I’ve had a number of folks ask me to design in a firing range on their farm. Good idea for practice and especially if you have excess material you need to find something to do with. In the past I’ve always just chose what I considered a good location. I could not say I was wrong in placement, however, I was asked a technical question that forced me to be more precise.
Here are some of those findings if you are so inclined:
- Should be remote but accessible by road.
- Ideal orientation of the range should be away from the sun and be oriented somewhere between exactly opposite of the sun and 25 degrees to the east. Do not design range to fire into the sun.
- Firing platforms, access roads, and targets should be above floodplain.
- Ground between targets and firing line should be free of hardened surfaces such as rocks or anything else that can cause ricochet and should be put to grass or low ground cover.
- The ground should also be graded away from the targets, preferably into drains.
- Shooters should have secure footing and gravel at or near the firing platform or area should be avoided.
- The site should be landscaped to prevent erosion, abate noise, and offer fire protection and safety.
SURFACE DANGER ZONES (SDZ)
- SDZs should not cross over roads and if they do, they need to be monitored for safety.
- The primary danger area used for the impact of all rounds needs to extend 5º to either side of the left and right limits of fire and downrange to the maximum range of any ammunition to be used on the range.
- Ricochet area is 5º to either side of the impact area and extends downrange to the maximum range of any ammunition to be used on the range.
- Target line should be a minimum of 30′ from the toe of the impact berm.
IMPACT STRUCTURE (what you are shooting into)
- Natural terrain such as a mountain, cliff, or steep hill may be used for the impact structure to fire into.
- When using a berm as an impact structure to fire into, the top elevation of earth impact berm should be 26′ above the range surface for ranges 100 yards or longer.
- For ranges 50 yards long or less. The top elevation of the impact berm should be 16′ above the range surface.
- The slope of the impact berm is 1:1. The steeper the slope, the more likely the berm is to absorb projectiles.
- The top should be 10′ wide.
- The ideal impact slope should be constructed with a 3′ layer of easily filtered soil so you can reclaim the lead, and free of material such as boulders, trees, rocks, or stones that cause ricochet.
- The rear slope should be adequate.
- Cover impact berm with grass.