Building a Shooting Berm, looking for advice

This is a discussion on Building a Shooting Berm, looking for advice within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; OK, so we are building a berm out at my dad's farm to shoot into. We basically built the walls up out of old telephone ...

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Thread: Building a Shooting Berm, looking for advice

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    New Member Array docabe's Avatar
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    Building a Shooting Berm, looking for advice

    OK, so we are building a berm out at my dad's farm to shoot into. We basically built the walls up out of old telephone poles and strategically placed rebar. My question is, what would be the best thing to fill it with (dirt, sand, clay, etc)? I know rocks wouldn't be a good plan, but I'm open to suggestions or advice from others who have done this before. We plan to shoot a wide range of calibers (0.22 all the way up to 30 caliber rifles and pistols up to 44 mag and 50 AE and want to make sure that we have the best thing ballistically to slow down especially the higher velocity rounds like 5.56, etc. Thanks in advance!
    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
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    VIP Member Array xXxplosive's Avatar
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    Not thrilled about the rebar as steel deflects rounds............make it high and wide is my suggestion.
    We actually used to shoot into a row of rolled hay bales.....about 7'-0 in diameter.....never a pass through.

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    New Member Array docabe's Avatar
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    The rebar is all to hold the base in place, none of them stick more than 2-3 inches out of the ground. We have the ends of the telephone poles cut at a 45 degree bevel so they stack on each other in a sort of pyramid shape at the rear and both sides. Didn't think of using a hay bale, but that could work too. Thanks!
    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
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    Senior Member Array tubadude's Avatar
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    The berm I use is dirt about 6' high 20' long and 20'deep backed with railroad ties. The Pennsylvania game commission ranges I use have some kind of gravel, but I've never taken a close look at the berms because the target stands are well in front of them.

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    Member Array Blades's Avatar
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    Try getting some old tires from a auto shop, stack them and fill them with dirt in front of the telephone poles. Then dirt in front of that, you can use some tires to form walls on both sides to hold the dirt.
    --Jason--

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    I'd put clay in as much as possible and cap it with topsoil. Seed it, cover it with loose straw or hay and hope for a rain. Establishing some grass will prevent erosion and help maintain the integrity of your berm. Of course bullet strikes will eat at it some, though it's no need in neglecting the rest of it. Good luck, it's great to have your own shooting place. Be sure and keep good neighbors by considering the noise if they live too close.
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    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    Member Array FLArmadillo's Avatar
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    Buddy of mine has a 40ft steel shipping container covered in dirt (native Florida sandy brown clay), has flora covering it. Has about 10 feet of dirt at the shallowest part and close to 20 ft of it at the bottom. We set up a camera inside while shooting .223, .357, and .44 from about 5yds away and there were no strikes to the side of the container or penetrations.

    So good clay would do it I would think. Also, large gravel between the dirt and poles may make the dirt less likely to run out the cracks between the poles when it rains hard.
    As we used to teach in the spook business, carry a 25 if it makes you feel good, but do not ever load it. If you load it you may shoot it. If you shoot it you may hit somebody, and if you hit somebody - and he finds out about it - he may be very angry with you. -- Jeff Cooper

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    Member Array Stilgar's Avatar
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    A minimum of 3 ft good packed dirt will stop most common pistol and rifle rounds. But more is always better.

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    Lots of good ideas here. My old town's police range used tires for a primary impact surface, but ultimately it didn't work so well and I believe a truck tire actually bounced a 9mm round back toward the shooter! Tires to add bulk under fill dirt sounds good... fundamentally, whatever adds bulk but which won't decay quickly, covered by 3-4 feet of sand/clay/loam. Planting vegetation to control erosion is a super idea... find out what your state highway dept uses alongside new construction, or use the local zoysia grass equivalent. That stuff is tenacious!

    The soft economy means not many construction jobs going on, but if you know of one where there's significant excavation or site prep required, that might make a few 20-yard truck loads available for anything from a handshake to a few 12-packs to a c-note.
    Smitty
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    New Member Array docabe's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great suggestions! Sounds like me might be making a trip to find some heavily used tires...
    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
    - Edmund Burke

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    Member Array garwha's Avatar
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    The Dam of one of the stock tanks is all you need, might not be close enough for you though.

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