Home Ranges

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting Forum' started by Film495, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. Film495

    Film495 Well-Known Member

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    wasn't sure what section to put this in, but figured here there might be some experience to tap into ..

    keep thinking about setting up a pistol range on my property for practice, although - I have a hill to shoot against, there are houses about 200 yards over the crest of the hill there through the woods. range would be short 50-75 feet at most, but that should work. each of the lots are about 3 acres and a few empty lots they never developed is the general area, so - a settled area, but I've been looking at the New Hampshire laws and think technically I could shoot in the back area of my property. I've read the state laws and can't find any local ordinances for the town that differ from the state laws.

    I can't really see doing this unless I spent some time, nrg, and money into figuring out how to contain all the bullets. from my limited experience this would look something like


    1. a small covered enclosure to shoot out of, like a 3 sided horse stall with a roof

    2. some sort of a baffle between enclosure and target area, sort of like a wall with door in it - so from inside the enclosure - you can only hit the inside of the enclosure, the baffle/wall or the target area.

    3. target area with appropriate backstop - with something to prevent and collect skips

    I've looked at some home ranges from what I can find on the internet to sort of comb over and never see any type of baffle set up. Always makes me wonder how confident people are than they'll never accidentally fire a round high over the backstop to who knows where.

    don't know if it would be worth it - going to the local indoor range might be less of a hassle, but part of me thinks if I have the right to do it - I probably should. even if I just go up there and fire some blanks once in a while to see how quick the cops show up to talk to me when the neighbors call .. then I can show them the rules and that it is legal. At least that way I would find out for sure if I can actually shoot up in the back of my property before I spend and time or $$ on it.

    oh, for volume - really only thinking of shooting 9mm subsonic pistol rounds and smaller.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
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  2. Firedog

    Firedog Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Here in VT as long as I am not in the Village you can shoot on your property. I have no hill or back stop and was thinking about a small conex and building a back stop/bullet trap in that.
     
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  3. rawright54

    rawright54 Philogynist & Sycophant, Looking For Work Supporting Member

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    Having a backyard range has been a dream of mine for a long time; I encourage you to pursue it. Annoying the neighbors is never a good idea, as whatever the laws may be, enough complaints will eventually lead to action against you, and unless you're very wealthy, you probably won't enjoy what comes after.

    My property is remote, and 1200' + in depth, so I'm thinking of digging a trench about 200 yards long, and using the spoils to build up berms on either side and the target end to make a total height of about ten feet above the shooting floor. That should be high enough to prevent any ninny from shooting over and out of the range safe space. It should also contain the noise enough to prevent neighbor complaints. Here in AZ, it's okay to shoot anyplace more than 1 mile from any occupied structure, but my nearest neighbor is only about a 1/2 mile away. Happily, he and his wife also like to shoot in their backyard, so they'll both be welcome to use my range anytime.

    I'd look into excavation in lieu of baffles, as it's probably a cheaper solution, and I'd cover only the shooters' area. Properly angled sides (and backstop) will deflect the sound straight up, rather than sending it sideways into the neighbors' living room. Another thing you might want to do is to install some webcams down at the target end, with screens under cover at the shooters' end. I saw that at the TFF gathering at 68c15's shindig, and rather liked the idea. At my age it's hard to distinguish between genuine hits, and floaters in the vitreous humor of the eye, so a little assistance is appreciated.

    If you want traditional designs, check out the NRA site; they publish shooting range specs and designs. They do charge for them, though. Whatever you build, be sure to post pics here, and range results, as well. There are others out here who would like to do something similar, and they can benefit from your experience!
     
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  4. Film495

    Film495 Well-Known Member

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    This is what concerns me. Part of me think I should already have worked with a lawyer to have a plan in place for the various things that could be done, even if I am within legal rights on my own property - I'm sure if someone wanted to they could make things very difficult. It kind of makes putting the time and nrg into it very questionable - but, the stubborn part of me thinks that is half the reason I should do it.
     
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  5. CCHolderinMaine

    CCHolderinMaine Garandaholic Supporting Member

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    I have a backyard range. Fortunately, my property is backed by about 3 miles of woods. I have 3 shooting areas. A very short one (15-30 feet) where we shoot "stuff" off a 18" high "table" mostly with .22 and handgun. It's a slight downhill shot, it's backed with a 10 foot thick, 6 foot high berm of tree length logs. The next is a small pit where larger "stuff" is shot. It's quite downhill, it has only 3 miles of woods as a stop, but to shoot high, you'd have to fall down as your target is 12-15 feet lower than you are. The 80 yard target is backed by a nearly 4 foot thick white pine, 100 yards of swampy area, a hillside, then the 3 miles of woods. I have had days where we shot so much, a sheriff showed up. He looked around, and said have a nice day. With you aiming AT other houses and only a couple hundred yards distance, I would think you are going to need a substantial earth berm to be safe, particularly in the eyes of the law. I might be right next door, but I have no idea what the laws might be in NH vs. ME. I will say this, whatever you find NH laws might be, check with your town, they may have very different restrictions than the state does generally. In southwestern ME, the entirety of area east of I95 is shot gun only. You would never know this unless you checked with the town rather than the state.
     
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  6. Film495

    Film495 Well-Known Member

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    In NH, these are the applicable statutes I believe. This is the same wording in the hunting regulations. Also, pretty sure the towns can not pass their own regulations, the state law is state wide.

    644:13
    (c) Any contiguous area containing 6 or more buildings which are used as either part-time or permanent dwellings and the spaces between them where each such building is within 300 feet of at least one of the others, plus a perimeter 300 feet wide around all the buildings in such area.
    207:3-a
    Prohibition. – It is unlawful for a person to discharge a firearm or to shoot with a bow and arrow or crossbow and bolt within 300 feet of a permanently occupied dwelling without permission of the owner or the occupant of the dwelling or from the owner of the land on which the person discharging the firearm or shooting the bow and arrow or crossbow and bolt is situated. Whoever violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a violation if a natural person, or guilty of a misdemeanor if any other person.

    My house is in what is a contiguous area, but the back of my property is more than 300 feet from all the houses in the contiguous area, only a strip about 30 feet wide and 200 feet long against a hill, but that is enough for a small pistol range.

    One house is closer than 300 feet, but - it is not in a group of houses of 6 or more that are all closer than 300 feet of one another. So, the way I read this, and why I would probably want to find out from a lawyer who can research some case studies - is if I am on my property, I do not have to be 300 feet from a house that is not part of a contiguous area. I would be shooting directly away from that residence.

    I've been here for 6 years and have read these rules 100 times. I assumed I could not shoot here, but looking at what the rules are and thinking about them more - I'm not so sure.
     
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  7. Film495

    Film495 Well-Known Member

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    this appears to be the state law, saying that - local laws enacted are null and void

    The General Court has also acted more broadly to protect the rights of gun owners from the confusion and pitfalls of a patchwork of local ordinances, by enacting RSA 159:26:
    159:26 Firearms and Ammunition; Authority of the State. –

    I. To the extent consistent with federal law, the state of New Hampshire shall have authority and jurisdiction over the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state. Except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, no ordinance or regulation of a political subdivision may regulate the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state. Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting a political subdivision's right to adopt zoning ordinances for the purpose of regulating firearms businesses in the same manner as other businesses or to take any action allowed under RSA 207:59.

    II. Upon the effective date of this section, all municipal ordinances and regulations not authorized under paragraph I relative to the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearm components, ammunition, or firearms supplies shall be null and void.
     
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  8. CCHolderinMaine

    CCHolderinMaine Garandaholic Supporting Member

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    I would absolutely check with a local lawyer.
    I read that as you cannot discharge your firearm within 300 feet of an occupied dwelling that isn't yours.
    The contiguous clause I think is saying that if you had a group of buildings that constituted such an arrangement, would then extend the 300 foot exclusion to the space between those buildings.
    I.E. your neighbor has a house and 5 outbuildings on his property. If they fall into that clause, then even if all 6 of those buildings are more than 300 feet from your firing position, you still have a problem if a line drawn between them is less than 300 feet from your position.
    Good luck and I hope I'm wrong.
    Nothing better than to be able to pick up a firearm, walk out your door, and shoot it.
     
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  9. Firedog

    Firedog Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I thought AZ was 1/4 mile from a house? I remember dove and quail hunting and we were always making sure we were past that distance
     
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  10. Film495

    Film495 Well-Known Member

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    CCHolderinMaine -- I read it the same way as you the first several times I read it and just figured it was not possible and moved on.

    However, a contiguous area - means a house that is lived in - does not include outbuildings, garages, sheds etc. So, in a development 6 or more houses that are less than 300 feet from one another is a contiguous area - and draw a perimeter around all those houses and I don't believe there is any case - where anyone can discharge a firearm inside that area for target shooting, only in a real world self defense situation.

    If you own a plot of land in NH - and there is a neighbor with a house right on the property line to your land, but there are no other houses around - this is not a contiguous area - so, there are cases where you can discharge a gun within 300 feet of a residence. If not, they would have just written the one line - 300 feet from a residence and been done with it. They didn't write that - so, I'm pretty sure that means after studying those rules, it would not be illegal to stand next to their house on your property and fire rounds. It might be a noise violation, and a really bad idea, but not illegal to do so - if you own the property you are on - or have permission from the owner.

    It is a good question for a lawyer for sure. I'm sure I could ask 20 people, from police to town hall, and get 20 different answers and interpretations.
     
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  11. gvw3

    gvw3 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Where I grew up we were a mile from town but to our west was a large corn field. To our east was a large field with a farm about a mile away. To our north was another field with farms 1/2 mile away. To the south were homes on large lots all the way to town.

    We shoot guns all the time and never had a problem. Where I live now they would have swat out id you shot a gun. I have a privacy fence in the back and sometimes shoot pellet guns but even that is against the law.
     
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  12. Film495

    Film495 Well-Known Member

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    I actually found a few lawyers who represent people on firearms charges in my area and queried them. So, basically - my question for them is - "is what I want to do legal, or is it illegal discharge of a firearm." If it turns out to be legal, and then if I am charged anyways, I know who will be representing me.

    It may take me years to actually get time to set up a range I'd be satisfied to actually shoot at in this location - so, I guess these are the people to ask. I don't see anyone else even coming close to giving me a straight answer from PD to Town Hall, just don't think they would even know to be honest, they would just gut reaction say no.
     
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  13. Grizzley1

    Grizzley1 Well-Known Member

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    From what I'm reading it's unlawful to shoot within 300 feet of a permantly occupied dwelling without permission of the owner or occupant.
    I'd take it to mean that with permission it would not be unlawful.
     
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  14. tedwitt

    tedwitt 440 Supporting Member

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    First and Foremost use common sense. I have seen them with cross ties crisscrossed with dirt behind them. Mine is about 25 yards, I shoot my .22 into a large dirt pile. I shoot out the back door of my garage so as not to disturb my neighbors.

    Where I work there is a target backstop made of 1 inch plate, it looks like a funnel about 3 ft deep. The opening is about 4 ft square. It's made to deflect bullets toward the ground.
     
  15. rlb

    rlb Well-Known Member

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    I have one range for hand gun and can get up to 75 yards out of it but still need to do the other one, will get about 135 yards on the rifle range. My nearest neighbor is a bit over two miles away and next one north of me is about 3 & 1/2 miles. My handgun range is in the general direction of second house but not in direct line plus there are trees directly behind the range. I have a dirt bank backstop that is about 7 feet tall 8 to 9 feet wide and about 8 feet deep. North of me is about a mile of corn field then 1/2 mile of grass land and then a lake that is about 2 miles across. I shoot at an angle away from lake, next farm is about another 6 miles.
     
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