To vastly increase your tactical and aim readiness you have to create a place where you can practice shooting your weapons. This is where building your shooting range comes in. By doing so you get to know more of your gun’s functions. At the same time, you know how they are sighted, how to repair them, and so on.
It is an exciting proposition to build your own gun range. For starters, you have to find a place that will ensure you get the best range for your needs. For instance, you may be training to use a sniper rifle. With this in mind, you may not be able to access a shooting range for snipers in your locality. The best solution is getting a personalized shooting range for your needs. So how do you go about it successfully?
Well, we have done all the hard work for you. The following is an in-depth research on how to build a multipurpose shooting range. Take note you do not need to invest in expensive materials. All you need is a simple D-I-Y experience.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Shooting Range Legalities
There are several things you need to consider to ensure you do not get into trouble with the law.
Before investing a single dime into your to-be gun range, you need to thoroughly review all local laws to determine the type of restrictions that apply. By reviewing these laws, you will also know if building a gun range is permissible. This way, you will not finish your shooting range only to find that you can’t use it in your locality.
To build a shooting range, a person must own a minimum of 10 acres of land, and then inspections of the range might be required before it can be put into use. If you want to shoot rimfire rifles on the DIY gun range, in some localities a land requirement of at least two and a half acres might exist.
Long story short, ample space is an absolute necessity — no ifs, and’s or buts about it.
How to Build a Shooting Range
So you’ve found out that you can legally have a shooting range on your property. Congratulations! Now, let’s get to work.
Location and Backstop Materials
The most important aspect of the entire project is choosing the location for the home shooting range. The target area must have either a safe natural or man-made backstop that can stop any round which will be fired into a target.
Heavy equipment will almost assuredly be required if you need to build a backstop because the natural attributes of the land are not useful for this purpose. In order to build a backstop tall enough and deep enough to safely serve as a backstop for ammo rounds to be fired into it, you need to use a whole lot of dirt. Make doubly sure that the direction you’ll be shooting in isn’t open behind the targets.
We don’t want any rounds whizzing by the neighbor’s house.
If you have no other choice but to place your shooting range in an open field, and a giant mound of dirt isn’t your cup of tea; some folks opt to build a dirt backstop that is not quite as thick as is necessary and then build a wall in front out of railroad ties. This gives the backstop a very thick wall to penetrate, slowing the bullet immediately… you likely won’t even see a bullet get through the ties, but we still recommend you keep some dirt behind the railroad wall, anyway.
You can also utilize stone, or build a concrete wall for a more permanent option…but that can get expensive.
Installing the Targets
Now that we have a backstop to prevent bullets from flying willy nilly, let’s install the things you’ll be aiming for — targets.
Target posts should be pretty thick (you wouldn’t want bullets eating through them after a couple of shots, would you?) and buried at a minimum of 3 feet beneath the ground. Fill the hole around the poles with concrete and allow it to cure completely before attaching your targets.
Keep the weight and dimensions of your target in mind, as well. Your target should fit perfectly on the pole and not exceed the width or length of the pole to avoid haywire bullets.
Target Support Boards
It’s possible to build each target as a single component to your homemade shooting range, or by connecting a series of target holders together (fence style) for added uniformity and stability.
The metal out of which support boards are connected securely to the posts is plywood or sheet metal. It’s highly recommended to use pressure-treated boards that are at least a half an inch thick for increased longevity if you use plywood.
Mobile PVC Target Stands
For low caliber rounds and bow practice, there can be some value to creating a more portable PVC option. Some advantages are:
- It can be placed in varying spots around the gun range in order to allow for short distance practice.
- It sets up a young shooter training area when needed.
- Frugality – They will not last forever, but they are cheap and easy to make and will get you out onto the new range quickly.
Making targets is the most exciting part of building a backyard shooting range. You can simply staple some store-bought paper targets to your plywood supports and start shooting if you want the easy route.
You can also create DIY targets that are a lot more difficult and interesting. These are the ones that move and even explode when hit.
Top 6 Homemade Target Options for a Shooting Range
There are a number of homemade target options you can choose. Knowing them will help you determine the best for your needs. The best six we found are illustrated below:
Plastic Jugs or Bottles
They are filled with colored water that is either attached to the target supports or allowed to dangle free to simulate a moving target.
Tannerite is our favorite type of target. If it’s legal to use in your area, learn how to safely mix the low-level explosive and pour it into a jug, animal decoy, aluminum can, or just about anything else you could fire a round into.
When filled with sand, water, or colored water they can also be used as either stationary or moving targets.
A tree branch tied to a rope from to sturdy posts connected by a support board across the top also makes a superb moving target on a DIY shooting range.
Place pumpkins (or similar, but smaller produce if you are skilled enough) at the top of target posts. Pumpkin shooting is a great way to teach children gun safety. It can mimic the devastating effect that a bullet could have on a person if a bullet goes awry.
Scrap metal can also be turned into extremely durable targets. Make sure the depth of the material is not so thin that it is destroyed quickly and there is little chance of a round ricocheting.
Shooting Range Bench
You can invest a few hundred dollars into a shooting range bench, or make one yourself for a fraction of the price. Picnic tables make a decent starter multi-purpose range bench.
You can also use cinder blocks as supports for a piece of plywood cut to fit as a tabletop to create a gun range stand, and simply pull up an outdoor chair to sit on.
It requires some upfront research into your local laws and regulations in order to build your own gun range. You need to have the right land with a natural or man-made backstop available, and some basic carpentry skills. You’ll never have to pay another range fee again with a little elbow grease and a modest budget.
Take note this shooting rang guide is for most guns that you use in two acres of land or more. For your safety and others, we recommend thoroughly going through the legalities of building a shooting range in your backyard.