Bullet Trap


July 6, 2009, 12:03 PM
Or I should say, bullet deflector. I have a 92 acre farm. Had a good 100 yard spot for testing and fun. But my uncle sold his farm and the new owner put a house way in the back. I aimed in a new direction. But that farm sold. It used to be a hay field, but now that owner has put cattle in it. So I wondered if I could get some steel plate. Put 2 legs on it and use it to deflect the bullets into the ground. Most guns don't "concern" me that much. After scooting along the ground, I doubt they are going to travel another 800 yards to the fence line. But the 308 does concern me. How thick of a steel plate would I need to deflect the bullets into the ground? I'm not trying to stop them, just drive them into the ground. 308 would be the biggest caliber I would shoot at this range. Any ideas?

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July 6, 2009, 12:10 PM
You need a dirt berm; 10 feet tall and 10 feet deep. U shaped.

Sorry, this is a big picture, but it gives a good example.


July 6, 2009, 12:12 PM
I would opt for an dirt berm.While I shoot alot of steel and even though it will stop bullets there are suffecient dirt berms behind to stop any stray bullets from wandering out in my pasture.

July 6, 2009, 12:16 PM
Don't really want to do that to my hay field. I just mow a narrow strip through it to shoot. Here's a pic of what I'm dealing with: http://www.pixagogo.com/4825444121 The one pic shows the range. Click on a pic to make it bigger, then click on original at the top to blow that up. The ground falls away after my fence line. And that's my concern.

July 6, 2009, 12:23 PM
You would need to wall it down both sides like in the picture.

It wouldn't take up the much space; I don't know what kind of budget you are working with- if you are willing to make a steel setup I guess you are willing to spend some cash. You could build two walls out of 4X4s about ~8 ft apart and fill the space with dirt and rubble.

That is a nice spot. I would build a rubble wall- it would only use about 80 sq. ft.

July 6, 2009, 12:29 PM
You need a proper berm, IMO.

July 6, 2009, 12:41 PM
tkcomer, thinking this is just a private range. I can see if building a public or a private (membership paid) range you need the elaborate berms for saftey and insurance purposes. For your purpose, a few yards of dirt placed with a loader that's 4x8ft would go a long ways in stopping bullets.

July 6, 2009, 12:43 PM
I can get the steel for free. Just need to know how thick it should be. This trap would be for scoped rifles only. I had planned on putting a ring on it so I could haul it out there with the tractor. I have a good 200 yard range, but I have to shoot at downward angle just a little. I like to test reloads on the 100 yard range. Then go from there. This isn't where a bunch of guys show up and shoot all day long. It's mainly to test reloads. When the gang shows up, we shoot pistols. No problem with that. But I like rifles.

July 6, 2009, 01:37 PM
I think there were several well made points about berms, and I understand your hesitancy to cut into your income to take the space to make them. Just make absolutely certain that you're ready to take on the liability of not having them.

But, if you are comfortable with that you might try to find an indoor range and/or info on how to build one. I bet you could figure it out from there. But, be careful once you get it built so that you don't miss your backstop. That could be disastrous.

July 6, 2009, 01:59 PM
I am also a farmer. I frequently shoot in my pastures, but don't want anything permanent there. I understand your problem. I expect that a 3/8" sheet of steel at about a 25 or maybe 30 degree angle would turn your .308's. You could reinforce the "hot spots" with other, smaller sheets welded to the back. You would probably be talking about at least 8 feet in length in order to be "tall" enough, and the width would be whatever you would be comfortable with. You would need your front-end loader to move it, for sure. Good luck and good shooting!

July 6, 2009, 03:26 PM
I vote for a Berm.

July 6, 2009, 06:31 PM
If that is a .223/5.56 you are shooting, your bullets could easily ricochet off the flat ground and go well over 800 yards (especially hardball). Bullets lose very little velocity with low angle ricochets. Very dangerous. A dirt berm behind your target is very important, and be sure all targets are placed high enough for the bullets to actually impact the berm. I have often seen bullets strike the ground half-way to a berm (due to targets placed too low or on the ground itself) and bounce right over it.. If you are not noticing these bullet skips right now, it is because you are too far away from the bullet impacting the ground to see this phenomenon.

July 6, 2009, 07:10 PM
Right now, I drive back and make sure there are no cattle in that field. If the bullet skips, it has to go through a line of trees on my farm. About 500 yards away. But it's a small line of trees. On the other side of the fence, it's at least 2000 yards until there is a road. All I want is to deflect the bullet down into the ground. I don't think that a bullet deflected down at an angle would come off the farm even if it did come back out of the ground. It just loses too much velocity. There are no rocks in this area for a bullet to hit and skip. They scoot a long way on top of the ground. That alone shaves off a lot of velocity. If I shoot at the same spot on the target, they dig a trench until they don't even seem to come out of the ground. For that, I move the targets around slightly. I'm not going to build a berm. I'll shoot in another direction. Even if it's not optimal for load testing.

July 6, 2009, 09:11 PM

July 7, 2009, 01:07 AM
NO comment, I'm in suburbia. Like sandbags idea, a lot.

July 7, 2009, 01:39 AM
I suspect that 3 sandbags deep would stop those strays for a long time to come, and work better than steel.

Shadow 7D
July 7, 2009, 02:20 AM
if you have a hill or hump that you can use for a back stop that could work instead of a berm

July 7, 2009, 04:22 AM
I suspect that one sandbag would be enough to stop a stray .308 projectile.

Perhaps you could construct a bookcase-esque sandbag holder?

July 7, 2009, 08:02 AM
How about getting some old tires and fill them with dirt.. I think thta if you stack them 3 deep over lapping the seams maybe 10 high and filling them with dirt that would stop anything except maybe a 50 cal.

July 7, 2009, 09:37 AM
I kinda like that tire and dirt idea. Anchor the tires with steel posts so they don't fall over. I don't like the idea of a permanent stop, but that's something I could tear down quickly if need be. Too bad the dump had free tire day last year. I hauled off a bunch. I don't think my dad threw away any tire that still had tread on it.

July 7, 2009, 09:41 AM
You need the berm. Or don't shoot a high powered rifle. All it takes is one "flyer" and something very bad can happen.

July 7, 2009, 09:46 AM
well, since nobody else will adress your question, i will give you my opinion. i have thought about this intermittently. my problem is that the place i shoot is public woods. if i left a chunk of steel there, it would dissapear. and if it were light enough for me to carry, it wouldn't do much to stop my 300 win mag, or 45/70. if you can get it, i would try to get a chunk 1" thick. that should be enough to stop almost anything, without eventually punching through. also, i am assuming you are talking about just regular cold or hot rolled steel here, not hardened steel. fyi, soft steel will crater from shooting, no matter what the angle, especially with jacketed bullits. and, the heavier the bullet, the worse it will crater. if you can not get a chunk that is 1" thick. get two that are 1/2" thick, drill holes in the back plate and weld the two together. a 1/2" plate will probably punch through after a while. and two 1/2" plates is no where near as strong as a single peice, at least it will give you a good warning before punching through the second plate. like i said, this is just my opinion. i do not have any kind of degree in metalurgy or anything like that. my dad was a boiler welder, and i did get a LITTLE general hand-me-down knowledge from him. he always built stuff like a brick shi# house, and i inherited that from him. better stronger than necessary, than to have it fail. he (and I) are huge stainless steel fans. it is tough and elastic. if you could get a chunk of that, it would be great! anyway, i hope this helps, at least a little. also, if you can, maybe you could build on some side walls that angle out on a 45, to catch any "strays" that may happen. again, the bigger, the better.

stevie reno
July 7, 2009, 06:00 PM
NRA has info in book or CD form on buiding a range. I think the Cd is about $20 .

July 7, 2009, 06:42 PM
If your set on steel, set you a couple plates out at about 50 yards in a safe direction angled of coarse and try to pound the same spot. If the first few penetrate then put a couple more plates on the back. I would also assume the angle of said steel will make a huge difference as well.

Good luck, nice piece you got there, that is my dream one day, to have a nice plot like that.

July 7, 2009, 07:08 PM
for steel, you need hardened plates set at a 45 degree angle downward into a bed of sand......if a berm is out of the question, then a wall constructed of RR ties, offset, followed by a wall of dirt, and another wall of RR ties, at about 8-10 feet high will work

July 7, 2009, 10:25 PM
Something like this might work for you: http://www.range-systems.com/sh_bal-rub.html

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