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Old December 12, 2011, 07:49 PM   #1
newguy07
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Range building. Dirt mound backstop?

I have about 12 acres and want to put up a dirt mound back stop for a shooting range. Behind the backstop will be a few acres of woods before the next nearest property. How much dirt do I need to build a small mound that will make an adequate backstop? I'll be shooting .22, .223/5.56, .38, .40, and .44.
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Old December 12, 2011, 10:06 PM   #2
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From this publication:http://www.nssf.org/ranges/rangereso...y%20Management




Quote:
1. Height. A minimum height of 15 feet is acceptable but 20 to 25 feet is recommended. This height is the compacted or settled height. Height should also be consistent with other barriers that may be incorporated into the range design.
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Old December 13, 2011, 01:19 AM   #3
MarkDozier
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here is a calculator for cubic yards

http://www.soilbuildingsystems.com/CubicYard.php

It tells you how much dirt you need for a given size.
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Old December 13, 2011, 09:45 AM   #4
dahermit
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A suggestion: When you get your dirt berm built, cover the the face where the bullets will impact with old tires. The tires will keep the bullets from kicking the dirt way from the berm and lengthen the time before repairs will have to be performed. If some protective face is not used to control damage from repeated bullet strikes, the dirt will get shot away quickly.
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Old December 13, 2011, 04:46 PM   #5
kraigwy
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Quote:
cover the the face where the bullets will impact with old tires
Old tires is not a good ideal for ranges. Bullets ricochet in weird directions when they hit tires.

Even buried, they tend to float up eventually. My club lost a good portion of its range because of old tires were used. Bullets ricocheted and hit a power line.

Stick to dirt.
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Old December 13, 2011, 04:49 PM   #6
aarondhgraham
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Old tires may be a bad idea,,,

Many moons ago a friend built a home range,,,
He used old tires filled with dirt thinking that would be good.

.22 LR rounds literally bounced back at the shooters.

Plain old dirt is the best bullet stopper there is.

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Old December 13, 2011, 05:02 PM   #7
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Plant a dense cover grass, it will help control erosion.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old December 13, 2011, 05:05 PM   #8
UtopiaTexasG19
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I regularly shoot at 2" diameter targets and a post above says I need a 25 foot tall berm behind them ???
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Old December 13, 2011, 05:13 PM   #9
Chaz88
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Quote:
I regularly shoot at 2" diameter targets and a post above says I need a 25 foot tall berm behind them ???
20 to 25 feet was a recommended height for a dirt backstop shooting range. What does the diameter of the target have to do with it?
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old December 13, 2011, 06:01 PM   #10
UtopiaTexasG19
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My targets are 2 feet off the ground so why would one need a backstop or berm 23 feet higher than the top of the target? I've had stray rounds here at home over the years but only by 6-8 inches. I assume the commercial ranges have to over do some things for safety.
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Old December 13, 2011, 07:02 PM   #11
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UtopiaTexasG19, perhaps the NSSF is taking into consideration the possibility that not everyone misses as small as you do. Where you might be able to make do with a 3' berm with your 2' targets, others may not. Better too much than too little, in this instance.
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Old December 13, 2011, 08:13 PM   #12
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A backstop of earth must have slopes to prevent slips and a flat on top. It should be at least as wide as it is tall. Slopes on back and sides should be 30 degrees or less and the flat on top should be 1/4th the height; shooting side slope is generally as steep as can be maintained.

Fill dirt, which is not topsoil, runs about $20 a yard.

A 25 foot high backstop will take about 600 yards of dirt. That’s $12,000.

I have trees on my property.
Many of these trees are dead or not all that good.
The price being paid for timber is low.
If I had no trees I could buy trees cheap.

If I were to dig up 600 yards of dirt I would sell it.

For a backstop I use logs.

For the dirt money I would trade for a truck which isn’t as rusty as mine.
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Old December 13, 2011, 09:41 PM   #13
dmazur
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A method used at our range is less than perfect, but it did save on imported fill material.

They excavated a slope in front of the 100 yd line and used that material to build a berm at the 200 yd line. You shoot over the 100 yd targets to hit the 200 yd targets.

As the material was loam with gravel, there wasn't a drainage problem. (In other words, don't try this in soils with a high percentage of clay... )

I believe the berm is around 15 ft high.

The range hasn't erected I-beams above the benches yet, but there is a required safety course where they emphasize the problem of shooting over the top of the berm.
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Old December 24, 2011, 10:32 PM   #14
RubenX
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I have thought about this as well. If I ever get a big enough piece of land, I would like to set up a place for me and friends to shoot. My main concern was the possibility of a gun newbie shooting OVER the mound. I've seen many rifle ranges with wood posts and planks every x amount of yards design to catch any bullets going too high.

As for the dirt, a 2% slope on 200 yards might provide enough to make the mound.
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Old December 24, 2011, 11:42 PM   #15
Viper225
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I have a 100 yard range behind my house. I constructed my berm using my John Deere tractor with front end loader. I piled the dirt app 10 feet high with it. I have tuned it back up twice over the years. It is probably a good plan to get dirt from some location not directly infront of the berm if possible. Using dirt from infront you will end up with a muddy mess if you are not careful.
If you have a location on your property not a great distance from your planned berm location ( within say 200 feet), a Track Loader can build you a pretty good berm in a couple hours.

Bob
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Old December 24, 2011, 11:59 PM   #16
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I'm Lucky, I shoot on 100 acers 2 ponds dug with 30-35' high & 100' long, Can shoot out to 200 yards ; )PS MERRY CHRISTMAS
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Old December 25, 2011, 12:27 AM   #17
egor20
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From a post a while ago:

I wouldn't call it a range per-see but the area I shoot on my property has a 15 foot by 15 foot berm that's back stopped by telephone poles that was put in by my father about 30 years ago. The one advantage we have is its 5 acres from the back of my property so any overshot's will land in my neighbors corn field, we don't allow shooting during planting or harvesting season.

Edit: While I had my new barn put in, we put in 30 new poles and another 5 foot of dirt and gravel over it, so its now about 20 foot deep.

BTW Its 15 foot tall also, forgot to put that in last time

I shoot anything from .22 to 7.63x39 into it.
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Old December 25, 2011, 07:47 PM   #18
603Country
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For my 100 yard (107 yds) range , I used the tractor auger to drill a bunch of holes for cedar posts and then built a wooden box around those posts to hold dirt. Having a front bucket on the tractor made dirt moving to fill the box real easy. The target backstop is about 5 feet high and 6 feet wide and maybe 6 feet of dirt behind the actual target. Behind all that is about 1/2 mile of forest. That's all the backstop I need for all those tiny little groups I shoot. Groups that aren't tiny are due to weather or wind or changes in gravitational pull...or maybe sunspots.
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Old March 2, 2013, 10:18 AM   #19
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Firing Range Planning Resource

I know this is a little bit of and over do, for most shooters, but the US Army has a publication which may be useful, as well as interesting, for researching the logic of range safety. The following link is from the US Army publications directorate and includes a good amount of information about surface danger zones, charts and tables referencing range planning. This is used to determine the amount of risk applied to the many types of ranges in the armed forces (the USMC use this book as well). Just skip the bombs, shells, lasars, and look for small arms ranges, the topic begins on page 23.

Download this Department of the Army Phamphlet 385-63. at this location: http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/p385_63.pdf

There is also Army Regulation 385-63, which has less information. Do not confuse the two. Get DA Pam 385-63.
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Old March 2, 2013, 08:07 PM   #20
kilimanjaro
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You can build a 12" berm if you think you and each and every guest shooter will hit it, each and every time, but you are legally liable for every round that goes beyond the berm. Wing a trespasser out beyond, they can sue you if you have not constructed a proper backstop for safe shooting.
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Old March 4, 2013, 10:17 PM   #21
Recoiljunky
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im not sure if this is a viable option in your area. i rented an excavator to buld a burm on one of my buddies ranch. we just dug a wide trench and piled the dirt along the fence line. we also made a pond for dog training so that gave us more dirt than we needed. good luck and be safe.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:28 AM   #22
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Common sense will help.

In NY and I assume in all places, the shooter is responsible for where his bullet winds up. Even in the few cases where an absurdly weird and totally unpredictable event intervenes... the shooter is responsible but the penalty may be lessened by the presiding judge. No matter what you build, if a shot goes astray and there is any reason for anyone to complain, you can bet that here in Obamaland you'll be taken to task over it.

I wouldn't let it keep you up at night... you drive a car, right? Much, much more likely that you'll be in a wreck that will result in a lawsuit. I'm not sure how much if at all, personal liability insurance would cover a shooting accident. Do you know?

Given that you can't anticipate every errant shot (holding the gun off to one side checking the safety and hitting the trigger.... ooops.) I've thought about this too and decided it comes down to; how good a shot are you? If you never miss then a bucket full of dirt is good enough for all shots down near the ground. How high will your targets be? If you intend to shoot off-hand and at up elevations, the dirt pile height will depend on the slump coefficient of the soil you use and will errode over time so maintenance will be a factor (have extra soil piled near by to add to the backstop as needed).

In short; I've never come up with a good answer and this could lead to in-action for ever. In my case I have a place that affords us a 100 yard range, down in a stream gully (the flat flood plain alongside the stream and so, unusable for maybe three or four days / year) it has a natural 8' bank backstop at an abrupt curve in the stream and, the way-down-range objects are trees (flat forested, uninhabited lands for over a mile).

If I want a long range or if I want to shoot anywhere else other than that stream gully... I have to do what responsible men in America have done for over two centuries: I make an on-the-spot determination of the conditions before I pull the trigger. That includes having to pass up a 30-point buck if he's on the ridge above me with nothing but sky beyond him.

Sorry I can't be of more help... that question plagues me too.
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Old March 13, 2013, 05:43 PM   #23
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People missing high are just half the reason the backstop needs to be 20-25 feet high. The other half is people missing low, and by low I mean short of the berm such that the round skips. Technically a ricochet, they're much more likely than a round inadvertently being shot 20 feet high.

The ground in front of our 100 yard backstop is testimony to dozens of rounds impacting short, as much as 30 yards short, and the divot pretty much proves the rounds skipped off the ground to go high up on the backstop. Surprisingly, the 50, 300 and 600 yard ranges have very few such divots.
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Old March 15, 2013, 12:57 AM   #24
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You can use a large cardboard box filled with dirt for a temporary berm. It all depends on who is shooting and where you are shooting. It's all relative.
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Old March 15, 2013, 07:09 AM   #25
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Quote:
In NY and I assume in all places, the shooter is responsible for where his bullet winds up.
This!!! ^^^^^^^^^^^

Quote:
The other half is people missing low, and by low I mean short of the berm such that the round skips.
Bingo!! A few years ago the Ft. Sill private weapons range was closed because shooters of muzzleloaders were firing bullets into the dirt short of the berm. Bullets were richocheting over a 200+ foot hill and striking buildings at the sportsmans center and hitting vehicles in the parking lot of that facility.

Current US Army ranges are built to the standard that the military owns the property to the maximum range of the weapon/s fired on that range. If you do not own the property to the maximum range of the weapon being fired you need a good berm.
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