Jay Henges Rifle/Pistol Range to remain closed as MDC seeks resolution to bullet trap issues

News from the region
Saint Louis
Published Date

HIGH RIDGE, Mo.—The rifle/pistol range at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in High Ridge will remain closed until further notice due to safety issues regarding the facility’s bullet trap.

The remainder of Jay Henges’ facilities, including the shotgun trap fields, patterning board, static archery range and outdoor education center building, continue to remain open for normal operating hours and public programs.

MDC has experienced ongoing problems with the bullet trap at the Jay Henges Shooting Range since the opening of the new range in 2010.  In November 2017, MDC staff noticed major structural problems with the bullet trap. For safety reasons the range was immediately closed.

MDC has been in discussion with the general contractor to resolve the matter.  Those talks have been unsuccessful to date.  MDC is hiring an outside firm to identify a solution which will ensure safety for range users.  At this time, it is anticipated the existing structure will be removed, followed by construction of a new bullet trap so the range may safely reopen.

Currently, there is no timeline as to when the range can be reopened. MDC will notify the public as soon as that information is available.  MDC’s priority is to seek a lasting and safe resolution as soon as possible.

The bullet trap is a wedge-shaped steel structure at the down-range end.  It’s designed to funnel all projectiles into a slim opening in the rear, called a throat.  After travelling through the throat, projectiles enter a drum-like deceleration chamber where they travel in circles to dissipate their energy.  From there, they eventually slow down and tumble into a collection bucket for later retrieval and recycling. 

Shooters looking for alternative staffed ranges may also visit the new August A. Busch Shooting Range in Defiance, located at 3550 Route D, approximately five miles west of Highway 94. 

MDC also offers shooting opportunities at several unstaffed ranges in the St. Louis region, including:

  • Reifsnider State Forest east of Warrenton on Route M in Warren County
  • William R. Logan Conservation Area off State Highway E, northeast of the town of Silex in Lincoln County
  • Little Indian Creek Conservation Area off Highway A in Washington County, southeast of Sullivan
  • Huzzah Conservation Area off Highway E in Crawford County, north of Steelville

Additional information on MDC shooting ranges can be found at mdc.mo.gov/shootingranges.

Shooters can find still more range options on the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s website by going to http://wheretoshoot.org.