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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a bit rusty with my shotgun [not that you have to but point it in the general direction, LOL] - but would really like to practise a bit. I'm also thinking about buying a small handgun and getting my 14 yr old involved with gun safety and practising etc as well.

We have 2 acres divided by a sand dirt road off our 8 acre lot - no neighbors to the right and left. The back line ends in a small creek - about 15-20' wide in some areas, across from the creek is an incline [small hill] and it is tree growth land [paper factory] with nothing going on over there.

I've been thinking about building a small shooting/practise range over there for us this fall. I do not want to involve major ground work - in other words no excavator work etc to build up a dirt wall - what else would be safe to use? Is a one level wall of straw bales sufficient to stop small caliber bullets? I am really not much concerned about ppl being back there - but want to make sure it is safe, just in case some kids are scrooching around somewhere in the woods or down at the creek.

Any suggestions are appreciated. Lmnde
 

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Don't use hay bales for a backstop. We had a fire at a neighbors. They had been using the range. About 1 1/2 hrs after the quit. The hay caught fire and almost started a wildfire. Here it is soo dry that would have been terrible. They had used the hay for years they say and never had a problem. We and later the fire dept. Traced the fire back to the backstop. A bullet must have started the fire, first smoldering then flames. As no one in the group smokes, that was ruled out.
 

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Just howling at the moon
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Rail road ties and sand bags make good backstops. Build the wall as high as you feel nessissary.
 

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First I would check with the local sheriffs office to see if it is legal. Here it is not legal to have a non-certified gun range. It is legal to shoot skunks etc. but to go out and shoot several magazines of ammo, it is not. You have to go to a licensed gun range, which there are several close. This is in the county and in Texas where people think that anything goes when it comes to guns, but there are lots of requirements in the more populated counties. Most requirements deal with safety. I totally believe in these laws. I know I sure don't want to shoot someones child by accident.

Bob
 

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my backstop is made from pine pallets(4 thick) with slabwood and 2x4 scrap stuffed in the spaces, with slabwood sides and a plywood face.

all the 22 sligs rarely get past the plywood and first pallet, but larger roundds can get almost all the way thru.

I have a plywood backstop behind that and it has no bullet holes, so it seems to work fine.

for 22s ist overkill. I would bet a single pallet with plywood front and back, and filled with pea gravel would be more than enough of a trap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow - good posts all of you!

I never thought about hay or straw starting to burn - and yes - I fully agree with you - not safe this year with everything being dry - we just had wildfires here in GA for weeks and weeks on end. Good advise! Thanks.

As the new place is way out in the country - the idea never occured to me that there may be rules to practise shooting - is there anywhere else to ask around rather than potentially stirring up the sherif's dept? Online somewhere - bylaws??? I know there is an outside shooting range about 20 miles or so from our new place in the same county - it's some type of watershed reservoir that is also a bird sanctuary and a place where ppl go to walk their dogs. I believe it also a public hunting place - or at least that is the ghist when I read the visitors rules - may be wrong about that part though. I've seen several ppl shooting in that open range - I am not sure if you need to be a member there to do so.

If we get the okay to do so - how tall and how wide are your back stops? I was thinking about 8" tall and 15-20 wide - does this sound about ok? Thanks for the sandbag and peagravel suggestions.
 

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In memoriam
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A heavy sheet of steel set at an angle will also stop bullets by deflecting them downwards. 45-60 degrees works well with a bed of deep sand beneath it. If you use wood, it will become weaker over time, whereas the steel will last indefinitely

To find out about the laws try searching for County ordinances
 

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If you live in country, there is probably some place that people go to shoot. We have a small canyon nearby with steep walls that people have one area set up sorta' as a shooting gallery.

I feel safer shooting with dirt as a backdrop than anything else.

"No guns, no bullets" .... silly Triffin :p
 

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We built a wall with tires filled with dirt, cheap, easy and no equipment necessary.
 

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I've done the same thing as Beeman, I've used old tires and filled them with dirt. Please make sure that no one uses the creek for kayaking or fishing before you shoot in that direction. Accidents happen in a split second and I've yet to find a way to stop or call back a bullet once I pull the trigger

1st rule
Safety first



Last rule
Safety first

You can put what ever rules you want between the 1st and last rule.

Have fun shooting, I know we always do.
 

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I love shooting and I do it as much as I can afford the time and money.

Having said that, I usually shoot at an old quarry where the rounds don't leave the area. I couldn't fathom making a safe shooting area on a budget from scratch.

I was told that tires have a fire hazard because the steel belting can catch fire. Steel plates will direct rounds to the proper direction and sand is good for stopping flattened ricochets but I would make sure to keep a certain distance.

Also, if you're just plinking with a .22, your needs won't be as great as with a larger round, like a .308 or 30-06. Some rounds will go through a lot of dirt and them go to an unsafe direction. I knew a guy who was putting .44 rounds into dirt and they were coming back up and out, to a barn 100 yards away.

Any time somebody talks of making thier own shooting backstop, I get a bad feeling because you can't take a bullet back once it has been fired.

Be Safe
 

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A sheet of 1/2 inch steel mounted at an angle into a 3 foot deep water tank trap is the back stop used at the indoor range I shoot at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am going to look into that already established shooting range to see what it takes to being able to use it. It is too bloody hot right now to wrap my mind around what is a safe set-up, although if it is permitted by law - I might still want to go ahead with it sometime down the line [once it cools down].

I wanted to thank all of you for your suggestions - you have given me a lot to mull over there. Lmnde
 

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Unapologetically me
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We hava an old Model T truck up on the hill. My brother in law wanted to use it as a target/backstop.
Idiot.
We use hills and distance for a backstop.
I like the idea of tires filled with dirt. The steel backstop is probably the best, but something about shooting into steel scares me.
Like everybody else says, safety first, make sure you know what's beyond whatever you use for a backstop. Don't shoot towards where you can't see.
 

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You might want to consider checking with the county extension office to see if there are any 4H shooting sports groups in your area, and see if your son would be interested in joining. The instructors are all trained and certified, and usually have a range where the kids go shoot for practice, and competitions with awards at the end of the year for them. Our granddaughter shot 22 last year, and archery this year. LOVES IT. They really emphasize safety, and the kids learn a lot. That would get your foot in the door, help you find out what is allowed, safe and available in your area. Good luck, Jan in Co
 

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Semper Fidelis
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Make sure that your backstop will stop a large caliber projectile (7.62mm, 7mm Magnum, .30-06 Springfield, .357 and .44 Magnum, etc..(what I shoot)!! Yeah I know what a .22LR will not penetrate, but it only takes 1 mistake......

I use a dirt/ wooded hillside in a bowl type seting to watch for richocets, with a structure of logs set up to post my targets on that was here when I got the place. The logs are getting rather frayed after a few years and hundreds/ thousands of large caliber rounds passing thru them... Here I am limited to less than 100 yards of distance but that is plenty for my handguns practice, but at my friends ranch - we have up to a 500 yards rifle range set up firing into a huge hillside...

Always know what is downrange when you are out shooting and squeeze that trigger!!!!

Just remember, treat every shooter as if they are loaded!!!!!!!!
 
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