By Olivia Blanchard | July 3 2010 13:00

As promised, here's another update from NRA HQ Range Manager Greg Wodack:

"There are three main projects taking place: a new air ventilation system, a new target retrieval system, and a new floor," he begins. 

"This is the last phase of an on going upgrade to our air ventilation system. The system currently being installed at the NRA Headquarters Range is the only air ventilation system approved by the United States Navy to be installed in their government ranges all over the world."

Carey's Small Arms Range Ventilation of Chicago, IL, is handling the project. Company president William Provencher has over 250 range installations worldwide to his credit. Through the use of radial diffuser technology a wall of smooth consistent air ( laminar flow ) moves downrange at a specified cubic feet per minute. The technology used to achieve the laminar flow eliminates the effects of turbulence commonly referred to as "eddies'" created by other systems making the NRA Range a cleaner and safer place to shoot. This system has a three tier filtration system which includes the use of medical grade HEPA filters commonly used in operating rooms. " The air actually goes back in to the environment cleaner than we brought it in," Wodack says. "This technology not only meets but exceeds all OSHA, NIOSH and EPA standards."

The new target retrieval system is cutting edge technology. The NRA Range is the first range to have this new system -- specially designed by pioneer Eddy Esworthy, the president of TargetWorx -- installed. After years of frustration with available systems currently on the market, Wodack was looking for a more reliable system -- one that could stand up to the daily use and abuse of the facility that sometimes operates 24/7.

About four years ago, Wodack approached Esworthy to inquire about combining specific design criteria into a specialized, modern system. Esworthy spent years perfecting the system, and it was installed in the NRA Publications Range, a single lane used for special projects, for final R & D. "This system is truly industry changing. Esworthy is not only one of the most intelligent design engineers I've ever met, he's also a former USA Shooting Team member, which is a big plus," Wodack says. Esworthy is pictured below.

"There's nothing on this system that hasn't been well thought out from a shooter and range operator perspective. The quality of engineering and components is second to none."

With 90% of repairs and maintenance on any currently available system being located in the rails, Wodack's number one criteria was a rail that was not susceptible to electronic shorts of any kind. Esworthy's design has eliminated the use of cables and buss bars completely, leaving what amounts to a 100% bullet proof rail system. Something range customers are more likely to notice immediately, however, is a touch screen user interface. On a 150-foot range like ours, most systems on the market have an distance accuracy of plus or minus 3 feet. Esworthy's new system has a 1/2 inch accuracy out to any distance. It is part of the software design package that gives this system it's accuracy, there are also check and balance systems in place that communicate with the main circuit board verifying everything the computer is telling carrier to do, nothing is left to chance. This is just one of many examples of the revolutionary technology this system has.

The floor resurface is being done Superior Systems Inc. of Pasadena, MD. "The floor itself is basically a ceramic cap," Wodack explained, "at a 17,000 psi rating it's a much harder surface than the standard 300 psi concrete floors found in most ranges." Studies have shown the harder the floor surface is, the more shallow the angle of ricochets when a round impacts the floor. This renovation, like the others, provides a safer range environment for customers and staff. Superior Systems Inc. President Gary Bargar's customers include many the area's hospitals, schools and even the Whitehouse Kitchen.

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