Tires for a backstop - good idea?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by DragonFire, Apr 6, 2006.

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  1. DragonFire

    DragonFire Member

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    I have a smallish berm in the woods behind my house (my property) where I practice with my handguns, but we also use it occassionally to sight in a rifle or shotgun. I can get about 100 yard shot, but mostly its for short ranges, say 25 yards.

    A knowledgable friend and I have several times discussed putting up a bigger back stop. One idea was to use at couple of rows of old tires, filled with dirt. I just found a source of free old tires, so I'm giving this some more thought.

    I figure I'd stack the tire, say 7' high and 15' across in a slight semi-circle, with 2 or 3 rows. The rows would overlay to cover the gaps between tires. I have some dirt in front of the stack, and then more dirt plus cut brush, stumps, rocks etc. behind it (to break up or stop anything that migh somehow get through).

    One problem I can see is, what would I do if I shot away a good chunk of a tire. I'm not it would be so easy to replace a tire without dismantling the whole row. And if I overlay tires between stacks (which would be stronger) the task gets worse.

    Of course given a bigger backstop, I could move my target placement around alot more than I do now, so maybe this isn't a big deal.


    So what do you guys thinks? Would tires make a good backstop? I'd like to just make a much bigger berm of dirt, but I can't get the equipment I'd need to do that into the woods without taking down alot more trees than I'm willing to do.
     
  2. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    Tires are real tough. IIRC, some here have commented in the past that slow moving pistol rounds (45 acp, etc) would actually bounce back off tires

    I'd be inclined to use dirt and forget the other stuff mixed in. It's cheap, easy to repair, and should totally stop the bullets. Maybe use railroad ties around the edges to keep the dirt from shifting.

    Since you've got a tight area, maybe you could rent or use a small backhoe that could get through without losing trees.
     
  3. Lupinus

    Lupinus Member

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    I'd stay away from tires. Could bounce off, and if one is damaged could be a pain.

    I'd go with railroad ties or just using a few corner posts and boards to hold the dirt and filling it in from there.
     
  4. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    I used to use layered strips of rubber conveyor-belting hung from angle-iron - easy to replace and you can add more depth to absorb more powerful projectiles quite easily.
     
  5. googol

    googol Member

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    Tires As Backstop

    I've been thinking of using tires as a backstop, too. A backhoe is expensive to rent, as are backhoe services ($100 just to offload the equipment on site). I thought of first sinking 10-foot poles in the ground, cementing them in place. Then tie each tire to the poles with a twist of wire. Then fill the stacks with the dirt and rock that make up my current small berm. If a tire gets too shot up to hold up, just cut it out of the stack.
    Tires are tough, but bullets don't bounce off. I've used empty tires as part of the backstop in the past. My 9mm rounds routinely pass through the tires. A friend's 40-cal. rounds just as routinely stuck in the first layer of tire. I think it was because the bullets had a flatter face than my smaller bullets. If the tires had been filled with earth and rocks, my 9mm would not have penetrated.
    The Army has made several shoot-houses using old tires. I think that's good enough for me, too.
     
  6. rdbrowning

    rdbrowning Member

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    The state owned range near us used tires long ago. Instead of making a wall with them, they would stack them about 3-4 feet high, fill them with dirt and you could stapple the targets to them. Every couple years the tires were replaced. There was a large berm behind the stacked tires but the tires protected the berm from as much errosion. The bullets would have kept the dirt freshly tilled all the time and rain would have caused a lot of errosion.

    A few years ago the state remolded the range and now just have wooden frames with styrofoam backer boards for your targets. These are set in front of sand piles. I asssume that they sift the sand periodically to remove spent bullets.

    If your are planning on making a tire wall for a berm, I suggest a stack of tires that can be easily replaced for a target stand. Most of your rounds, including pistol and 22lr, will get absorbed by them.

    One day I was at this range with the tire stacks and a guy showed up with a Colt 30 cal water cooled machine gun on a tripod. He had been restoring it and needed to test the mechanism. He had short "belts" of 10-20 rounds that he would run through. I was amazed that most of his rounds hit the tire stack and when we looked at the back stop it didn't appear any of the 30-06 FMJ had made it through. It was alos cool to watch the sand in fron of the gun dance from the muzzle blast as he was shooting.
     
  7. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't use brush or debris in a backstop. It provides very little ability to absorb rounds and can deflect them in dangerous directions.

    I would think that standard auto tires filled with dirt would be an excellent material for a backstop. Offset your rows and offset the columns and you should have a good bullet absorber. If you use the advice of making target stands from shorter columns of tires filled with dirt you could avoid you whole problem of chipping away at the backstop tires. If you face the tires with a layer of dirt piled several feet above target height you should also avoid the problem.

    Look at some of the rammed earth and tire 'earthship' structures used around the country for recycled materials use in buildings. The sites will point out the best way to get your tires to stay in place safely. http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/earthship.htm
     
  8. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Member

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    I know for a fact that tires will send birdshot back at you...don't ask how I know that.

    Greg
     
  9. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    Here and there, SWAT and military ant-terrorist units have made cheap "shooting houses" out of dirt filled tires.

    This is cheap, can be changed around when needed, and allowed building a good bullet absorbing safe training "building" without having to go to the large expense of constructing a real building.

    One good technique is to build a heavy target board frame from timbers, with black construction board used to staple the target to.

    Place the tire stacks a few feet behind the target board.

    Any shot or bullets that do bounce back, will usually be stopped or slowed by the construction board.

    Another good idea, is to contact the NRA and ask for range design info. They have a large amount of info on building acceptable ranges.
     
  10. John G

    John G Member

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    I can't speak for those "anti-terrorist units," but we used tire houses in the plain old light infantry. Building them was no fun, but when we were done there was no way you could move them or change them around. It takes heavy timber to hold them up, and a whole lot of dirt-filled tires.
     
  11. charliemopic

    charliemopic Member

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    Steel

    Heres a picture of a 3/8" thick steel plate that was part of a structural steel beam holed from 107 yards by a factory load .243 Winchester 100gr. soft point bullet from an old 22 inch barrel. After passing thru the steel the largest part of the bullet and lots of little pieces passed thru an empty plastic 5 gal. bucket leaving a jagged hole about the size of a silver dollar.
    Yesterday from 81yards, same rifle, same ammunition holed a full 1/2 inch thick cold rolled mild steel plate. After passing thru the steel the largets part of the bullet and lots of little pieces keyholed a 1 inch pine board. I don't have a pic of that one.
     
  12. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    Ok, I won't ask that ...

    But what did you use to launch the tire when you yell "pull"?

    :neener:
     
  13. V4Vendetta

    V4Vendetta member

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    I have a steep hill as the backstop on my range:) . That & leaves.
     
  14. charliemopic

    charliemopic Member

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    ok, pictures dont work
     
  15. charliemopic

    charliemopic Member

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    ok, pictures dont work
     
  16. charliemopic

    charliemopic Member

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    ok, pictures dont work
     
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