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Ideas for an Indoor Pistol Range


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Hi Everyone,

I just joined this forum on the advice of Brian. I live in the tiny village of Long Point, located in Central Illinois and would like to get some thoughts on a project I have been considering for some time now. I am planning to build an indoor range in a small room (6' x 16') in my basement.

First of all, let me be clear that this will be a pistol range for use with frangible ammunition which I would like to reload myself. I have a Ruger LCR .38 Special +P and recently ordered a Dillon 550B re-loader from Brian.

Here are some of my thoughts:

- I don't want to be using anything with lead in the house, because there are contamination issues--not just from the lead that settles, but from the lead in the air. Without a really super ventilation system, that could be a problem.

- I think frangible ammunition might be the way to go. I would still use my +P jacketed hollow points for self-defense, but I think the frangibles might be ideal for indoor practice.

- I was thinking that I would line the walls and ceiling of my room first with Armstrong High Acoustics Model #1811 tile for sound deadening, and then use 1/8" steel on the end of the room I was firing toward. My understanding is that steel is the best material to use because the frangible projectile turns completely to dust without doing any damage to the steel. I wouldn't have to worry about errant shots because the floors in my house are 1-3/4" solid wood (7/8" sub-floor and 7/8" finish floor). The walls in that room are all stone except for the solid wooden door and a window, the latter of which I would cover with the tile and steel. At the end of the room I was firing from, I would build a shooting booth to stand in, thereby further minimizing my exposure.

- I would install an exhaust fan in the shooting booth to remove any fumes created by shooting.

That's it, so far.... I would sure appreciate any input on 1) my ideas for building the range, and 2) thoughts about reloading frangible ammunition. Feel free to critique my ideas and offer more of your own.

Thanks!

Tony

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Depending what type of backstop you use, you don't necessarily have to use frangible bullets. Your whole wall doesn't have to be a backstop. You can purchase or fabricate a self standing bullet trap. Purchase rubber stall mats from tractor supply to cut into smaller squares. Adhere one with rubber cement to the impact face of the bullet trap, and one hanging in front of the trap. You'll get several rounds thru it before you have to replace them.

16' is a very very shot distance, consider distance for your physical self to shoot from and physical space for a bullet trap, and your looking at maybe 9 feet shooting distance. If you have access to a back ho, you could always punch a hole in the basement wall and use some concrete drainage culverts to make a "shooting tube."

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I assume that you use primers and powder with frangible bullets and you'll then have 2/3 the pollution in the air that you would with lead bullets. You would be a lot better off with a pellet pistol - maybe in some other part of the house where you could get a little more distance between the shooter and the target.

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I assume that you use primers and powder with frangible bullets and you'll then have 2/3 the pollution in the air that you would with lead bullets. You would be a lot better off with a pellet pistol - maybe in some other part of the house where you could get a little more distance between the shooter and the target.

Steve, can you expand a bit on your 2/3 pollution comment? I would be using lead-free primers and I would have the exhaust system. My immediate concern was the lead, but if there are other contaminants I should be concerned about, what might those be?

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Depending what type of backstop you use, you don't necessarily have to use frangible bullets. Your whole wall doesn't have to be a backstop. You can purchase or fabricate a self standing bullet trap. Purchase rubber stall mats from tractor supply to cut into smaller squares. Adhere one with rubber cement to the impact face of the bullet trap, and one hanging in front of the trap. You'll get several rounds thru it before you have to replace them.

16' is a very very shot distance, consider distance for your physical self to shoot from and physical space for a bullet trap, and your looking at maybe 9 feet shooting distance. If you have access to a back ho, you could always punch a hole in the basement wall and use some concrete drainage culverts to make a "shooting tube."

Thanks for the great info about a bullet trap, Lee. I had seen some really cool, heavy-duty traps at www.bulletbunker.com. There was something I was curious about and since you made the comment about the entire wall not having to be a backstop.... My concern is errant shots. Shouldn't the backstop be as large necessary to cover all your hits?

As for the frangibles, I was thinking that would help me maximize the limited space, because I wouldn't take up as much room with a flat surface as I would a bullet trap.

I really like your idea about a "shooting tube".

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Shooting distance seems too short, so as Lee and Steve stated you probably want a longer range. 1/8" steel is a bit thin even for frangible bullets unless you have some type of trap before the steel, 3/8 is probably best for pistol rounds, 1/4 should work though (T1 or AR500). Three layers of coal conveyor belt will stop most pistol rounds and many rifle rounds, with a 1/8" plate this setup should last quite a while

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A few years ago I bought a 34' by 14' shed for an indoor range. I put three steel plates, 4' by 7', at the back with railroad ties

in front of them to eliminate bounce back. The wall and ceiling were covered with insulation to reduce noise. I also installed an

exhaust fan to take care of lead powder.

With a heater for winter use, it is a great way to practice shooting at targets up to 10 yards.

There are no indoor ranges anywhere within a reasonable distance.

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