400 yards max, what would you do?

Notdylan

Privates
Belligerents
Jun 14, 2017
222
52
34
Beechgrove, Tennessee
I recently purchased some land that is approximately 200 yards wide by 500 yards long and I am looking to build a range on it. It is completely flat and 100% wooded. I'm thinking a 350-400 yard range should fit and I will have to build a berm/backstop.

My local range is over an hour away and goes out to 1250 yards. I have a 20" AI AT in 308, 1250 is plenty of room for that. However, it is going to be hard to make myself drive over an hour and continue to pay range dues when I have 400 yards of my own to play with. As I can really only afford one long range rig right now, my question to you is:

Would you purchase something like a Vudoo 22 and essentially have an ELR setup literally in your backyard (and a cheap ammo to boot) or stick with the centerfire and buy teeny tiny targets to make things challenging @ 400? I am leaning towards the Vudoo but are there other calibers/rifle I should consider that would make a 400 yard range challenging/fun?
 

LongRangeLefty

Shoots heavy loads..
Belligerents
Feb 13, 2017
762
272
69
I agree with sticking with a centerfire. While the 22 ELR may be cheaper, I enjoy the feel and also the challenge in adding in the recoil management. It’s just more fun for me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Centuriator

brianf

Private
Belligerents
Apr 8, 2010
1,647
1,442
219
42
NY
Buy a 6br barrel for your AT
Good barrel life
Almost unbeatable inside 600 yards
Factory ammo is really good
Hand loading is simple
If you want to get really accurate get some flat base bullets at that range
 
  • Like
Reactions: 47guy

dirthead1

I Like BBQ
Belligerents
Feb 11, 2017
1,038
287
89
Phoenix, AZ
I'm a 308 whore, so I would stick with what you have and shoot at small targets. Make it a challenge with the 308 and work on your wind calls. Shoot from different positions. Shoot on the clock. You can do all that and make yourself a better shooter with your current setup and inside 400 yards.
 

vh20

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Dec 2, 2012
2,008
905
219
54
If you can swing the 22 outright, great. If you have to sell the AI to do it, DON’T!! Go with smaller targets, etc.
 

Notdylan

Privates
Belligerents
Jun 14, 2017
222
52
34
Beechgrove, Tennessee
If you can swing the 22 outright, great. If you have to sell the AI to do it, DON’T!! Go with smaller targets, etc.
I hear you. I FEEL like the 22 would get more use but I hate to part with the AI.

Lots of 223 suggestions, I don't know why I had not considered it. Ballistically it is very similar to 308, why choose it over 308? Cost?
 

WATERWALKER

0311 SHELLBACK
Belligerents
Apr 19, 2014
878
408
69
Deep in the Lone Star
Off your belly 400 can be a challenge depending on conditions and target size.
Get off your belly is right! Build a barricade, tank trap, a roof, throw some rocks in a pile & some old tires too. Build a few obstacles & buy smaller steel targets.

My local range only goes to 500 & a 25% IPSC is not easy w/ wind. It’s not impossible but the wind doesn’t offer much grace. Throw up steel targets ranging in size (4-8”) at different distances. That should occupy you for a bit.

*Nothing says you can’t make the occasional trip to the 1,000 + yard range.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dirthead1

Dthomas3523

Well Calloused Knees
Hessian
Online Training Access
Belligerents
Jan 31, 2018
4,540
4,345
119
South Texas
I hear you. I FEEL like the 22 would get more use but I hate to part with the AI.

Lots of 223 suggestions, I don't know why I had not considered it. Ballistically it is very similar to 308, why choose it over 308? Cost?
Theres a .223 AI conversion about to release.....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Big Ern

Jay McLean

Extra Private
Belligerents
Mar 1, 2017
267
96
34
Middle Tennessee
A suppressed .22 won't piss off the neighbors like a .308. Or you could shoot .308 subs like spife hinted. That would make the 308 more versatile. But, subsonic 308 is expensive compared to match .22 ammo.
So to me it comes down to the volume you intend to shoot.
 

slodsm

Private
Belligerents
Jun 1, 2009
21
4
6
41
Fort Worth Texas
www.google.com
You don’t have to spend vudoo money to have a great shooting 22lr. I’d keep the 308 because why wouldn’t you haha. Then build a cheap 10/22. I’ve got a stock bolt/reciever, KSA 18” bbl, ruger BX trigger, magpul stock, and a vortex DB tactical 4-16 that is a blast to shoot out to 300 yards. At 50 it shoots one hole off a bipod, at 100 is shoots sub moa, and at 200 still under 2 moa. I have steel at 300 and I can ring the 10 and 6 inch plates all day long and if the wind is not terrible the 4 inch plate better be worried.

I don’t even have 1k in that gun total I don’t think and it eats FGMM target like it’s candy and shoots lights out. I may splurge on a really nice 22 one day as I’ve always had the 22 bug since I was a kid but honestly it would be so I could say I had an expensive 22, not because I need one.

I’d definitely go that route vs selling my nice 308 to get a nice 22.
 

LongRangeLefty

Shoots heavy loads..
Belligerents
Feb 13, 2017
762
272
69
If you decide on a rimfire, you could even go with a 17 hmr. It’s not quite as cheap as the 22 but would still be more quiet than a centerfire and with a little more pep in its step than the 22. I built a Marlin 917VR I used to shoot sub moa at 300 with all the time
 

RFutch

Sergeant
Belligerents
Sep 28, 2010
818
200
49
38
Georgia
223 for sure. I shoot on my buddy's property and can get out to 500. Most of my shooting there is 300-400 though. 223 is fun and economical. It still has just enough recoil so you have to manage it from improvised positions. You won't get that with a rimfire.

I would build a rifle. Origin Action/ Prefit barrel/ chassis in whatever flavor suits you.
 

reubenski

First Sergeant
Belligerents
Jun 8, 2008
2,136
1,449
219
39
Colorado Springs, CO
223 conversion for your AI + Dillon 550 or 650. Hornady 75 BTHP's in bulk.

One day you could also pick up a .22LR. there are few things funner in life than shooting 22. The steel is real cheap too. 3/16" AR400. It will last forever. You can buy rebar for stands and just bend it in a vise with a torch. Very cheap. Vudoo's are awesome rifles but a custom CZ457 is a close second IMO and about $1K cheaper.
 

Centuriator

Let's go bowling
Banned !
Belligerents
Jul 3, 2012
1,855
712
219
Middle 'Merica!
In a more practical way, you could use your 400 yards to do a lot of drilling with an AR, honing skills. The USMC starts at a 500 yard line and works its way in from there, moving, shooting, changing positions, using cover and concealment, etc. 400 yards is a great training area.
 

steve123

Lt. Colonel
Belligerents
Mar 16, 2008
8,220
866
219
Flagstaff, AZ
400Y and in is exactly why I worked up a reduced load for my 20-221 Fireball in a CZ527.

A friend has his own range and we have steel from 30Y to 421Y in his back yard. Most of the small steel from 30Y to 161Y is only softer steel so it can't withstand more than 17hmr power level and bigger slow cartridges like 300BO knock these targets over and bend them. I used to only be able to use rimfires on them but not anymore.

I still use my match rimfire on these steel but the truth with rimfires is that they give very poor vertical at long range distances for a rimfire, like 4" at 200Y with my $3000 rifle coupled with Lapua Polar biathlon that was tested at their test facility to be the most accurate in that rifle. I just wanted smaller vertical and less wind drift if it was windy so that problem is now solved.

Back to the 20-221 FB or 5mmFBI as it's labeled on the reamer. The main load sends 32 grainers at 3735 fps, it does excellent to 500Y and is an awesome varmint cartridge. But I play with the reduced load much more often. That load is only going 2300 fps with 8 fps SD and is capable of 1" groups at 200Y. So now I can shoot at all the steel with this load.

Some benefits;

With either load the barrel takes seemingly forever to heat up but of course more so with the light load.
Barrel life should be enormous, I won't know for years.
Recoil is humorous it's so slight, even with the normal load, and I don't have a muzzle brake installed.
Brass life with the light load is basically forever and with the normal load I'm past 10 times with Remington brass.
18.8 grains of powder with the normal load and 7.5 grains of pistol powder with the light load.
It's cheap to shoot!

Basically the light load provides "enough challenge" in the wind with out being frustrated, like I get with the rimfire, and the vertical is small enough that it's me if I miss.

I've been saving my expensive 22 rimfire ammo for NRL22 matches now instead of burning it up on long range steel and missing half the time. Yes I have tried the medium priced 22 rimfire ammo and the vertical was two to three times of at 200Y than my tested ammo.

The same concept can be done with any centerfire cartridge with the optimal burn rate of powder and lower a charge weight for a reduced load, I just took what I had and worked with it.
 

jbailey

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Jul 27, 2010
1,632
168
169
46
Arlington VA
Please make sure your SDZs are clear and safe. Remember every bullet you fire has a tiny lawyer on it, so you want to make sure you have 100% accountability on where each round ends up. Nothing, and I mean nothing, leaves that fire fan.

I would do smaller targets and a 223 (if a round does leave the SDZ, a 68gr has a lot less collateral damage potential than a 175gr does too). And set up the range with your primary wind blowing 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock, so you have that to deal with (hopefully you can manage that with the land boundaries); if the primary wind is 12 o'clock or 6, it will be much less of a challenge.

Get out your circular saw, cordless driver and make some barricades and other obstacles to shoot on, over and under.

If you are excavating this from forest, be on the look out for good hardwood saw logs. There is money in those, especially if you are clearing 400 yds of it (could be 10s of thousands $ if the primary stands are American cherry or black walnut).

Once you have your own piece of land, it is tough (impossible) to go back to a public range. Too many trigger pullers to deal with and you lose your willingness to put up with them.

Have fun bro and enjoy the fruits of your labors - and remember, God Bless America, where life like this is possible.
 

bobtodrick

Sergeant
Belligerents
Dec 16, 2010
274
12
22
65
I'd go with a .222.
Inherently slightly more accurate than the .223
But because of the fact that it is a little less powerful than the .223 those 400yd shots will test you skill a bit more.
Quite a bit of factory ammo available these days and easy to reload.
 

Winny94

Sergeant
Belligerents
Nov 19, 2013
1,114
358
189
You can get a decent 22 w/o going Vudoo money and still have a very good 223. Thats what i'd do in your situation, but no answer is right.
 

Notdylan

Privates
Belligerents
Jun 14, 2017
222
52
34
Beechgrove, Tennessee
Please make sure your SDZs are clear and safe. Remember every bullet you fire has a tiny lawyer on it, so you want to make sure you have 100% accountability on where each round ends up. Nothing, and I mean nothing, leaves that fire fan.

I would do smaller targets and a 223 (if a round does leave the SDZ, a 68gr has a lot less collateral damage potential than a 175gr does too). And set up the range with your primary wind blowing 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock, so you have that to deal with (hopefully you can manage that with the land boundaries); if the primary wind is 12 o'clock or 6, it will be much less of a challenge.
I agree, after some thought 308 is out. 223 may be too, just not sure if I have enough space or can construct a safe enough backstop for a high powered rifle.

Here's a look at the property. From the first marker (roughly where I plan to shoot from) to the back property line is 450 yards and the line ends in the back yard of a neighbor, 780 yards away.

The land here is pretty flat, would you guys feel safe shooting a 223 in this environment?
 

Attachments

brianf

Private
Belligerents
Apr 8, 2010
1,647
1,442
219
42
NY
looks like a 22lr map to me
road on one side, houses on the other
150 yard range with a big backstop
depending onthe state you have to be 500' from a road
 

Dthomas3523

Well Calloused Knees
Hessian
Online Training Access
Belligerents
Jan 31, 2018
4,540
4,345
119
South Texas
I agree, after some thought 308 is out. 223 may be too, just not sure if I have enough space or can construct a safe enough backstop for a high powered rifle.

Here's a look at the property. From the first marker (roughly where I plan to shoot from) to the back property line is 450 yards and the line ends in the back yard of a neighbor, 780 yards away.

The land here is pretty flat, would you guys feel safe shooting a 223 in this environment?
If state allows it, I’d build an nra spec’d berm and rock on. As long as all rounds go into the berm (at 400 they should), you’d be fine.
 

I Spot 4U - "Eagle Eyes"

Private
Belligerents
Sep 21, 2014
25
4
6
Oregon
I recently purchased some land that is approximately 200 yards wide by 500 yards long and I am looking to build a range on it. It is completely flat and 100% wooded. I'm thinking a 350-400 yard range should fit and I will have to build a berm/backstop.

My local range is over an hour away and goes out to 1250 yards. I have a 20" AI AT in 308, 1250 is plenty of room for that. However, it is going to be hard to make myself drive over an hour and continue to pay range dues when I have 400 yards of my own to play with. As I can really only afford one long range rig right now, my question to you is:

Would you purchase something like a Vudoo 22 and essentially have an ELR setup literally in your backyard (and a cheap ammo to boot) or stick with the centerfire and buy teeny tiny targets to make things challenging @ 400? I am leaning towards the Vudoo but are there other calibers/rifle I should consider that would make a 400 yard range challenging/fun?
If it was me, I'd spend the money to "over engineer & over construct" the berm/s. Perhaps w/railroad ties bolted together 12 ft high, 12 ft wide with 10ft forward and slightly out sides and a 2ft overhang adding 20+ft of dirt/sand behind its 12ft height and on the 10ft sides Level. Placing your targets no more than 2ft in front of the wall of RR ties parallel to your shooting positions/shooting lane...To reduce the chance of ricochets. Yes, to reduced size targets 25%-50% of a full size target or purchase some T1 steel and build your own shooting tree w/ 3"x 3" swinging plates or less 2"x2" perhaps. Shoot what you have. Save for what you want. Sell nothing.


U.S.M.C.
 

Centuriator

Let's go bowling
Banned !
Belligerents
Jul 3, 2012
1,855
712
219
Middle 'Merica!
I agree, after some thought 308 is out. 223 may be too, just not sure if I have enough space or can construct a safe enough backstop for a high powered rifle.

Here's a look at the property. From the first marker (roughly where I plan to shoot from) to the back property line is 450 yards and the line ends in the back yard of a neighbor, 780 yards away.

The land here is pretty flat, would you guys feel safe shooting a 223 in this environment?

You'll need to built one heck of a berm, I mean, a really tall one.
 

jbailey

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Jul 27, 2010
1,632
168
169
46
Arlington VA
Here's a look at the property. From the first marker (roughly where I plan to shoot from) to the back property line is 450 yards and the line ends in the back yard of a neighbor, 780 yards away.
What is the primary tree species in this parcel? And how mature are those trees? (10" diameters or 30" - big difference.) You have a plan of excavating this lane? It would be 2 or 3 days of work for a good loader operator to knock'em down and maybe another 2 to 3 days to clean it up. That is $4k to $8k of expense, depending on day rates in your area. As I said, the resulting wood might be valuable as 'saw logs' but that would be variable on a bunch of different factors. You are going to have a bunch of worthless branches and other brush that you will probably have to burn, which isn't too expensive, but a consideration to plan for. I would then recommend you seed the resulting lane with a good heavy pasture and plan to bush hog it twice/thrice a year.
 

BadAccountant

Private
Minuteman
Jun 7, 2019
34
12
12
I recently purchased some land that is approximately 200 yards wide by 500 yards long and I am looking to build a range on it. It is completely flat and 100% wooded. I'm thinking a 350-400 yard range should fit and I will have to build a berm/backstop.

My local range is over an hour away and goes out to 1250 yards. I have a 20" AI AT in 308, 1250 is plenty of room for that. However, it is going to be hard to make myself drive over an hour and continue to pay range dues when I have 400 yards of my own to play with. As I can really only afford one long range rig right now, my question to you is:

Would you purchase something like a Vudoo 22 and essentially have an ELR setup literally in your backyard (and a cheap ammo to boot) or stick with the centerfire and buy teeny tiny targets to make things challenging @ 400? I am leaning towards the Vudoo but are there other calibers/rifle I should consider that would make a 400 yard range challenging/fun?

.223 all the way. Weight of the rifle and ballistics in the wind will serve as a good training aid, and if you train yourself to be able to nail a shot at 400 the first time, every time, then you are a truly dangerous marksman my friend.

Everyone likes to talk about the sexy long range shots, but there is something both practical and special about being able to nail a moderate-range shot every time, in any weather, from any supported position.
 

Notdylan

Privates
Belligerents
Jun 14, 2017
222
52
34
Beechgrove, Tennessee
What is the primary tree species in this parcel? And how mature are those trees? (10" diameters or 30" - big difference.) You have a plan of excavating this lane? It would be 2 or 3 days of work for a good loader operator to knock'em down and maybe another 2 to 3 days to clean it up. That is $4k to $8k of expense, depending on day rates in your area. As I said, the resulting wood might be valuable as 'saw logs' but that would be variable on a bunch of different factors. You are going to have a bunch of worthless branches and other brush that you will probably have to burn, which isn't too expensive, but a consideration to plan for. I would then recommend you seed the resulting lane with a good heavy pasture and plan to bush hog it twice/thrice a year.
Mostly oak, red and white. Some hickory. Most of the 30"+ trees have been cut but there is a healthy amount of 20"+.

I realize this is going to take a long time but I am still in my 30's and plan on being here a while. I will most likely start with 100 yards and expand over the years.
 

hollowoutadime

Sergeant
Belligerents
Feb 27, 2014
477
342
69
Buy a 6br barrel for your AT
Good barrel life
Almost unbeatable inside 600 yards
Factory ammo is really good
Hand loading is simple
If you want to get really accurate get some flat base bullets at that range
+1

This what I did, I have an AI/AX in 6br w/1:10 twist shooting Berger 88 Varmints, and an AI/AT w/1:8 twist for 105/107's
Amazing round, low recoiling, easy to load, good bbl life. 300-600 yds are where most of my shooting occurs prairie dogs poking their heads up) , and that round shines.
 

goatboy

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Sep 23, 2018
177
109
49
Build a big berm - 18' minimum - and you can do what you want. Anything smaller, I wouldn't let anyone i didn't know 100% to touch a gun.

DOE has a good document on range design considerations


The spec a min 10' berm if there is a top baffle.

Boyscouts spec 20' min


This airforce technical letter is full of lots of data and engineering reference

 

TripleBull

This one goes to 11
Belligerents
Feb 13, 2017
2,711
5,438
119
Sunny Colorado
Since the thread title asks what I'd do...

After I finished splooging all over my undies, I'd go take a shower. Then I'd get to work building the first backstop. I helped build a range in a densely wooded area when I was a kid. We built a big berm, cleared a 25 yard alley and shot handgun to celebrate. Initially, we made the alleys fairly narrow just to open it up for shooting at the maximum range. By the time we were done, we had four pressure-treated wood decks and 4 backstops, so there were a bunch of distance options. It was a blast. Having a range so close to the back door made it a part of normal life. My technique improved by leaps and bounds. I moved away from home ~40 years ago and really miss the backyard range. Do it, man and then enjoy!
 

Centuriator

Let's go bowling
Banned !
Belligerents
Jul 3, 2012
1,855
712
219
Middle 'Merica!
Build a big berm - 18' minimum - and you can do what you want. Anything smaller, I wouldn't let anyone i didn't know 100% to touch a gun.

DOE has a good document on range design considerations


The spec a min 10' berm if there is a top baffle.

Boyscouts spec 20' min


This airforce technical letter is full of lots of data and engineering reference




Just bumping this awesome post....sticky worth!
 

Backcountryguy

Private
Minuteman
Aug 18, 2019
61
23
12
With neighbors that close, I wouldn’t shoot a centerfire unless it was suppressed. Last thing you want/need are pissed off neighbors for the next 10-20+ years.

But yes, with the correct backstop, I wouldn’t flinch shooting centerfire at 400 yards...if you build a proper backstop, and your shot completely misses the target AND backstop, you’ve got some things to figure out.

So if you do not already have a suppressor I’d go with either of these two options:

1. Put the money you have available towards a suppressor and start that long, “fun” waiting game. Build the range while you wait for the suppressor.

2. Buy a 22lr now, build the range...enjoy shooting 22 in your backyard and then when you’ve got money to spend again buy a suppressor.

223 will be very easy at 400 yards but still more fun to shoot than 308 in my opinion...so either way you go I’d get small targets to make it more of a challenge. Get some kind of “reactive” targets so you can make a “game” of it.

Either way you go, you’ll be able to have lots of fun.
 

jcam

Online Training Member
Online Training Access
Minuteman
Aug 24, 2019
75
40
24
400 yard range on your property is awesome. I see lots of possibilities with making the 308 challenging, smallers targets or even shooting groups on paper at 400. I’m blessed to be able to drive to the 1000yd range every week since its only 15 minutes away. But it would be nice to shoot a few rounds when I wake up in the morning and before retiring at the end of the day.
 

Graywolf.260

rocket surgeon
Belligerents
Jun 1, 2010
433
91
34
western MT
Agree about neighbors. Get a T1x and a can and buy cases of Lapua Center-X and put it in a stock with a scope matching you center fire rifle and you will have fun and train and no one will ever hear a thing. It’s a sub-moa rifle with that ammo at 100 Yds.
 

delinquent pleb

Private
Belligerents
Mar 5, 2017
20
2
6
I agree, after some thought 308 is out. 223 may be too, just not sure if I have enough space or can construct a safe enough backstop for a high powered rifle.

Here's a look at the property. From the first marker (roughly where I plan to shoot from) to the back property line is 450 yards and the line ends in the back yard of a neighbor, 780 yards away.

The land here is pretty flat, would you guys feel safe shooting a 223 in this environment?
How well do you/will you know your neighbours? If they are decent and open minded people you still manage the use of centrefire up to maybe .308 with reasonable precautions and providing neighbours with advance warning and seeking their approval.

Have you considered .204, 20 Tactical, 17 calibre offerings?

I know this a bolt gun forum but how about pistol calibre semi auto carbines?? I’m in Australia and I would jump at the chance to own a 9mm/.45cal semi auto carbine and the land to shoot it on...just a thought. Your range would accomodate this sort of calibres very nicely!

Congrats on the purchase by the way 👍🏻