Range construction details

Sebastian asked about the details of the base for the ecology blocks on the walls around my range. Here are some pictures and additional information.

The ground this time of year is really hard. It took a large dozer and a heavy excavator to get down to, essentially level. The range has a 1% grade down range to the target berm. A mini excavator was used to dig the footings about another six to eight inches deeper and three feet wide. This was filled with four inches of compacted and wetted, 3/4” with fines, gravel which was carefully (it took two people about two days complete this stage) made level. This deliberately did not match the 1% grade. Being level allowed for the back wall to be straight and have interlocking corners.

This first picture is looking down range from near the up range end of what will be the right wall.


This is the compactor in use along the left wall:


A four inch drain tile was put just inside the back wall (as seen on the right in the picture below) which exits under the right wall in the foreground:


Another drain tile, parallel to the first, will be placed 15 feet from the back wall and will catch drainage before it reaches the target berm. This will connect to the first drain tile with a Y a few feet outside the range.

The floor of the range will be covered with four inches of compacted, 3/4” with fines, gravel.


5 thoughts on “Range construction details

  1. So you grade it to the back to move the water toward the drain? Looks like you built into a hill. We’re on a gravel plain, so we can’t use advantageous geography, unfortunately.

    We built a part of a wall out of block like that, and it developed a lean. I don’t think it was the base, which was similar to yours. It’s straight at the bottom. I think the lean is from an imperfection one of the middle blocks. Could also have been our installers weren’t all that dedicated to stacking it right.

    But the quality of your block looks MUCH higher than the stuff we got.

    • If by “to the back” you mean down range toward the target berm, then yes.

      Yes. This is on the side of a hill. This is because of reasons unrelated to the functionality of the range or ease of construction.

      These blocks are far from perfect. We grumble about the dimensional quality with about every other block. I brought in a bucket of sand we use as needed to level each block (other than the base which is built on the level gravel footing).

  2. I’m impressed. This is a professional range and nothing like most home grown ones I have seen. Sandbag backstops and about 10 feet wide.

    • Thanks.
      This range will be 48 feet wide and have a maximum usable depth of about 110 feet. The full width will only be available to a depth of about 80 feet. It was designed to accommodate all Steel Challenge stages (see Speed Option here).

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