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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if this is the right place but it is 'training' so here it goes...

I want to get others thoughts on my set-up for a personal range at home.
my set-up:
- only used for shotgun firing (no slugs) and handguns. 22,38, 9mm, 45acp.
- backstop construction- hay/stray bales, single thick, 8 ft. high, 12 to 16ft wide.
-distance from muzzle to target- 10 to 20 yards.
- large 100 acre field behind with no concern for "hitting" others but i simply don't want my rounds going off my property.

my concerns are do ya think bales of hay will stop a bullet?
especially after they have been saturated with rain and snow for a while.
would the weathering make them better or worse bullet catchers?

honest opinions appreciated.

on a side note does/has anybodybuilt or thought about building a moving target? like a silohuette target on a string to practice shooting while moving.

just curious how this might be made to work
 

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In regards to hay bales stopping bullets - I've never tried but I don't think so. I shoot a lot of arrows into hay bales and they barely stop 600 grains moving at 200 fps. I doubt they'd stop a bullet. Also, after a few shots, I would think the stopping power of the hay would diminish.

Gravel is a good stopper and easy to construct a wooden box about 2 feet in depth filled with gravel and dirt. Will easily stop rifle rounds as well.
 

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no, hay bales will not stop bullets reliably.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ok,
now for another idea then.
hhhhhmmmmmm?

i want to pull this off just not sure how.
my personal range idea that is.
hay is definitely out./
archers would know and i trust there opinions fer sure as they shoot at it the most.
 

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a bulldozer and lots of earth moved into a big berm is the best bet. Nothing else stops bullets reliably , without a chance of richochet. Although I have heard of using old tires reformed into rubber blocks , I don't thing it is an affordable idea.
 

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Solo - indeed one layer of hay bales not enough. Some form of dirt is way better and Joe has right idea but of course you can't make this too small as allowance has to be made for the odd flier!

!00 yds beyond and no backstop does not give you a whole lotta security either. Is this flat or not? Mind you that still would not arrest a skipped bullet. What actually is beyond re habitation etc?

Ideally you want a berm - which I reckon you already know but of course - that means a lot of dirt shifting - any friends with backhoes??

If you had enough hay bails - to go say three deep then maybe that would do for occasional shooting and even better would be a wall of railroad ties too in front of these at shooting level.

Problem is - simple methods could work OK most of the time but - the concerns are for the occasional errant bullet.

Moving targets can be done but for these even more backstop spread is needed - more chance of bullets going astray - easy tho to have a cable between two points, on a grade of maybe 5º or better with pullies running on that and target suspended - plus a ''reset'' rope and pulley system to make it work from firing point.

Seems like right now all consideration needs given to your backstop aspects - rule #4 concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ok,
now for another idea then.
hhhhhmmmmmm?

i want to pull this off just not sure how.
my personal range idea that is.
hay is definitely out./
archers would know and i trust there opinions fer sure as they shoot at it the most.

anybody have any ideas they could offer?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
oops sorry for the double post ignore the one b4 this one.

now backhoe in my relations.
its a 100+ acre corn/sopybean field.
prolly 1/4 to1/2 mile across (not 100 yards)

yeah the skipped or missed bullet is the biggest concern.
i've heard tires before but am concerned with bouncebacks if the bullet does not penetrate. then the standing water is mosquito breeding ground also.
a big thick steel plate to bounce the bullet down is another thought but expensive and unwieldy to deal with.
and as i'm finding out is easy isnt better
 

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SOLO,

What you need is a mobile bullet trap. My buddy picked one up for free - some guy was going to throw it away because it had a flat tire. It's a great thing to have. They are mobile, will stop most small arms fire, and - best of all - you can re-harvest your lead. I have no idea how much these things run for, but they are very convenient if you can't have a more permanent backstop. The opening is also large enough that you don't need to worry about fliers - unless you shoot like me. :D

I would shy away from multiple deep hay bales. Too much chance that you'll slip one through a seam.

There is another option as well. The deputy that I took my CCW training from has developed this 'stop board'. Last I heard he was looking to patent it. It is light, fairly portable, and will safely stop small arms fire. I don't know what he constructed it out of, but I believe it is some type of foam/steel composite. Not sure if he is selling it yet, but I can ask if you're interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Joe,
i sure would be interested in hearing about it anyway.
would/could be an option for me.
 

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Only 3 solution:
1) Berm- and God help you if the local Gvt. ever inquires about the amount of lead in your soil. No joke, this could cost you your property.

2) Bullet trap. Best bet. Might be expensive; you might find a good deal, if you're patient.

3) Your own rendition of the above. Basically 3/4" steel plate, 45-60 degrees of angle, above a "sand box"- the best I've seen was aluminum. 6'x4'x5" frame with expanded metal grate for a bottom, filled with dirt. When he wanted to "dump" it, my friend would water the box into a soupy state, then use the forks on his tractor to raise the box, and let the dirt & water flow through. Caught most of what he shot (obviously not .22's, though).

The berm is cheap & relatively easy, but keep quiet about it, if you go that route. :cool:
 

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Just to add re Joe's valid comment on repeat layers of hay bales - they would need laid staggered as per block laying - and so no gaps thru and thru.
 

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I will most likely get clobbered for saying this but for the sake of safety and to cut down on shooting over the top of a stop I think the most secure way is with a 12 foot high dirt berm. Anything less and the possibility of rounds visiting a neighbor are pretty good.
Our town shut down the police range because a round got away and went through a patio glass door.
 

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12 foot high? Man that would be cool. But no way I'm going to move that much dirt with a shovel. :)

Easy solution - have a swimming pool installed - use the dirt to build a backstop. :) If you can't afford a swimming pool - convince neighbor to build one.

One of the backstops we use isn't quite that high - about 6' and very deep. It was dirt taken out of the ground to dig a pond. I have a buddy that uses a triple stack of firewood - about 5' high. He is close to the road and shoots a lot - but the sheriff's department gets to use his place as a range so no problems there.
 

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We use a 60" x ~8' Sheet of 1/2" A36 steel angled at 45 degrees into a bed of sand. It is placed inside a wood structure to protect from the weather. We installed some 1/8" steel splatter shields on the sides of the main sheet of steel to protect the wood against the bullet splatter. The back of the structure is an 8'x8'x2' thick box of sand. We built a roof over the structure to keep out the elements and we have range storage behind the sheet steel to keep targets and such. We only use the range for pistols and 22 rifles the range has held up really well.

With my Dad being retired he usually is building "toys" for the range. It has come a long way since we first went the sandbag route. It is starting to look like a shooting carnival.
 

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Since I am no expert on range building, I would enlist the services of the NRA. They will help you with legal issues, and also recommend the best method of stop for your situation. It shouldn't cost you anything for their expertise as long as you are a member. Just my $.02.
 

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Lead Management

Lead management is a very serious issue for any shooting range. Also you need to consult your local ordinances on constructing a shooting range.

The EPA has a guide for lead management. The range I ran is EPA BMP compliant and that is a very good thing. There is a range in Oregon that lost 1.2 million dollars because they put lead in a stream and it went to the neighbors property. Not good.

Here's a link. Because the range I ran was in the DC area I was invited to the signing of the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that started all this stuff. Kind of interesting.

http://www.epa.gov/Region2/waste/leadshot/

I have also been to the seminar on constructing and running ranges where you get this book.

http://www.nrahq.org/shootingrange/sourcebook.asp

When I was running a range and then chapter president I bought this book each year. We also had an NRA RTTA (Range Technical Team Advisor) come out and look over our operation each year. Not saying you need to do all that for a personal range, but buying the book and reading the free EPA BMP document could save you a lot of money down the road.

-Scott-
 
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