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Old March 1, 2007, 11:38 AM   #1
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How should I set up a backstop on my property?

I recently have bought some land. It is about 6 acres (might be 4 to 6 more) The current acreage has road frontage. The road is a dirt road and not frequently used as it doesn't go through to anywhere. The 6 acre property is 1000 ft road front and 300 ft deep. Beyond the 300 ft on the back of my property is hundreds of acres of woods that make up a deer hunting lease. I am planning to build a home there before Thanksgiving and want to put a backstop up to do occasional shooting. Where should I situate my backstop?

There are plenty of woods and undergrowth out there even on the road front.

The first thought would be with the backstop being 100 yards down from where you put the house as there is at least 1000 ft to spare between where you put the house and the stop. The only problem I have with this is that there are 2 houses down the road about 2000 to 3000 ft from the far corner of my property. Even though I would have a backstop being set up, no matter how high, and woods in between with thousands of feet to spare I don't like the idea of a gun muzzel pointing in the direction of anybody's house no matter what is in between. All it takes is one round coming down on someones house or hitting a person and I will get a visit from the sheriff telling me not to shoot say nothing of a person being hurt or even killed. And I want my neighbors shooting with me, not back at me

Well, with that having been said, the next thought is to put the backstop on the back of the property backed up to the woods of the hunting lease.
Well the only problem with this is that 1) in order to have a 100 yard range, I would have to be shooting almost at the edge of the dirt road. Now I am within my rights to do this I'm sure, but I don't think people would appreciate walking by or riding a horse by or even drive their car by to be scared out of their wits as ol' Doug's rifle goes off as they walk/ride/drive by. And I don't want to be that visible to people while I shoot.

With the dimensions I have laid out for my property. What do y'all think I should do?

Also, as for the backstop itself, how high should it be, should anything be done to it other than a ridge of dirt?
Thank you,
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Old March 1, 2007, 11:59 AM   #2
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The burms at our LE range are about 20' tall, 10' at the bottom, 5' at the top, and are made in a flattop "A" shape. The dirt and grass is supported a nylon mesh and heavy rubber mats.
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Old March 1, 2007, 09:45 PM   #3
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How about at an angle, the berm at the back far corner with the angle of fire letting a loose round to go into the deer lease. Berms do not need to be that much, as you are going to have excavating done to dig your house
have the diggers push a good sized mound to act as the back stop. Six foot high, with a good solid base makes plenty to stop bullets, provided you kept the targets lower on the berm. Make sure that the soil used to be the berm, is mostly free of rocks, you want the bullets to be just absorbed by the berm verses the chances of rock causing ricochets.

We had a road re done on our property a few years ago and when we asked the guy driving the D7 to make a berm out of the waste, he was happy as that was soil he was not having to move off the site.

I think we payed another 50 bucks for the berm and from it we got a clean flat, 150 yard range with a good 6-8 foot tall berm. We also had the driver make a pile on the side that we use as a pistol range, about 35 yards from the shooting line.
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Old March 3, 2007, 01:22 PM   #4
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Berms are the best. This police range has a horseshoe shaped berm, maybe 15ft high.
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Old March 3, 2007, 01:31 PM   #5
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I went another route

Instead of shooting into a a tall berm we shoot from a small mound down into a small grater with a small mound of dirt & debris behind it

the set up was accidental but it works well
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Old March 4, 2007, 09:52 PM   #6
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I made a four foot high mound of soft dirt and grass seeded it over a couple of seasons. In front of that I put a large round hay bale covered in plastic, I clip my targets to a lenght of rope with metal weights hung off the back of the bale and the bottoms of the paper. It has worked for me, 4 years with the same bale. Mike Z
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Old March 15, 2007, 10:23 AM   #7
Double J
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100 yards is nice, but even 50 will work. I have a pond dam, 25' high by 50' thick that gives a good back stop. Above the area I shoot into I put down a roll of 2' thick logs to catch anything that ramps up the berm. Big lead balls like to ricochet. So far my neighbors are satisfied. Stops even canon fire.
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Old March 15, 2007, 03:39 PM   #8
tony pasley
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My back stop is made by nature about 120' tall from where I live on the mountian.
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Old March 16, 2007, 06:39 PM   #9
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I would provide an arieal photo of the layout of the area....but I don't want to broadcast my exact living place to the net.
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Old March 16, 2007, 09:19 PM   #10
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Wow, like any of us would spend countless hours trying to match of your aerial photograph to your exact piece of property that you want help with in deciding how you should set up your range. While nobody asked for you, you just thought the teaser would be nice to let us know it is available, but we can't see it?

Let's see, you want to shoot longways, but there are houses a couple thousand feet from the far end, so they would be behind your backstop, right? You aren't willing to move the house toward the far end and shoot back the other way? That seems like the simple safe solution, but then again, you didn't tell us if there were houses in the other direction and we don't have the aerial photographs to see for ourselves.

As you described it, there are two directions of fire, parallel to the road and toward your neighbors and perpendicular to the road on a very short axis. Well have you considered shooting at a diagonal?

Out of what should the berm be constructed? You have been to gun ranges, right? What are the berms usually created from? Dirt. It is cheap as a construction material can be, very plastic in being able to adapt it to particular circumstances, provides deadblow absorptive impacts primarily, does not require engineering skills to create, provides some noise absorption compared to materials such as rock, and you probably already have some on the property right now.

How high should it be? Considering your concern for your neighbors, it should be as high as you can afford to make it. If you can't afford to make it very high, then make sure your targets are low. If your firing elevation is superior to the elevation of the impact location, then your shots will be in a trajectory that assures that missed shots are grounded or bermed. If the target is superior to your firing position, missing shots will have a greater likelihood of sailing over the berm unencumbered.

Given the distance to your neighbors and your concern in shooting their direction, you might want to consider only using pistol ammo and ideally powered down target loads.

Of course, you could just spend the money and buy the NRA book on gun ranges. It has a LOT of very good information, suggested berm heights, materials, use of baffles, etc.
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Old March 16, 2007, 09:47 PM   #11
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I've got aerial photos of my farm too. I can't hardly tell them from any other, and I know it's mine. LMAO
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Old March 16, 2007, 09:56 PM   #12
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The NRA recommends 12' berms at a minimum.
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