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Bullet Trap

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  • Bullet Trap

    Anybody built or have a design for a decent bullet trap?

    I'm getting the urge to build one that will stop up to a .38 Special. I have a 30x50 outbuilding that would make a pretty good place to shoot provided that I can keep the bullets from exiting.


  • #2
    I just use a sheet of 3/16" steel set at a 45° angle behind the targets. The ricochet drops into a bed of sand.

    The hottest round I've ever fired at it was a .223, but it didn't penetrate. It handles all the pistol ammo anyone has fired at it, up to .44 mag.

    ...from the Gadget Garage
    MM 210 w/3035, BWE
    HH 210 w/DP 3035
    Victor O/A "J" series, SuperRange
    Avatar courtesy of Bob Sigmon...


    • #3
      Had one years ago we used in the basement. It would handle a 22 cal. but we used it for BB gun mostly, while in the basement. It was a simple box bottom filled with sand to catch the bullet. I would try about 8 inches of sand. The top ricochet steel plate was set in at 30 degree angle to ricochet the bullet down into the sand. It extended from the very bottom of the catch box to the top where the targets were hung. I would use at least 1/4" plate for the ricochet plate. Watch the place where the bullets hit and if it starts to stretch or bulge any, then replace it with a heaver plate.
      Last edited by alanh; 01-19-2008, 09:28 PM.


      • #4

        I have to relate the results of my first bullet 'trap', many years ago.

        I had just gotten a S&W K22 and was so anxious to try it out that I filled a cardboard box full of old phone books to use as a bullet stop and went to the basement to try it out. There was nothing down there to set the box on to get it anywhere near a decent height to shoot at, so....I took one of the wife's matched stools from the kitchen.

        It worked very well. I shot a few rounds at the cardboard box, and checked the back of it to make sure nothing was penetrating. Of course, shooting at 8-10" of phone books, one wouldn't expect at .22 to go all the way through.

        When I got finished, and took the box off the stool, I was aghast to see at least a dozen perforations in the leather cushion of the stool. None of the bullets had gone out the back, but quite a few had exited the bottom of the box and lodged in the seat of the stool.

        That was fun to explain.

        I have since used big logs, but that makes a mess and now that I've got a torch and welder.....everything is starting to look like a welding project. It's like the old saying, when you've got a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.


        • #5
          I think the best one I have seen is two plates angled together to make a narrow "v" shape with the open end pointed at the shooter. They don't actually touch at the "pointed" end but rather have a narrow gap for the bullet to pass through. Behind that is a round or octagon shaped "cylinder" that the bullets enter and bounce around in until they lose all their energy. Best part is, no sand or fiber to clean up (it all sprays when the bullets strike). It catches all the bullets in the tube, then you have a door on the end where you can empty it out. You could just good bullet traps and see what you come up with, then copy one of the pics.
          Contact me for any metal polishing needs you may have, my avatar is a pic of a standard, painted fire axe that I ground, sanded polished and buffed to a mirror finish.


          • #6
            I used to use a few old phone books to stop .22s when I shot in the basement as a kid. Looked the bullets up in the yellow pages, I did. But shooting ice cubes with the BB gun was actually more entertaining. CRACK! It was a little more work to clean up the room, though.

            I've always been intrigued by the snail type of bullet traps, though that's probably overkill for a .38.
            --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

            Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.
            DialArc 250 (1974), Idealarc 250 (1971), SyncroWave 250 w/Coolmate 3, SP-175+, TA 161STL,
            Lincwelder AC180C (circa 1952), Victor & Smith's O/A, Dayton (Miller) spot welder, 1200 sq.ft. of garage filled with crap and a kid that can actually run the stuff +++


            • #7
              Bullet Traps

              We had a surveyor out for some land work and while he was here I had him and his sons over and check 2 angles for me. The first angle is from the back of my barn/pole shed over my wetland to the rise at the far side. 907.10. Straight East, I will have 100, 250, and 300 yds. So we are looking at 4 traps capeable for rifle calibers. I will also have to build a parallel fence to keep the cows from the line of sight/fire. Of course every thing will have to be cow proof so I can let them in to do the mowing for me. I am checking locally in on some 5 x 12 sheets of 1/2 steel. Its rusty but that will not matter except when welding,etc. More info as it develops.
              SEE YUW


              • #8
                Here is one i made from 3/8" plate. I am going to build a thicker one since my .223 just went thru it...Bob
                Bob Wright, Grandson of Tee Nee Boat Trailer Founder
                Metal Master Fab
                Salem, Ohio
                Birthplace of the Silver & Deming Drill


                • #9
                  Several years back I "hobbied" with a few ex-military shooting friends and we developed a rather neat targeting system - neat enough that it is patented.

                  Essentially, it was more than a trap but it had a trap design in it. What we discovered is it took a minimum 17 degree angle to safely turn everything from a .17 air rifle to a .30-06 (the largest thing we tested). We often use an angle at 20 to 25 degrees depending on the round.

                  As for plate, we were using a hardened steel (but not quite armor plate) grade at 5/8" or 3/4" thickness if I recall. We could get it from the metal suppliers but it was a special grade that I do not recall without looking through the design papers. The stuff did not dimple and pretty much destroyed the projectiles. We had looked at the sandwich traps but we needed a solid surface onto which we could project or image our targets. What we discovered was a trap contained at the base of the target plate that was roughly 8" deep and had synthetic batting in it trapped most of the fragments.

                  Now the neat part. The target system is electronic. It has sensors mounted to the plate that, without going into all the details, essentially triangulate very accurately the point of impact and multiple impacts. That information is then transmitted real time to a laptop computer that shows each round in sequence, the measurements between shots, the timing between shots, group diameter and with a voice synthesizer would call the shots so that you did not have to come off the sights. It all grew out of shooting competition air rifles and watching the Swiss targeting system used in the Atlanta Olympics.

                  Sorry if the answer went beyond the question.


                  • #10
                    It may have gone beyond the question, but that's OK! Keep going if you like.

                    When you say 17 degrees, do you mean from horizontal? Sorry if that's a stupid question.


                    • #11
                      17 degrees tilted forward toward the shooter. We tested at various angles using initially a sand pit to figure out how much tilt we had to have (without loosing the ability to project target images) to get the round down rather than back at the shooter.

                      If anyone is interested, here is the patent:



                      • #12
                        Armor plate

                        If anyone is in the Pittsburgh area, the contractor that is refitting the Humvee's for IRAQ is in the area, and there are piles of 5/16 armor plate at the local junk yard. You can pick them up for scrape prices. Most pieces are are about 15" x 30".
                        Lincoln AC Stick


                        • #13
                          scrap 5/16 armor plate

                          do you know the name of the scrap yard


                          • #14
                            Wow, that would be cool. Too bad it is too far away.

                            I had considered building one for my shop...but when I found out I could be arrested for illegal firearm discharge, that kinda took the fun out of it.

                            Go Spurs Go!!!!!!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dda52 View Post
                              Wow, that would be cool. Too bad it is too far away.

                              I had considered building one for my shop...but when I found out I could be arrested for illegal firearm discharge, that kinda took the fun out of it.
                              Yup i have already had the knock on my door from shooting in my basement...Bob
                              Bob Wright, Grandson of Tee Nee Boat Trailer Founder
                              Metal Master Fab
                              Salem, Ohio
                              Birthplace of the Silver & Deming Drill