Our son Travis and I have been looking forward to getting the shooting range set up, and yesterday was the first day of working on the project. While some people just depend on the heavy woods around here to serve as a backstop, and we have hundreds of acres of forest behind our property, I have seen the damage a bullet can do too many times to take a chance that there might be somebody out wandering around enjoying Mother Nature and be injured. I wanted something that was safer and capable of stopping anything we might be shooting.
I had originally planned to erect the backstop at the back end of the barn road, but we discovered the ground there is just too unlevel, so instead we went up higher, in line with the rear of the barn. This won’t give me as much yardage as I had planned for, but it’s more than enough for handgun shooting, which I do a lot more of than with a rifle. Sometime down the road we may erect a second longer range backstop for rifles, but for now this will do the job.
A while back a friend dropped off a bunch of used railroad ties for the project, so we started the day by first pounding four metal T-posts into the ground to be on the back of the ties to help hold them in place. Then Travis got on the Kubota tractor, and using the forklift attachment, we began stacking the railroad ties two deep. He spent some time working as a forklift driver years ago and has a much better feel for it than I do and was able to put them exactly where we needed them.
As I said in yesterday’s blog, one of the adjuster arms for the three-point hitch seems to have gotten cross threaded, so I wasn’t able to leave the 400+ pound box blade on the rear of the tractor. I knew that would make it somewhat squirrelly when moving the ties because more of the weight would be on the front end, and we quickly found that out when the right side wheels came off the ground an inch or so. That was exciting! Travis quickly lowered the forks all the way down, lowering the center of gravity. After that we decided to just move one tie at a time, even though it would take longer.
Once we had several layers of ties stacked up, we took a couple of long 2x4s that were left over from the demolition of the rear part of the barn and attached them as uprights to the back of the ties with five inch lag screws. This will help to further reinforce the stack of ties.
We both expected the job to take much longer than it did, but within about four hours we had almost all of the ties in place. This gives us a backstop that is about six feet high and three ties deep, and each railroad tie averages eight or nine inches thick. As it turns out they are also not quite the same length, so the backstop is not quite as uniform as I had expected, but averages eight feet wide. It’s more than enough to stop any kind of bullet I will be shooting. When it’s completed I will also be adding sandpiles in front and back, as an added safety measure.
Travis and I both have other things to do today, but the plan is to get together on Wednesday to tighten things up and finish the job. I’m really looking forward to it, and I appreciate all of your help, Son. I always enjoy working on projects together with you.
About the time I got back taking Travis home, our friend Crystal Abrams was pulling in the driveway to drop off a bunch of freshly picked tomatoes, frozen sliced freshly picked okra, and freshly frozen garden peas. Thanks for the goodies, Crystal!
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. This is why I don’t get invited to the family reunions anymore.
Thought For The Day – Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?