Shooting, just like any other activity, requires practice to improve. From hunters looking to place more accurate shots on target to competitive shooters practicing for a 3-gun match, the idea of simply walking out back to fire some rounds is definitely appealing. While building a backyard bullet stop would require an initial investment, over time the project could save time and money!
There are many how-to guides and videos on building a bullet stop and all would require some knowledge and experience specific to your shooting needs. If you have the land and local regulations in your favor, a backyard bullet stop can bring enjoyment for years.
Why Have a Personal Backyard Bullet Stop?
If you are a firearm enthusiast, you want a place to practice your aim, drawing from a holster, or work on recoil control. But is it really convenient to go to a commercial shooting range just to practice your techniques?
Building a bullet stop would allow you to squeeze in a lot more range time. Even if it’s only for a few minutes after work or dedicated time each weekend, a shooter of any level would benefit from the added practice and ease of shooting on the property.
How to Build a Backyard Bullet Stop?
Decide on Your Location
Individual states and local municipalities all have their own regulations for the discharging of a firearm on residential property. For instance, in Florida you are not allowed to shoot in certain residential settings where homes are too densely built. These laws and regulations are key to the planning and building of your bullet stop.
Once any legal hurdles are cleared, finding the best area on your land is next. Deciding on the right location for your backyard bullet stop is as essential as the other legalities and hardships involved in having your own backyard shooting range. Finding areas with natural berms or an angle that would reduce the chance of projectiles traveling past the target area would be optimal.
Thinking about what you are going to be shooting and how you plan to shoot will be key factors for the construction and safety concerns. A range for pistol shooting can have a different set up than one for high-powered rifles. Some backyard backstop materials are better suited for precision shooting as opposed to routine mag dumps.
In order to have a safe shooting bullet stop (for yourself and neighbors), it is important to determine what lies behind the potential bullet stop location, what gun you are going to use, and what is the style of setting up your shooting range.
Initially, work to find the most even and level ground in your backyard. After that, place some cinder blocks with the holes-side facing up. Dig the blocks in the back down a bit to provide an offset for the layers of stacked backstop material.
Keep the set of cinder blocks end to end with the bullet stop material (large, thick wood like railroad ties could be an effective option for small bore shooting) to start creating the backstop. Posts, such as t-posts, can be driven through the holes of the back blocks. This will provide support of the bullet stop material as it is stacked. Ensure that the post material is not taller than any part of the stop, so there is no chance of ricochet off the posts.
Many firearms enthusiasts and experts recommend a backyard bullet stop height of 20 feet. While that may sound like a very tall barrier, many bullet stop instructions provide guidelines that are meant to provide protection under the worst case scenarios.
With appropriate fitting, offsetting, post placement, and adjustment, you can rest assured that your backyard bullet stop will be stable. Remember, it shouldn’t be leaning in any certain direction.
Finishing Up Your Bullet Stop
Constructing your backyard bullet stop does not mean you can go straight to firing into your target silhouettes. In fact, take your time to remember the strength and durability of the cross ties or any other material and components that you utilized in your backyard bullet stop construction.
When using the right materials (depending on your shooting goals and types of firearms used) and planning, the time spent building your bullet stop can provide years of enjoyment and improvement. Marksmanship can be something to admire, and the extra time on your personal range can help improve this skill and others.
Let this guide be your starting point in building your backyard bullet stop and working to improve your shooting technique and training.