How to Build a Trap Range

by Mike Schoonveld

Anyone with a clay target thrower and the space to use it can throw clays for target practice. Shooting the game of “trap” requires a range be set up with strict specifications as to where the shooting positions are located, the distance to the trap thrower and even specifics about the trap thrower. There are five different shooting lanes at specific distances and specified angles located behind an enclosed building (also built to set specifications) that houses the target throwing machine.

1.

Search on-line for diagrams with all the specifications for a trap range and trap house or head to a trap range with notepad and measuring tape to draw up your own plans.

2.

Use your diagram of a trap range to layout, measure and install stakes to mark the exact location of each shooting lane, shooting position and the target thrower. Mark the four corners of the trap house. Stake out the correct position, length and width of each shooting lane.

3.

Use 2-by-4 lumber to make concrete forms for each of the five shooting lanes. The lanes can be totally above ground or more commonly, set so the top of the concrete is at ground level to facilitate mowing the grass between each lane.

4.

Use 2-by-4 lumber to make forms for the concrete floor of the trap house according to dimensions shown on your trap house diagram.

5.

Install pressure treated 4-by-4 posts upright at each corner of the trap house floor as the main supports onto which the framework of the trap house will be built. There are two options. It can be built with the floor at ground level, but since the trap house has strict requirements as to how far above ground level it can be, many ranges put the floor level below ground level to facilitate entering the house to load or store targets.

6.

Dig a 12-inch deep trench in which to put the underground electrical feed to the trap house.

7.

Run electric wires in the trench to the trap house.

8.

Refill the trench with previously excavated dirt.

9.

Pour concrete into forms for each of the shooting stations and for the floor of the trap house. The least expensive and quickest method will be to have a ready mix truck deliver the concrete. More than eight cubic yards of concrete will be required.

10.

Work quickly to screed the concrete level, and then trowel the concrete to the desired finish.

11.

Measure the bolt pattern for the mounting pedestal of the target thrower and using these measurements, insert 1/2-inch mounting bolts into concrete floor of trap house before the concrete sets up.

12.

Finish building the framework of the trap house using 2-by-4 lumber and cover sides and roof with metal barn siding.

13.

Install 3/4-incg plywood inside the trap house on the rear wall (closest to the shooting positions) to prevent any stray shots from penetrating through the siding and wall and potentially damaging the targets or equipment stored inside.

14.

Install target thrower, connect it to the electric lines. Some models have wires connected to contacts on the thrower, others have a cord which plug into a receptacle.

15.

Measure, then use paint to mark each shooting distance (16 to 27 yards) on each shooting lane.

Items you will need

  • Diagram of range specifications
  • Trap target thrower
  • ½ x 6 inch bolts
  • 2 x 4 lumber
  • 1 sheet 3/4" plywood
  • Nails
  • Ready mix concrete
  • 4 x 4 pressure treated posts
  • Metal barn siding
  • Electric wire
  • 150-foot measuring tape
  • Marking stakes
  • Woodworking tools
  • Concrete finishing tools
  • Shovel

Tips

  • Use concrete infused with fiber glass to eliminate the need for reinforcing rods and wire mesh.
  • A smooth finish works best for the concrete floor of the trap house, a textured finish gives better footing on the shooting stations.

Warning

  • When selecting a site for the trap range, remember you will need a clear area 200 yards down range where the spent shot can fall to the ground harmlessly.

About the Author

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images