn’t need as much space but could still require a good but of work if you plan on adding side barriers.
If all you want to do on your shooting range is sight in your hunting rifle you really only need about 50/100 yards and a deep backstop, dirt typically works the best, to stop high powered rounds. As far as the pistol range you only need 25/50 yards worth of range but a medium backstop. If you plan on doing moving shooting drills you may want to invest in building not only a solid backstop but two sides as well to create a range that is basically a valley. This will stop any stray rounds as well as help with reducing sound for neighbors.
3. Pick your target types
There are many different targets you could use, prices vary, on your shooting range. A popular option is to use paper targets, as you can use silhouette targets or your favorite zombie targets. For paper targets you can use two posts, depending on how wide your range is you may need more than two posts. You will need to affix a rope(I prefer 550 paracord or anything thicker) to the top of the posts and make sure it is tight with no slack. You will want to do the same on the bottom between the two posts. For the targets you will need to get some cardboard and cut it in the same size/dimensions as the paper targets. You will then affix the paper target to the cardboard and use binder clips on the top and bottom to hold the target still and keep the wind from blowing it around.
A more pricey option would be to use steel targets, steel targets provide an instant gratification of a hit but come at a cost. You will have to research more into the thickness of the targets to see what works best for you based on the type of shooting you will be doing.
Another way to do paper targets would be to dig two holes in the ground. Make sure you measure the size of the targets you will be using so you can attach a cutout cardboard piece the same size of the targets between the two wooden posts.
5. Build your range
This is the part that will require the money and the physical labor but is the most rewarding part as you see your planning turn into to a finished product. You will need something to move dirt, such as a tractor or something with a front bucket, in order to build your backstop and side walls(if applicable). Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who already has a backstop setup then you just need to build your targets and pick your drills.
While this post was not full of ground breaking ideas it at least gives a road map of some of the things to be considered when building a personal firing range. If anyone has any ideas or ways I can add to this post I’m all ears! You can add them to the comments section or feel free to email us!
Image Credits: http://lprgc.org, http://shooting-range.findthebest.com/l/36/A-Place-to-Shoot-California