Southern Spirit Hunters

Beyond The Spirits => Hobbies => Topic started by: Jim on Aug 30, 2016, 04:18:53 PM

Title: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Aug 30, 2016, 04:18:53 PM
Couldn't decide where to put this but shooting has become a hobby I guess so might as well put it right here.

Anyway we decided late last year that we would utilize some of the space in our back field for a shooting range.  It started out as an idea so that we could practice with our pistols after getting our concealed carry permits.  It's grown a bit since then.  I decided I wanted an AR-15 and of course would need a place to shoot that too so we decided to make the range large enough to accommodate rifles as well as pistols. 

I was talking to my son about it and he mentioned he had a friend that built roads and that he could get me a load of dirt pretty cheap.  Around here most everyone shoots into a pile of dirt because we don't have many hills.  The dang land is just too flat.  So I had one load of dirt delivered and soon decided that I would need at least one more.  So now I have two loads of dirt in the back field.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4328/35639017300_789a16ae94_o.jpg)

I built one target stand that you can see laying down so that the wind doesn't take it.  Still have wood to build another so 2 shooters can shoot at the same time.  Here are a few closer pics of the target stands:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4316/35639027670_e3870ed2e1_o.jpg) (https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4310/35639030460_6c983a9e6f_o.jpg)

I still wasn't comfortable with just the dirt piles so I have decided to build a back wall and two sides.  I'll then push the dirt back into the 3 walled box as best I can and can be assured that nothing is going to get through.  I'm building the walls of the box out of old railroad cross ties.  They were delivered this past week in a dump truck and just basically dumped out.  I've got a total of 35 to work with.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4317/35218154853_0bd85d51f1_o.jpg) (https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4303/35857488862_385bb9239a_o.jpg)

We have a range work-day scheduled for early September in that both our sons are coming down and a few friends to help with the lifting and building of the walls.  The cross ties weigh close to 200 lbs each and are 10' long.  Too much for me to lift. 

I'll add more as we get more completed.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Aug 30, 2016, 05:13:29 PM
Looking good, Jim. Hills are not a problem here. Straw bales are used a lot for back walls. Most of my neighbors have a shooting or archery range or  both. Good luck!
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Aug 31, 2016, 11:07:07 AM
Straw works good for archery but not so good for shooting firearms.  The bullet will go right through straw.

The robust back wall that I am building is definitely overkill but I feel safer and so will my neighbors.  My range is actually pointed toward my neighbors property.  It's right at the back of the property but is better than pointing toward the woods that might be sold and a house be built there.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Aug 31, 2016, 01:01:24 PM
Yes, like I said, There's no end to natural hillsides here. And the straw is much nicer for arrow retrieval.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: wimc on Aug 31, 2016, 02:22:33 PM
Safety first, then enjoy and have fun.

Non serious note: you will be better off then me when it comes to a zombie outbreak.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Aug 31, 2016, 03:37:00 PM
As long as they aren't the running kind of zombies.  Can't hit a moving target.  :BigGrin:
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: bayou girl on Aug 31, 2016, 09:00:47 PM
:giggle:  my moving target skills are not so great either.  Jim, can I what the rail road ties cost and where you go them?  I'm thinking about getting some...  your range is looking good.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Sep 01, 2016, 07:43:35 AM
The guy that brought me the second load of dirt has a contract with CSX to get all the bridge ties.  He asked around and got in contact with the guy that has the contract for the cross ties.  These came out of Summerville, SC.  They were being prepped to be banded and sent to Goldsboro, NC to be sold.  According to him they get $25 a piece in NC.  I had told the guy that I wouldn't pay more than $20 each because I can get 6X6X8 treated lumber for $19.99 each.  Anyway he charged me $20 each and the guy that brought them to me said if I give him something on the fuel, we would be good.

These are grade 2.  Grade 1 is the bad ones, that are rotting.  So far it appears that I have 33 that are 10' long and 2 that are 8.5' long.  I was expecting them to be 8.5 so the range is going to be just slightly bigger than planned.  

I am kind of doing this backwards though as I will have to rent a front end loader or get a neighbor that has one to come over once the 3 walls are up and push the dirt into them.  It would take forever with a shovel.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Sep 01, 2016, 08:35:42 AM
You got a good deal on those, Jim.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: bayou girl on Sep 01, 2016, 09:02:10 PM
yes, you did. i'm glad.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Sep 08, 2016, 02:09:08 PM
Tomorrow Justin and family are coming back down and we are having a work day on Saturday.  We hope to finish the wall portion.  I'm putting concrete cap blocks down to put the first row of cross ties on.  I think leveling those will take longer than placing the cross ties.  Once that's done it just a matter of lifting each cross tie into place and pinning it with the 1/2 inch rebar pins that I have.

Once it's all done I may have to rent or get a friend to bring over his tractor with a front-end-loader (FEL) to get the dirt positioned in between the walls.  I'm thinking it might be a bigger job than I want to tackle with a shovel.  I guess we'll just wait and see.  I'll take some more pics as we progress through the day.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Sep 08, 2016, 06:09:20 PM
Yeah, I'd want a bigger piece of equipment to haul the dirt to where you need it too. I can't wait for pictures.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Sep 12, 2016, 08:56:01 AM
Justin and I started bright and early Saturday morning.  We were up by 7:00; Dianna fixed us some breakfast and we got started about 7:30.  The first task was to set the blocks that the first level of cross ties would sit on.  If the first row wasn't level, then all subsequent rows would be worse and the chances of the whole thing coming down would be lots greater.  It took us at least 2 hours to get the blocks set, level and the corners square.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4323/35857573592_5fe832eac3_o.jpg) (https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4330/35857576322_68a1b6c711_o.jpg)

At times we had lots of little help moving the dirt that needed to be moved in order to set the blocks

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4307/35857574792_42d671c2c4_o.jpg) (https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4330/35857578142_b14e64c709_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Sep 12, 2016, 09:04:01 AM
With the blocks done we put down the first row of cross ties.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4317/35639277870_306483fc7a_o.jpg)

Again we had some help from the top of the dirt pile.  I think he was helping me supervise.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4310/35639279220_5586a89731_o.jpg)

Chris showed up to help after we had the first 2 rows set.  I am sure glad he did.  We also grabbed the tractor and put my box blade on it to help transport the cross ties from the big pile to where we needed them.  We pinned each row to the row under it with 1/2" rebar pins that were 12" long.  Of course we drilled a 1/2 hole to drive the pins into.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4310/35218336623_72219cd012_o.jpg) (https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4321/35218334443_7021ef466e_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Sep 12, 2016, 09:11:02 AM
Chris and Justin did all the lifting.  The put the cross ties on the box blade and I would use the tractor lift to get it as high as possible and then they lifted it from there.

6 down and 2 more rows to go.  We took a break when the battery was dead on the drill.  Justin had 4 but we had already killed 3 of them by this time.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4329/36028831855_4863717249_o.jpg)

Back from break and we can see the finish line now.  The sun is really taking it out of us be we are determined to finish.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4311/36028833765_7ca514b5f0_o.jpg)

The last cross tie going up.  That last row was tough, but Justin and Chris figured it out and we got it done.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4321/35987210216_c700c6ef9a_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Sep 12, 2016, 09:16:24 AM
All done and it turned out just like I had it in my head, thanks to my two sons.  I couldn't have done it without them.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4323/35987304526_1f96f96eac_o.jpg) (https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4330/35218507933_2cc2057370_o.jpg)

Three tired guys!

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4316/35218510153_d1e386b1c2_o.jpg)

I've still got to get a tractor with a front-end-loader to push the dirt back into the cross ties but I've had several friends volunteer to come over and do that and bring their tractor.  That won't keep me from shooting though and it will get done eventually.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Sep 12, 2016, 10:24:34 AM
Looks good, Jim.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: sunsoaker on Sep 12, 2016, 05:56:47 PM
Good job. Isn't wonderful when you have strong boys to help??  :grinnnn:
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Bonnie on Sep 12, 2016, 07:01:48 PM
Looking good. You guys done a great job.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: bayou girl on Sep 12, 2016, 09:47:57 PM
I like it!
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Sep 25, 2016, 08:05:03 PM
The range is complete now.  Friday before we went to Tennessee I had 2 friends call to say they were coming over to finish the range for me.  Here are a few pics and the completed ones.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4319/35895216891_8a135e1be7_o.jpg) (https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4314/35895218071_9696a06fdd_o.jpg)

[(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4310/36029049395_e2e1191887_o.jpg)

They brought the tractor and did the work as well.  We have some awesome friends.  I've still got to modify my target stand and build another one but it's ready now.  Just as the days are getting shorter and not much daylight left after I get home.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Sep 25, 2016, 09:25:06 PM
But it's done. And will serve you for years to come.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Dec 07, 2016, 10:59:40 AM
Thought I would bump this topic to let you know that Hurricane Matthew's rain caused the dirt to compact and push the crossties off the concrete blocks across the back of the backstop.  Because I pinned it with rebar, it didn't push it completely out, just off the block.  I will have to dig out the dirt on the inside now and then jack up each side and try and push it back up on the blocks.  Haven't started that yet but will probably the next time we have some decent weather.  If I get a chance this weekend I will take a photo that shows how it is pushed out.  If I get it back on the block, I'm going to sink a few 4x4s in some concrete to keep it from happening again.

It's still useable and safe but we took care to get the ties level and straight so I want to fix it if I can.  :tickedoff:
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Dec 07, 2016, 02:13:54 PM
Yes, I'm sorry mother nature messed with all your hard work. I hope it comes together quickly when the time comes.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: sunsoaker on Dec 07, 2016, 06:05:01 PM
Ditto what Tina said. Mother nature can be a bi***!
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: bayou girl on Dec 07, 2016, 11:04:02 PM
well that stinks!
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: duh on Dec 08, 2016, 07:24:10 AM
The importance of footers when dealing with mother nature.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Dec 09, 2016, 08:47:48 AM
Yep, I just didn't think about what would happen if we got rain in those amounts that fast.  It just didn't register that the loose soil that we used to fill in the void after the back stop was built would be that strong.  If we get it fixed, I plan to sink some 4x4 at various places to keep this from happening again as I may have to periodically replace some of the soil as it compacts and don't want to have the same thing happen.

It's supposed to be cold this weekend so I'm not sure I will get much done on this repair.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Dec 09, 2016, 10:32:09 AM
Keep warm and safe, Jim.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Dec 12, 2016, 02:17:16 PM
Here are the pics of how Hurricane Matthew moved the ties.  I'm really glad I pinned them as it may have moved them further if I hadn't.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4307/35218708043_88a1c2c38c_o.jpg)

It's supposed to be straight across the back and was when we finished it.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4329/35218709903_6e57813a8d_o.jpg) (https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4302/35218711723_c846047b5f_o.jpg)

That's inside where the dirt moved down.  I'll have to remove about 12 inches to get the cross ties back up on the blocks.  I will need to get it done in between the rain too as once I start I don't want it to wash back in what I dig out.  I need about 2 weeks of no rain but of course it's raining about every other day now!
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Dec 12, 2016, 02:37:53 PM
I hope you get the dry spell you need, Jim.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: duh on Dec 14, 2016, 08:00:37 AM
How far down do you plan to sink the 4x4?  Here they require footers be 4 feet down which surprised me because that is deeper than where I come from.  But I've seen brick posts that were properly seated doing the "leaning tower of pizza" so I'm a believer.  Although it could have been an 18-wheeler truck rather than mother nature.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Dec 14, 2016, 02:02:42 PM
At least 3 feet.  I plan to put it in concrete as well.  Keep in mind this is not a structure so building codes do not apply.  Also I may not use 4x4.  My neighbor thinks a metal rod in concrete might even be better and less work. 

It keeps raining so I haven't had an opportunity to get anything done on this yet.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: bayou girl on Dec 14, 2016, 08:27:14 PM
i'm inclined to agree about the metal rod.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Tina on Dec 14, 2016, 09:57:30 PM
I agree. A metal fence post is a much better thing and not subject to rot.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: duh on Dec 15, 2016, 07:13:22 AM
I wasn't thinking about codes as "have to's," more as guidelines for what might work best.  But then I was the accountant at the General Contractors not a builder. 
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Dec 15, 2016, 09:54:53 AM
The hefty metal fence post was my first thought too.  Just hope I can get it deep enough so that it will stand the pressure if we get a heavy rain again.  I already know I will have to add some more soil as it all settles so I need to make sure I don't have to keep fixing it.

It don't get nearly as cold here Tammy as it does there and it don't stay cold very long either.  I think they say the "frost line" here is about 2 feet and that's the approved depth for any footers.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: bestofour on Jan 30, 2017, 11:00:08 PM
Very nice.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: bestofour on Aug 21, 2018, 09:44:44 AM
Did  you finish this Jim?
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Aug 21, 2018, 12:19:27 PM
It's been finished but I didn't fix what the rain did.  No way to do it unless I want to take it all down and I'm not going to do that.  It still works as designed, just pushed out in the back.  It's not getting any larger though so that is good.
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Plewa on Dec 13, 2019, 07:35:34 AM
No big deal, Jim. If it's not expanding, you're probably good. Still having fun at your range?
Title: Re: Jim and Dianna's Shooting Range Build (lots of photos)
Post by: Jim on Dec 13, 2019, 08:16:36 AM
Absolutely.  I don't shoot as much as I should but do take the opportunity to shoot when I can.  During the heat of the summer, it's best to shoot in the evening because I haven't built a cover of any kind to keep you out of the sun.  I've got a 10X10 pop-up canopy that I can set up which does help.

I think the rebar pins I used on each row are keeping it from pushing out any further.  And welcome!  :hi:
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