There has been a great deal of talk and discussion about building a bunker in Minnesota. So I'm starting this thread with the idea of seeing what is out there in terms of support and/or interest in seeing this get done.
I'm glad you started this post. With all the youth shooters in the high school program, I would think there would be a lot of interest.
Someone has chimed in on this forum indicating that their bunker trap is their most profitable trap. I would think you would need to come up with a solid business case before any club would take it seriously.
Building a bunker is almost the least of the issues when it comes to making an international layout economically viable. Like airlines and churches it's "butts in seats" that make them profitable.
Having it available for shooters to practice and a few experienced shooters to help the newbies is critical. Also, there are 9 international trap programs with the traps having to be reset for each one. Takes an hour if you're really good.
After the first flush of enthusiasm...the traps seldom get changed and the shooters get tired of the same program. I called a friend of mine at Ft. Benning and he admitted that the US Army shooting team gets lax about changing programs! They have dozens of grunts around to do it for free...imagine the task at a civilian gun club.
Canterbury (Yes, I'm guilty of selling something...) makes the Auto Trench machine. It is a single machine setup that duplicates all 9 International programs on a 15 trap layout with one machine! Costs about 1/3 of a traditional bunker setup and is sanctioned in the USA for registered International targets.
See the picture. Call or PM me for information and pricing. Thanks for looking!
Above is a setup for International and wobble trap in El Cajon, CA.
Above is a Canterbury International setup in Edinboro PA, USA. Brandi Hobbs in the picture has competed internationally and won using the Canterbury system for practice!
The Canterbury AutoTrench is a very effective alternative to installing a full bunker. It enables me to train for international bunker trap in almost the same way that a regular bunker would, except now I don't have to drive to the other side of Pennsylvania to shoot because it is at my fingertips down the road. The ability to change the program and the speed at the touch of a button or turn of a bolt is going to be so advantageous towards my ability to adapt to all kinds of targets, which is a very important part of the game. Since we shoot at all different places, the targets fly differently or at different speeds when set to distance. For example, somewhere like Colorado Springs, Colorado at an elevation over 6,000 feet, the targets float through the air and hit the distance mark but are flying very slow. Now I can turn back the speed of the targets on the Canterbury and can prepare better for an upcoming range. It is very easy to set up and run and it holds a lot of targets so I'm not constantly having to go reload the machine. I really love the ability to pick any target from any program and manually set targets so I can pin point some trouble areas and focus on certain targets.
I also love the practice mode that allows me to set the machine for all of the left-hand targets of a certain program, or the right or center targets. I can easily press the back button and re shoot any target that I would like to, which is very convenient and there is very little messing around with the computer or tech stuff. My main excitement is the fact that I have been able to shoot every day without having to drive for hours and stay over in a hotel for the weekend or so. Being able to shoot everyday is going to make me a much better shooter and I am very thankful for the invention of this machine. It makes training much easier and more accessible, and for only a fraction of the price of a full bunker. I'm excited to see what the future holds.
The Minneapolis Gun Club does have a bunker in place, yes its a small one that was acceptable at the time, that was used at one time to hold Olympic trials. When operational, shooters came from many states to use it but after a while the interest died off and so did the bunker use. Audrey Gorsch, a local shooter, was the driving force to install it and she used it to qualify for the team.
With the current interest is youth shooting, especially in Minnesota, we have been approached to consider us having a full size bunker on the property. Mark Zauhar presented a plan to the MGC Board of Directors, it was discussed, we took measurements and did find a suitable spot for a bunker field, did shot fall tests with International loads at different angles, talked to the county planning department, and gave the go ahead to proceed IF the funds were available to build the field and install the needed equipment.
With the feasibility study I/we did, we figured the cost to install the bunker and equip it would/could run $125.000.00. Now somebody is going to say "it couldn't run that much to install if we get people to help". And that's fine if and when those people come forward and pony up. And then to run the operation with a full time manager maintaining the machines, buying International targets and having paid employee's monitoring target usage I'm thinking its going to cost more than the $5.00 a round that I saw mentioned on another thread. I don't know how you would expect pricing like that in the Mpls/St Paul metro area. This is not rural Pennsylvania or Iowa for that matter.
So, with that said, money talks and we're listening. MGC would be receptive and proud to have one of the few International bunker fields in the upper Midwest.
There is a better and cheaper alternative to the Auto Trench. Its called Universal Trench or 5 trap. It consists of 5 machines in a bunker with a control system identical to a bunker. The sport is covered by FITASC. They have schemes and rules very similar to ISSF. The targets are thrown about the same distance with similar angles and elevations to the difference in target speed can be experienced. Unlike a AUTO TRENCH it can be set to throw Double Trap. The real nice thing is that you can buy 5 traps from someone like Lincoln or Atlas and a control system much cheaper that the AUTO TRENCH. If as you say you have a "little Bunker" you might have what you need already.
I understand auto trench was working on using a cargo container to house their system which would substantially reduce cost.
Some time back I talked to Atlas briefly as the cost of machines was far lower than others. The machines are not solenoid released, but it was stated that release delay would not be noticeable. Atlas seemed interested in possibly entering a new market so it is certainly worth exploring as an option. Also, in talking with a principle involved with the bunker at Ben Avery, the hole in the ground was done by contract labor for around $20k. As for a control system, The bunker at Sequim, Wa. was run by a first generation PC. And Tim Conway at USA Shooting made a controller he was prepared to sell for about $800. Guy Avedisian just had a complete Rossini system available for $17k.
So there are potential ways to economize and if really interested deserve a look.
And as a start, seriously consider a ground level Beomat wobble trap. Modify the elevation cam to throw a 1-1/2to 3 meter target. Use the shortened stacks used on the bunker machines so the machine sets 1/2 +/-.1 below the roof, use international targets and shoot from post 4. Yes, the targets will be center weighted for distribution but so what. And if someone can tell me they can differentiate a 62 mph target from a 64 mph target (a 2 m and 1-1/2 m target approx. speed to 76m) he is better than me.
Compared to the Auto Trench a ground level wobble is a seal. The Auto Trench cost something like $30K
whereas you can buy a good wobble new for under $10k. The Auto Trench is a great idea except its way TOO expensive.
Guy's Rossini traps are definitely an option and at last word still available. Not top of the line traps or brand new, but they would definitely get a bunker up and running. Ricardo Alcantara runs Modular Bunkers, he's the one doing the steel drop-in bunker. www.modularbunkers.com is his website. For a recently completed bunker, take a look at Livermore's new one on the "Projects" page. I believe this was done with reconditioned Rossini traps out of the closed San Diego facility. (Can someone confirm or deny this?) Another factor to consider is the roof on the bunker. Given our recent snow fall in MN this year, concrete may be a necessity. Someone with construction experience might be able to tell us if one could be done with something else at a significant savings.
One thing I would not do on the cheap is the controller. And you need two of them as well, for sure as little green apples one will die/overheat right in the middle of a shoot. In the broad scheme of things however, electronics are the cheapest investment.
If you can get a wobble to go to 45 degrees left/right and send a target 76m, then I would agree it is a good alternative. Not the perfect training system, but as good as most of us can get. My experience is that you can get them to about 30-35 degrees and about 50m distance. And with that difference, you do notice it. My usual training method is to stand on a painters bench and shoot wobble from a Pat trap. Like I said, not ideal but as good as I can get locally and I'm fortunate enough to have an understanding club that allows me to do it. I haven't shot on a Beomat, so my experience may be limited in this regard.