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Old 10-04-2007, 05:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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underground shooting range in your backyard

a buddies ex-gf had an underground shooting range in her back yard. you pulled up a 6x6 panel of the kazebo floor, walked do some steps into a concrete chamber. at the end of the chamber was a 50yd or so shooting lane. it was a awesome. what are the legalities of this? realistically the danger to the public is minimal. this was in socal and im guessing the house was built in the early 1900s but no clue on when the range was built.
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My dad and I have discussed this...they are building right now and we have talked about building a 10X15X200 underground box to go down in and shoot.
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would think it would be a grey area. ex: We have a bar district in downtown Atlanta that doesnt have to follow the 1:45 last call because it is underground.

Something like this (minus the pot) would be awesome.
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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lead contamination is a problem but lead free ammo is expensive.
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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lead contamination is a problem but lead free ammo is expensive.
what you mean?

are you talking contamination inside the range or to the surrounding soil?
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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what you mean?

are you talking contamination inside the range or to the surrounding soil?
Inside the range, there was a (I think it was American Rifleman, but possibly Guns and Ammo) article in American Rifleman where those whom physically cleaned the ranges had higher lead levels in their blood, you are safe if you use the proper respiratory equipment.
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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what you mean?

are you talking contamination inside the range or to the surrounding soil?
Airborne lead contamination in confined spaces is a proven killer. It is a MUST that you have proper ventilation.
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You could always suppress all your weapons and used a berm with steel plate or concrete in beaded in it
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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nothing a ventilation system couldnt cure or as you mentioned respiratory equipement.

i was more interested in the legality of it.
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Old 10-04-2007, 11:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Several years ago the previous owner of Kimber took me to his test range, it was in an old barn like building. The basement had a room with three or four shooting benches facing the wall, and concrete pipes as the lanes. Outside there was a shed with a ladder in a pit lined with R/R ties, it had lights, and targets on automatic rollers. It was a sweet setup, and with the doors closed you couldn't hear anything from the outside.
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Old 10-05-2007, 09:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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those whom physically cleaned the ranges had higher lead levels in their blood.

isn't that like saying retail theft increased when a cities first retail store opened?
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Old 10-05-2007, 07:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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My house has a basement and I've given this serious consideration. A friend mentioned that if cops heard it or showed up, etc that I could get charged for the discharge of a firearm in the city limits since I live within the city limits??
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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My house has a basement and I've given this serious consideration. A friend mentioned that if cops heard it or showed up, etc that I could get charged for the discharge of a firearm in the city limits since I live within the city limits??
yea thats what i was thinking. i was thinkin you could apply for a permit similar to a shooting range, but i think that would just open up a huge can of worms.
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Old 10-06-2007, 10:12 AM   #14 (permalink)
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nothing a ventilation system couldnt cure or as you mentioned respiratory equipement.
You would need to spend 50k+ on adequate ventilation or wear a respirator at all times in the range.
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Old 10-06-2007, 04:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I think you could do proper ventilation for a hell of a lot less then 50k. Just put a blower or two blowing down range from where you are standing and have a vent at the end of the range, should get most of the lead out of your small shooting area.
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Old 10-06-2007, 07:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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50k buys a whole lot of fucking air

you could definitely do the ventilation cheap.

i've thought about this too. single lane, use 2 40' conex shipping containers end to end. mushroom exhaust fans (cheap used ones) downrange, gravity backdraft dampers on a gooseneck at the shooter's end of the lane. brings the air in and downrange to clear contaminants. might need a small split system air conditioner to dehumidify...

weld the containers end to end, build your trap, build a concrete entryway with steps leading down. lights, bench, the works.

i bet you could do the whole thing for 10-12k if you got some good deals on the conex containers and the excavation involved

edit: i'm thinking of this in the clay soil conditions we have in GA. dont know how the sides/top would hold up to the pressures of being buried.

it will also need some zinc sacrificial anodes.
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Old 10-06-2007, 07:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I have dreamed of building a 100 yd underground range using those 6' culverts as a tunnel and RR ties or steel plates & water to catch the lead at the end, But this is only if I had property out in the country & a lot more $$!
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Old 10-07-2007, 04:58 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Would you really need to ventilate it? How much lead becomes airborne when a bullet is fired? I would have a hard time believing a jacketed bullet would emit any airborne lead particles. Do the indoor pistol ranges have ventilation systems powerful enough to remove lead particules? Seems like lead would drop out of the air pretty quick.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Would you really need to ventilate it? How much lead becomes airborne when a bullet is fired? I would have a hard time believing a jacketed bullet would emit any airborne lead particles. Do the indoor pistol ranges have ventilation systems powerful enough to remove lead particules? Seems like lead would drop out of the air pretty quick.
forget about the lead for a second.

you need to ventilate it so you don't die from CO poisoning. confined spaces don't get enough outside air (fresh air with enough o2) to support life under general circumstances. if you don't have some fresh air flowing then the stale, stagnant air will get you. even if the jacketed bullets didn't emit any lead (which they do, in tiny powder form) you still have to worry about the combustion gases.

standard firing ranges might not have ultramega filtration systems, but it's more about getting fresh air in and blowing the gases and dust away from you than it is filtration.

you also need to think about humidity. underground spaces without some sort of air flow usually get wet. all your trolleys and any metal components down there would corrode, and the climate would be miserable. sure, you could probably do it, but why? fans and dampers are cheap, especially if you get used ones. in my part of the country it's so humid i'd probably have to put an air conditioner in there to pull out enough moisture...
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Old 10-07-2007, 07:55 AM   #20 (permalink)
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In our New York Police State you need to be at least 300' from an occupied structure to fire a gun unless you have the occupant's permission. This could be one problem. Depending on how close your niehbors are. Some towns and villages have specific rules about shooting also.
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:43 AM   #21 (permalink)
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forget about the lead for a second.

you need to ventilate it so you don't die from CO poisoning. confined spaces don't get enough outside air (fresh air with enough o2) to support life under general circumstances. if you don't have some fresh air flowing then the stale, stagnant air will get you. even if the jacketed bullets didn't emit any lead (which they do, in tiny powder form) you still have to worry about the combustion gases.

standard firing ranges might not have ultramega filtration systems, but it's more about getting fresh air in and blowing the gases and dust away from you than it is filtration.

you also need to think about humidity. underground spaces without some sort of air flow usually get wet. all your trolleys and any metal components down there would corrode, and the climate would be miserable. sure, you could probably do it, but why? fans and dampers are cheap, especially if you get used ones. in my part of the country it's so humid i'd probably have to put an air conditioner in there to pull out enough moisture...
Ok, I was just thinking about the lead. I had thought about doing this before, however I had planned on having my shooting bench in the basement of my house and having the target at the end of a tunnel buried under my yard.
I scrapped this idea when I built my house and put in a walk out basement where I have my shooting bench. I can shoot 100 yards there and have a 300 yard range in the bottom.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:21 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I've done it!

I had a range in my place of business for years. Of course, I OWN the business, so that wasn't a problem. Mine is the only upstairs unit in a two story, concrete warehouse, so the sound was not a problem. Of course, if anyone was inside the warehouse, I couldn't shoot. So here's what I did:

1. I had concrete walls, floors and ceilings inside about a 3' hallway, so stray rounds were not a problem. We NEVER shot if anyone was in the warehouse but us. We locked it down tight. The hallway was only 30 feet long, but so it goes. Pistol only. But we were damn careful and it was never an issue.
2. Trap was a "snail" style contraption, made out of an 8" pipe split down the middle and offset. The pipe was "fed" by two 1/4 " steel plates at about 20 degree angles. All that was mounted between two 3/4 " pieces of plywood. For the welding, cutting and new steel, that was about $600. The most expensive part of the project.
3. For ventilation, I did three things:
A. Installed simple (but strongest available) bathroom vent fans, which lead to outside. There were two of these, mounted downrange, near the trap. Then there was also two fans by the shooting tables that blew fresh air INTO the hallway from the other side of the warehouse. I figured out that air blowing IN had much more effect than trying to suck the bad air OUT. It worked incredibly well, never any smoke build up, even when we rapid fired. $100 investment
B. Whoever shot back there ALWAYS wore a lead rated ventilator. About $40 each from Home Depot. They're big and clumsy, and your face sweats, but you can SHOOT! I don't know whether these were necessary or not with all the ventilation, but why take the chance? When cleaning, we ALWAYS wore those ventilators TIGHT!
C. We used frangible ammo most of the time, unless we were doing ballistics testing... or unless we were just out of it. It's more expensive, but not as expensive as range time.
4. I bought an outdoor security camera system off CraigsList.com so that I could see if someone pulled up in the parking lot. If they did, we simply stopped shooting. The monitor was just an old TV, screen facing the shooter so any movement caught your attention. About $60 investment.

I had it there for years until I had to use the space for something else. I cried like a baby when we took it down.

My brother, wife and I were the ONLY ones who knew about it. Security was of the utmost importance. We double checked that we were alone, kept an eye on the cameras, and we never got "caught." Come to find out, it's legal where I am to shoot a gun anywhere "that doesn't endanger others." Of course, that's a subjective judgement to make, so why bring it up? It's easier to seek forgiveness than permission! It was FUN AS $#!T! We had to shoot late at night and on Sundays, but it was FREE! And we took watermelons back there and all kinds of crazy stuff for testing rounds. Also did all kinds of "trick" shooting that they'd never allow at the range. Never anything stupid, but stuff that's educational and FUN! I loved "The Range" more than any other man toy I've ever had or WILL have.

If anyone has any questions, I'll be glad to answer them!

Take care, be safe.
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:30 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Would you really need to ventilate it? How much lead becomes airborne when a bullet is fired? I would have a hard time believing a jacketed bullet would emit any airborne lead particles. Do the indoor pistol ranges have ventilation systems powerful enough to remove lead particules? Seems like lead would drop out of the air pretty quick.
It's a problem. FMJ bullets have exposed lead at the base and standard primers also spit it out. Most manufacturers offer "NT" (non toxic) ammo with fully encapsulated bullets and lead free primers. Some indoor ranges require it.

This is where the dreaded "SPP .45ACP" brass comes from.
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:25 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Hmm, 6 year old thread bumped by a new member.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:07 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Hmm, 6 year old thread bumped by a new member.
CRAP! Zombie thread got me again...

I'm afaraid to go look & see if I actually posted in it first time around...
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