A lot of wide open
space isn’t necessary for the construction of a target range. By
following plans given here you can build a 75-ft. range in your
own basement for practice shooting.
who keep regular business hours may find it inconvenient to
enjoy anything approaching regular shooting practice. Some may
belong to various clubs which hold night sessions at indoor
ranges, while a few possessing extensive grounds may have their
own private target ranges, but the average sportsman with small
bore rifle equipment and a strong desire to shoot is not likely
to have such facilities available to him.
The plan here set forth deals with the construction of a 75-foot
target range for the home, which means a house situated on a
city lot. The original idea of this plan has the shooting pit in
the basement with the target pit set at the far end of a tunnel
or trench. And while this description concerns the latter idea,
the construction may be set outside the house, either above or
below the surface of the ground. The mechanics of the range will
be the same in any case.
Assuming that the
target range is to be adapted for the basement, the construction
must necessarily begin with excavating. A trench 75 feet long”
plus 1-1/2 feet, the length of the target pit” and approximately
2 feet deep and wide must be dug.
The greater length
of this trench will, in all probability, be on the outside of
the house, so excavation may be started more conveniently from
the outside. Obviously, the foundation must be cut through.
However, a rifleman with foresight may, when building a home,
have this excavating done when the foundation is laid and thus
save much time and effort.
‘Excavation Easy Job
It may seem at first thought almost a prohibitive job to
excavate below the house, but in most cases the ground floor of
a house is from two to four feet above the level of the ground,
so it may be accomplished without extreme difficulty. Moreover,
it must be remembered that there will be but a fraction of the
trench which cannot be dug from above.
The shooting pit is
not dug, but is located conveniently in the basement itself. It
is not likely that the floor of the basement will be of the
correct height and in such a case will have to be raised or
lowered to suit the conformity of a man in erect firing
position. The floor of the shooting pit should be solid,
preferably of concrete or tile.
Target Pit The target pit is from one-half to a foot deeper than
the trench but need be no wider; While the trench is boarded
over and sodded, the target pit should have a movable top in
order that it may be readily accessible.
A steel plate at
least one-half an inch thick is set in the pit at a 45-degree
angle in such a way that it will reflect flying lead downward.
The pit is best lined with concrete or tile with a suitable
drain beneath it, especially if the range is being constructed
in a part of the country where rains are frequent.
The feature of this
indoor shooting range is its convenience, and the remainder of
this description may be adapted to almost any sort of range. The
placing and retrieving of the target is accomplished entirely
from the shooting pit.
Steel Wires Makes
Target Carrier Tracks Two steel wires ”No. 12 or 14”-seven
inches apart are stretched near the roof of the trench from the
target pit to the shooting pit, being tightened by turn buckles.
On these wires rides a carriage constructed of 1/16 in. by 3/4
in. brass angles eight inches long and five inches wide. These
brass angles are riveted together to form a rectangle which
hangs from four ball-bearing sheaves that groove over the taut
Midway and below the
carriage on cup hooks hangs the wooden target frame, 12 in. by
14 in., suitable to hold regulation 25-yard targets, attached by
At either end of the
carriage are hooks to which a flexible steel cableor curtain
cord” is attached. At the target pit this cable goes around a
stationary pulley and a movable pulley, after which it continues
back along the roof of the trench to the shooting pit. There the
cable goes through another stationary pulley and a moveable
pulley and around a sewing machine wheel which has been lined
with electrical rubber tape to keep the cable from slipping.
From the wheel the
cable goes through another set of pulleys, after which it is
attached to the target-carrying carriage. Thus the cable is
continuous except for the space of the carriage, making it
possible to move the carriage and target to and from the
shooting pit by simply turning the wheel in one direction or the
is furnished by two 50 to 100-watt lamps with white reflectors
set in the sides of the trench just in front of the target pit,
approximately three feet from the target. Metal conduits will
make it possible and safe to have the switches at the shooting
In the shooting pit
an adjustable platform may be raised and lowered for prone or
sitting position fire. A series of grooves will make almost any
Description here has
been sketchy, but the home target range presents an interesting
case of adaptation for the man who likes to build things. It
would be impossible in so brief an article to solve every
problem of construction which individual cases may present, but
all fundamental details are clearly set forth here.
For smaller boys who
want to construct a basement rifle range, to shoot with air
rifles, the matter is a much simpler one.
The first requisite
is to get a clear shooting space of at least 25 feet, with a
solid backing of some kind to stop the shots. A stone or brick
wall, or even a wood or dirt backstop will serve. Hang up a
piece of canvas or old carpet. In front of this build a wooden
railing about 5 feet above the ground, wide enough to hold small
objects, such as old plates, bottles, etc., which make excellent
If a more formal
target is desired, one of the leading manufacturers of air
rifles has produced a target made of a small folding steel box,
in which regulation target cards can be inserted. This steel
target mounted on the railing as described will furnish many
hours of keen competition for the young marksman. A drop light
should be hung immediately over the target if natural light does
not fall directly on it. After all, clear vision is the first
element of good shooting.
A rail built as a
gun rest, built where the shooters stand, will improve their
skill, and add to their pleasure.
Mechanix Illustrated October 1932
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