MDC awaits solution from contractor to resolve bullet trap issues at Jay Henges Rifle/Pistol Range

News from the region
Saint Louis
Published Date

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

The rifle/pistol range was designed to be a full-containment range. However, structural plates of the bullet trap have separated over time, leaving unsafe gaps where projectiles could escape. MDC has been pursuing the issue with the contractor, Action Target of Provo, Utah since the problem developed and is currently awaiting a satisfactory resolution. No estimate as to when the range will be reopened can occur until then. However, MDC is seeking a lasting and safe solution as soon as possible.

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.

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 traveling 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.

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.

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

Shooters can find still more range options on the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s website by going to