Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

Building a shooting backstop...

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by HappyValleyAP, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. HappyValleyAP

    HappyValleyAP Brush Prairie, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    17
    My wife and I just purchased some acreage out East of Brush Prarie Washington in Hockinson.. We are in dense Douglas fir forests and I'm looking to build a backstop as we have our home built this spring and summer. I've done some reading online about using railroad ties (where does one find these?) in a U shape about 12 feet tall and then having dirt and sand dumped and placed up against it. I'm curious if anyone locally has any experience they would like to share and better yet if you have done it before if you are willing to assist (I'll of course pay you for your troubles). Also - what's the easiest way to double check I have the legal right to shoot firearms in my locations? We are out there quite a ways but I of course want to make 100% sure there are no issues before building it.
     
  2. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,155
    Likes Received:
    4,282
    I used power poles, being a lineman by trade has it's advantages.
    I used a backhoe to dig the corners in vertically then stacked and bolted the cross poles into place.
    Earth was placed ahead of and behind the backstop and sides as it wouldn't take long to 'shoot out'
    The poles, earth is a lot easier to replace than the poles.
    I designed it to be 10' feet high.
    For target placement a simple Stand made of 2x4's in a square pattern with a flat base on either side to support it as a free standing movable unit.

    To hold a target use chicken wire across this stand stapled to the frame, use clothes pins to hold the target. The chicken wire is easily replaced once it has been shot out.
    As far as "legalities" go? If your not within city limits you should be ok, contact the local sheriffs office there. I live in oregon so I have no business giving you advice there.
    How close are neighbors and what's the density of homes?
    Noise restrictions may apply.
    I know we have one issue here locally down towards Newport here on the coast where the property owner in a legal area to shoot had a court injunction placed on them to decease due to some whiny bag neighbors that moved in nearby.
    Their range had a lot of shooting going on by friends and others and apparently the local bubblegum. District attorney agreed with the whiny bags.
    I was a topic of conversation here on this site for awhile.
    Good luck to you, build it and enjoy!
     
  3. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    2,794
    Funny how when you build a range you end up with more friends. I had quite a few people asking to come shoot and was being fairly easy about letting them shoot. Then a few of them wanted to show up with a couple car loads of their "friends " and some random jackwagons coming by looking for the "public range".

    That pretty much ended the range use by anybody but family, and I laid down rules on the family for amount of rounds, types of guns and when it could be done. It has been a lot easier that way. My range, my rules, don't like it go up in the woods with the crazies.
     
    Dungannon, Joe13 and salmonriverjohn like this.
  4. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,092
    Likes Received:
    359
    The Clark County website had a map (or map overlay) that covers the shooting restrictions in the county. I would think Hockinson should be OK but there has been a lot of growth out there.
     
  5. HappyValleyAP

    HappyValleyAP Brush Prairie, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    17
    Found the map and I'm in the all clear. Going to try and find an affordable seller of railroad ties and let the fun begin! If anyone's done this and has a good plan for it let me know.
     
  6. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    6,730
    Likes Received:
    10,938
    Only thing I would add to the setup would be a lean too roof over the target area.

    Serves to keep paper targets dry and you can use it to prove that an "errant" bullet didn't come from your range (as long as it's not full of bullet holes:p).

    Might be cheaper to just rent a dozer or back hoe and just build up a big burm without needing railroad ties behind it.
     
    ocarolan likes this.
  7. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    6,730
    Likes Received:
    10,938
    Something to consider - might be a benefit to let your neighbors know you have made a small range and ask them to call you with any concerns vs calling the cops when they hear gun fire.

    Always seems to be some neighbor that makes a stink about something for some reason - at least that's what I hear from people who have their own range.
     
    Flopsweat likes this.
  8. HappyValleyAP

    HappyValleyAP Brush Prairie, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    17
    Very good advice I appreciate the insight.
     
  9. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,155
    Likes Received:
    4,282
    I did, and old power poles are far cheaper.
     
  10. HappyValleyAP

    HappyValleyAP Brush Prairie, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    17
    Interesting... Harder to transport I would guess though.
     
  11. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    2,794
    You would think that would the the right thing to do. I still subscribe to the old country boy rule of I keep my mouth shut about what you do on your property, and you keep your mouth shut about what I do on mine, since at some point in time over the years you both live there, both of us are probably going to do something a bit off the "normal". The minute you start a pissing match in your neighborhood, your life just became very complicated and annoying.

    Rules for your range that might make you a better neighbor and get less questions:

    1. Leave the .300 Win Mag and .338 Lapua home. No .30 cal fire at all. Take that way up in the woods.
    2. No full auto at any time. Nothing gets attention faster. People across the valley ripped some off last year and that gives away a lot of information.
    3. Limit the 7.62 fire. Again very distinctive sound.
    4. Spring / summer shooting when leaves are on trees soaks up a lot of noise.
    5. For the dude that has to have that muzzle brake on, just tell him to leave it at home. Nothing projects noise sideways towards your neighbors worse.
    6. Set a reasonable limit on rounds fired. So many .223, so many 7.62, , so many hand gun rounds. The larger caliber long guns attract the most attention, hand guns / shotguns hardly at all.
    7. Suppressed fire is good. Less noise, although people in the know will clearly understand what they are hearing.
     
    pdempsey1097 likes this.
  12. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    6,730
    Likes Received:
    10,938
    Rent or take a chain saw and cut the poles to the length required IMO.

    Personally I'd just build a backstop out of cinder blocks and rebar, then push a ton of dirt up too it, sand on top of the dirt (as it's mostly clay and rock up there) would be ideal.

    Not even a .50BMG will go thru 20' of sand, rock and clay. At least I'm fairly certain of that - I've never had the pleasure to try :D

    IMO, the poles or ties aren't stopping anything but rather just providing a backstop for the earth burm.
     
  13. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    6,730
    Likes Received:
    10,938
    As long as that's the vibe on your hill I would agree with that - my urban neighborhood has an unspoken "rule" that cops aren't called for anything we handle it ourselves and stay out of each other's way.

    One neighbor likes to let off quarter sticks in the middle of the day on occasion and dogs bark on and off but the only exception would be some people a block or so away. They apparently grow pot in thier attic and have had lots of domestic issues (where they called the cops on themselves - no one else here would unless they saw a man wailing away at a women).

    I'm 99.9% sure that over the 11 year living here I have heard half a dozen isolated gun shots at the least. No cops cars showed up that I ever saw. Only fire engines and ambulances for the older folks and the houses on fire.


    Having said that, I went to my neighbors and told them I'm home almost all the time and would rather have a call from them then the police show up at my door because of a "potential" problem. All 8 of my adjoining neighbors can see every inch of my house more or less and I'm at very low risk for a break in so I don't ever really expect an issue.

    I like the you stay on your fence and I'll stay on mine but belonging to a private gun range in that general area, I can testify that having good communication with your neighbors is vital.

    We even shut the range down at noon one day because a neighbor was hosting a graduation party and asked if it would be possible to limit the noise. We shut down shop and still have great relations with all but one neighbor. They cost the club tens of thousands of dollars just by falsely accusing us of an errant bullet. If it can happen to a certified club, it can happen to a private citizen (who may have to sell off thier gun collection to pay for the legal bills should some bad blood get stirred up).

    The old saying that forgiveness is better then permission, I think that is a case by case point that only the property owner can assertain the necessity of or not.
     
    Dungannon, CoastRange57 and ocarolan like this.
  14. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    2,794
    That adage pretty much applies to one neighbor. The rest of us in some what close proximity are all on the same page. One is a SO training officer, who's elderly parents live in a trailer there too, I check on them once a day if I see strange cars there, the other neighbor has an ammunition business, kid down the road, his wife and kids are at home all day , she will call me if scumbags come around, a quick group text gets about 5 well armed individuals to where ever any of us needs help. The young mom had a shi*bag knock on her door in the middle of the day, so she sent a group text and 4 of us old man grandpa types showed up in about 2 minutes and "convinced" the dirt bag to move on. My SO neighbor was the first to show up with an AR ready to help hunt down the guy who broke into my shop.

    Pretty good hood to live in, information flows real fast, a couple of us make sure the local SO has the latest info they need to keep the local sh*tbags on the run.
     
    Joe13 likes this.
  15. pdempsey1097

    pdempsey1097 West of McMinnville Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    362
    I'm particularly jealous of one of my neighbors' ammo budgets, but have no issues with the sound of gun fire on the weekends. We hear gun fire on most days. I'm pretty happy that our neighbors are who they are. That being said, I'm always thinking about how my neighbors perceive my "activities". Thus, I limit my "on property" shooting to 3-4 times per year, and pay attention to who can hear and/or see me when I shoot. Coast Range makes good points - think about who can hear and see you when you're shooting. Opsec dictates that you don't want your neighbors calling the law because you're shooting.
     
  16. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,767
    Likes Received:
    1,857
    As an anti noise factor, think about placing a row of about 10 old tire casings in front of your bench. Have them close enough that your rifle muzzle is in the opening and they will absorb a lot of the sound when firing.;)
     
    Dungannon likes this.
  17. HappyValleyAP

    HappyValleyAP Brush Prairie, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    17
    The REAL question is who wants to help me build this thing? If you have a tractor that's a huge plus. I'll pay you for your time obviously to make it worth your trouble and can do weekdays or weekends based on your preference.
     
  18. Tilos

    Tilos Idaho Active Member

    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    71
    A range I belonged to built a berm out of old tires and dirt.
    The tires were stacked like bricks, into a pyramid, with each layer filled/covered with dirt, before the next layer was added.
    The tires allowed a steeper berm, and stopped erosion.
    jmo
    :)
     
    Dungannon and PBinWA like this.
  19. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,092
    Likes Received:
    359
    Most tire places will give you free used tires too.
     
  20. 3914

    3914 west of Portland New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    You'd be surprised how much dirt it takes to make a decent 'berm'. I just added 1,500 cu yds to one we already had after the original settled. Imagine the hole you would have to dig to build one from the existing elevations you have. Do you have a safe spot with rise to it that could be utilized?