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Thread: Firing Range

  1. #1

    Firing Range

    Daft question time, as I really don't know where to start.

    I have recently gained vermin permission over a large disused chalk quarry in the South East

    heavily overgrown, lots of rabbits... but more importantly with a variety long internal sight lines out to about 150M with safe backdrops (30-40 Metre high grass covered chalk, little or no flint)

    even a disused 50 metre long shed with back wall into the chalk. Single gated private access.

    Chatting to the landowner, the possibility of a few quid income to fund the other main work on the site would be really really welcome, as far as I can see, it would make a pretty fantastic range for some fullbore field target shooting

    There's a local rifle club who use MOD ranges, I'm sure they'd be pretty keen on the odd bit of variety and a chance to shoot some differing ranges against deer targets etc as a social/competition event for a reasonable per head fee.

    Hell, I could happily run a nice social meet/shoot/BBQ for some of you lot of it was possible

    So, if I wanted to maybe try and hold some sort of field target shoot what sort of hoops would I have to jump through?

    Land not cleared for any calibre at all yet - but in process, and I'm going to try and push FEO to permit use for zeroing my own rifle and out to .308
    Only the odd event, so no need for planning permission since, as I understand it, it falls under permitted development rules (?)

    would it need to be cleared as a specific home office approved range? or would that depend on the conditions of the shooters own FAC?

    anything obvious I'm overlooking?

  2. #2
    Here we are to give a sense of scale/perspective of one "lobe" of the quarry - 'fraid I've had to blur it a little to keep location discreet, but the blue van is about 120m from the back wall.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    I believe planning permission will be the bug bear in this. There used to be a regular clay shoot in a certain quarry off the A25 in Surrey......................... I say used to be as the locals, or some, local complained and they got it closed down. IF what I hear was right the leaders of the complaints were newcomers. Brought a cottage in the country and then applied their townies values and tried to change to village, with some success I might add, to suit their ideals.

    That I fear is going to be your problem................. a bit of vermin shooting pest control and zeroing is very different to organised shooting and paractice and comps...... these produce more sustained shooting and hence higher noise intrusive levels.

    Good Luck.

  4. #4
    Sounds ideal for a tunnel range. The south east is gagging for a decent length range where you can go and develop loads in peace and quiet. Or zero without fear of disturbing the local squirrel rescue centre, and away from the jobsworth gestapo idiots at bisley . I have been looking for a location to build a tunnel complex such as this, but there are very few suitable sites in existence. Maybe show your landowner the pictures of Calton moor range and see if it lights any bulbs upstairs. Even if you don't go that far into it I would happily pay you 30/hr to use the quarry for load development.

  5. #5
    Brit, the quarry location should serve to send most of the sound upwards and deflect it away from any nearby houses. I wonder how close it is to any developed land?

    The rules for a range state that it must have "sufficient financial provision in place" so basically insurance to cover any possible accidents. There are few insurers that will offer this insurance, but given the location, I think that would be a good bet for a reasonable rate. The insurers rely on inspection of the range by a competent authority.

    In the past, the MOD offered range inspections to "approve" ranges. They no longer do this. The "governing body" of range shooting in the UK is the NRA/NSRA. They do a very useful book called the "National Governing Body Advice on the Design, Construction and Maintenance of Target Shooting Ranges". They also offer advice from experienced range builders on the designs, and offer an inspection service. This is all charged of course, but the fees are reasonable. Once your range has been checked and approved, you should get mr Plod down to approve it for whatever calibres you think necessary.

    As for backstops, I'm fairly sure a chalk bank wouldn't be popular for the target area. A sand bank is the normal outdoor backstop, although your chalk walls will provide the perfect extra safety area required.

    Phone the NRA and have a chat, they are very helpful and passionate about shooting (I'm nothing to do with them I hasten to add, but have had occasion to talk to them on many occasions and found them to be friendly and approachable)

    Can I ask, what sort of area of the country are you in? Not the town, just a county would be fine. If you're anywhere near me I'd be more than happy to volunteer some time to help you set it up.

  6. #6
    not sure planning comes into it.
    noise pollution and neighbour issues will come through environmental rather than planning division of the council
    keep it private, make sure the land owner is fully on board and you are willing to take any flak/effort for him.
    cover all angles of ramblers wandering into view, sentry points, boundary signs, flags etc

    a decent shed enclosure for the firing point will negate the majority of the noise issues

  7. #7
    Thanks for the help so far guys.

    Brithunter - as I read it, clay pigeon shooting is limited to about 14 days under permitted development planning rules, so I've got that at least to play with.

    Matt - its half a mile from a small village, alton area.

    No rambler problems or anything.

    good point on the sand... I suppose I could get a wagon load dumped in for a backstop as the owner has other quarries

  8. #8
    Someone I know wanted to have a short range, 100 yards or so on land he owned. As he wanted others to have access to it, not just for his own private use, he had to apply for planning permission, change of use etc:. He got it but it wasn't a commercial exercise. The commercial side would possibly come into your situation.

  9. #9
    Actually that was an established clay shoot and had been there for decades made no difference they were shut down. IF I remember correctly it was only a monthly shoot as well. Would need to see if a friend call recall how frequently it was as he too shot there. Anyway it didn't matter the newcomers got it closed down and that was the end of it.

  10. #10
    Brit, under planning regs you can host a clay shoot on a piece of land up to 28 days a year without planning permission.

    Which Alton? There are dozens of them around the country. Half a mile from the village might be ok, depends on direction of fire and how well you mitigate the noise. A covered shed firing point could help, moderated rifles would also help. Careful thought about placement of the firing points and target butts would be necessary, but it sounds like an ideal spot.

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