Homemade backstop?

Homemade backstop?

This is a discussion on Homemade backstop? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; My daughter is lobbying for environmentalism here at our house, and I would like to accommodate her. The current topic is "how to set up ...

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Thread: Homemade backstop?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Homemade backstop?

    My daughter is lobbying for environmentalism here at our house, and I would like to accommodate her. The current topic is "how to set up a shooting range" on our farm. We shoot 22LR, 9mm, and 38/357.

    We have a convenient hillside which would stop a bullet unless the gun was elevated greatly, and if a round were to skim over the lip (NOT the plan), there are only woods for several miles in that direction. I have parts and a design for a brass-catcher already. But she's concerned about lead in the soil.

    I've seen the commercial backstops (a million little pieces of old tires in a box, if I remember), but we're operating in the tens of dollars range. I'm thinking of making a wooden box (2x10s?) and pouring a bunch of sand into it. Years from now, I can sift the sand to get the lead for someone who casts their own bullets.

    Suggestions? Links? ...thanks!


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    VIP Member Array Sig 210's Avatar
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    "I'm thinking of making a wooden box (2x10s?) and pouring a bunch of sand into it. Years from now, I can sift the sand to get the lead for someone who casts their own bullets."

    That will work: Or you can get a truck load of sand and shore it up with railroad ties on the sides and in the back. Have remediated several firing ranges: The sand is easy to sift, clay banks are not.

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    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    Circle of life

    Quote Originally Posted by Paymeister View Post
    My daughter is lobbying for environmentalism here at our house, and I would like to accommodate her. The current topic is "how to set up a shooting range" on our farm. We shoot 22LR, 9mm, and 38/357.

    We have a convenient hillside which would stop a bullet unless the gun was elevated greatly, and if a round were to skim over the lip (NOT the plan), there are only woods for several miles in that direction. I have parts and a design for a brass-catcher already. But she's concerned about lead in the soil.

    I've seen the commercial backstops (a million little pieces of old tires in a box, if I remember), but we're operating in the tens of dollars range. I'm thinking of making a wooden box (2x10s?) and pouring a bunch of sand into it. Years from now, I can sift the sand to get the lead for someone who casts their own bullets.

    Suggestions? Links? ...thanks!
    If I'm not mistaken, the lead came out of the ground in the first place. Tell her you're just sending it home.

  4. #4
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    If I'm not mistaken, the lead came out of the ground in the first place. Tell her you're just sending it home.
    Yep. Lead in its natural state is no different than it is in its refined state.
    Since it came out of the ground, I cant see where putting more in it is going to hurt.

    In the early part of the century there were lead mines all over the Ozark Mountains. As a matter of fact, most of them were located by creeks. It never seemed to be a problem then.
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    Member Array wizardofgore's Avatar
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    Sink some poles. Stack logs a few feet high about 3 feet deep. Keeps the lead out of the ground and if you have a lot of trees the back stop is easily maintained.

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    Distinguished Member Array SonofASniper's Avatar
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    You could also look into fabbing a steel bullet trap as well. The ones I have seen remind me of an old phono graph in shape. They will function fine for lower velocity calibers. They don't stand up to well to AP and rifle rounds.

    I do like the rail road tie sand pit idea though.
    I will support gun control when you can guarantee all guns are removed from this planet. That includes military and law enforcement. When you can accomplish that, then I will be the last person to lay down my gun. Then I will carry the weapon that replaces the gun.

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    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Any suggestions on how soon a bullet stops in sand? You know, do I want 2", 4", 12", 6'... of sand for the bullet to traverse before it hits the dirt?

    And as for poles and logs - just shoot into the logs?

    Thanks for the tips...
    Last edited by Paymeister; February 18th, 2008 at 10:30 AM. Reason: (forgot to say 'thank you')

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    Senior Member Array Shizzlemah's Avatar
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    I found shooting into logs was a quick exercise in replacing logs.

    I have a W28x12 I beam, cut to about 18" long, set vertical so you shoot into the web, and the side wings contain spatter. I also added a strip to teh top to keep spray from going up. FOr extra safetly, I welded a 1/2" plate on the back of the web.

    Lead gets scattered hard and drops in front of the backstop. It has stood up well to .357 & 44mag & 12ga slugs - no appreciable wear other than smears of lead. .223s do put a little ding in the plate, havent tried beyond that.

    Definitely in the $10 range, but close to 75 lbs!

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    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    1st. the lead is not going to hurt the land.
    2nd. if you want to recover the lead for bullet casters thats a great idea. sand will do the trick. from my experience, a 9mm bullet will travel no more than 5 or 6 inches into the sand. if you made it a foot long with the dirt behind it just in case that would be more than enough. bullets actually come out fairly undamaged, making them easy to sift out.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    I hear wet phone books are good stoppers for bullets. I've never tried this and am not sure how many phone books stacked would need to be used to stop what. I fabricated a bullet trap out of 3/16" steel years ago with sides and the back is about a 45° angle. I've used this with 22lr from 10 yds to 125yds and it works very well. How far into the ground the spent bullets go I do not know. I actually buried part of the 50lb backstop into the ground on the sides, then shoveled dirt over half of the back slope. I'd be confident using this for any handgun loads also. The sharp 45° angle should put them into the ground at at least a 75° angle from my thinking. The 22lr rounds only leave a mark and no dings or indentations. Sand should stop anything pretty quickly.

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    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    I think sand is the best idea - you're going to get a lot more penetration where the sand is less densely packed (like at the top) and you're going to get a lot more penetration from rifles than handguns (go figure). I think 7.62 NATO can go through a couple sandbags - so I'd plan on 3 feet of sand minimum if you're going to be using rifles. There's quite a bit of information out there on sandbag penetration. I have it all in books packed away somewhere, but I'm sure its online too. Try to find "The Machinegunners Bible" - not sure if that's the official name or a nickname.

    Austin

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    Senior Member Array ridurall's Avatar
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    I've got 3 tractor tires 100 yards from my front porch stacked on top of each other and filled with dirt for a back stop behind my targets. Works great for me. I need to set some more up at longer ranges to put behind my gongs.
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  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array morintp's Avatar
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    My parents have a pile of dirt 10 ft high and 20 ft wide that we use as a backstop. Behind it is over 2 miles of undeveloped woods. We just pick up our shells every time we shoot. It works nice if we spread a tarp out before we start.

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    I just checked and 7.62 NATO was only good for one sandbag - I must have been thinking of .50cal.

    Austin

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    Member Array PcMakr's Avatar
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    Determine the size of target you want. Then due the math to find out what size you would have to get if you mounted a steel plate at a 45 deg. angle, to achieve that size. The hypotenuse, if you will. For example, a 12 in. vertically visible target plate would actually be about 17 in. tall. The figure out the best way for you to mount that plate at a 45 deg. angle to the ground. Side shields would be a good idea. Below the plate put a pit of sand to catch the bullets. You could fire a test round or two to determine the best center of impact. Bordered in by 2X12's to help hold sand in place. It will tend to splatter or splash when impacted. When you feel you need to clean trap, sift sand with a sifter to remove lead and copper for recycling. At the price of metals these days, you might be able to save a fair amount of money.

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