Project Appleseed

Appleseed Schedule => Hosting an Appleseed Forms and Info => Topic started by: MrFixit on July 23, 2012, 12:22:47 AM

Title: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: MrFixit on July 23, 2012, 12:22:47 AM
Hi,
 Are there any official rules on AS site locations? We are looking at setting up a permanent range here at our farm, and just want to make sure we make it so as to be usable for an AS... Particularly I need to know of any requirements for the backstop, and if there are any requirements as to distance from roads. Where we are thinking of setting up, there would be a gravel road approx. 1/2 mile downrange, and another gravel road approx. 300 yards to the right side, running parallel with the range. Does anybody think that would be a problem?
 Also, our backstop would be made out of large square straw bales, which we have used in the past for an AS, and seemed to work real good. (Ask NDRifleman, Whisker, or Alex) It would be something like 12' high, 8' thick, and probably between 120 and 150' long.   The ground is pretty much flat beyond the range, so there is no natural backstop. Other than the gravel road, which seldom has any traffic on it, the ground is all fields for almost two miles.
 Any thoughts would be helpful!
 Thanks,
   Andrew B.
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: Kosciusko on July 23, 2012, 01:03:48 PM
See if you can consult the NRA range source book for suggestions.

In a perfect world, the NRA recommends a back berm 20 feet high and 4 feet wide at the top,
side berms 12 feet high, 4 feet wide at the top.  All built of materials that will soak up centerfire rifle bullets.
In your situation, that's probably  overkill.

I can see hay bales stopping .22LR, but centerfire ?
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: 2 clicks low on July 23, 2012, 01:57:42 PM
Hay bales as stated would work well. I worry about the roads.
2cl
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: MrFixit on July 24, 2012, 11:06:03 AM
Yes, these hay bales will stop center fire bullets, as we have proven... At our last AS, we only had one bale thick, (4') and had a center fire on the line. It worked good for the first day, then about half way through the second day the bullets started coming through, and then promptly landing on the ground within 5 feet! We just moved that shooter to a fresh spot on the line, and we were good to go again. 
 The roads are our biggest concern right at the moment, but there will usually be some hay bales between the range and the road on the side... it would be possible to build a bale wall on that side to, if that is necessary.  The roads are very lightly traveled, the one downrange has one car maybe every 3-4 hours, the one on the side maybe one every hour...
 Any other thoughts?
 Thanks!
    Andrew b.
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: MrFixit on July 24, 2012, 12:45:38 PM
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: yellowhousejake on July 24, 2012, 01:12:16 PM
So are they hay bales or straw bales?

Green or dry?

Is there a method to track shots fired in each position, since you know a new bale will not survive a weekend.

If this is a permanent range why are you installing a temporary backstop? Why not just go for dirt now?

Good idea about switching the direction, it's never safe to assume a road will not be a problem, if it is there, it's a problem.

YHJ

Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: Chilidog on July 24, 2012, 02:14:12 PM
What is the actual dimension of the bale itself? How were you stacking them when the centerfire passed through.  As in was the bullet passing through the side or the end? Are you using these bales for feed afterwards?
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: GEmanuel on July 24, 2012, 02:58:42 PM
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: MrFixit on July 24, 2012, 03:38:03 PM
So are they hay bales or straw bales?

Green or dry?

Is there a method to track shots fired in each position, since you know a new bale will not survive a weekend.

If this is a permanent range why are you installing a temporary backstop? Why not just go for dirt now?

Good idea about switching the direction, it's never safe to assume a road will not be a problem, if it is there, it's a problem.

The bales are straw, baled dry.    I am assuming we won't have too many problems with centerfire, seeing as 90% or more of the ammo used will be .22 rimfire.   We want to use bales just because we have them, they are cheap, and can be moved around.  We don't have any dirt working equipment, and dont really want to spend a lot of money on it at this point. Maybe a dirt burm will be more feasable in the future. 

What is the actual dimension of the bale itself? How were you stacking them when the centerfire passed through.  As in was the bullet passing through the side or the end? Are you using these bales for feed afterwards?

The bales are 4' wide, 3' tall, 8' long, and weigh around 1300 lbs.  We were shooting through the width, or 4 feet at our last AS. The problem with shooting through the end would be you would have a lot more cracks, which don't stop bullets as well...  The bales <i>might</i> be used for bedding at a later date, although they will probably be sitting on the range for a couple of years. They may just end up being burned, or at least the lower two layers where most of the shells will get caught.


Not trying to be a wet blanket here, but with the range facing East, (and I assume you mean firing line) you will be looking into the sun until the angle in the sky gives you relief. In an ideal world the target line would be to the north. In this orientation the sun would move approximately left to right, and somewhat behind shooters during the day and cause fewer problems.
Of course in the final analysis a range you can actually use safely is the ultimate goal.
Dirt berms would be the way to go. But first, settle your orientation concerns. Hay is easier to move than dirt berms.

Hmm, didn't think about that! However, in our situation, shooting towards the North is impractical, as our farm yard is to the North of the range site.   On the other hand, in real life situations, you may end up shooting into the sun, in which case it might be useful to have some practice...  ;)
 You can see a picture of our range setup at the last AS on the AAR page: http://appleseedinfo.org/smf/index.php?topic=9992.0   As you can see, we only had two bales high, but had a hill in the background. We are intending to make our new backstop 4 bales high, and two bales thick, rather than just one.
  Thanks for all the input! Keep it coming!
    Andrew B.
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: Chilidog on July 24, 2012, 08:24:45 PM
Have you tested your hay bale by puting a target board behind it?
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: techres on July 29, 2012, 03:15:29 PM
Have you tested your hay bale by puting a target board behind it?

Chilidog and I got to talking and I have to admit that I was concerned about using the bales as targets.  But then again, I am not a farmer and he is - so we decided to see what would happen ourselves in a little experiment done at Chilidog's place (we were getting together anyways to check zero's the weekend before our KD weekend).

Chilidog felt pretty sure the bales would be just fine as long as you used them against the grain (longways) so we setup a target in front of a bale and setup foam boards to see if we got penetration from either rounds going straight through or if we got yawing out the sides (less of a concern, but still good to know).  At the back of the bale we put a fresh torso target to make sure we got penetration.

The first shots were .223 62 grain (just because it is plentiful and popular), and the second set was .308 147 grain ball (what we had on hand).  We tried to hit the bale in separate places to keep the testing vaguely scientific:

Hay Experiment (Unlisted Video) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWX3IYrOMd8&feature=youtu.be)

Now, there are obvious shortcomings in our testing procedure and many ways we could improve on the results, but this was more of a test than anything else.  We could have used more hay depth, more width & height, a completely new bale after the first test, shot AQT's only, and so on - but just for a quick & dirty check, the results are concerning.

Given what we found, I would ask that anyone doing a hay berm do us a favor - check our results.  We are trying, you are doing and we could use data from you.  The easiest thing would be to put up cardboard behind the berm and see what is coming through and in what condition.

We plan to do a re-test with more careful processes and find out if all the rounds penetrating are tumbling/keyholing or if some are still ballistically sound.  We will share that when we find out.

Until then, please do check our results, be careful, and make sure any hay based berm is as absolutely safe as it needs to be.

Thanks!  And do let us know what you find out.

Techres

P.S. I should have made a bet with Chilidog.  I always lose money to him and this time I would have won.  He was so sure the hay would trap all the rounds.
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: Reddot on July 29, 2012, 03:28:32 PM
Something else to think about with haybales is fire.  About 30 years ago I burned up a very large stack of haybales when shooting some old M2 ball into them.  The bales were stacked length wise, about 10 deep (and i believe it caught all of the bullets), but it was dry and those rounds are pretty hot when they hit.  About an hour after we were done shooting, we had the prettiest fire you ever saw.  YMMV
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: Chilidog on July 29, 2012, 05:03:27 PM
In operating a DAR I understand Mrfixits desire to use what he has and it be a cheap alternative as DAR's are not money makers. We are doing this for the community. BUT we also cannot sacrifice safety for low cost. I was surprised by the results and would encourage you to test your bale as well. Keep in mind anything we do at a DAR is an experiment, very few of us exist in the real world because most ranges are trying to make a profit. So anything we can do to improve or lessen the cost, of our operation, needs to be documented for others to follow. Thank you for supporting the Appleseed cause and leading the way for other DAR's. Please post pictures or video of your results.
 P.S.
Just for the record..... I do not have a gambling problem! I haven't done that sort of thing in........2 or 3 days at least.
Chilidog
Title: Re: Setting up a range/range requirements
Post by: MrFixit on July 29, 2012, 11:21:10 PM
Thanks for all the concern, and thoughts.
 First off, these are large square straw bales, which are packed MUCH tighter than any round bales you will ever find...We were concerned about their stopping ability too, so before we used them for our first AS, we did some of our own testing too. We took my dad's .270 and shot at the bale from point blank range. It had a paper on the back of the bale, and after shooting about ten rounds into one area, there were no shots that came through.
 However,  as we learned at the actual AS, shooting hundreds of high power rounds into one area will eventually decrease the stopping power. At one point the bullets were landing on the ground past the bales about 3 or 4 feet, and we were picking them up undamaged...  that is why we are double stacking the bales, and if we have any high powered rifles, we will make sure we move them down the line as we go. 
 It is interesting to think back on some of the other ranges I have seen,  and a couple of them that I can think of did not have as good a back stop as what we are setting up...  But, as was suggested, we certainly can put a paper on the back side to check for any bullet penetration.
 Keep the ideas coming!
  Andrew B.