How I Built a Private Gun Range

  • Wesley Littlefield

Growing up near my grandparents’ farm had its many advantages. As a kid, I could go fishing whenever I wanted, I learned to drive a tractor at a young age, and my grandparents loved to spoil their grandchildren!

At 14 years old, I expressed my deep love for firearms. Not only did I love breaking them down, meticulously cleaning them, and putting them back together, I loved the smell of burnt gunpowder, and I loved the sound of lead clinking against steel.

My grandpa, eager to encourage his oldest grandson’s passion for firearms, allowed me to clean some of his most prized possessions. While we sat there talking for hours, I had the inkling to go shooting. 

This was a problem for us. Not because we lacked a safe amount of space, but because we had no way to ensure we stopped our projectile. 

That’s when one of the best ideas I’ve ever had struck. I asked my grandpa if we could move some leftover dirt from a pond dam and create a backstop. Once again, eager to encourage my passion, he was all on board. 

In the following days, I spent hours on the tractor hauling one bucket at a time. I stacked it as high as the tractor could reach and wide enough to put multiple targets in front. My grandpa sat back and “supervised”; more like he took a nap once he knew I wasn’t going to wreck the tractor!

After a few days’ work, I had finally completed the backstop, and I was ready to begin shooting, but I had no way to steady a rifle besides laying on the ground. So we decided to build a shooting bench. The only problem was my grandpa was having back surgery soon and couldn’t help me for a while.

Thankfully, I had paid attention when he showed me how to use power tools. As he sat in his recliner healing from surgery, I would pester him with questions and ideas on making a better shooting bench. 

I used the scrap wood he had acquired over the years, nearly as much as the lumber yard, to build our portable shooting table. 

The day finally arrived when we could go out and shoot together! I was excited to show off the bench I had built. It accompanied right and left-handed shooters, had benches and was easily portable. 

Over a decade later, I still use the shooting table and backstop to sight in my rifles. As I reflect, as awesome as it was to build a private gun range, I cherish the memories with my grandpa more than anything. 

RELATED STORIES