Building a safe gun range on your property doesnâ€™t usually take much time or money, but deciding if you should build one and how to do it takes some consideration and, perhaps, conversation.
Proximity to neighbors
â€œThere are a lot of things to think about,â€ says Troy, a shooting instructor and member of Silent Hill Farms. â€œTalk to your neighbors first. How much annoyance are you going to be for them? If youâ€™re shooting all the time, itâ€™s going to affect their quality of life. Itâ€™s always good to keep your neighbors happy.
Size of property can vary
According to Troy, you donâ€™t need a huge chunk of land to build your own shooting range.
â€œYou can have a very small piece of property for a pistol range if you have the proper backstops,â€ Troy says. â€œYou need a significant amount of land if you donâ€™t have backstops to avoid hurting someone who might be passing by the firing line.â€
Building a backstop
Building a backstop may not be necessary if your property has a significant hill on it.
â€œIt depends on the lay of the land, and if you have hills,â€ Troy says. â€œI took my tractor and cut into the hillside and created a natural backstop. Some people use railroad ties to put sand down, and then another set of railroad ties. Some people use tires and fill them with dirt and sand to create a backstop.â€
You donâ€™t want to incorporate anything hard into your shooting range, unless itâ€™s a walkway of some sort.
â€œAnytime youâ€™re shooting into anything, you want it to be a soft surface that can absorb the bullet and not have it come out at you,â€ says Troy. â€œHard surfaces ricochet. Thatâ€™s why you see people using railroad ties and soil and sand and tires, because theyâ€™re soft.â€
As far as how deep the backstop needs to be, it depends on the type of bullet youâ€™re shooting.
â€œIf itâ€™s a hillside with almost infinite depth, you can shoot what you want to into it,â€ Troy explains. â€œIf you just have earth that is mounded up, you need to keep it to a caliber that wonâ€™t penetrate through. Most handguns will not penetrate a backstop. But if you shoot a .50 caliber rifle, you can punch through that and more.â€
â€˜Itâ€™s a perishable skillâ€™
Shooting is â€œa perishable skill,â€ Troy reminds us, â€œand you have to practice.â€
Remember to: Talk to your neighbors first. Assess your property: Is there going to be danger putting a shooting range on your property?
â€œSometimes it is not feasible to be able to build yourself a shooting range,â€ Troy says, but if it is, build a sturdy and substantial backstop.