Blue Trail Range Reopening on Hold

Looks like Blue Trail Range was ready to reopen, but the state decided they needed more time.  They’ve had some ballistic expert help, it looks like:

“Vargas concludes, based on his study of the elevations and theoretical bullet trajectories over the mountain, that it is beyond improbable — and actually implausible — that bullets that have hit residences on the eastern side of Tri-Mountain originate from Blue Trail Range,” she said.

State police ballistics experts have also been involved in the investigation of the origin of bullets found in the park as well as shots that have hit homes in Durham that are almost 1.5 miles from the range. The range is on the western side of Fowler Mountain, while the homes that were struck by bullets are on the eastern side.

Clark Vargas, president of C. Vargas & Associates, said the only way that a bullet fired from Blue Trail could have hit homes in Durham were if someone used a specialized shooting technique known as plunging angle fire.

I did my own analysis here, which concluded that fire from the 200 yard range could hit houses on the other side, but I am not an expert, nor did I visit the site.  I’ll take the word of the experts on this one.

UPDATE: Looks like the actual house, that was allegedly hit, is marked now in Google Earth.  Rerunning my ballistic calculations, I agree that there’s almost no chance that a bullet fired from that range managed to impact that house.  It’s well within the ballistic shadow of the mountain.

UPDATE: They are holding a sporting clays fundraiser this Sunday to help save the range.

5 thoughts on “Blue Trail Range Reopening on Hold”

  1. Let me compliment you on the quality of your postings,usage of the hot links,and usage of google maps etc. your quakity of communiction is very elegant.

    I’m not at the office right now so the figures Im presenting are from memeory. To shoot over the ridge the angle of elevation is about 31 degrees. That puts all of the alledged houses that have been allegedly hit in the ballistic shadow of the mountain that is the mountain provides cover to the houses

    .From the range firing line and elevation the only way those houses could be hit is to angle fire the rifle like a nountain canon at about 80 degrees, not from direct fire, a situation that is precluded by range rules, that require that only paper targets are to be engaged thrunaimed fire.

    Further more the 100 yd range is fully bafled. with plywood a 2″ air space then sheet steel, and then againplywood.

    From the benched position, the only possition allowed to be used to the bottom of the baffle there is less than 1 degree of rise for the projectile to clear the baffle.
    If it does clear the bafle that the projectile it impacts the 100 yd the back stop 5 ft from the top of the crest. The backstop is is from 23 to 27 ft in height.

    The targets are set below the floor level of the firing line. Normal shooting occurs at a down angle. At this down angle the bullets impact 2 ft above the toe the earthen backstop.

    Plese rerun your ballistic program and confirm thateven if someone steps outside the covered firing line and violates every safety rule established that any bullet fired at 31 degrees or above would travel way beyond the location of the alleged impacts. The Blue Trail range is really the Lyman sight company range. The Lymans who originally came very early in our countries history have contributed greatly to thir state and this country, and their desendant Steve Lyman takes marksmanship very seriously, and operates a well disciplined range.

    Thank you.

    Clark Vargas

  2. I was relying completely on Google’s data for the height of the mountain etc, which could be totally wrong. I’ll have re-enter those when I have a bit of time and see what happens

  3. Now that I see the house is marked in Google Earth, the one that allegedly was hit…. I agree that there’s no way a bullet fired under normal range circumstances can hit that house.

  4. I’m on a rather shaky borrowed wifi connection up in Northern NH right now, so I don’t have all details handy, but you might want to also mention that there is a sporting clays fundraiser for Blue Trail happening tomorrow. I think the website is

  5. I used to shoot at Blue Trail when I lived in Connecticut. I bought my Kahr MK9 there. Here’s hoping they reopen soon.

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