Author Topic: Neighbor complaints about our shooting  (Read 2842 times)

Offline racer038

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Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« on: December 01, 2012, 09:45:26 PM »
I wonder if anyone else experiences this.  We have set up a shooting range on a piece of property we own.  The backstop is earth and is adequate in depth and height to stop our rounds.  There are no rocks or other foreign particles in the backstop.  Neighbors swear that they can hear stray bullets in the trees near their houses.  We're talking about 200 - 300 yards past and at an angle from our backstop.  There are some times they do not complain, but they often do.  They even notified the local sheriff's dept.  The Deputy Sheriff confirms that it sounds like rounds hitting in the trees near their house.  I can swear that no rounds are leaving the backstop, but there is no way I can prove we are being responsible.  Likewise there is no way the neighbor can prove that we are negligent.

I hypothesize that what they are hearing is an echo of the bullet noise.  Our range is in an open field.  The sound of the bullet firing is directed in the general direction of the neighbor's property.  While the bullet cannot escape our backstop, the sound waves can.  I think what they are hearing is the sound bouncing off leaves, branches, and trunk of the trees. Is this a known phenomenon?  Am I WAY OUT in left field on this? 

Offline nelson96

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2012, 10:12:20 PM »
I can't say what they are hearing for sure, but the echo of a gunshot doesn't sound anything like a bullet whizzing by unless it is.  As you said, there is no way to prove what they are hearing, but unless you feel they are flat out lying, I wouldn't be shooting anymore in their direction.

I would figure out a way to befriend them.  See if they'll help you make it safer (by helping they will feel better about it's safety).  Work out a mutual agreement of some kind that you both benefit from in some way.
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Offline daveinmichigan

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2012, 07:52:39 AM »
Fire some blanks and see if they still hear the rounds in their trees.
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Offline 11 Bravo

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2012, 08:34:16 AM »
Go with Dave's idea. Try some blanks. Or get some tracer rounds, that will tell you. But I'm calling BS on it. They hear the noise, and there mind is telling them the bullets are flying all over.  I take those calls often where I work...
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Offline NWBowhunter

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 08:40:22 AM »
This seems to be a very common complaint around gun ranges. The neighbors can here the gun fire and every other noise is a bullet flying their way.
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Offline Dawgus

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2012, 09:18:55 AM »
I've had the same issue at my dad's place. Our range is RR ties bolted to telephone poles, 8 ft high and backed by 8ft of soil/earth. Every time we shoot, the new people 2 houses away call the police. Every...single...time. It got to the point where the police had to tell them to stop calling, and that we were perfectly legal and our backstop was more than adequate. Turns out they are simply anti-gun. Go figure.  ::)
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Offline FromScratchWoman

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2012, 10:26:03 AM »
We're talking about 200 - 300 yards past and at an angle from our backstop.That is how close your backstop it to their homes, and what angle? uphill? downhill? right,left? I have to admit I would not be ok with someone having a backstop that close to my home IF it was in close lineup with my home..not trying to take sides or be mean just giving my honest opinion and i am in no way anti gun ;D  There are some times they do not complain, but they often do.see to me this could be a red flag of truth if they are not just flat out calling every time it could mean well they are not always home but it could also mean they are only calling when they hear a round whiz by.. I would talk with them say you are concerned and would never want anyone or their property to get hit ask them to record when they hear you shooting they will either just have a recordings of the sound of gun fire or you may be in for a suprise and they catch audio of a round ripping through leafs, better to be safe than tragically sorry..  They even notified the local sheriff's dept.  The Deputy Sheriff confirms that it sounds like rounds hitting in the trees near their house.did the sheriff say that's what he heard or what they said? If it is what he heard well..  I can swear that no rounds are leaving the backstop, but there is no way I can prove we are being responsible.  Likewise there is no way the neighbor can prove that we are negligent. In my eyes the worst thing about all of this is that accidents happen and 200 yards is not that far away if you or someone else where to not hit the backstop you could hit someones house :-\


I can't say what they are hearing for sure, but the echo of a gunshot doesn't sound anything like a bullet whizzing by unless it is.  As you said, there is no way to prove what they are hearing, but unless you feel they are flat out lyingBut even if you feel that way it is still not worth someone gitting hit by a stray.., I wouldn't be shooting anymore in their direction.

I would figure out a way to befriend them.  See if they'll help you make it safer (by helping they will feel better about it's safety).  Work out a mutual agreement of some kind that you both benefit from in some way.
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Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2012, 12:37:01 PM »
Any way they would let YOU stand near their house to listen to it while you have someone fire into the backstop?  That might give you a better idea.  Might try that with the blanks and also with live rounds just to see.  Good luck!

Offline nelson96

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2012, 01:15:10 PM »
Depending on the type of firearms you are using on your range, blanks are not going to replicate the conditions properly.
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Offline microdevil45

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2012, 08:28:50 PM »
I've had the same issue at my dad's place. Our range is RR ties bolted to telephone poles, 8 ft high and backed by 8ft of soil/earth. Every time we shoot, the new people 2 houses away call the police. Every...single...time. It got to the point where the police had to tell them to stop calling, and that we were perfectly legal and our backstop was more than adequate. Turns out they are simply anti-gun. Go figure.  ::)

Crazy anti-gun people.....




Offline spooky-1

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2012, 08:46:55 PM »
I have the same problem on my father in laws land. we moved to southern IL, he told me "I shoot all the time out my back door with no problem". what he forgot to tell me is he sights his gun in or shoots clay birds. A while back i set up, with a few other guys, a shooting course (dare I say tactical shooting course) and we must have gone thru 500 rds each. they complained it was "too much". lesson learned: decide what type of shooting you are going to do, then choose your location
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Offline CarlD

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2012, 09:44:52 PM »
Not sure what is going on but I went to Knob Creek one year and while they were shooting tracers you could see every once in a while a round going up and over the hill after making contact with the backstop.    Put yourself in their position.  They don't know how responsible the people are shooting at your location. They think they hear rounds going through the trees.  The deputy confirms the sound sounds like rounds going through the trees.   If you were in their position wouldn't you call the police? 

Offline VeggieDog

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 05:37:14 PM »
By any chance, is the neighbor in question Bob Costas?

Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 05:48:39 PM »
I wonder if anyone else experiences this.  We have set up a shooting range on a piece of property we own.  The backstop is earth and is adequate in depth and height to stop our rounds.  There are no rocks or other foreign particles in the backstop.  Neighbors swear that they can hear stray bullets in the trees near their houses.  We're talking about 200 - 300 yards past and at an angle from our backstop.  There are some times they do not complain, but they often do.  They even notified the local sheriff's dept.  The Deputy Sheriff confirms that it sounds like rounds hitting in the trees near their house.  I can swear that no rounds are leaving the backstop, but there is no way I can prove we are being responsible.  Likewise there is no way the neighbor can prove that we are negligent.

I hypothesize that what they are hearing is an echo of the bullet noise.  Our range is in an open field.  The sound of the bullet firing is directed in the general direction of the neighbor's property.  While the bullet cannot escape our backstop, the sound waves can.  I think what they are hearing is the sound bouncing off leaves, branches, and trunk of the trees. Is this a known phenomenon?  Am I WAY OUT in left field on this?

I suggest getting in touch with the  NRA Range Services and find out if they will come out and do an evaluation of your range. However, once you do that, you will likely be liable if you do not follow their recommendations and the neighbor sues.

These types of complaints should be taken very seriously. Personally, I wouldn't want to bet anyone's life on it in case the neighbor is correct. Safety is always the responsibility of the firearms and range owner. Now that the neighbor has complained, you may as well figure there is a tiny lawyer attached to every round you shoot at your back yard range from today forward.

In the meanwhile, I hope you have an umbrella policy.

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Offline cptd

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 05:50:55 PM »
Not sure what is going on but I went to Knob Creek one year and while they were shooting tracers you could see every once in a while a round going up and over the hill after making contact with the backstop.    Put yourself in their position.  They don't know how responsible the people are shooting at your location. They think they hear rounds going through the trees.  The deputy confirms the sound sounds like rounds going through the trees.   If you were in their position wouldn't you call the police?

Yes, I would. Not wanting to get hit by a stray bullet doesn't make a man anti-gun.

Offline racer038

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2012, 08:49:33 AM »
Thanks to all for the great feedback.  Everyone, including the neighbor and deputy agree that there was no possible way the rounds would do this except as ricochet.  Using topo and aerial maps, we've estimated that the rounds would have had to travel 200 yards past the backstop, strike a tree, change direction at a 60 degree angle, and then travel another 250 yards.  After hearing many "guess what happened to me" stories about richocets, I concede that it is possible. What I find unlikely is that nearly every bullet we fired, took this same path.

I have torn down the earth berm and instructed the family that the "range" is closed. Going forward, however is the task of rebuilding the "range" in a safe manner and avoiding this situation entirely in the future.

I have not attempted to prove/disprove my theory about the sound waves from the gunfire "sounding" like something in the trees.  I hope to do so for my own satisfaction at some point, but now is not the time.  Most of my neighbors are horse people, not gun people. There have been incidents prior to my purchase of the property that left negative emotions about gun people.  A neighbor on the other side of the ridge, 800 yards away from my property line, had a round during the 2012 deer gun season, strike his house.  Of course, my incident and this occurrence have nothing to do with each other, but still they are associated and spoken about as though they are related.  My only defense is to make the new range as safe as is economically possible and insure all family and friends use safe firearms practices.

Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2012, 09:09:41 AM »
Thanks to all for the great feedback.  Everyone, including the neighbor and deputy agree that there was no possible way the rounds would do this except as ricochet.  Using topo and aerial maps, we've estimated that the rounds would have had to travel 200 yards past the backstop, strike a tree, change direction at a 60 degree angle, and then travel another 250 yards.  After hearing many "guess what happened to me" stories about richocets, I concede that it is possible. What I find unlikely is that nearly every bullet we fired, took this same path.

I have torn down the earth berm and instructed the family that the "range" is closed. Going forward, however is the task of rebuilding the "range" in a safe manner and avoiding this situation entirely in the future.

I have not attempted to prove/disprove my theory about the sound waves from the gunfire "sounding" like something in the trees.  I hope to do so for my own satisfaction at some point, but now is not the time.  Most of my neighbors are horse people, not gun people. There have been incidents prior to my purchase of the property that left negative emotions about gun people.  A neighbor on the other side of the ridge, 800 yards away from my property line, had a round during the 2012 deer gun season, strike his house.  Of course, my incident and this occurrence have nothing to do with each other, but still they are associated and spoken about as though they are related.  My only defense is to make the new range as safe as is economically possible and insure all family and friends use safe firearms practices.

Before re-building your range you may want to consult the NRA Range Source Book. The National Shooting Sports Foundation also has very good range resources under their National Association of Shooting Ranges (NASR).

For what it's worth, I shoot on a private gun club's ranges where the front berms are probably well in excess of 20'25'ft in height and the side berms no less than 15' in height. Despite that, and all range safety rules being followed, during matches or training classes where many rounds are being sent downrange, rounds have still richocetted off the range and onto parallel ranges. Plain and simple, it happens and is clearly within the realm of possibility with your own home range.

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Offline LICountryBoy

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2012, 10:39:38 AM »
If they are hitting their trees there will be physical proof that they should have shown the authorities.

My Uncle's neighbor used to complain to him and say that the bullets are going to ricochet and kill her one day.
All he ever shot at that time were skeet loads at clay targets a couple hundred yards away from her property. Everything was shot into a backstop and when he started shooting 22s it was into a large trap he created in front of the backstop.

She was just one of those people that didn't have a clue. She lived in the city and this was her weekend home.
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Offline NorIDhunter

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2012, 08:58:50 AM »
To the OP - just for a point of reference; I live just a few miles from Farragut State Park near Bayview ID. The SP, which had operated a range since back in WW2 when it was a Naval basic training center, had to spend thousands of dollars in reconstruction costs after neighbor complaints and also in legal fees to fight injunctions and the like to re-open it to the public. Now this is a state-of-the-art government designed rifle range with 20' embankments, sound channeling features and the like to comply with all the court mandates  - and the neighbors STILL BITCH!

My point is that no matter what you do to make your range "safer", your neighbors sound as though they're hoplophobes and they likely will not quit their bitching. Do your best but don't be under any false illusions. Jmtc.
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Offline windchill

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2013, 02:31:14 PM »
When you get it rebuilt, go offer your neighbor a beer and have somebody else light up your range heavily with a variety of ordnance. Experiencing it from his AO, you will either truly understand the neighbor's concern if there is a problem, or you can mutually agree that there is nothing to worry about if there isn't, and possibly invite him to partake in some recreational shooting with you.

Offline inbox485

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2013, 04:00:50 PM »
A common issue with berms is if the target is too far from the berm, the round hits the ground skips up and clears the berm. Unless you are seeing every single round hit the berm in the mid to low range, this would be my bet.
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Offline Stinkie Archer

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2013, 04:07:17 PM »
tear down the berm, get some firecrackers/m80's, light them off, see if the neighbor complains.


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Offline nelson96

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2013, 04:47:59 PM »
tear down the berm, get some firecrackers/m80's, light them off, see if the neighbor complains.

Note to self, Archer is sneaky.
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Offline Stinkie Archer

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2013, 07:46:12 PM »
Note to self, Archer is sneaky.
damn right!


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Offline The Professor

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2013, 04:53:57 PM »
First off, unless either your neighbors or the sheriff's deputy has been shot at, I would venture that NEITHER knows what incoming rounds sound like.

It IS possible that rounds may be skipping out, but. . .as others have suggested.  Grab some tracers and let rip.  That should tell you right away.

Another suggestion, border your range with pine trees.  This helps deaden/soften any sounds.

Chances are this is simply hysteria manifesting itself in your ignorant/hoplophobic neighbors.  ("Ohhh, I have PTSD from watching all the news stories about those poor children!").

One other option, which just came to me, have two deputies come out, one to watch you shoot and the other to sit in the woods where it sounds like bullets are ripping through.  Have the first deputy watch, carefully, as you shoot and then let the two of them argue it out.  If the first deputy sees the bullet impact into the dirt without ricocheting, and the other says he hears it zipping overhead. . .then that sorta helps.

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Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2013, 05:00:15 PM »
If rounds are not skipping or leaving the range and it is simply a matter of the noise pollution, then, I would take that as a perfect excuse (if you need one) to purchase a suppressor.   8)

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Offline BamaPrepper

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2013, 07:26:40 PM »
I think that Bonnieblue2a has the best idea!!  ;D
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Offline soupbone

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2013, 08:18:31 PM »
In my opinion, unless you can prove that your bullets are NOT causing a problem, you are morally obligated to act as if they are. We had an incident here quite recently where the neighbor bitched, but couldn't prove he was coming under fire, until a 7.62x39 came through his kitchen wall. Now, the morons who were shooting had little or no backstop, but that is another story.

Now, I am anything but anti-gun, but I can see the neighbor's point. And let's face it, the last thing you want is a tragedy to live with, and possible felony convictions, and the last thing the shooting sports need is for more ammo given to the anti-gunners.

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Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2013, 08:38:39 PM »
In my opinion, unless you can prove that your bullets are NOT causing a problem, you are morally obligated to act as if they are. We had an incident here quite recently where the neighbor bitched, but couldn't prove he was coming under fire, until a 7.62x39 came through his kitchen wall. Now, the morons who were shooting had little or no backstop, but that is another story.

Now, I am anything but anti-gun, but I can see the neighbor's point. And let's face it, the last thing you want is a tragedy to live with, and possible felony convictions, and the last thing the shooting sports need is for more ammo given to the anti-gunners.

soup

Agree. Safety must be first and foremost.

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Offline never_retreat

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Re: Neighbor complaints about our shooting
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2013, 03:55:42 PM »
I know this thread is a few weeks old. But I'll take a crack it it.
First grab some cheap blue tarps, old sheets etc. Use some rope, sticks, poles, etc. Hang them vertically above your berm. Also hang one flat over the target are. Shoot, observe for any extra holes.

Another thought on test shots. If you can go over to the enemies house maybe have a friend shoot some frangibles. They are very unlikely to ricochet even off of steel.

Going back to the ricochet problem. A ricochet is going to go to the side of the target or up. It can't ricochet and keep going the same direction. Physics still apply. Exception to this would be skipping the round of the ground or water. But considering you sound like you know what end of the gun the bullet comes out of you are probably not doing that.

I was rebuilding a garage in a town about 15 years ago. The garage was poured concrete. So everything had to be drilled into the concrete or shot in with a hilti gun. Some old lady kept calling the cops. He shows up multiple times. After the 3rd time I give him the hilti gun and tell him to show her it. Problem solved until the next day. Finally he goes and gets the old lady and drives her over. I demonstrate the noise, she finally gets it. What a PITA. and I knew the cop.