building own target range
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:41 AM   #1
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Default building own target range

I am wanting to build my own range on my 100 acres of land for me and a few close friends. I have a nice big hill as a backdrop, and have around 150-200 yards of open area in my woods for long shots... could be more if i moved some brush...

I am wondering what the best targets are for the .223 caliber, 20 gauge slugs (rare, but i need to sight it in before deer season), and .17 and .22. I like the thought of metal targets, but how thick of metal will a .223 go through at say 50- 100 yards. What else can i shoot at for fun besides paper over cardboard.

I can build a stand out of 2x4's or something so that's no biggy, but i don't want to go out and buy metal that is too small, or spend too much on 1/2" thick metal if i don't need it.

Also, whats the cheapest way to go about a table/seat and whats a decent gun rest. Are bags better then something like a caldwell lead sled?

i have roughly 200 or so to build this, the more i spend on the range, the less i can afford to shoot...

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Old 01-31-2010, 05:47 AM   #2
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I don't have a 223 but have seen many make 1/8 inch craters in steel on YouTube. Bullet selection has a lot to do with it as does the temper of the steel.

I am thinking the 20 gauge would just knock the paint off.

I built my 300 yard table from hardwood reclaimed from a barn. I actually have 3 tables, the 100 yard table is old table legs with popular boards on top and the 200 yarder is more reclaimed hardwood. I shoot well off of all but have the strongest one at the furthest distance from my targets.

I use home made sand bags, I get 1 1/2 - 1 7/8 inch groups at 300 yards with scoped rifles. I'm thinking of using popcorn in a sock just to see what it is like; I'll also try assorted beans and such.
When I use a rifle vise or what have I, it changes my POI by a few inches. I think they are a great tool to use if you are having accuracy problems and are wondering if it is a technique issue.

Everything I use at my range I got for dirt cheap or was something lying around the house. My favorite targets are made from broken leaf springs.

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Old 01-31-2010, 01:13 PM   #3
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i have roughly 500 rounds of .223 55 grain FMJ, so those would most likely be used.

Also, how safe are metal targets, i don't need a richohet getting me

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Old 01-31-2010, 01:57 PM   #4
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Get some long pallets, remove the slats from one end leaving about 2" of the frame sticking out one end. Borrow a post hole digger and set the ends in post holes.
Get a couple good sturdy pallets with no space between slats,use one for your bench top and disassemble the other for material to build the legs. One bench, three backstops to staple up paper targets placed at distances of your choosing. use your hill to stop bullets. You can probably do this for the cost of hardware. Take the other $190.00 and buy a rest and a spotting scope. You can reface your target holders with particle board or celotex as needed for less than $5.00 each.

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Old 01-31-2010, 04:36 PM   #5
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For what you want to do you might try to get some 1/2" AR400, AR500 or Hardox plate from a local scrap metal yard. We shoot a lot of 3/8" mild steel plate, but unlike your plans, we want the rd to pass thru the target. When they get full of holes, we just hang up a new one. A 5.56 FMJ surplus rd out of a 20" bbl at 100 yds will shoot thru 3/8" mild steel with no problem and after a few hits in the same spot, thicker mild steel will eventually be eroded thru.



The hardened steel plates mentioned above will stop a 5.56 FMJ without much damage, especially, (and importantly) if you tip the top of the plate toward you at around a 45 degree angle. It lets the bullet slide down to the dirt with less impact on the plate & less chance of a ricochet.

At our range here on the farm, we use a couple 6' fiberglass folding leg tables and some folding chairs from wally world, we just move them to the distance from the backstop we feel like shooting at the time, keep e'm in the machine shed when not in use.

Whatever you decide to do, be careful. I've seen bullets do some strange things, ie; 22lr bounce back off a glass jar, .45 acp bounce back off a dirt hill 100 yds away & hit the front bumper of my truck, steel jacket peel off a 7.62x54r as it went thru a steel plate and fly back 100 yds and stick in a guys shirt, etc. - You get the idea, NOBODY shoots on my land without eye & ear protection, Good luck with your project! Ken

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Old 01-31-2010, 07:17 PM   #6
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do you think it is safer to use a smaller gauge metal and shoot through it, rather then try to stop it... It would probably take a long time to justify hardened steel big enough for a .223, when i could just go to tractor supply and get some 12 gauge metal to shoot at for a day.

also, how do you hang it, so it doesnt move, or do you want it to swing a little bit?

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Old 01-31-2010, 08:14 PM   #7
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Hi norse! A sheetmetal lid off a 5 gal bucket makes a very good target, or some plywood rectangles, no worries about ricochets off the metal lids and the dirt on the hill should stop most rds. Might even try something like these?



Our favorite rifle game involves swinging steel plates. We shoot them on the move & use a lot of steel jacketed surplus ball ammo so due to the jackets splatting back at us when the bullet blows thru the 3/8" plate, we only shoot them at 200 yds +. I like the tri-pods, they are easy to carry & set up.





For 22lr an angled mild steel plate works super, bullet just slides right down to the ground. This stop has 10s of thousands of hits on a 1/4" plate with no damage!



Hope this gives you some ideas, oh ya, the grandson is a better shot than that, first day with a new rifle, just sighting in!, take care, Ken

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Old 01-31-2010, 09:02 PM   #8
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fora shooting bench I would go with cinder block legs and a pour in place concrete top.

here are plans for a wooden bench.

Shooting Bench. html

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Old 02-01-2010, 02:29 PM   #9
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if i ever had the right acreage and location, with a 4-5 bdrm farm house i would certainly entertain the thought of attempting a shooter's bed n breakfast.

a nice place to stay a night or two to sight in rifles, practice before the hunting week or weekend, guns and bows....short, med, long ranges

and get a great bacon eggs and pancakes meal before, inbetween or after.....

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