Building a home shooting range is one of the best ways to become a better shooter. You can get ample time practicing with your firearms. While visiting a shooting range is a great idea, range fees can be expensive. Furthermore, most outdoor ranges will not allow you to set up targets as you would want. Visiting a shooting range means having to work around other shooters.
Building a backyard range can give you the freedom to shoot freely and set targets as you wish. Assuming you have a large piece of land, building a shooting range is a lot easier than you think. It is a fun project that will get you excited.
Steps to building your own shooting range
Safety must be upfront whenever we’re talking about guns and shooting. First, you need a safe area where you can legally shoot. You need to have a large space with enough backstop to ensure everyone is safe. Backstops are important, especially when handling rifles that can reach very long ranges.
Backstops can be built using railroad ties and loosely packed dirt. You also need a clear shooting lane that is not pointed towards any structures and equipment. If you’re not feeling safe in your own shooting range, then don’t practice any shooting. All safety considerations must be adhered to for the safety of everyone in the range.
Lastly, make sure you have a first aid kit in case of any medical emergencies. While chances of an accident are limited in a properly set up shooting range, it doesn’t hurt being prepared. The last thing you want is someone bleeding to death before paramedics arrive because you don’t have a first aid kit.
Next, you need to select an ideal shooting target for your practice. This is a fun section where you can choose from several great targets. Some of the common targets to consider include cardboard and traditional paper targets. You just need a target that best works for your range. It is worth noting that targets come in a wide range of sizes.
Targets require a stand to position them at a suitable shooting height. You can buy pre-made stands or just build them yourself using some 2 by 4 inches wood pieces. Another excellent choice of target is steel targets that can last up to a thousand rounds. Steel targets are extremely reliable and can last a lifetime with proper care.
There are all sorts of steel targets to consider ranging from silhouettes to plate racks. Steel targets exist in dynamic or still form. Dynamic steel targets are among the best falling or moving when shot making the shooting funnier and more challenging.
When selecting a suitable target, you need to be aware of the risks involved with the targets. There is a safety issue with ricochet, fire ignition, or damage to the targets. Make sure you understand the type of caliber to use and select matching targets. Make sure the area around the targets is cleared of any dry grass to reduce the risks of fires.
Setting up the shooting area
The last part of building your own shooting range is setting up the shooting area. You obviously need a shooting bench. For most people, this means buying a brand new bench or building one from scratch. If you’re a handy person, then building one is easy using a saw and a drill. However, if you’re not a handy person, there are great options out there to consider.
Apart from the bench, you might need a table and some chairs. A table provides an ample platform for mags and gun cases. Remember, this is a personal shooting range so you’re free to set it as you want. You can have some screens, plastic barrels, and any stuff you might think of when practicing simulated competition stages. You just need to set up your shooting area in a manner that makes the shooting funnier and more challenging.
Lastly, make sure you have something to help catch brass. This is a great way to save some money if you’re going to reload. You don’t need to invest heavily in this. A simple tarp spread on the ground can help catch brass.
Now that you have your range up and working, let’s see the benefits you stand to gain.
Benefits of building your own shooting range
A personal shooting range gets the most out of your guns. If you own a huge collection of firearms, you have the chance of shooting them more often
You have the freedom to shoot as much ammo as you want since there are no restrictions
Increased safety since there are no other shooters around you
You can save monthly range costs in the long term
There is a lot more to gain from a shooting range if you love shooting guns. Building your own shooting range is not difficult if you have the property. Just ensure there is enough safety and set up the targets and the shooting area.
How To Mount, Level and Zero Your Precision Rifle Scope
All you need in this article, i will cover these steps and the process that I go through to mount a scope on the rifle, get it leveled and also get a zeroed and on paper.
To start off, I have a tracked toric ultra HD, this one is the MOA version. It is a first focal plane scope, it is a 4-20 power and it has a great MOA reticle in there. It has a zero stop, the turrets are some of the best that I’ve ever felt.
It parallax’s down to 25 yards, it’s illuminated and it has locking turrets as well. It’s a really awesome scope, it has shot HD German glass and the finish on this scope is beautiful to go along. With that scope, I also have a bubble level which I got from tracked, it’s available on their site. If you want to take a look and I also got iota triad rings. These rings are special, they’re pretty cool. The key way that fits into the Picatinny rail of the rifle is modular, what I mean by that is the bar that goes left to right across the gun has different thicknesses to make it fit perfectly in your Picatinny rail. That way under recoil, your scope rings will not shift front to back on your rifle even under the most extreme circumstances.
I’ve had other scope rings where this happens and if yours don’t fit perfectly, before you tighten them onto the rifle, place them on your Picatinny rail and push them towards the muzzle of the gun. That way under recoil, the metal surfaces are already touching and it will not get pulled off in the wrong direction.
On my rifle, I have a 30 MOA scope base which is a little bit more than most people run, traditionally it’s 20 but mine is 4 and our key outdoors I went with 30 I considered going with our 40 as well. So if that’s something you’re interested, it’s a full Picatinny rail for the tikka and this one also has a recoil lug. That way with under recoil, it’s not trying to shear off the hardware, that’s holding the scope on top of the base. So when installing your rings, be sure to check your user guide, the iota triad rings did come with instructions and it did supply a torque spec for them. So I used a torque wrench and put them down to the torque spec which they suggested 25 inch pounds. Once you have the front and rear on the scope base, I mount those on the scope base first and then I will place the scope onto the rifle. Make sure and place your scope into the Rings before tightening them down.
Making sure that the Rings do not go too far to where they’re riding on the Bell of the scope where they would cause your scope damage. I try and get them as far apart as possible and on top of this base on my rifle. I’m able to get to the very edge of both sides which I prefer another great feature of these iota of triad rings is that the hardware mounts from the bottom side up providing a clean look which I really like. The hardware will not collect water and rust out over time everything should fall out of it and the top of it just looks better.
They are pretty close to the same finish, they’re a dark matte graphite gray. It’s a really cool color I really dig it. So at this point, you’ve got your scope rings on the rifle, go ahead and get them torque to spec to your base. Once you find out which length and which setting you want so that you can get your scope on there safely without clamping onto the bail of the scope. The iota triad rings that clamp on to the base you they supply a torque spec of 25 inch pounds which I went ahead and used my torque wrench for. At this point, take your caps for your rings, drop those on top, put in the hardware on both sides. All four but don’t tighten it up yet, make it to where the sky is still able to shift left and right, that way we can go out and get the scope leveled with the rifle and then also get the bubble level attached to the scope and get that leveled to both of those. Definitely check and see.
If the bottom portion of your bubble level will fit through before you get your scope mounted between the base and the scope tube.
If it doesn’t, now is the time to put it on before you talk with it. Before you torque down your scope caps, I highly suggest getting a bubble level, it will help you with your accuracy and long range shooting.
If your rifle is canted at all or you’re inconsistent with where you’re holding your rifle, you’re gonna get some weird variations and you’re gonna be missing left and right. Depending on what you can’t you go with.
Now it’s time to get the scope, the bubble level and the rifle all leveled together.
So the first step I did when I took it out to the garage in front of my plumb bob, I set the rifle mine has a locking bipod for Kant, so I’m able to lock it left and right wherever I want.
If you’re unable to do this, shim your bipod with maybe some books or maybe a beanbag or whatever you can do set your rifle on a backpack, whatever you need to do to get it leveled. I put a bubble level on my Picatinny scope base for the rifle level that’s where I decided,that’s where my rifle will be leveled off . Once I’ve found the center of that bubble level off the Picatinny base, I will lock my bipod in at which point, I will then look through the scope at the plumb bob and i will get that scope dead-on level with that plumb bob in accordance with the rifle being level as well at that point, i will torque down the scope cap rings, not to spec, just to snug them up and then I will start working on getting my bubble level to represent where the rifle scope is level as well.
The reason to do a scope bubble level and not just a level that’s in a chassis is the second that you take your scope out of the Rings. If you don’t have a bub attached to it, your scope is no longer level and you have to repeat this process. If you put a bubble level on the scope even if I take it out of these rings and drop it into a completely different system, I know that that level represents when the reticle and the tracking of this scope is dead-on with gravity. The reason that we go off a plumb bob is gravity is pulling that plumb bob straight down in line with gravity you want your reticle set up in that exact same line, because when you fire, your bullet is going to be pulled down straight in line with gravity, so what I do to do a bore sight is I leave my phone set up in this. Now looking through the scope, I will actually record a video and speak out loud as I look through the bore whether its Center maybe left, right, top, bottom of the circle of the barrel. I have a roof vent exactly at a hundred yards up here in a neighbor’s house. So I’ve set up in the kitchen which my life with my wife loves and I look over at the roof vent on a neighbor’s house, I drop the cheek piece, I’ve taken the recoil pad off just because it would block my view through the bore.
Now I can understand that most people will not have this setup so all you have to do is get your rifle set up with traditional bipod whatever you got. You can use like books individual sheets of paper if you want to get that crazy with it notepads, shooters medics work great like little beanbags and just settle in exactly where you want. If you’re doing that then you want to get your boar perfectly centered on an object. Hopefully they do a hundred yards, something that mostly fills the bore you kind of want an outside edge to see where you’re looking at and then you look through your optic without moving the rifle and adjust it around, so you just have left-right up-down whatever you need to do compared to where your rifle sitting definitely continuously switch back and forth. Looking through your board, looking through your scope, making sure your board still looking in the same spot, get your stove zeroed on to what you’re looking for and I should get you on paper.
I often start at 50 yards, sometimes I go out to a hundred yards but I’ll give you an example of looking for the scopes. I’m just moving the butt of this of the rifle around left and right and then I will just say Center when the rifle is centered and what I’m looking at is in the middle of the bore super simple. Sometimes your eyes get a little bit drained out so just kind of blink look away for a little bit and then get back to it get your scope for sighted.
We’ve got our rifle bore sighted now to the best of my abilities, we’re gonna take it out, we’re gonna go out to 100 yards then we’re going to get it on paper zero it and we should be ready to rock and roll. This thing will be you’re ready to shoot and level mounted and zeroed let’s get to it
We just fired our first group our first round landed five right and three high so I adjusted five left and three down and it put us within an inch of that crosshair and then I fired a group there to see.
If it was going to consistently hit near the center, let’s go take a look at this target and we’ll see how we did.
The great thing about this tract optic you’re able to measure and make corrections just within the reticle at any range what it tells you there because its first focal plane, it doesn’t matter if you’re at 50 yards or a hundred yards, 5m away equals, 5m away on the turrets, you don’t have to do any math like on a second focal plane, you have to double the amount of clicks you do at 50 yards versus a 100 yards, this makes it so easy and simple. The reticle is designed really great and easy to make adjustments so let’s go take a look at this target, our first shot like I say landed high and right which is up here and then our follow-up shots are just about a half inch left of dead center and it’s exactly 1 MOA high. So I’m gonna bring that down one more MOA and I’m going to bring it right to half and that’s probably just bad measurement on my account through the reticle, so really exciting got my scope zeroed. It’s track made it super easy.
Red dots verse scopes which is gonna be best for your rifle. So if you’re new to ar-15s and you’re thinking about mounting an optic on your rifle, you might be debating whether or not to go with a budget red dot or a scope. They’re both great options as you can see I have both on the table here but they also come with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. It really depends on the primary purpose of your rifle. Today we’re going to compare these two optics choices and to do that we’re going to be looking at four different categories:
And hopefully you’re gonna have a clearer idea of which optic is gonna be best for your rifle.
So let’s jump into it guys, give me your full attention right now because here we go alright so the first category is speed and the advantage here has to go to the red dot sight.
Red dots are simply built for speed when you look at the way they’re designed first of all. They don’t have any eye relief so your eye can really sit anywhere and still see clearly through the optic. They also usually have a very simple reticle that’s gonna be very visible because it’s a bright red dot. Sometimes the reticle is actually designed to give you more speed.
Red dots also don’t have any magnification which can be beneficial if you intend to shoot with both eyes open. Now on the other hand scopes tend to be a little bit slower and I think there are really two main factors that contribute to this.
The first factor is that scopes require eye relief, so unless you put your eye at the correct distance away from the scope you’re going to have trouble seeing through the optic and the second factor is magnification. We’re talking about scopes with a low setting of one power. The problem is most scopes with a one power setting aren’t truly one power, oftentimes they are one point one or something along those lines. So using them with both eyes open may end up being a little tricky for you but before moving on I do want to say that you can be pretty fast with a scope of this type.
The next category is accuracy, see now obviously a major part of being able to shoot accurately is seeing, and magnification allows you to see smaller at distance, so the advantage here has to go to the scope.
Now this scope in particular is a primary arms 1-6x and you can imagine just how much easier it is to make a shot at say 200 yards on six power as opposed to being on one, and with this scope in particular it has something called the a CSS reticle which basically shows you where you need to aim if your targets at 300 yards all the way up to 800 yards. This is my favorite low-end scope because that a CSS reticle is awesome.
Now obviously with no magnification red dots are gonna be at a disadvantage here, especially if you’re like me and you don’t have perfect eyesight. But before moving on here I do have to mention that there are some amazing shooters out there who are really capable of stretching out the range of their red dots.
The third category is gonna be weight, now there are so many different brands of scopes and red dots that it’s really hard to make these types of generalizations about them, so we’ll just use my two examples here to really show some of the differences.
This Hollow Sun weighs in at just over 4 ounces and the primary arms 1-6x weighs about 16 ounces, so it’s pretty obvious just by looking at the two which one is gonna weigh less, and if you’re looking to shave off a few ounces from your AR, a micro red dot sight is definitely the way to go.
And last we have reliability once again. There are many different brands of optics out there and they all have different price points and different degrees of reliability.
However just to generalize for the comparison. I’m gonna give the edge and reliability to the scope. Reason why is simply because the reticle of the scope doesn’t rely on batteries, and even though there are many red dots out there with amazing battery life. You still have the possibility of the battery going dead or some other type of with the electronics. Whereas with a scope the reticle is etched into the glass so even if your scope does use batteries to light up the reticle. It doesn’t matter if they run out because you can still use the optic. But just to add on to that, one way to counteract reliability concerns with any optic is to mount backup iron sights on your rifle. And you can see I like to use these mag poles because they work well and they’re pretty affordable. So to bring everything to a close here’s my conclusion.
If you intend on having a lightweight carbine that’s fast into action and good from zero to a hundred yards, go with a red dot sight. You can find more information on Barrettrifles.com if you are planning to buy a red dot sight.
And if you want the best of both worlds just be like me and get both.
Whether you’re looking for more speed or more accuracy, neither type of optic is going to automatically make you a better shooter, but if you’re looking to improve your fundamentals I have a free guide that shows you how to improve your shooting without leaving your home or spending a dime. It’s a very simple exercise that I’ve used to improve my own shooting and I still use it as practice today.