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Old May 17, 2016, 08:02 PM   #1
ricky0604fh
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opening a rifle range

So, long story short I am new here. I was a marine for 4 years and I want to open a range. There are a few in my area but only a select number of those are open to the public, they are all about an hour away and are quite frankly dated.

I want to have 3 subsequent ranges on one range complex. A pistol and shotgun range with railroad tie and earth side walls and a 20 foot berm with railroad tie back support wall to prevent erosion. The side walls will have sacrificial covering close to the firing range.

The rifle range will go out to 300 yards and have a slightly elevated firing position. Now here is where I have a big question. Do I use steel targets, or paper. I want to be able to have targets set up at the 100, 200 and 300 yard line respectively. What special requirements do steel targets entail. Side berms, mangers to catch ricochet etc. Or would it be better to set up paper targets. Furthermore, is 300 yards overkill. I understand primary impact zone, secondary and tertiary danger zones as well. I understand that an extra hundred yards on the range greatly increases the impact zone which for .30 caliber match grade will be as big as 4 miles deep.

That being said, how can one reduce the size of the impact zones required for the range. Does a berm do this alone or older other measures required. I'm just wondering because buying all of that land is not feasible.

My last range would be a 30 yard training range for fire and maneuver onto stationary targets.

As far as zoning ohio only requires you follow the nra guidelines for range construction. Locally there is a sportsmans club right down the road so i dont think ill have a problem there with getting approved. So would all of my questions be answered by their guidebook.
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Old May 17, 2016, 08:06 PM   #2
ricky0604fh
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clarification on range 3

To clarify, range 3 will only be used under direct supervision of an instructor in the skill being trained. I.e. basic to advanced pistol and rifle etc.
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Old May 17, 2016, 10:25 PM   #3
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When I built my range I had alot of help from the insurance company and my family Lawyer. Different laws come into affect if you have houses or businesses nearby. You will be responsible for any bullet or projectile that leaves your property. My range isn't a public range. Railroad ties are cheap and if you have some connections 55 gallon drums filled with any type of dirt or sand is great. Hiring a dozer to dig out natural traps isn't cheap but in the long run its worth it if the lay of your land allows it.
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Old May 18, 2016, 08:53 AM   #4
Jim Watson
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As you say, the free flight impact zone for a rifle can extend for miles.
.30-06 M1 about 5400 yards, per Hatcher.
I have shot on one range ever that had that much space, several square miles on a military reservation posted for the purpose. You could see the trees behind the target pits clipped to uniform height by thousands of bullets.

Everybody else depends on berms or hillsides.
Some places have overhead baffles to catch bullets ADed at excessively high angles.
Others just say: "Shoot into the berm, dammit."

There are no "special requirements" for steel targets at rifle ranges.
The steel must be hard to stand the use, AR500 is common.
And AP bullets should be excluded
Ball, hunting, and match bullets simply pulverize against the steel.

Paper targets have the advantage of letting you know where your off shots go. Shoot at a plate and you have a hit or a miss. It takes a skilled spotter to tell you WHERE you missed. Shoot at a paper target and if the hit is not centered, you know what to adjust for.

Consider how many people in your area will USE ranges longer than 100 yards. We went to a good deal of trouble to lay out a 200 yard range - couldn't get 300 at all - and it is sparsely populated. Likewise the other range in the area with 280 yards available, but seldom used.

Consider how shooters will know what they are doing at ranges over 100 yards. It is hard to see a bullet hole in the 300 yard black without a GOOD spotting scope. Or even a splash mark on steel... which has to be painted pretty frequently.
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Old May 18, 2016, 10:49 AM   #5
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Just concurring.
A membership only club where we were members went to great lengths to add a 200 yard rifle range, in addition to the existing 100 yard on another part of the property.
The 100 yard range was always busy, but the longer one rarely had anyone there.
I don't recall even seeing any of the county sheriff training groups ever use it, either.
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Old May 18, 2016, 01:47 PM   #6
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CFB Borden, North of Toronto, Ontario, roughly 6(3.7 miles behind 30 and 100 yard ranges) to 10(6.2 miles behind 1,000 yard range) klicks of nothing but bush behind every range. Your 4 miles(6.4 Km) is likely not enough. Your insurance company and local municipality/State will likely tell you exactly what's required. And that includes who and/or what is there. No hikers, picnickers, skiers and other riff raff allowed in a fall zone.
Plus you need to look into the cost of liability insurance and local zoning laws(don't think it's called that, Stateside. 'Land use ordinances', maybe.) before you do anything.
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Old May 18, 2016, 01:56 PM   #7
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you need to think about the misses more than the hits. the misses will determine how much space you need.

i read an energy dept guide for pistol ranges some time ago, it had a table of max distances for various pistol calibers. about 2 miles for the longest.

the shots hitting the targets and the berms are not your biggest concern, it's the ones over the berm that kill strangers.
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Old May 18, 2016, 02:37 PM   #8
Erno86
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AR550 steel for centerfire rifle and AR500 for pistol --- both 3/4" thick --- For rimfire --- 22 rimfire...1/4" thick steel, which can be less than AR500 --- No deep cratering pits on steel targets. No magnum calibers for steel, limit caliber use for 8mm on down and roughly less than 3,000 feet per second for steel.

Regrading the backstop berm is a sometime once yearly chore --- The rain-off soil constantly fills the frame holes near the backstop berm, unless you set them far enough away from the dirt berm. Allow plenty of space for a backhoe grader to do work on the berm.

If you forego concrete slabs for the steel pipe mounted frame holes...you can lay down two railroad ties, parallel with each other, with wood frame slots screwed behind one of the ties that will fit a wooden frame target.

Build high dirt berms between the ranges. Overhead canopy's for the concrete firing pad, rigged with lighting rods. Solid benches for the benchrest area, along with small solid benches for the pistol range --- Movable rifle benches for other areas. Rifle racks and a possible concrete/block dugout pit for retractable long range rifle targets used by pitmen.

Shotgun patterning trench, archery and a trap range.

I'm a paid member at AGC of Baltimore @ Marriottsville, Maryland.

Link to the range:

http://www.associatedgunclubs.org/ranges.html
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Last edited by Erno86; May 18, 2016 at 02:57 PM.
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Old May 19, 2016, 06:45 PM   #9
James K
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"Shoot into the berm, dammit."

That is just not good enough any more. If there is any way a bullet can escape from the range, the range may not be permitted.. Even if a shooter has to stand on his head and point the rifle straight up to create a danger, if it can be done, it will be a strike against the range plans.

But your biggest problem will not be technical. As soon as the antis hear of a proposal for a new or expanded range, they send in teams of "experts" to plant newspaper articles about the extreme danger, millions of bullets slaughtering innocent babies, etc. Opposing Letters to the Editor, churned out in DC, will appear in the local press, and envelopes bulging with anti-gun cash may mysteriously turn up in the mail boxes of local officials who would have to approve the range. To counter that, your PR effort will be enormous, even in what you might think of as "gun friendly" country.

And don't be deceived by conditions at existing ranges. Many have been there for years and have been grandfathered; to build the same range in the same place today would be impossible. Further, many club ranges, especially shotgun ranges, have older and wealthy members who are politically influential. You need to ask how many of your potential customers will work for you - attend council hearings, write letters countering the anti propaganda effort, contribute to court costs, etc.

I have been at some newer ranges built to conform to current guidelines. Shooters fire from a fixed bench, with the gun in a fixed rest, into a dark tunnel, with only the target lit. A really depressing, to me, environment.

Jim
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Old May 19, 2016, 10:53 PM   #10
Jim Watson
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The fairly new local PD rang is of simple bermed construction. The only nod to modern sensibilities is waterproof membrane under the berms and pits to collect the seepage. Around here it will likely evaporate before it runs over.

They plan to tear down the most used berm this year. I don't know if it will be mined for lead and returned or if it will be treated as hazardous waste and replaced with clean dirt.

It is located well out in the county but there are farmhouses within range of uh-ohs. The city and county fathers didn't mind... but these are Authorized Personnel, of course.
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Old May 20, 2016, 09:04 AM   #11
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What part of Ohio are you in? Ranges open to the public are few and scattered!

Only thing I have to offer for the range itself is that I think the NRA offers help in this area. I would also think that starting as a simple ???? range with room to ease into expand one section at a time into range complex would be less risky, and more likely to encounter political opposition.

As for operating the range you would want to consult some insurance and legal experts. The reason so many ranges have membership is because it puts a greater share of the liability on the members than a pay for admission public.
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Old May 20, 2016, 05:13 PM   #12
ricky0604fh
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thanks for the replies

As far as the gun club I was talking about, it just opened a few months ago but I agree with the notion of wealth and connections get things dont. I live in Northeast ohio, there are plenty of rural areas still around out here. I want to get a tract of land maybe a little closer to PA in the hills that way I can set up the range in a small valley.

There is plenty of potential here, I will say we do have a public range run by the ohio department of natural resources and the fall zone is on the reserve up in garrettesville. There is one other public range that is privately owned up bear there.

I was thinking about maybe going south towards Columbiana county. Plenty of hilly country out there, if I could find a nice gully to set up in.
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Old May 23, 2016, 12:25 AM   #13
JohnKSa
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Quote:
I want to be able to have targets set up at the 100, 200 and 300 yard line respectively.
You need to have a berm anywhere you have targets. If you want targets set up at 3 different ranges then you need berms at each of those ranges. Otherwise it's just way too easy to have a ricochet skip over the berm or have a shot miss the berm because the shooter's aiming at a close target from an odd angle.

Example is a range where I used to shoot. It had one berm at 300 yards but a single firing position. If you shot prone at a target set at 100 yards, your shots would go over the 300 yard berm due to the way the angles worked out. IMO, it put too much of a burden on the customers to pay attention and not screw up. Which really means too much liability on the range owner when someone doesn't pay attention and puts a magazine full over the berm.

Another option is to have one berm and target setup area and move the firing line for the different ranges. The problem with that is that everyone using the range has to shoot at the same distance.

Or, the best option is to use an existing significant geographical feature on the property as a berm. The side of a valley, a large hill or mountain. That really opens up your ability to set targets out at different ranges because no one's going to shoot over the berm unless they really work at it.
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Old May 23, 2016, 01:01 PM   #14
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May I suggest looking for a hilly valley near a working quarry, where it's not to windy, and no noise issue complaints from the neighbors, due to the proximity of the noise from the working quarry.
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Old May 24, 2016, 03:56 PM   #15
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I've never researched what it costs, but one of the nicest ranges around here was shut down from public use and handed over to the Navy as a training range because the required lead remediation was going to cost the club too much to keep it going. Our lead remediation plan for about 20 years was "members pick it out of the berm and recycle it".

Might be worthwhile to look into what environmental maintenance from somebody like this would cost you:

http://www.mt2.com/firing-ranges/ove...FZQbgQodCAQAGA
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Old May 25, 2016, 12:16 AM   #16
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In this area, at least, lead remediation is not a problem. The range where I'm a member had a company come in and reclaim the lead for recycling. The company actually PAID the range for the privilege and presumably still made a profit after selling the reclaimed lead.
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Old May 25, 2016, 10:30 AM   #17
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I recommend joining the NSSF. They have agents that specialize in helping you walk through all of the legal mumbo jumbo pertaining to retail and range. You also get discounts on insurance, security, and a few other things. Along with that you get one free consultation with a lawyer and can the get a dedicated team. We used them to get our retail operations set up and now work with an independent lawyer but it was worth every penny initially.
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Old May 26, 2016, 09:53 AM   #18
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Quote:
You need to have a berm anywhere you have targets. If you want targets set up at 3 different ranges then you need berms at each of those ranges.
Absolutely!!!

For decades Ft. Sill had a private weapons range; MB-1. MB-1 was a 100 yard range with berms at 25, 50, and 100 yards. Just behind the 100 yard berm is a steep hill that rises 200-250 feet above the level of the range.

They tore out all but the 100 yard berm. Soon after close in ricochets started going over the hill into the parking lot at the Sportsmans Center. A muzzleloader bullet broke the windshield of a pickup while a deer drawing was being held in the parking lot: That was the end of a really good range.
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Old May 28, 2016, 09:43 AM   #19
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Range I belong too gets it's insurance thru NRA and do offer range planning.

http://rangeservices.nra.org/range-d...onference.aspx
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