Using A Brush Pile As A Backstop


June 4, 2004, 03:54 PM
I have a friend who is considering having a shoot on one of his buddies farms using only a large pile of dead trees and brush as a backstop. Personally I think this sounds like a terrible idea especially as we will be shooting .30 cal rifles. Has anyone had any experience with this?

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Steve F
June 4, 2004, 04:08 PM
You nailed it! Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddddddddd Idea:what:

Art Eatman
June 4, 2004, 04:19 PM
Brush only? No tree trunks? Doesn't sound all that good. If it's a bulldozed pile of downed trees, that's a different matter. Depends on what's behind the pile, though. And how far to any houses or livestock...

Even with two or three yards of gravel boxed in behind my target frame, I set the paper as low as I can.

Always think safety, safety, safety...

:), Art

June 4, 2004, 04:23 PM
Not having seen the brush pile I am not sure what it is comprised of. There may be a 3-5 trunks in the pile at the most. There are probably houses and livestock within one mile. I can't figure out what my friend was thinking.

June 4, 2004, 04:27 PM
Dirt: cheap, plentiful, and stops a bullet. ;)

June 4, 2004, 04:30 PM
First think of where the bullet will go when you miss the backstop , second think of the penetration of the rounds. Many feet of dirt will do it but make it large.

June 4, 2004, 04:34 PM
I would think that if you have a thick piece of wood on its side that a bullet striking the top edge could easily ricochet and fly far beyond the backstop.

June 4, 2004, 04:39 PM
Your friend is making the same mistake in logic that many rural cops make. Trees do make good cover that will stop a bullet, as long as they are the size of one of those California redwoods or a sequioia. The typical tree may be pretty bullet resistant in the midsection of the trunk, but that falls off rapidly from the center of the trunk out, until you are relying on bark.

Would some forester please genetically engineer a hardwood with a square trunk?

June 4, 2004, 04:39 PM
Keep this in mind.

Where that bullet lands will be the shooter's responsibility for the rest of their natural life. If the bullet lands in a pile of dirt, it belongs to the shooter for the rest of his or her life.

If the bullet lands in an inhabitant of the house, it belongs to the shooter for the rest of his or her life.

I'd pay more attention to the bullet's final resting place.

Make your choice but if it was me, I'd opt for the dirt pile. No way I'd trust a pile of brush to keep a bullet out of a human being.

June 4, 2004, 04:39 PM

I am thinking the same thing. I can envsion a .30cal bullet striking twig or small branch, being deflected at an unforseen angle and being sent a mile or so away to instersect with a person, livestock, or property.

June 4, 2004, 04:45 PM

Not a good idea.


June 4, 2004, 05:25 PM
Back 15 years or so when I was first building my range and hadn't gotten the dozer in there yet to berm up the backstop, I made do with stacks of chunked up tree trunks stacked about 4 feet tall in three rows as a backstop. I wasn't too concerned of the overall range fan/ impact area, since there was a mile of nothing but woods behind the range. I found that the logs ( chunked out at about 18-20 inches ) stopped everything I shot at it just fine. The occasional bullet made it through the first row of wood, but was stopped by the rows further back.

June 4, 2004, 05:36 PM
Brush pile is a no no.

Find a dirt pit. If you can't find one and can't afford to hire a bulldozer for one put up a sign saying "free fill dirt" and people will come and build it for you.

June 5, 2004, 12:17 AM
Hardwood will allow bounce off unless rotted and soft - sometimes straight back... I know that for sure.

Stay away that day (rusty gun - have to clean).

Art Eatman
June 5, 2004, 01:17 PM
I guess this is a case of "Shut up, shovel and shoot."



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