Earlier this month, I watched the ISSF World Championships for men’s and women’s skeet. The competition was held at the very well known Trap Concaverde (green basin) shooting range in Lonato (Brescia, Northern Italy). This range is equipped with 12 shooting stands; 8 combined Trap/Double Trap/Skeet, plus 4 Trap/Double Trap only. The Club is situated in the Southern Garda Lake District, 8 km from Desenzano, 15 km from the village of Sirmione, 30 km from downtown Brescia, and 40 km from Verona.
I wanted to bring some attention to American shooters, range owners, and operators of this place as I believe it demonstrates what can be done in a very compact layout close-by to rural and urban centers. From my research, this range is state-of the-art in two areas; first, for noise mitigation, second for lead reclamation. The ranges are oriented to the North/North East, and as you look at the photos, you will note how the range sits in a scooped out area of a hillside.
Let’s look at some photos to point out things that make this place special. The photo below is an aerial view of the placement of the range and surrounding rural area, highways, and other structures. My first impression is how so much shooting area was fitted into such a compact space, yet the range is in harmony with the neighboring space. Note the large amount of plantings inside the shooting area, and on the East and West sides of the range.
This photo shows a combination Trap/Double Trap/Skeet field. You can see the trap bunker and two skeet houses. Note the enclosure on the neighboring field to the right that protect the trap shooters from sun and rain, and the thick hedge that provides noise mitigation from the muzzle blast for shooters and bystanders on the fields. Behind the field there is additional hedging and trees that have been planted on the concourse and clubhouse areas. This further mitigates the ground level noise and provides an aesthetic appeal for shooters and bystanders.
This next photo brings some of the detail into closer perspective. Note that the hedging and tree plantings continue down the entire length of the shooting stands. In the upper right corner of the photo, you can see the berm that provides additional noise mitigation of the directional gun noise by deflecting it upward and into the trees behind the berm. The berm has a full-length trough at the bottom to catch the shot pellets as they hit the covered berm. The pellets simply roll down the covered berm into the trough for removal.
The final photo is looking out from a skeet shooting position on the combination field. It shows additional detail of the berm with the extension on top of the main berm and tree plantings behind the extension. Note the potted shrubs on the concourse that creates a green welcoming place versus a barren landscape. Lead reclamation does not require excavating large quantities of dirt along with the disturbance to the background, the dust that is generated, and the energy required to move, replace, and sift the pellets out of the earth. Simply remove the lead pellets from the trough, sort, and lubricate them for re- use.
The purpose of this post was not to criticize any other trap or skeet field, but to show what is possible to do to install a compact shotgun range into its surrounding topography that harmonizes with its neighbors, and is recognized as a world-class shooting facility. I hope it sparks some ideas for American shotgun range owners and operators as they face increasing resistance to their existence from urban and residential development.
In the case of Silver Dollar, many of these ideas were brought up, but both sides rejected them. A lost opportunity for all those involved to create another world-class facility into the Tampa Bay area.
This is my fiftieth post on the Silver Dollar Bulletin. I never dreamed that this number of posts would be possible. And there will be more to follow in the near future. As always, my thanks to all the subscribers and readers of the Blog. Without you this would not be possible. Shoot straight, Tim.