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Posted: 3/25/2009 2:30:51 PM EDT
Thinking about putting up a "small" range on my private land.
Anyone can give me some pointers and do's and don'ts??
(mainly shooting paper at max 200yrds but would like to be able to shoot API's)

I thought about a pile of dirt with rr-ties in front but I don't think much be left.

Would a solid 6'x4'x2' concrete block last any longer with API's??
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 2:33:52 PM EDT
I would think that a really BIG pile of dirt would be the best back stop...
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 2:37:55 PM EDT
How big a dirt berm are you planning? If you can do 10-15 ft high the resulting base will be just as wide or wider as it is tall. That will stop all bullets including API ( as long as you are shooting close to the base and not the top). The Concrete block is not a great Idea. API will make signifcant holes/divets in it not to mention the possibility of Richochetes.

Now if you wanna build a wall of these concrete blocks and then pile your dirt up against it..... that will work as well.

The biggest problem with API is the fire hazard that they pose..


You can check with the NRA on building a range and recommedations on materials and layout as well.


Jason
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 3:20:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By skeeters65:
I would think that a really BIG pile of dirt would be the best back stop...


You have probably never seen a night fire range. If you had you would have seen tracers hitting the berm and many of them going straight up after the impact.

Bullets DO NOT go into the dirt berm with them all captured upon impact.
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 4:20:02 PM EDT
Agreed on the tracers.....shot a few the other nite and had to haul ass into the backwoods. (wearing crocs didn't help much)

I'm basically shooting towards a 60-80' tall embankment, (natural back-stop) but it has hard-woods and brush.
Just trying to figure out a way to keep the fire-danger at a minimum (I know, get rid off the API's but with 2k on hand and less then 1k ball...........)

How many 1-2' steel plates would it take (spaced a foot apart) to keep a API from penatrating??

Sorry for all these noobie???'s but I'm hoping someone reading this has been there,done that and give me a little advise..
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 5:22:38 PM EDT
API rounds are less dangerous as fire starters than tracers. The Incendiary compound ignites on impact based on the force of impact and you need to hit something harder that dirt usually. Then it is over. Tracers keep burning until the compound is gone. Much greater fire danger. If you shoot at steel or cars, the fire hazard is at the steel or car. The penetrator/copper/lead may ricochet somewhere else, but the impact sets the incendiary off and it is over. Shooting at a steel gong with API would be safer from a fire standpoint as long as you don't have a lot of flammables around the gong.

Link Posted: 3/25/2009 6:24:19 PM EDT
An API round will embed its projectile in a 1/2" steel plate. You will see the scorch marks and smoke and upon close inspection you will find the remaining part of the jacket lodged in the plate. Thats what I shoot primairly because its cheap to load and I know exactly where my round has hit and know its out of power after impact. YMMV.
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 7:28:59 PM EDT
If you go with a dirt birm, make sure its thick enough to absorb rounds, and that the dirt in the impact area is soft and devoid of hard objects, it makes it less likely for a ricochet, if the round can easily penetrate the dirt and not hit something hard. Doesn't gurantee they won't happen just helps to lessen the chances
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 8:02:38 PM EDT
I would be careful about the type of dirt. I've shot 5 rounds through a 1/2 thick hardened steel tractor blade set up against a very clayish dirt embankment and the cavity in the berm was easily 24" deep. Dirt with a higher sand content would be more desirable as it would be less likely to form and hold a cavity. Hope to be in your position someday soon and have my own range and my plan is to use RR ties as retainers for a sand trap that is backed with dirt. Still need to figure out a replacement scheme for when the RR ties wear out without having to reload the sand.

Good luck!
- Joe
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 10:41:33 PM EDT
The API will penatrate WAY more than 1/2" plate!!!!! The regular ball ammo will do 3/4" out to 400yds.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 12:45:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2009 12:46:24 PM EDT by TCBA_Joe]
At my range where we test .50 MGs we have giant berms with a trap that sticks out to catch rounds that fly back out.

The trap is a steel box that is buried into the berm and sticks out about 4' from the berm. We also regularly rake out the berm to keep the trap free from rocks and lead ingots that build up.

To show how well the trap works we shoot no less than 5,000 rounds per session into the trap from the M2. We have only found a handful of steel pentrators (we shoot mostly mil ball and API, some tracers) outside for the trap at a max distance of 15'. Our MG mount is also only 100' from the trap/ The trap itself is 4' tall x 6' wide. The mound it's built into is about 50' think and 30' tall.

I'm of the party of what's the point of shooting 200 yards with a .50, but to each their own.
Link Posted: 3/27/2009 5:49:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By TCBA_Joe:
I'm of the party of what's the point of shooting 200 yards with a .50, but to each their own.


Damn! If you had enough land to have your own range, but it couldn't be any longer than 200 yards, are you saying you wouldn't shoot your 50 on it? just curious...
Link Posted: 3/27/2009 5:58:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Bretshooter:
Originally Posted By TCBA_Joe:
I'm of the party of what's the point of shooting 200 yards with a .50, but to each their own.


Damn! If you had enough land to have your own range, but it couldn't be any longer than 200 yards, are you saying you wouldn't shoot your 50 on it? just curious...

Prob not. If all I had was 200 yrds I'd be worried about safety issues. The backstop to our backstop is a large earthen mountain. I'm not saying I wouldn't be tempted to do it, but I'd have a hard time putting that much money and effort into such a small .50 range is all. But hey, to each their own and as long as you and the neighbors are cool with it, go for it..
Link Posted: 3/27/2009 8:16:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2009 8:19:29 PM EDT by Fister]
Originally Posted By Tippz50:
The API will penatrate WAY more than 1/2" plate!!!!! The regular ball ammo will do 3/4" out to 400yds.


Yes API will defeat a 1/2" plate. However it will also be destroyed by a meer 1/2" plate. In other words it will make its entry, pop, and thus be inert into impact into the berm. Not to mention it will lose most all of its momentum after entering the plate. They dont go pop on every surface they encounter. The idea is to cause a fail safe and effectively identify the report and know the round is safe while eliminating the chance of ricochet. (sp?) I have shot ball at plate tgts before. They dont often go through. But they do often bounce wildly off in random directions. Same with tracers. AP is designed to defeat light armor, not punch paper. If it has an incendary mix then you want to be sure its spent upon impact so there are no surprises later.

ETA That must be some magic ball ammo you got there. Every one I have fired into any hardened tgt died upon impact and went into orbit and left no holes. A few dents sure. But they were not piercing.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 7:29:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 7:30:29 AM EDT by Tippz50]
I never said it was hardened plate. Its regulat barrett m33 ball. It penatrated 3/4" mild steel plate at 400yds. The 1/2" mild steel plate we only shot at 200yds. I will post some pics of both.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 8:50:58 AM EDT
Thank you ALL for the input.

I've pretty much decided on 24 cu yrds red dirt being dumped on top of plastic barrier and being contained
by rr-ties, approx 6'x12'
Open front and my "natural backstop" should take care of the fliers.

Reasoning for 200yrd is the fact I don't feel like choppin down a bunch of trees and it will be used
for mainly small calibers but this should take care off the occasional 50 api and keep the fire-danger at a minimum.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 7:08:20 AM EDT
My neihbor took out a bunch of trees in a water ditch. Basically had an excavator push them over and put them in huge piles and burnt off the small stuff which left huge stumps with a bunch of dirt and roots still attached. Instead of hauling off to the land fill I had im take a couple side dumps worth and dump them into a pile for my back stop. Its ugly but I dont have any ricochets and not even AP will penetrate 6 feet of dirt and stump. Check with a local tree service or excavating company. They are usually looking to save some money on dumping fees and you get a free back stop.
Link Posted: 3/30/2009 4:22:32 AM EDT
Sounds like a plan. You will have to let us know how it works out. I like the idea of a trap to help manage ricochet.

With regards to "why bother" the point is that not all of us have convenient access to a .50 friendly range. Even the ranges I can go to you cannot shoot on weekends and it is a major inconvenience to other shooters on the line. Factors like these are why I have a list of about 15 people that still want to shoot my .50 but have not been able to over the last 3 years. If I had room to build even a 100 yard range I'd do it in a heartbeat. That would be 100 yards with safety factors built in depending on the lay of the land...with a lot of buffer and natural backstop (slope, hills, etc.) beyond any backstop I put up.

I'm with the folks that 1/2" of hardened steel does not do enough to slow down any APx .50 projectile. If it still has enough ooomph to go through another 1/2" plate (based on my own personal experiences) then I wouldn't say that the round has depleted it's energy. After 1" of steel , you might have a case. It is really a moot point unless one plans on replacing the plate after every shot, as the through-hole risk is too great for my taste to consider punching steel as a viable backstop. A backstop should be 100% reliable in doing it's job.

- Joe
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