A place to shoot is something any true survivalist needs. You may live close to a public or private range, but you may not always have access to that range, particularly after some catastrophic event. It’s true that not all of us have the real estate to create a shooting range, but that might be something to consider when you’re looking at property to purchase for a home site or an alternate living location.

Not all of us who hope to survive bad times are plastic surgeons or politicians. This means we must work within our budget. You can expect to pay about $100 per hour for dozer or backhoe work when establishing your range. A good operator should be able to rough out a range in two days or less. If you own a small tractor, you can reduce this expense by doing some of the work yourself. Backstops are important, so check with the local railroad in your area. Most railroads give away railroad ties from time to time, and they can be used to help construct your backstop.

You may need dozer work to build your range, so consult with the operator about the best location and layout.

You may need dozer work to build your range, so consult with the operator about the best location and layout. Photo by Richard Mann

As for steel targets, this should be where you put your money. Don’t think you can get a local fabricator to cut you up some steel to shoot at. Target steel needs to be, at a minimum, through-hardened AR500 plating. This stuff is not found around every corner, and your best bet is to go to a premium steel target manufacturer like MGM Targets.

As a minimum I would suggest you pick up two steel targets from MGM. The first is the company’s Propper Popper target, which is a similar to a standard Pepper Popper, but by virtue of an ingenious clamp on the back you can cover the target with a shirt to make it seem more realistic. This way, the kill zone is hidden.

The other MGM target that offers a lot of value for the dollar is the IPSC Silhouette Auto Reset Target. This target will rock backwards when hit with a rifle, even at long range. You never have to reset it, and it will work for handguns, too.

MGM IPSC Silhouette Auto Reset Target.

MGM IPSC Silhouette Auto Reset Target. Photo by Richard Mann

I’d also strongly suggest you pony up the money for several target stands as well. Over the years, I’ve made my own out of wood and PVC pipe, but they never hold up and can’t handle any wind. MGM’s Cardboard Target Stand is a steel base with legs and retails for about $40. You’ll never regret buying several of these. But, the company also has what they call the 3 Gun Cardboard Target Stand, which has a spike you drive in the dirt to make it easy to stand up, even on a hillside. The best part is that these stands retail for about $25.

If you really want to get fancy, you might consider the MGM Attack Target. This target actually charges the shooter and can be used to simulate laterally moving targets, too. It runs off a spring/ratchet system and requires no electronics or pneumatic air. It’s expensive but offers a lot of training value. There is nothing else like it on the market.

A single-stage press will handle all of your handloading needs for metallic cartridges. However, production can be slow.

A single-stage press will handle all of your handloading needs for metallic cartridges. However, production can be slow. Photo by Richard Mann

For a static target board, most shooters make the mistake of building a permanent structure. I did this too until I designed a replaceable target board. For about $30 you can buy what you need and it will last at least a year before it needs replaced. Build a frame that’s 4 feet by 4 feet square and let two sides extend down as legs. Then, bury two 2-foot sections of 3-inch PVC pipe in the ground, 4 feet apart. Place a downspout attachment to the end of these pipes and you can slide the target frame down into them. Now you can cover the 4-foot-by-4-foot square with plywood or cardboard, and when it gets shot up just replace it.

Loading your own ammunition is not that complicated, just make sure you obtain a good loading manual and follow the directions.

Loading your own ammunition is not that complicated, just make sure you obtain a good loading manual and follow the directions. Photo by Richard Mann

Having a place to shoot is not just about having an unoccupied field or a section of woods where no one is wandering around. If you have the ground, for less than $2,000 you can put together a workable, long-lasting shooting range that will get you through the good times and the bad.

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