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Building a bullet trap

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  • Building a bullet trap

    I got a call from one of my customers today wanting a "bullet trap for a gun range in a house he is building. When I met with the customer he wants a trap 8' Wide with a long sloping (45 degree slope)up to 8' and then a top sloping down to meet the bottom plate. My questions are Does anyone have experence with this? I was looking at 5/8 AR500 material. They plan on covering the bottom sheet with "rubber mulch" 1 to 2 feet thick. I was reading about AR materials here seems like preheat is a must. Well guy I look forward to hearing of your thoughta and experences.

  • #2
    Here is a small one and some other info...Bob
    Bob Wright

    Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.


    • #3
      The biggest question would be what are they planning to shoot at it with? if it's just a .22LR, an angled piece of 3/16" mild steel and a sand trap would work fine.... larger pistol rounds... a larger version of what AAmetalmaster built would be great... the pipe acts as a spiral decelerator... you really don't need any fancy steel for rimfire or handgun rounds, just up the back plate to 3/8 for large caliber handgun.

      steel traps for jacketed rifle rounds are a bad idea..... bits of the jacket can travel straight backwards over 50 yds!

      the up angled lower plate sounds like a really bad idea to me as well.
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      • #4
        Bullet Trap

        Go to or better yet, Call the NRA. They have the plans drawn for all kinds of bullet traps, that are caliber specific. When you call you want Range Development or something like that.


        • #5
          Bullet Trap

          I have shot every thing from 17 HMR to 50 cal be carefull every round reacts dirrerent under different conditions. This can get you hurt bad. I would suggest a heavy rubber curtian infront of the angled back plate to help prevent splash back But the NRA is defenitley the authority!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck and good shooting.


          • #6
            Liability insurance paid up ?
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            • #7
              If you have trouble getting a hold of the right location at NRA PM me and I will dig up some phone numbers and a maybe get lucky with a name.


              • #8
                Very well made points above, I have used all kinds of indoor traps and ranges, over a thirty year span of time. Even handgun bullets can and will produce "frag" that can come right back up range at the shooter or any bystanders. The more modern traps minimize this greatly of course but it can still be an issue. I would take a photo of the very modern one I was involved with recently, but am no where near it at the moment, and cannot recall who the comm. mfr. was.

                Proper ventilation is a huge issue as well that you are probably aware of. If the buyer is not planning on doing it all up right, you might want to think twice about being involved with it. Hopefully, your reference sources will be well rounded in that they will discuss ventilation and the other HAZ MAT (somewhat minor in a low use, well vented home range...but still present) issues in play with such a project. I know there are hundreds of rigged up "tubes" and other such set ups in basements everywhere. It sounds like this customer wants a bit more than that and perhaps you can fully educate him after some more research. Otherwise, I'd expect he would know exactly what he wanted and have a plan to show you, regarding the metal work. Such does not seem to be the case as of now.

                It does sound like a fun project, hope it comes together and you can report back to us here. Would very much like to see pics of what you come up with.


                • #9
                  Bullet trap

                  Having built and owned a public indoor shooting range I can tell all bout splatter! Bullet splatter goes in all directions so you will need side wall protection as well as above the traps and in front. The best best would be to recommend a commercial set up. Most manufactures will make them to any spec's and the price for the right set up is not all that bad. We used Caswell equipment and 20 + years later of heavy use it still has a long life.


                  • #10
                    The indoor range I shoot at uses 1/2" thick AR500 (I believe) They also made a front stop incase a bullets takes a weird bounce after hitting the sand in the pit.
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                    • #11
                      Dang...That will leave a mark

                      He's was about 1/2" from a body bag..


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                      • #12
                        Do your homework...

                        I have shot at public and private ranges over the past 40+ years. Please take advice from Iceman8 that ventilation is a must. Do not participate if this range is not up to spec. Nordic has great advice about using commercially available range traps. There is a great shooting range in Knoxville, TN: Coalcreek Armory. I suggest you give them a call and discuss the entire range project. Better yet have your customer call them. You may loose a small project, but better than loosing your business if something goes south. Below is a link with contact information to Coalcreek Armory.


                        Good Luck



                        • #13
                          i think i would find an empty grease drum they are around 12"diameter and about 3' deep fill it with water and put a rubber cover over the front sorta like a diaphram works for a woman. the water should stop most if not all large and small handguns and some rifles but inside a house i wouldn't put any reflection metal bullet stops because of the framentation of the bullets . you could even seal the top of the drum and just put a small 2"down pipe into it and fire the weapon down the pipe into the water.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pass-N-Gas View Post
                            He's was about 1/2" from a body bag..


                            Nobody ever told him that "Steel shoot's back." This kind of thing has happened to a fair number of folks. Even some of the commercial "pepper popper" style targets have enough flex in the steel, that I have seen a shotgun slug, turn inside out upon imapact and come right back up range, similar to the video above. That particular shooter was not supposed to be using slugs but one slipped in the mix. It was a lesson for all in attendence.

                            Not to jack the thread, but this is a reminder for all to think twice before engaging steel targets, wear eye protection, even if just watching. Many public ranges will not allow one to set up any kind of steel for this very reason.

                            Such makes one appreciate the engineering that goes into a proper backstop/bullet trap. I'd love to be involved with a project like this but would most certainly base the design on those previously proven. Sure does make the suggestion by others to go with a commercial source, very tempting.

                            You could always assist with the install, or perhaps fabricate a target stand/retrieval system, tables, etc. Just a place to shoot will not be enough if the customer is gonna use it frequently. A table behind the firing line, perhaps a "fiddle table" off to one side and a few other add on's could keep you pretty busy if the guy is really into it.