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Background: Life long west coaster near Portland who has always been a fish out of water, and the last 2 years have been the nail in the coffin. Did a lot of research to find the state that best fits me and my family in terms of freedom, politics, culture, beliefs, guns, climate, etc. and settled on TN. Immensely enjoyed our visit in the summer. Getting prepared to put our house on the market and leave.

Love firearms, carry 24x7, and have a pretty good variety: AR15, 80% AK47 built from a parts kit (my fave), AR9, a couple 22lr's, shotguns, about half a dozen pistols that between my wife and me range from a tiny Ruger LCP2 all the way to a Ruger SR9 and an 80% as well as 3D printed G17. Looking forward to going further down the 3D road.

Question: We're really hoping to find a house where I can also have my own range. Any tips? Does "stay outside of city limits" pretty much sum it up (assuming the property can safely accommodate it), or anything else I should consider? We're used to driving a half hour into the state forest and shooting in a rock quarry but as I read here a few days ago, it doesn't really work that way in TN, which increases my desire to have my own range that much more. I'm not sure I'm going to love being a member of a range but who knows? I could be wrong. Anyway, the tricky part of getting land is that I'm working remotely full time with a high speed internet requirement, which could be a problem out in the sticks. If anyone who has house shopped with a personal range requirement is willing to chat a bit (probably PM), it might help to be able to pick the brain of someone who has gone through this out there.

On our visit we spent all our time in and near Chatt as well as Knoxville so our house search has focused on East TN but wouldn't really mind if we ended up in Middle. Don't know much about West other than higher humidity I think, and Memphis being high in crime (not too interested in trading Portland for another high crime city). Have realtors in both OR and in Chatt, so hoping to be there within months. In the meantime, I've been keeping track of what's going on in TN by reading tennesseeconservativenews.com, listening to TFA podcasts, following Tennessee Stands, and watching the Calvary Chatt civics classes.

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Hope your move works out. I did similar research before escaping Western NY 7 years ago. High on my lists of wants when we were looking was room to shoot and found our near perfect home in NE TN with room for a small range. My range only goes out 60 yards but there is a range in the Cherokee National Forest only 20 minutes away that goes out to 100 yards and fewer neighbors if I want to shoot the bigger stuff for any length of time. Have never heard a complaint from a neighbor and want to keep it that way. I know there is at least 3 other people on our 1/2 mile long dead end road that have small ranges and at least one other that wants to build one.

I would be happy to exchange PMs with you.

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You need two things for a home range: backstop & noise abatement.

Backstop can easily be done by backing your range up against a hill/mountain. This will easily eat up any off-target rds that might slide off target.

Noise is a mixed bag. If you shoot suppressors, that will take care of that. Otherwise you're gonna need distance/acreage. I would imagine 12-15 acres at a minimum for noise in order to be a good neighbor. Hopefully your neighbor(s) won't be yankee gun-haters. This is easily found in the Chatt/Knoxville areas.

West TN is much, much flatter. So the acreage will need to be doubled, IMO. 

Since you're a work-at-home guy, this allows a lot more options for property. I'm not a cable guy, but I would imagine any property close to a major highway (not interstate, highway) would have easy access to cable internet? This is where a realtor will help a lot.

The lesser costly land will be found in the triangle between Chattanooga, Knoxville & Cookeville, IMO. Lost of rural areas, lotsa farms & so forth. Plenty of hills for backstops, IOW. 

The closer you get to Middle TN, the more expensive it's going to get until you get south of Columbia, TN. The counties bordering Alabama will be less costly, IOW.

You don't mention kids, jobs for the wife, recreation desires, etc. Fill out some of those details & we can probably help you out a little better? 

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Regarding high speed internet, many counties in TN have been using grants to built out fiber networks. I believe Smith County has gigabit fiber available to every address, and Dekalb is marching forward on that too (Dekalb Service Map). It took me a bit of work to track down the various providers, but a call to the county's public utility commission can get you pointed in the right direction.

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Welcome to TN.

Hilham north of Cookeville perhaps? Or Spencer to the South.

Whitleyville has some affordable land come up for sale too that would suit you but.....

Getting the right property with the right house already on it is damn near impossible. I see lots of good locations for a private range but the home on it is an undesirable dump. 

Depends how close to groceries, restaurants etc. and your budget of course also.


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Appreciate the helpful replies and the welcome, everyone! Helps for setting realistic expectations and whatnot.

To bobsguns' question about wife and kids, wife is currently a stay at home mom/homeschooler. Not sure what she'll do when the kids are gone. Son is early in college and daughter is closing in on high school graduation. One of the intentions we have with moving is to get them in a better place from which to begin their adult lives than where we live now. All that said, we're pretty flexible in terms of location with the main exception being good internet. I do have resources for checking internet for an address that a friend who moved to Estill Springs in July gave me.

In an ideal world, I'd have the "perfect" balance between country living with a private range and relative proximity to a metro area for working in an office 2 or 3 days a week in the long run. I'm a software developer which is great in that it has given me tremendous flexibility to move thanks to covid but sucks in that I'd rather be in an office 2 or 3 days a week. The company I work for is supportive of me moving but man, would it be nice to get a good local job and work with people face to face again sooner than later. But then again, at least I've grown used to full time work from home so if it's a choice between getting to work in an office and getting to have a private range, I'd probably choose the range. Haha!

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I moved form CA to Nashville about a year ago.   I have a house not far from Royal Range.   But I also purchased land out in Waverly, enough where I can shoot and hunt to my hearts content.   Beautiful area, love being out there, wish I could be there more (will soon).   There are a lot of beautiful parts of TN, explore and learn, really a great move for those of use who are escaping the West Coast.   Really feel welcomed here, people have been phenomenal, could not ask for more.

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Jeb48 I was just about to PM you but found out I can't until I hit 10 posts. No harm in chatting in the open though, so hopefully tagging you is enough... Interesting to see you're in Jonesborough. I haven't given the NE corner (at least the part that's well beyond Knoxville) a lot of consideration but I do recall sometime around early to mid 2021 reading an article about it being a great work from home town (https://www.pcmag.com/news/the-best-work-from-home-cities-for-2021/jonesborough-tn). I'm a software developer so that grabbed my attention. Is the internet good as you get out into the surrounding areas of Jonesborough? Sounds like you think that might be a better area than many parts of TN if wanting a personal range. Is that right? Might have to see if that's a good area to consider!

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Most everyone on TGO has a good reason why they like their part of TN so not saying we are the best but this area checked all our boxes. Pretty much as you move from West to East to NE TN you get less humid and probably a little less hot in the Summer. Not sure if it follows we have colder Winters but definitely colder than the Southern part of TN. When we were looking we were primarily planning on from Knoxville and North and East. We did look a little over by Crossvillemand Oakridge. We had passed through the NE part once before on vacation and liked it and the Summer before we moved took another trip to look around TN in more detail and traveled all the way to Nashville. When we were done we decided we wanted to be tucked up close to the mountains in NE TN. We ended up buying 7.5 acres that the rear boundary is Cherokee National Forest. It had a very nice existing house at the end of 1200 foot drive. We have spent some money making it what we wanted but are happy with the decision. 

Internet is hit and miss. Up till this past Friday we were depending on very slow and not very reliable DSL. The local power company has gotten into the internet business big time and have large areas with fiber now and also have high speed wireless towers being dropped in as fast as they can arrange them. Not enough to get to me yet but I have hopes. One or two more towers along the valley will get to me. Verizon and T-Mobile are both promising 5g home-net but no dates. Friday my Starlink station arrived. I don't have it permanently mounted yet, just clamped to the back deck (better know as my shooting deck). I live in the middle of the woods so I didn't know if it would work at all but they have 30 day money back warranty so decided to try. Well I haven't tried it with Zoom yet and I don't do video games but for streaming and normal use it is great. I get lots of 2-15 second drops because of trees. That should get better when they get more satellites up and I think a little better if I can get it higher in the air. I'm afraid Zoom will be bad, I will be trying next week. Uploads and down all work around the minor outages on like the 2 min drops I get from DSL from time to time. All the streaming service buffer enough you don't see the drops. Speed varies all over but generally runs 20-200Mb down and 6-15Mb up. They claim faster for some locations. My DSL is 3Mb down and .6Mb up so you can see why I'm optimistic. A friend that lives almost as far in the sticks as we do got fiber about 6 months ago and get 200+Mb down and 50Mb up. All he could get before was cellular hotspot and satellite so he is in heaven now. 

I live about 300 feet up the side of a mountain from a state highway on a dead end road that my 1200' drive runs off. There is a 100' of rise from the bottom of my drive to the house to where the original owner made a flat spot for the house and then the mountain continues to slop up behind us. This gives me a nice spot for a small range that goes out about 35 yards with lots of steel targets. I shoot off an elevated deck most of the time and have all the steel setup to be safe at these close distances. I have targets color coded from .22 only up to most anything within reason. I can setup a portable shooting bench in my back driveway to get me out to about 60+ yards to the upper targets. I even added a retractable awning over the shooting deck last Spring so I can shoot in the rain or if the sun gets to hot.

So that may be more than you wanted to know. Feel free to ask questions.

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No, that's great. Love hearing the details and it's neat to hear how great of a spot you got. How awesome you can shoot off your deck! I've looked a little at starlink so I'll be curious how well it works for you. We're definitely wanting less humidity and understood that it's more humid near the Mississippi. It's not very humid here in OR. But then again everything has tradeoffs and I'll take higher humidity over a number of things we don't like about OR. So it is good to hear some confirmation that it's less humid in East TN. I'll get back to you before long, but in the meantime I'll have to take a closer look at the area. Thanks!

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11 minutes ago, j2a said:

So it is good to hear some confirmation that it's less humid in East TN. 

If you believe that, then I have a NFL team to sell you. Cheap.  😆 😆 😆

Humidity is good for you. Keeps one's skin moist & makes a cold beer taste much, much better.  🍻

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Good morning! I've been following this for the last couple of days! When you get to Tennessee, WELCOME!!! 🙂 

We live in Knoxville, and I belong to a gun range about 10 minutes away at the local Moose Lodge. I just joined and so far, the range has been nice.  I've only been on the pistol range, but spent a good two hours there, with only one other person showing up for a couple of hours.  They also have a Rifle Range that goes out to 100 yards, I believe.  I have not shot on it yet.  There is a closer range, run by TWRA, but I've not been impressed with the way it's run and check-in takes too long.  But it is open to anyone. and the facilities were very good the last time I shot there.  They were upgraded, by the Tennessee National Guard in the 80's.

Internet around Knoxville is mostly made up of COMCAST Xfinity at 500 and 1000 Mbps, but you pay more for the higher speed and it's shared.  Depending on where you live in Knoxville there are other options available.  A friend of mine that lives out on West Knoxville, has three choices and gets much better deals than we have here. 

Recently, AT&T strung fiber up in our area and I jumped on it. I'm getting 995Mbps now, dedicated and couldn't be happier!  No more buffering when streaming movies or shows.  I also work from home, in the Engineering world and it seems to be much more dependable and faster than Xfinity and it's $40 cheaper.

My parents live out in a rural part of Anderson County and the do not have any service available except AT&T DSL.  They use DirectTV and their AT&T mobile hotspot for their service.  They only live 20 drive minutes from me, but only about 8 miles as the crow flies, just across the Knox County line.  COMCAST had a strangle hold over most of this area, up until the last decade or so, but things are beginning to change.

If you like doing outdoor things, like hiking, camping, slow water or fast water kayaking, boating, and skiing, then East Tennessee is your Shangri-la! 

We got it all, up and down the Tennessee Valley, with the Smoky Mountains on one side and the Cumberland Plateau on the other and the Tennessee River between the two.  Even if you move to a bigger city like Chattanooga (SUPER FANTASTIC INTERNET SERVICE BTW and home to UTC), or Knoxville (University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge) or the Tri-Cities area (Bristol, Kingsport & Johnson City and home to ETSU), you are no more than 30 minutes away from a lake, river, or the Mountains and closer than that most of the time!

Of course, Internet access will be best the closer you are to a bigger city.  The cable internet companies have been very slow to expand coverage out to the rural areas.  I have a friend and colleague that lives between Maryville and Lenior City, along 321, in Blount County and the best she can get is AT&T DSL and it drops for her all the time. She also works from home and is in Zoom meeting constantly.  She checked into AT&T fiber last week and it's still not available in her area.  That's a fairly developed area, too.  Long and short of it, check on the services available to you.  Sounds like you will depend on that internet service more than anything else.

The other trade-off for this part of the State is a higher population density for the whole region, though Middle Tennessee is starting to catch up.  Nashville, is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and the area is really feeling it right now.  Home and land prices in the surrounding communities are skyrocketing!  Construction is booming, even an hour out of downtown Nashville.  And the Nashville politics are moving more left every day.  That's a frightening situation for a lot of people in this state.

Other little cities/towns/communities to check out are, from South to North, Ooltewah, Cleveland. Athens. Dayton, Spring City, Loudon. Lenior City, Clinton. Oak Ridge, Maryville, Sevierville. Kingston/Rockwood, Lafollette, Crossville, Harragate/Cumberland Gap, Jefferson City, Morristown, Greenville, and Mountain City. A lot of these are small college towns or they are bigger manufacturing centers and may have better internet service.  All of them will have land available, at a price of course.

I will say weather wise, the higher you go, the more pleasant the weather is in the summer, but the colder it gets in the Winter.  Upper East Tennessee is higher in elevation, so the tri-cities area gets more snow than Knoxville, or Chattanooga, but less humidity and heat in the summer.  On average, I'd say they are 5 to 10 degrees cooler than Knoxville.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling narrative.  I look forward to following your journey here to Tennessee! 🙂 


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Thanks for that writeup! It's helpful and I can tell some of these writeups like yours take quite a bit of time. Very kind of you!

Yeah our goal is to hopefully not be too close to Nashville because of being relatively left, although it does seem to be a breath of fresh air compared to Portland. 😆 We would help balance out incoming people on the left and one of the draws of TN is it's about as close of a political match as any state, although as I follow the news there I get the impression the state politics can be a little swampy. Nevertheless it'll be nice to live in a place where the way I vote isn't on the losing side 95% of the time. Over time we've realized there's so much we don't like about OR including politics and culture so our intention is to assimilate rather than bring OR baggage with us. 🙂

I do have resources on figuring out the internet options at particular addresses, and we have friends who moved to Estill Springs last summer with the exact same needs, so I know good internet outside of the cities is possible, but spotty.

We're not huge outdoors types, but we love shooting and motorcycle riding. Really looking forward to a lot of exploring when we get there. Maybe we'll become more of the outdoors types. 🙂

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7 hours ago, j2a said:

We're not huge outdoors types, but we love shooting and motorcycle riding. Really looking forward to a lot of exploring when we get there. Maybe we'll become more of the outdoors types. 🙂

Ever hear of the Tail of the Dragon? It's in Blount County, just South of Maryville! 

Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap – Motorcycle and sport car tourism serving Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner28, Devils Triangle, Diamondback, Blue Ridge Parkway, and more.

Edited by Moped
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Another thing you might want to keep in mind is a greenbelt property classification if you end up with 15 acres or more of forested land. This summer I added 17 acres to the 13 I had so I was eligible for it. Its a cheaper property classification that can save you a good nut of money every Feb.29th when tax is due. Pretty simple 1 form application process that you put with a forestry maintenance plan. For that, you contact the county forester guy and he comes out, does an assessment and Emails you a nicely written and mapped plan, for free, that you turn in with the application. When I was getting my plots squared away at the Registrars office, I started chatting with a newb there that bought a place in Crab Orchard. He was from a place 30 miles south of Seattle. He wanted a quit place to live after alot of looking and hes getting alot of that back up in there but still about 20 minutes to Crossville. Like Jeb, we moved here 7 years ago from near the Hudson Valley in NY and it was a great move. Pray every morning that unseen hands are guiding you to the place that suits you best. Now I have over 300 yards of boarder with Cumberland Mountain State park land. A God send. Our home kinda found us. We at first had no intention of Crossville but a home popped up the day we were supposed to sign for a different one. That home's price was lowered to where we could squeak into it. After all was said and signed, We found some coincidences that were super long shots. Crossville's main I-40 exit is 317. My birthday is the 3rd and wife's the 17th. In all of TN there is only one road that's route 419. Its only 4 miles long. For 18 years in State Prison, that was my call sign on my patrol post personal com. right up until I retired in 2013. My home is smack dab in the middle of that Rt 419. There are other strange coincidences also but the other part of any family move was the cost of college for my Daughter and jobs in general. We hit it out of the park there also. My daughter did 3 years in Roan state (TINY fraction of NY cost) community College for Radiography and at 25 years old will be running the Mammography department in a Hospital making some $30/hr or more. The Hospital solicited her for the position. She starts that tomorrow! My son worked a bunch of different jobs but ended up at the Putnam County Sheriffs Dep at the jail and is now a Court Officer with weekends and Holidays off. Loves the job. I fear he likes tazzing the non compliant AH's a bit more than might be normal. Politically, check voting records of any Republican you might vote for. Here in Cumberland its become rare to have any Democrat on a county ballot. The Dems hide as republicans to get elected so you need to keep an eye on that if you end up in rural hard red as Cumberland county is.   Tennessee Bigger Cities (over 6000 residents) - Real Estate, Housing, Schools, Residents, Crime, Pollution, Demographics and More (city-data.com)    is your friend for county/town stats, I used it ALOT for the move especially the POTUS vote counts. The Best of Luck to you & Be Well!

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Really cool when God works like that! I'll have to do a little reading up on greenbelt property classification. Sounds like it could be up our alley if we're able to find the right property but ultimately it's where God wants us. Good tip about how politics can work there. I imagine that could be a big problem if a lot of people are complacent or not paying really close attention. We're the types to pay attention and be actively involved. That stats site looks pretty handy. Thanks for the helpful reply!

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