Range construction update

Last Saturday I said I expected the range to be completed by the end of this week or early next week. I was on site yesterday and it only lacked rock and gravel which are being put down today (and possibly Monday).

Below are the latest pictures.

Here are Adam and Rodney (the contractors) on Wednesday discussing the plans for the day with the latest blocks scattered around them which Vicky had brought the night before.


About 40 minutes later they are placing the last of the available blocks.


Early Thursday morning we unloaded and placed the final batch of blocks Vicky delivered. I guided the final block into place as Tammy took pictures (which I don’t have yet). As the engine of the excavator was shut off the conversation went something like this:

Adam: We need to all bring our guns next week and do some shooting!

Rodney: What do you mean, “Next week?” I have mine in the pickup.

Tammy: I have mine too.

Vicky: I have my .380 in my bag in the truck.

Joe (as I’m planting three steel USPSA Popper like targets in the berm): I have guns and ammo to share with everyone.

Less than 10 minutes after placing the last block we were making the steel ring with a suppressed .22 pistol and then a .40 S&W pistol. I was surprised at how well they all shot. I think there were only three misses on the USPSA Popper from about 30’ away with nearly 70 rounds fired.

I didn’t have my phone or camera and didn’t get any pictures of us shooting, but leaning against the left wall you can see the targets and the PVC pipe shooting boxes I made the night before.


Here is what it looked like by the end of the day.


The resemblance to a castle is quite evident in these pictures.



Some people have suggested I paint the blocks yellow, red, blue, and green to make it look like Lego blocks. I declined. I prefer castle like.

Exterior details of the second tile line.



I’ve been asked “How long is the range?”

It can comfortably handle shooting 21 yards from the berm with full lateral movement. With greatly restricted lateral movement I have 35 yards.

The inside width of the blocks is 48’.

I designed it to accommodate all the Steel Challenge stages. “Speed Option” requires 42.5’ of width and 105’ of depth.


15 thoughts on “Range construction update

    • I had never heard of Hesco barriers before. That said, reading about them on the Internet and looking at the pictures I prefer the ecology blocks. It’s unclear to me if the Hesco barriers could do the retaining wall function and be stacked up to 12 feet height. The ecology blocks are more pleasing to look at as well (in this particular use case it is far more important than at most ranges).

  1. “Some people have suggested I paint the blocks yellow, red, blue, and green to make it look like Lego blocks. I declined. I prefer castle like.”

    Boooo! Hisss! We want Legos! 😀

    Very nice!

  2. I followed your Steel Challenge link and searched for clubs around Seattle. “No clubs in this area.” Zoomed out, still nothing, until I got the entire state in view and found only two: the tri cities and Bellingham.

    Which is odd, given how much fun it is, and how straightforward the courses of fire are to set up. You’d think places like Kenmore or Snoqualmie would be set up for it…

  3. Absolutely outstanding. Good job, Joe.

    I really need one of those at my house.

  4. Eco blocks were a stroke of genius for what to do with left over concrete.
    And you couldn’t have put them to a better use, Joe. Most excellent!
    In this day and age it must be tempting to just keep going. And build one’s entire house from them?

    • No, I wouldn’t use them for underground either. Just perimeter defense. Nice tiling job to. Most people would miss it’s importance.
      To bad you have to go so far to get them. One would think every batch-plant in the country would have the forms.

  5. I’m guessing you still need one partial load of blocks to finish the end wall and wrap the RH corner. Or, is there a reason the LH corner is higher and no need to make the full end wall and RH corner the same height?

    • All the blocks are in place as seen in the picture. There is a road, on a hill, behind the blocks. A tall truck would be visible as it climbed the hill (to our left) if it weren’t for the higher blocks.

  6. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen those blocks. Pretty interesting. They look to be about 12″ deep? I dunno, maybe even 15″. They are big and sturdy looking!

    • They are called “Ecology Blocks”. A full sized one is 6’x2’x2′. 3′ and 4′ blocks are also available.

      6′ blocks weigh about 3,600 pounds.

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