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Need help allowing 50 cal use at local range.

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Ranb, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    I recently joined the Poulsbo Sportsman's Club in Western WA after the KRRC lost a lawsuit which prohibits gun use on their property. While the new range is nice one of their rules is no 50 BMG. It extends out to 200 yards which I believe is a bit short for 50 BMG, but still entirely suitable. Talking to some of the range officers reveals that they feel the 50 BMG is too loud and damages the berm too much. I was also told by one range officer that a 200 yard range is just not the right place for a 50 BMG. For now it does not matter why certain people feel a 50 BMG is not suitable; but I need to get a proposal together to present to their executive board when I make my pitch for a rule change.

    I want to suggest making a bullet trap to reduce berm damage and a shooting box to reduce noise. I made a shooting box for 50 BMG rifles for the KRRC before they were shutdown; it worked, but there were other issues that resulted in the range shutdown. I have a letter from the ATF saying that a shooting box is not legally a silencer, and a Washington State Attorney General opinion that noise abatement devices and structures not attached to the firearm are not "devices for suppressing a firearm". It is a misdemeanor to use unregistered suppressors on guns in WA. A local DA tried to tell me that my shooting box was illegal due to the dangerous weapons RCW (9.41.250), but the AG shut him up with his opinion.

    What I need.

    Ideas for a bullet trap. I need something that will catch a 700 grain steel core bullet moving 2800 fps. It does not have to be very large, maybe a cube 2 feet on all sides. I am thinking of a metal box with 1/2 inch steel mounted inside at a 45 degree (or shallower) angle to deflect bullets into the ground and retain them. I have a wire feed welder I can use, I also have access to a stick arc welder. Hopefully I can find scrap steel to make it from.

    I have also heard of rubber compounds that stop high speed bullets. Maybe a box filled with that stuff along with a self sealing front like the orange self sealing targets I see at sporting goods stores.

    A better shooting box to attenuate noise. I made a shooting box from three foam filled steel doors bolted together to make an 80" long triangle. The rear end had 1" plywood with a small shooting port into which the barrel was inserted. While it eliminated the blast felt from the sides and back and reduced the harsh noise level, the muzzle blast slowly beat it apart. I need something stronger. A 55 gallon drum is going to ring like a bell unless I coat it with something. Anything with foam inside it is not good as the brake will rip it to shreds

    I need the opinion of recognized 50 BMG experts who can say whether or not a 200 yard range is suitable for these rifles. My opinion will be self serving and not enough as I am not a recognized expert in on any firearm type. I recall hearing that some of the top 50 BMG shooters in the country used smaller 200 yards ranges for load development in between the 1000 yard competitions.

    I am a new guy at the club, so I need to tread lightly. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Randy Bragge
    (360)440-5889
    ranb40@yahoo.com
     
  2. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    So all the guys from Kitsap are going to Poulsbo .

    Gunna get that range shut down too?
     
  3. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Some are going to Gig Harbor or shooting out in the woods in Kitsap County. So why do you think anyone is "gunna get that range shut down too?"

    Ranb
     
  4. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    Do you even know what you are talking about?
     
  5. CAL30M1

    CAL30M1 Longview, WA Active Member

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    They recently banned the use of .50 BMG at my range also. Ours goes out to 400 yards and still they said it was too short of a distance for a .50.
     
  6. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    I own a fab shop and have done extensive metal fabrication.... And I also have owned two .50BMG rifles... And I can tell you that a box made out of 1/2" plate at 200 yards will not be even close to enough to handle what you are asking... If you really want to contain .50 fire at 200 yards effectively I think you need to talk with ballistics engineer. My guess is he will tell you that a alloy steel plate may work in the 1 1/4" range without deflection damage.... I would guess cost to engineer and fabricate a suitable trap is going to run tens of thousands of dollars..... My recommendation would be find someone east of the mountains who shares your enthusiasm and set up a real range with real distances.... Personally I wouldn't want to shoot a .50 at a range or at 200 yards... The pleasure of shooting a 50 is driving for 5 minutes 1000 yards down range to see how you did....
     
  7. JGRuby

    JGRuby Portland Oregon New Member

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    I am saddened to hear that KRRC is no more. When I was stationed up there we even used the range for qualifications ( USS Michigan ).

    James Ruby
     
  8. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Monstermetal,

    I know that the AP ammo will easily penetrate when striking at 90 degrees, but what about at a much shallower angle?

    I enjoy shooting at longer ranges, but it is nice to have a range nearby for load development. I used to drive to Eatonville for the 550 yards matches, but have not lately. 75 miles it a bit far to drive to shoot loads over a chronograph or to see how they group initially, that is why I want to be able to do it in Kitsap County
     
  9. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    The angle will help break up the round for sure but can you guarantee it? My fear is that of liability.... If you just throw a box together and for what ever reason a chunk of shrapnel goes rouge or a round is deflected off where it shouldn't... And you built the box.... Bad bad bad.... The only safe way would be to get an engineer on the hook so design the trap.... I understand the desire to have a local place to play but it just seems to me that a public 200 yard range is not worth fighting to shoot at.... Its not like your in Seattle, There is no local with a private range that you could make friends with? No one else with a .50 that needs a range buddy? When I had my big rifles I was out in the high dessert and never had an issue with a range so I am not much help in that regard. It doesn't sound like they want you at the range and have some reasonable excuses why. And personally I wouldn't spend $5/round to shoot at 200 yards... The fun really is reaching out there.... I would think 500 yards would be a minimum but I would look for a spot you could shoot 1500 yards....
     
  10. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    What I'm curious about is the idea that you would always hit something as small as a 2 ft x 2ft target at 200yards with no chance of a round just missing the fancy backstop. I have belonged to a Club with a 200 yard range and I have seen guys miss the paper at 50 yards. I work our sight in service the aruns the whole month of Sept and its amazing how much work it can get some rifles and shooters to hit a 12" diameter target at 100 yards.

    Now you as an experianced shooter might never miss your target. But a .50BMG is inherantly no more accurate then any other high velocity cartridge at 200 yards

    My .243 will shoot .5MOA groups of 10 rounds all day long but still every once in a while the operater gets a flyer.

    What is beyond the 200 yard target at this range you want to be able to shoot at? Never mind I took a look on Google maps you have a small berm and then trees and then a road and then a few more trees and then a HWY!!!! I can easily see why the Club does not allow .50BMG to be shot towards the HWY.
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  11. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Google Maps clearly shows the baffles that the PSC has installed downrange that reduce the likelihood any bullet from a rifle or handgun from being shot over the berm. As far as I know the baffles would interrupt the flight of a 20mm cannon projectile. There is no blue sky between the baffles and the berms as seen from the bench, standing and kneeling/sitting positions.

    Like I said in the OP, I was told it is the noise and berm damage that is the perceived problem. Also just about anyone knows that even the 22lr can go over a mile, that is longer than the buffer zone of the majority of rifle ranges in the USA. Those rifle ranges without a large enough buffer zone rely on administrative and engineered controls to prevent bullets from leaving the range. Take a look at http://www.hss.doe.gov/SecPolicy/pfs/Range_Design_Criteria.pdf for more information. It sounds as though you have an ax to grind. Maybe you can do it somewhere else?

    I have missed my fair share of targets. It is OK if a few of the bullets miss the bullet trap. The club is probably not worried about a few impacts into the berm, it is the impact of hundreds of 50 BMG rounds into the berm they want to avoid. The bullet trap can be buried into the berm to lessen the possibility of fragments being blown off.

    Ranb
     
  12. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    I don't know why I didn't think if this before! Buy a Barrett .416! Problem solved. ;-).
     
  13. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Possibly. :) It is possible that it might offend someone though. I am allowed to use my suppressed 510 whisper. It uses the same 51 caliber bullets, but only at 1050 fps.

    Ranb
     
  14. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Nope got no axe. Could careless if you shoot a 50BMG at your club. I was just making an observation based on the photos posted on the clubs web site (http://www.pscnet.net/200ydrange2.jpg) which do not show any sort of baffle that would prevent a round from going into blue sky. If the photos had shown some sort of baffle structure I might have changed my comments.
     
  15. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Fine with me. I just thought when you said; "Never mind I took a look on Google maps you have a small berm and then trees and then a road and then a few more trees and then a HWY!!!!" it actually meant that you looked at Google Maps which show the baffles on the shooting lines.

    Ranb
     
  16. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Duuuude

    OK There is a reason that ONLY the Kitsap range was shut down. I don't know why for sure.

    BUT the county says that they changed a ton of buildings and shooting schedules that made it from a 8-5 range to a 7-9 or 10 range.Can't really remember.
    But we all know we have to do everything by the book or better ,when ti comes to guns and shooting sports.

    So,since the Kitsap range was the only range shut down ,recently,I would ASSume that the management is to blame. Not getting proper permits and running training sessions they weren't licensed for.
    Again.I only know what I have read,and it looks like the range was wrong.

    Now Rand wants to change another range. All I can think is that range will go the way of Kitsap.

    Maybe just leave this range alone?
     
  17. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    I guess your post speaks for itself.

    The four rifle ranges in Kitsap County were grandfathered in back in the mid 90's. Guess what, the KRRC is still a rifle range. Grandfathering did nothing to place restrictions on how they could operate other than what was already in place in the RCW's and County Code.

    The County did not list any zoning problems when selling the land to the KRRC; which they did because the county commissioners did not want to run a rifle range or be responsible for the 2-3 million dollar lead cleanup if the land was to be used for something else other than a shooting area or for nothing.

    Here are a few undisputed facts for you.

    1. A few people (CKSQ) gathered 145 signatures of people (recently moved in) that objected to the noise from the range. The KRRC has had at times nearly 1000 members and is open to the public.
    2. When the KRRC installed noise abatement, the County Prosecuting attorney told us that it was illegal to use (9.41.250).
    3. Hauge equated a box with a dangerous weapon to keep the club from being less noisy.
    4. I got opinions from the BATFE and the WA Attorney General saying that a box was not a silencer, so I was able to re-install the shooting box.
    5. The County's expert at trial claimed that two out of millions of bullets fired since 1926 left the range/buffer zone and damaged private property. I think that most people participating in recreational activities would kill (figuratively) for such an excellent safety record.
    6. Judge Serko said that the above record was a liability to the community.
    7. Judge Serko claims rifles greater than 30 caliber are unsuitable at a rifle range like the KRRC or suitable for hunting.
    8. Judge Serko claimed that making berms higher and adding additional bays means the club expanded beyond what was grandfathered.
    9. As part of the sale agreement, the KRRC was required to open to the public, this made the range noisier.

    If the County actually supported the range, then they would just demand that permits be applied for instead of suing to shutdown the range.

    I cannot change the PSC, only the PSC board can do that. I want to improve the range if they will take the opportunity to do so.

    Ranb
     
  18. PDXoriginal

    PDXoriginal PNW Well-Known Member

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    Ever stand next to someone shooting a fifty? It seems cool at first, but after a few rounds you realize how much it sucks. A few things I have learned shooting my fifty... it's loud, in a enclosed area (i.e. something with a roof) it's even LOUDER and reverbs throughout the whole structure so even a few benches down will feel your shooting, the muzzle blast is NASTY.

    Those reasons alone I can see why ranges ban their use. I really don't blame them, I wouldn't want to be stuck next to a guy shooting a fifty unless it is me shooting the fifty and even then I have learned how much I hate shooting it in a enclosed area.
     
  19. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    The shooting box I made fixes the blast problem. The small shooting port that the barrel is inserted into makes all the difference. It still sounds as loud to the person pulling the trigger, but the people to the sides tell me that it is much more comfortable to sit next to.

    Ranb
     
  20. JGRuby

    JGRuby Portland Oregon New Member

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    Where was the NRA on this - what did they do if anything to try and prevent this range from being shutdown?

    James Ruby