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Old September 16, 2006, 10:35 PM   #1
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Cheap backstop for rifle rounds?


I live outside the city limits and able to shoot in my yard, all I want. In the past we have just been shooting pistols and the local police don't care, as long as we do it in a safe manor. But the local police want us to get a better backstop to shoot rifle rounds.

The only cheap thing that I could think of is small square blocks of hay or the big rolls. Has anyone ever thought about this? How many feet thick would I need?

Any other suggestions?

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Old September 16, 2006, 10:50 PM   #2
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Sand bags work well. Or just a big pile of dirt.
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Old September 16, 2006, 10:55 PM   #3
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Dirt requires more work, just me and a shovel

Plus, hay is a little less permanent.
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Old September 16, 2006, 10:59 PM   #4
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I wouldn't use hay myself. It won't take much shooting for it to loosen up a roll of hay and cease being a backstop. I would get a load or two of dirt delivered and rent a bobcat for the weekend.
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Old September 16, 2006, 11:02 PM   #5
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If you're shooting a .22LR, you might want to take a look at one of these:

For something bigger than a .22LR, you're on your own.
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Old September 16, 2006, 11:32 PM   #6
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Old September 17, 2006, 12:21 AM   #7
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A big mound of dirt or hillside works best. Hay will not stop rifle rounds.
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Old September 17, 2006, 12:43 AM   #8
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I have not tried this but it sounds like a good back stop...

Find some old tires, the bigger the better. Collect used truck tires, tractor tires or large field spreader tires from a local farmer. Maybe check with a tire company that does truck & industrial size tires.

Stack the tires on the ground one on top of the other. Depending on how big the tires are, go as high as you want. (I would go shoulder high or higher). As you stack them, fill them with sand for best results. You could use topsoil or fine gravel etc. but the sand would be best in my opinion.

I would put 2 or 3 stacks together side by side to make a wider backstop.

The tires are used to hold the sand in place. Small rounds like .22 should go through the rubber and the hole will close up, but not after several rounds in one spot.

You could face it off with wood fencing (something like plywood or 2X10’s etc. to make it look better, but you will have to replace parts of the wood as you shoot it up.

This should provide a backstop that will catch just about anything. If you use larger tires like truck or tractor, it should stop anything that you would be shooting in the back yard. If you really shoot a lot, you could sift the lead out of the sand and reclaim it (but sounds like too much work to me).

Maybe others here have used tire backstops and can give a report.

Read this Edit ... If you go with the tires idea... build a soil or stone ramp leading away from the back side. This would give you a ramp for loading snow sleds, ATV's lawnmowers etc. and add additional backstop material. However, it may be too high to add the ramp, but I think with some thought, you can work it out so you have a ramp and a good backstop.

Just a thought, as I have seen a few ramps (loading docks) made with the tire process. Take a look as you drive around in the rural areas, you may see some of these loading docks.
The tires keep the front face straight where a pile of dirt will spread it's self out after awhile.

OK, thats all. Sorry for the long post!
BANG------------ >>> !

Last edited by Dead-Nuts-Zero; September 17, 2006 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Forgot this part
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Old September 17, 2006, 08:43 AM   #9
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First welcome to TFL A lot of good folks and advice here for the asking.
As to your question, hay would not be a good backstop for rifle rounds. Although it is work, a dirt pile is the best backstop you can get. One or two dump truck loads of fill dirt should be allyou would need, if piled right.
Or a nice pile of cut trees/limbs/trash wood also works.
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Old September 17, 2006, 09:01 AM   #10
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Another option would be one of these: If you shop around you can find them decently priced.
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Old September 17, 2006, 11:00 AM   #11
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You could buy a load of sand from the local hardware store if they offer sand by the load. It won't cost but around $25 or $30 dollars.
Then fill sandbags up and make the backstop out of that.
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Old September 17, 2006, 11:02 AM   #12
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I found sandbags online for about $0.25 each. I'll try stacking sandbags full of dirt.

I don't shoot that much, but even if the bags burst. I can get more for only 25 cents each.
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Old September 19, 2006, 10:47 PM   #13
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Up here, a 66 pound bag of sand costs less than $10Cdn. in Home Depot. If you go with tires, no steel belts preferred, lay 'em out and fill in the spaces with sand. Hay won't stop diddly.
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Old September 23, 2006, 05:07 AM   #14
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Let me forward you the names of 2 yahoos -currently in the county lock-up- for putting over a dozen 30 ca. rounds into a house downrange when the large round hay bales failed to stop even the "lowly" 30-30 rounds.
As previously stated, hay really won't stop diddly.
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Old September 23, 2006, 05:17 AM   #15
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This is what I'm working on up on my mountain land....

Plywood backer for hanging targets (scrap from a building on site)

Immediately behind the plywood I'm putting alternating Lowe's-sized bags of gravel and sand which will be held in place from the front by the plywood and on the sides by the bracing for the target frame.

Behind the bags I'm putting larger rocks gathered from on site just in case a stray round creeps through.

Behind the rocks is a pin oak about three feet in diameter.
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Old September 23, 2006, 11:35 AM   #16
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You can talk to construction companies and find one that needs to get rid of dirt and get a truck load or 2 of free dirt dumped where you want the backstop
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Old September 24, 2006, 12:10 AM   #17
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If you use a dirt pile you need to flatten out the part you are shooting at. I was intending to use telephone poles and railroad ties for my backstop. with dirt behind the ties.

My nieghbor was shooting into his dirt pile and skipping bullets about a mile away. It's even riskier if the dirt is wet.
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Old September 25, 2006, 01:00 AM   #18
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Be careful at close range with some ammo

Caution on Rail Road Ties.

My gun club put up a backstop made of ties for shooting shotgun slugs for a fundraiser bull’s-eye competition. They did an alternate stacking two rows thick of ties with dirt behind. It was solid and nothing got through it. After the event, it was left as a short range backstop for general shooting.

Here is what I did...I fired about 400 rounds of .38 SWC of light to mid-range loads. I fired these over a few days of shooting at the range. And there had been plenty of others shooting all kinds of rounds too with no problems.

One day I was shooting at my usual 4-12 yards with the .38 and one day I caught a return bullet into my leg shin. I still have the dent to prove it. It bounced off my leg and fell nearby. It hurt just a little bit but no blood, just a slight bruise. I felt it hit (I was wearing shorts) and saw it drop in front of me. I thought it was a stone, but reached down and feld the dent in my leg. When I went to look it was a fired round and still warm. I have it saved somewhere.

Why? The .38 slugs only penetrate the RR ties about an inch or less depending on how soft (the state of decay etc.) or hard the wood was in that spot. The .38 slugs will stack one behind the other in some places. I believe the slug I fired hit a stack of lead that was pounded against one another and ricochet back.

From that point on, I face the backstop at a slight angle and any ricochets hopefully will go away from me. There were no serious concerns IMO other than when shooting very close range.

There were a few slugs (fired .38 bullets) that fell to the ground in front of the backstop. They hit other lead bullet and fell to the ground.

Just something to think about if your shooting lead that does not flatten or explode when hitting the backstop.
BANG------------ >>> !
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