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Blue Trail Range

There’s a range in Connecticut that’s under threat of being closed.  Reports like this sound a bit fishy, and, being the skeptical guy I am, I decided to take a look at the range area.

Mr. DiNatale is one of several Durham residents who have complained that their homes are getting hit by stray bullets from the Blue Trail Range & Gun Store a mile away in Wallingford.

Tri-Mountain State Park straddles a 500-foot-high ridge that lies between Blue Trail and the homes. Mr. DiNatale says the bullets are also landing in the park, a violation of state law and a clear threat to a popular hiking trail that winds through it.

Though it now looks like they are fighting back, and asking for donations to fight the legal battle, to make improvements, and to remain open.  It’s not going to be cheap to make the needed improvements to that range.

Take a look at the range yourself.  The positions in question are on the 200 yard range, which is here.  You can see a topographical map of the area here.  Running some numbers through the ballistics computer, based on a typical .308 round, it is possible for a bullet to be fired over the mountain and land in the residential area about 2600 yards away at a velocity of 650 ft/sec and an energy of 157ft/lbs.  The elevation needed was less than 20 degrees.  That’s a problem.  The state park is not directly in the line of fire, and runs behind the mountain, which is safe, in the portion which is in the line of fire.

I’m not a range expert, but based on what I do know, it seems they will need to construct a high berm and baffles, along the 200 yard shooting line to prevent errant shots from leaving the range and heading over the mountain.  Our club protects against errant shots with a wood construction wall filled with crushed stone on the side boundaries of the range, and a series of baffles that go out for about 30 yards directly above the line of fire, and two giant berms, so the only thing you can see on the range is baffle and berm.  We’re located in a suburban area, so these things are a must.

There’s no reason Blue Trail range has to close.  A range can be made safe even for areas which have in recent years become densely populated.  Hopefully Blue Trail will win its fight to stay open, will become a safer range, and everyone can go away happy.  Encroachment of development is a serious problem for ranges, but it’s a manageable problem.

2 Responses to “Blue Trail Range”

  1. SteVe says:

    Thanks for the publicity of this. I’m suspicious because ‘suddenly’ there are all these bullet strike problems when none have been reported for about 10 years. Their donation website is http://www.savebluetrailrange.org/

  2. Sebastian says:

    It would be a rare occurrence for a bullet to end up over that mountain, since you’d have to do something stupid to send it there. But you never want to play the odds when you run a shooting range, because that will catch up to you at some point.

    I would have very little doubt, based on what I’m seeing from the satellite pictures, that the far side of the lake takes a fair amount of fire, but that section is not part of the park, as the article suggests. The park starts on the lake side of the mountain south of the range, and winds around on the opposite face of the mountain, which should be safe from rifle fire. Anything behind that mountain out to about 2700 yard from the firing line can’t take a direct hit without violating laws of physics, or bouncing off something.

    I would not walk on the face of the mountain directly opposite the shooting range during live fire. On the far side of the mountain, I would have little fear I would get hit by a bullet. But all these problems are solvable. It just might cost a good deal to construct the controls necessary to make the range safe.

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