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Old January 18, 2013, 11:17 AM   #1
Paul81
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Shooting safely

Hey guys, new to the forum and new to the handguns.
I've spent the majority of my life shooting shotguns and rifles.

I'm going to be making my first handgun purchase in the next month or so. Will be a 9mm
My question is about shooting safely. I live in a rural area on an acre, with 640 acres of open flat land behind me. The closest house is 3/4 mile across this field. I have never seen anyone on or using this land but I don't want stray bullets flying around.
What would be the best way to build a little target range?
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Old January 18, 2013, 11:37 AM   #2
kayakersteve
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Essentially the same practice as you would use for your shotgun or rifle - Know what your target is and what is beyond it. Also, beware of any local laws pertaining to distances from roads and homes and otherwise enjoy!
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Old January 18, 2013, 03:38 PM   #3
Paul81
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Thanks, and no there are no shooting restrictions, I'm safe as far the law is concerned.
I was more looking for advice on some sort of a "backstop" idea, other than a building a large mound of dirt. Even though the land behind me hasn't been used in over 2 years, I'd like to keep the bullets on my property.
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Old January 18, 2013, 03:45 PM   #4
Woody55
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Once upon a time, I built a wooden box about 4' x 4' x 4', filled it with dirt and used it as a target. I was careful to start at five yards and move back to make sure there was virtually no chance of missing the box. I think 25 yards was about it for a pistol.

Only thing I had to watch is the dirt settling in the box. It would leave a few inches emtpy up top and I had to fill it up every once in a while.

Sand bags will also work.

Eventually the sand bags and the wood get so many holes they stop being effective. The advantage to the box was I could just nail some more plywood to it.
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Old January 18, 2013, 04:59 PM   #5
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul81
My question is about shooting safely. I live in a rural area on an acre, with 640 acres of open flat land behind me. The closest house is 3/4 mile across this field. I have never seen anyone on or using this land but I don't want stray bullets flying around.
What would be the best way to build a little target range?
Plow up a berm at least ten feet high for a backstop.

3/4 of a mile isn't far. Even a .22 short will carry that far. It doesn't matter if the land behind you is 6.4 acres, 640 acres, or 6,400 acres. YOU own one acre, and you have no right to allow your bullets to leave your one acre.
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Old January 18, 2013, 06:17 PM   #6
Paul81
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Quote:
. YOU own one acre, and you have no right to allow your bullets to leave your one acre.***
Hense my 2nd post in this thread further explaining my question
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Old January 18, 2013, 07:19 PM   #7
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Hense my 2nd post in this thread further explaining my question
Understood.

The problem with wood is that it doesn't take all that much to shoot it out. Piles of dirt work much better. Just be sure there aren't a lot of rocks in it -- at least, not close to the surface on the side facing you.
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Old January 18, 2013, 08:40 PM   #8
Bob Wright
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I was at a shooting range once where the backstop was conveyor belting. This 1/2" carcass coal mine rubber belting, 48" or 60" width. This placed in front of an earthen berm. I noticed that 9mm rounds would not penetrate it, lodging in the rubber. And it took quite awhile for it to be shot up as it was sort of "self healing."

Elvis Pressley used two layers of railroad cross ties, one layer run horizontally, the other vertically. Worked for him.

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Old January 18, 2013, 09:10 PM   #9
Paul81
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Thanks for all the input.

I was actually thinking about the cross tie idea
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Old January 18, 2013, 09:56 PM   #10
chris in va
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Get wih your neighbors. Last thing you need is a knock at the door from the local sherriff saying the next house over is complaining about the noise. Be prepared to invite them over once your berm is dug up.

This is why a supressor is a good idea.
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Old January 19, 2013, 08:50 AM   #11
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I have stacked tires behind one of my targets and they are two layers thick and stacked around 7 tire layers high. I'm sure this will stop most handgun rounds. But in my case, there is no neighbors behind target and I own 45 acres.
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Old January 19, 2013, 09:21 AM   #12
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If you have the ability or funds angled steel would work very well. Between 30-40 degrees from the ground. Then a few Yards of sand inside it. If your only shooting 9mm then 1/4" would be more than adequate. I have seen 30-06 and even 303 pop holes. On an easier note: possibly one of your neighbors already has one set up. I know that the majority of farmers in my area have a berm in at least one of there fields.
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Old January 19, 2013, 09:29 AM   #13
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If it were me, I'd build the berm.
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Old January 19, 2013, 09:33 AM   #14
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I use a stack of 4' log lengths stacked up just like an over-sized woodpile. We had a lot of junk logs after clearing the land for the house, so it seemed like a good way to get rid of some. But, I also live in a hilly enough area that I don't have to worry much about how far my bullets are going to go, and I mostly shoot steel targets which stop the bullets on their own.

Sand does work about the best though, and as an added bonus if you shoot into sand any kids that are around can have fun digging through the pile for the bullets.
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Old January 19, 2013, 09:37 AM   #15
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Beware of the crossties. I had a pistol range for several years and used cross ties as a backstop. I had to add a hanging curtain of carpet in front of it due to bounce-backs. The bullets would penetrate the carpet going forward but couldn't when coming back. Granted, before I added the carpet, there were only two bounce-backs out of many thousands of rounds fired and both were 45 cal fmj but the second hit me in the knee and that was one too many.

Use dirt or buy a bullet trap.
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Old January 21, 2013, 08:06 PM   #16
godawgs82
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Where I shoot (on private property) there is a 12 foot high berm of dirt (basically, a very big pile of dirt) behind the target area. It stops anything we shoot.
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Old January 21, 2013, 11:45 PM   #17
Paul81
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Thinking about this out of crossties with sand bags in front of target area. Overall 6ft tall

I have acess to basically all sand I want. Getting 75-100 bags wont be a problem. Maybe the rubber horse trailer flooring to retain sand?

I may be over thinking this and I know most are thinking just build a berm. My drawback to that is cost.

EDIT : well I typed out a little diagram but when I posted it was all messed up.

a 4x6 wall for target area with 2- 4x6 walls at a 45deg angle
Basically a \_/with the back being 4ft wide

Last edited by Paul81; January 21, 2013 at 11:53 PM.
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Old January 22, 2013, 08:07 AM   #18
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Stay away from old tires:

Bullets do weird things when they hit tires. Normally you can tell what ricochets will do, not so with tires.

Our club used them, then noticed bullets were some how getting to power lines.

Also some rounds (22s mainly) will come back on you.

Burying tires doesn't help, they will flat to the top.

Dirt berms work the best. ties are OK but get expensive.

What ever you do stay away from old tires.
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Old January 22, 2013, 06:41 PM   #19
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I have seen .44 mags punch a hole in a 1/4" steel pendulum, of course that was a hotter cartridge than the 9 mm and it came out of the barrel of a Marlin 1894 lever, so it had even more velocity than out do a handgun.
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Old January 22, 2013, 08:34 PM   #20
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Hay bales make great "first line" bullet slowers/stoppers. Put something solid behind them (steel, dirt filled tires, concrete etc), esp if you're shooting something like 22 mag or rifles. I've seen round bales, on edge, reliably stop and trap 44 mag and smaller for at least a year in the weather. Replace when you feel the hay is approaching the fail point. I'd think a squeeze of hay (60-80 square bales) would stop essentially anything. That's about 8x8x8 ft. I'd still always want to back it with something solid for the just in case factor.


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Old January 22, 2013, 10:09 PM   #21
Paul81
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Thanks for all the input guys.
I think the design in my last post should work. 2ft of compact sand with cross ties for a final backstop.
I can build this for $200 max
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Old January 22, 2013, 11:38 PM   #22
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Hay bales make great "first line" bullet slowers/stoppers.
Up to $300 a ton, hay ain't cheap these days. Heck if you was close I'd trade the dirt work for hay.
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