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What depth of sand for a backstop?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Dunross, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    I'm considering building a backstop to allow me to shoot at home. What depth of dry sand should I use to have some certainty that rifle bullets won't punch through to get into mischief further downrange? This will be for stuff like .223, 6.5 Swede, .308, .30-06 and so on. Handguns as well.
     
  2. k4swb

    k4swb Member

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    We use a box constructed from half sheets of 1/2" plywood for rifles. Makes a 4' cube. Filled with sand this has, so far stopped everything up to at least .300 Win mag.

    Only problem with this is having to replace the front piece of plywood every few years and refilling it with sand.

    We don't shoot handguns at this as they tend to chew up the front like crazy shooting large groups.
     
  3. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    If you place a rubber stall mat (or its like) just inside the front piece of plyboard it will probably slow the loss of sand thru the holes.
     
  4. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    I'm thinking one inch chicken wire backed by a thick piece of fluffy fiberglass insulation with the sand behind that.

    My reasoning is the wire is more holes than wire, but will continue to hold the insulation in place until a rather large number of wires are cut. The insulation will be self-healing (I believe) to a degree enough so that the sand should not easily trickle out.

    But I also like the stall mat. I was thinking conveyor belt material, possibly from a round hay baler. The stall mat would be easier to lay hands on.

    I was thinking three feet of sand, possibly even just two feet, should suffice. Been hard to find info on this though.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I built a steel backstop for the house but I would thing a few wraps of erosion control blanket around the inside of the box would help quite a bit.
     
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  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Dunross

    One thing we did when rebuilding the shooting range a buddy of mine had built on his property was to fill in the front area with bags of sand. We didn't open them; we just stacked the bags up length ways to the original earthen filled backstop area that had been dug out when his house was built. Worked great and we only had to replace a few bags from parts of the sandbag wall where the most hits occurred.
     
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  7. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    My backstop is clay backed with sand on the front. The sand is about 12" thick on the front and works very well up to 30-06. Probably even larger calibers. However, after repeated firings, the sand will eventually slide down the clay backing leaving the clay exposed.

    I have a tractor with a front end loader and every couple of years I scoop up the sand and redistribute it on the clay backing. This is a nice set up and I do really like it but it does take a little bit of maintenance.
     
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  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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  9. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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  10. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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  11. egd

    egd Member

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    I never tried it and I don't know that I believe it, but I seem to remember reading/hearing long ago that a piece of carpet hung up from just the top so the bottom is loose and can float would stop or greatly slow down a bullet because the give in the loose carpet would grab the bullet capturing its energy.
    IF, I say IF this is true then another backstop behind the carpet would not have to be as deep I'd think.
    Has anyone else heard of this?
     
  12. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    I would go with the 4 foot depth that k4swb suggested.
     
  13. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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  14. jak67429

    jak67429 Member

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    What he said^^
     
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  15. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    I am going to have to do some "sand testing" of my own since I have a LOT of 55gr copper solids (as opposed to lead-core FMJs) that I would be shooting into it.
     
  16. ericuda

    ericuda Member

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    Anyway you can build a 3 sided railroad tie been and just put a truckload of sand in it to just have a pile of sand to shoot into.
     
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  17. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    This is the approach I took with my 760 yard berm:

    RU2dIFp.jpg

    Pic is prior to completion when I added a load of R4 material. Behind the berm is a larger hill that's also on my property, The railroad tie backstop is just so we can see the misses.

    My main backstop is for my pistol range and 100-300 rifle. For this one I just cut into a hill and graveled the floor. Like frogfurr I uee my loader periodically to put the backstop material back into place.

    YWXHUgZ.jpg

    300 & 407 Berm:

    80d0qM0.jpg
     
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  18. ericuda

    ericuda Member

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    Chuck very nice that is what I was thinking. Your pictures tell all.
     
  19. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Whatever depth you decide you need - double it. I worked at a range where we discovered some people's rifles were going right on through the berm out into the farmland. Scary thought. egd - I do not believe a piece of carpet will have any effect on a bullet unless it's made out of Kevlar.
     
  20. Citadel99

    Citadel99 Member

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    I've wished that you could buy a 3'x3' or 4'x4' square of the shootable rubber material (like the Last Stand target holder) as the front side of a back stop so that you would have something that wouldn't get shot away and still retain sand...
     
  21. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Wood is going to be cheaper in the long run. Try to buy treated wood so you can kill a lot of termites.
     
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