Ballistics discussion.. How to stop 30-06


September 15, 2006, 05:34 PM
I am very new here and this is my first thread started.

I work for a very small company that manufactures small buildings. We occasionally have a need to supply bullet resistant structures for various clients.

The standard we must adhere to is stopping a 180 grain JSP .30-06 projectile at a range of 15 feet.

Currently, we use 1/2" plate steel behind our normal facade. With the weight and cost of steel these days we are looking for other means of stopping the bullets..

Ideas? I have tried a kevlar fabric, but the cost is as much as steel for the amount needed to stop it.

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September 15, 2006, 05:45 PM
Try, or do a general search under "bullet proof panels" should get a lot of info come back.

September 15, 2006, 05:52 PM
Would a combination of the kevlar and ceramic plates in modern vests be apropriate and a whole lot lighter?

AJ Dual
September 15, 2006, 05:54 PM
You can also do good work with fiberglass panels. In a fixed structure there isn't the weight or size premiums that would force you to use Kevlar or more expensive materials.

If significant exterior facades like brick or steel are involved it takes a lot less to slow a bullet that's already been deformed, fragmented or slowed down somewhat.

September 15, 2006, 05:57 PM
I read somewhere (the box o truth maybe) that sand works really well fill a hollow wall with it or fill cement blocks with it, or fill bags with it.

September 15, 2006, 06:04 PM
The shoot-house I built consisted of steel plate and big blocks of rubber made from ground-up car tires. The rubber alone stopped 7.62 bullets cold.

The parts were manufactured by Range Systems, inc.

September 15, 2006, 06:08 PM
You could also use adobe, or hesco barriers!

September 15, 2006, 06:11 PM
You might check out for some ideas on other materials commonly used as armor.

September 15, 2006, 06:19 PM
Kevlar is going to cost more than steel by a long shot. Sand is great, but the weight adds up fast and it's not going to work for a large building. Water would be good, but again the weight can become enormous. Building underground or inside an earthen mound is about the cheapest I can think of, but pretty weird. The ground up tires are a good idea.

What about compressed straw? Not the bales, but the stuff they're using for building materials. If it's anything like the wet mounds of straw I've shot at it should be a very good bullet stop, while bearing its own weight.

September 15, 2006, 06:21 PM
Stack 30 terrorists into a large pile surrounding building.:evil:

September 15, 2006, 06:27 PM
I'm thinking that cast concrete would be good.

September 15, 2006, 06:45 PM
Thanks for the replies, some good stuff here for sure.

Tell me more about the stuff made from tires.. Interesting to say the least.

Concrete is a very good stopper, but very heavy and would take a lot to get into place.

Looks like next week will be one full of research.

Thanks again!

September 15, 2006, 06:54 PM
Here's a picture of some of the construction:

Manufactured by:

September 15, 2006, 07:00 PM
at work we got some rubber belting 3/4" from a big mill.It was used as a tread to roll the logs while debarking. We use it to pad while lifting heavy objects. I brought some home that was all torn up. I dont own a gun that'll shoot through it

September 15, 2006, 07:03 PM
Very nice, but I think a bit bulky and spendy for the application. We are trying to replace 1/2" x4'x10' plate steel with something ideally lighter, less expensive and easier to work with.

The fiberglass panels might be the best direction, will check on cost ASAP.

September 15, 2006, 07:11 PM
Maybe this will help?'sBallisticTest.htm

you already said you dont like concrete, though and that is in the first combo that will stop a 270 winchester. Not sure if Ballistic fiberglass is what you want, either.

But this site does give a cost breakdown.


September 15, 2006, 08:01 PM
Plain Old Sand

Design a building with a sand filled wall. It's the oldest bullet proof ceramic on the planet. It can work on spacecraft too!

September 15, 2006, 08:09 PM
Have you considered shot-crete in the sides of your structures? I remember once upon a time reading about the monolithic dome structures being able to stop a 30-06. They use shot-crete in their construction.

September 15, 2006, 08:20 PM
Dirt. Reusable and cheap as all getout. Not good if there's termites. I think tires were the original source of kevlar - so the things are pretty tough. Ground-up tires may be the way to go.

September 15, 2006, 08:31 PM
Both great ideas. I had thought of simply filling the wall cavity with sand, but was curious as to what would keep the sand from simply draining out after a shot.

I have no experience with shot crete, but will do a search for it.

Our typical building is relatively lightweight and easily picked up with a forklift or crane and transported by truck.

Here is hopefully a pic of a typical structure I want to protect.

September 15, 2006, 08:53 PM
What keeps it from emptying... it's a solid, and sticks to itself. Get a cereal box and fill it with sand. Stab a hole in it with a knife. Most of it ought to stay inside. Could be different for extremely fine sand, but the fact is that sand is a solid, not a liquid.
Also, sand might work well as insulation if you end up sticking it in walls.

September 15, 2006, 09:45 PM
Well, I don't know what *will* work, but an 18" thick layer of cream cheese definitely *will not* stop a 30-06JSP from 15 feet. It looks really freakin' cool, though; 15-20 yards of splatter, and a bunch of wildlife eating well for a couple of days.

Doesn't do too well against 45ACP JHP or 22WMR JSP, either. It did, however, slow down a 380ACP HydraShok enough that it was just laying on the ground a few feet behind the cheese.

So much for my plans for affordable cream cheese based body armor. Too bad I don't still work for a place that sells bulk cheese to employees for a few cents a pound when it gets too close to the sell by date to account for shipping times. Pepper Jack was on my list for testing next, but I'm not paying grocery store prices for it.

September 15, 2006, 09:56 PM
I will scratch the cream cheese idea then.. Serious bummer there. :neener:

September 15, 2006, 10:03 PM

Might make a good liner material, if you can get the projectile to fragment first.

September 15, 2006, 11:02 PM
We are trying to replace 1/2" x4'x10' plate steel with something ideally lighter, less expensive and easier to work with.Tall order if it can't be bulky either...

September 15, 2006, 11:23 PM
Agreed on the tall order. I did state that was the IDEAL scenario, but like most things, you get a tradeoff.

The current construction uses wood framed walls just like residential construction. To get much away from that might cause more headaches than just using steel plate.

There are some excellent ideas to pursue here. I thank all of you for your input!

If nothing else, I can justify a bit of surfing on a gun related forum on company time, right? :D

September 15, 2006, 11:50 PM
Bullets bounce off polycarbonate (aka bullet proof glass). Don't volunteer to test this yourself.

September 15, 2006, 11:56 PM
Do they need to take multiple hits? Hard but brittle things like ceramic plates often are the best bet for one hit, for their weight, but they sometimes break up on the first hit to dissipate the energy. Subsequent hits may go through.

September 15, 2006, 11:58 PM
Hmm... a few sheets of fiberglass, maybe? A few layers might stop a bullet.

September 16, 2006, 12:04 AM
Something's fishy about the story, but that's not my business. I'd suggest you could try asphalt and gravel, mixed together.

September 16, 2006, 01:25 PM
Not sure what sounds fishy, maybe referencing an above post? Some companies want to protect against bullets hitting equipment they put inside their buildings.

The UL spec that we are trying to abide by states that one shot fired in a 12" by 12" area from a distance of 15' needs to be stopped from penetrating the wall of the building.

I may be chasing my tail and already have the best solution. We do know that our current fiberglass/aggregate panel backed with 1/2" plate steel (as pictured above) does the trick, but I am hoping to find something that also worked but was more cost effective.

Thanks again!

September 16, 2006, 02:32 PM
Here's a quick scan from my trusty FM 5-34... Who says combat engineers are good for nothing;) But just to throw something out there, though I never tested it with anything more than .22LR... Plastic lumber used in playground construction worked really well when I was still involved in robot wars.

Jim Watson
September 16, 2006, 02:36 PM
Safety dividers on one deluxe range I have shot on (M.I.S.S.) are two layers of corrugated steel with the gap filled with gravel, not sand. I understand the rocks break up the bullet and the far side steel contains the fragments. It isn't going to be light but it will be (relatively) inexpensive.

September 16, 2006, 02:39 PM
Why not fill the walls with sand?

September 16, 2006, 02:59 PM
Another random thought: Switch to an A frame design, 0 degrees deflection with vertical walls are bad ju ju when it comes to penetration.

September 16, 2006, 04:43 PM
The advantage of sand is that it can be bought cheaply near the building's final site. Design the building properly, double-walled with some bracing steel. You won't have to stock or ship the bullet-stopping material, which will either be very heavy, or very expensive.

Cheap, light, strong... pick two.


September 18, 2006, 02:03 AM
I've got it. NINJAS! Fill the walls with NINJAS!

September 18, 2006, 02:50 AM

motorcycle mechanics have a similar saying. good, quick, cheap. pick two.

i agree, cant beat sand or gravel in the walls. might be able to do a combo of the steel and gravel. like 2 or 3 inches of gravel and 1/4 inch steel. maybe save cost and weight that way. or maybe 2 layers of steel and gravel with the thickest layer inside.

September 18, 2006, 04:47 AM
If you go the sand route, you might want to design it so that the bottom plates can be detached in place; remove fasteners, lift building and let sand drain out, dig out plates. Otherwise, moving it from the original site at a later date will be difficult.

September 18, 2006, 09:08 AM
Something's fishy about the story

I second that. There are bullet resistant panels you can get that are a little cheaper and lighter than steel. I was in the residential building industry and I know of them, it been around for years. I never use them, but some guys I know up north install it in homes near state game lands. It looks similar to the Spall liner used in the but its rated to stop rifle rounds. If this guy is a commercial builder and he specializes in bullet resistant structures and does not know of this product, he is full of it. Heck I even seen this product mentioned on DIY shows:rolleyes:

Sorry I'm not helping an Al Qaeda fishing expedition.

September 18, 2006, 09:31 AM
Check on ATF explosizes magazine construction requirements. They have regs on what is needed in construction to stop a rifle round. I would suggest 2 walls with the middle filled with sand. Then put sand in the roof.

September 18, 2006, 10:44 AM
Thanks Lonestar! Just for clarification, I am not specializing in bullet resistant strucutures, but am looking for an effective alternative to current plate steel usage.

If you stumble across a link to that commonly used material that you have seen on TV I would appreciate it.

I am looking into the above options, and thank all that contributed ideas.

September 18, 2006, 10:59 AM
I'm thinking something like two layers of rubber sheeting/conveyor belting, with a thin layer of gravel (or maybe sand) between them would probably do a pretty good job; the first layer would disrupt/deform the bullet to the point where I doubt it would be able to get through the second.

September 18, 2006, 11:11 AM
Foam rubber self seals with sand behind it when shot with 7.62 NATO. Might work with 30.06.

September 18, 2006, 11:22 AM
as i recall the brits used sheets of cork with flint chips in it during WW2 to up armor merchant ships bridges against strafing.


September 18, 2006, 12:15 PM
Its a rather easy problem to solve. Use berms (2) the outer berm will be your largest berm. It will only have one exit which will be offset from the buildings exit. The inner berm will surround the building on 3 sides except for an offset exit from the building and the entrance to the inner bermed area. On the 4th side you will need space to allow for air flow for your HVAC units. A berm can be built away from that side that would block fire. You could also add small blocking berms inside the larger berm (HVAC) or even place them on the outside blocking the area you expect incoming fire to come from.

September 18, 2006, 01:08 PM
He's trying to come up with an alternative to what his company is already using in portable buildings that might be cheaper or lighter or, ideally, both. I've checked and his company and postion in it are legit.

Sounds like a lot of good ideas from some good THR members that could help all of us with our own range designs.

September 18, 2006, 03:45 PM
I don't know about cost, but honeycomb aluminum (1 inch hexagons) filled with sand would be structurally sound, and would be compartmentalized enough that one hit would not compromise the integrity of an entire wall.

Tire rubber is probably the cheapest option though.

If I recall correctly fiberglass laminate is a bulletproof substance if you get it thick enough. I believe that they make the frames for some armoured vehicles out of it. perhapse a double walled hull structure (made like a boat, only rectangular, filled with chipped tires would be a cost effective/ relitivly light option for armor.

many thin layers of different bonded material will always resist penetration better than one thick piece of anything.

September 18, 2006, 05:39 PM
Thanks everyone! I now have at least a month worth of research and testing to do on various methods.

Samples of materials are inbound.

September 18, 2006, 08:55 PM
I take it your buildings routinely have some yahoo shoot them?

September 18, 2006, 08:58 PM
I take it your buildings routinely have some yahoo shoot them?

You should see the "STOP" sign at the head of my road some time. The small phone switching substation reflects the same sort of abuse by redneck drive bys.

September 18, 2006, 11:32 PM
The number of our buildings that get shot are far fewer than those customers that want to be prepared for such things. The telephone repeater huts and cell phone tower buildings are generally filled with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of revenue generating equipment. (How much is your cell bill times a few thousand customers?)

A bit of peace of mind goes a long ways. I am just trying to give my clients some options.

Speaking of things to shoot, years ago when I was a technician we laughed about a site that was always getting shot up. The solution was a bit different than the ones mentioned here. The phone company erected a 6' round steel circle with a bullseye painted on it 100' from the shelter.... It seemed to draw enough fire from the shelter that they could live with it until the site was decommissioned.:eek:

September 18, 2006, 11:42 PM
It should be rediculously easy to make a 2D sound detector to move a camera to film the incident. Not like the 3D ones that do distance just one that does direction. I had something used for tracking the sun, might work if it can be made faster.

September 19, 2006, 11:38 AM
Speaking of things to shoot, years ago when I was a technician we laughed about a site that was always getting shot up. The solution was a bit different than the ones mentioned here. The phone company erected a 6' round steel circle with a bullseye painted on it 100' from the shelter.... It seemed to draw enough fire from the shelter that they could live with it until the site was decommissioned.

Now that's the kind of "outside of the box" thinking I like. :)


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