Minimum land purchase to set up my own range?

Peter M. Eick

Member
Mar 9, 2008
124
16
Houston
Any one know what the minimum land size I need to buy to set up my own rifle range?

I have vague ideas that 80 acres is a state law minimum but I am not sure on that.

I was thinking that 09 would be a good time to pick up same land between Houston and Austin where I can shoot and not worry about Range Officers. Also it would offer some hunting etc.
 

Rottweiler

Member
Apr 6, 2008
123
16
Hill Country
I don't think there is a state law that requires that you have a minimum size if it is for your personal use i.e. not a commercial operation. ( I could be wrong on this ) I'd think the main concern would be that your bullets cme to rest while still on your property, not your neighbors.

I have 50 acres that is a longish trapezoid kinda shape and have a 600 yard range on it with no problems. If it was a little flatter I could easily have close to 1100 yards
 

Peter M. Eick

Member
Mar 9, 2008
124
16
Houston
I thought there was some state minimums, but maybe it is a county by county thing.

I was planning on looking for a hillside or a forested area with some rolling hills that I could use. I figured this spring I would start cruising around the back country and see what I can find but I need to determine my minimum size requirements.

Thanks for the help.
 

jasont

Active Member
Jul 17, 2008
342
16
Houston
There are no state minimum requirements. There is a state law that protects you from any municipalities making laws against shooting on your own property if you have more than 10 acres for shotguns and 50 acres for rifles if you keep a certain distance away from any inhabited structures.
 

M4Dogg

New Member
Jan 2, 2009
32
6
Anyone know about Hays or Travis counties? I heard it was 10 acres+, and you have to be outside "Austin City Limits".
 

JKTex

Well-Known
Mar 11, 2008
2,011
38
DFW, North Texas
I think using the term "Range" is confusing. I think if it's not a public "range", that's a whole different story. You just need to know what the local town/county laws are or if there are any that impact you shooting.

The title had me thinking you wanted to open a range. My first thought was what the hell is someone that wants to open a range/business, doing asking advice on a public forum.
 

perdurabo

New Member
Dec 30, 2008
27
1
Back in summer of 2007 I bought 23 acres in rural Caldwell county near the community of McMahan, and one of the primary purposes was to build my own range. I was sick and tired of all the BS rules, outrageous fees and clueless idiots at public ranges, so I figured I might as well invest in my own freedom. I plan on moving out there in the next few years when and if the housing market turns around a bit and I can sell my suburban house in NW Austin.

Anyway, there is no such thing as a state level restriction on the amount of land required for discharging firearms. Most counties have some kind of restriction on minimum acreage with in *incorporated* areas that don't already have a municipal ordinance that overrides it. For Caldwell county, there is no restriction whatsoever on the number of acres required for discharging firearms in *unincorporated* rural areas and I'm fairly certain that holds for Travis, Bastrop and Hays as well. You are only required to shoot safely insofar as you are responsible for what happens should a projectile leave your property and harm another person or someone else's property (insofar as that can be proven).

About a year ago there was an incident in Hays county near Buda where a guy was shooting in his back yard in an area with houses (well, mostly mobile homes) that were relatively close together on 1-2 acre tracts. He had a very poor backstop and one of his .22lr rounds managed to hit and kill a small boy playing outside a few hundred yards away. This was obviously a case of personal negligence (Rule 4) but a bunch of busybodys in Hays county (mostly yuppies fresh off the boat from Commiefornia living in/around Dripping Springs/Wimberly) decided that needed to push for shooting regulations in unincorporated areas (they wanted to ban shooting on private property in unincorporated areas less than 2 acres). The proposed regulations eventually failed but it caused both Travis and Bastrop counties' commissioners to start talking about similar potential bans, but those never went anywhere either. Texas is still a state very serious about property rights. Heres the story:

Hays County Commissioners vote against shooting ban | News for Austin, Texas | KVUE.com | Top Stories

This does not mean you aren't liable for any projectiles which might leave your property. If a bullet escapes your property and injures persons, animals, or property and it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to a jury that you are responsible, you are potentially both criminally and civilly liable.. and this also means that you are potentially liable even if it wasn't you yourself who pulled the trigger, such as with a guest shooting on your property. As for myself, my property is only 23 acres, but I was able hire a dozer and cut a 250 yard shooting range with a 7' berm. Luckily, there a huge chicken farm about 2 miles south of me that has some serious stench for anyone who would choose to live much further south of me so my berm faces this direction. My shooting position is higher than the targets in front of the berm plus there are thich post oak trees beyond the berm. If for some unlikely a reason a bullet were to make it over the berm, the likelihood of it hitting someone or someone's property would be incredibly small... though the possibility is there.

I choose to shoot full auto rifles, FMJ ammo, rapid fire, reactive/steel targets, from field positions and drawing from holsters on my range because I want to and there is no damned range nazi there to tell me I cant. Ever since Hill Country Rifle Range (aka Crazy Richard's) went out of business there was noplace to shoot in Austin without a bunch of BS rules preventing me from shooting the way I want to. Now I have the freedom to do as I please, but thats coupled with a good bit of responsibility. Be sure you find insurance that will extend liability from your homeowners policy to your land (Texas Farm Bureau will do this for unimproved property you own regardless of whether your home sits on that property). This will cover you to some degree but proper range design with safety in mind should be your primary goal.

Building all kinds of anal retentive undershoot baffles and shooting only slow aimed shots from a bench at paper targets with soft point ammo (boring) might be overkill if you are remote enough but if you have nearby neighbors, you might have to do that in order to have the privilege of having your own range. Take my advice and buy as much land as you can afford as far away from civilization you can.

Avoid counties that are popular with "yuppie" types who generally have more socialist/liberal politics (Dripping Springs/Driftwood/Wimberly plus Bastrop/Smithville are getting bad... infested with Commiefornians bouncing from Austin). The hill country will offer more opportunity for natral berms, but land there is generally waaay overpriced relative to land east if I35. Land in the far west of the hill country such as the Rocksprings area is still cheap, but beware of any land with shared water rights or any kind of building/deed/property restrictions in organized "ranchette" communities. There will almost always be rules there eventually to spoil any plans you have for private ranges.

Its too bad Texas doesn't really have any public land to speak of where you can just go shoot whenever you want such as in the Rocky Mountain states. here, we have to pay for the right to have that kind of freedom by buying our own land. Its not at all cheap, but to me its 100% worth it to have the ability to shot whatever the hell I want, whenever the hell I want in whatever manner I choose without anyone else telling me I can't. Worth every damn penny.
 

Peter M. Eick

Member
Mar 9, 2008
124
16
Houston
Thanks guys. Like the long post above, this is just for my personal use. I just want to shoot where I don't have to wait for cease fires, shoot tin cans if I care too and have a gong or two to bang at instead of just paper. I also want some land for hunting and to dump the RV on instead of leaving it parked by the house.

What I see is that I need to look at the county rules once I hone this in a bit more and try and keep the area reasonable sized. At least 20 acres, but bigger would be better.

Take care.
 

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