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Posted: 8/23/2006 9:22:37 AM EDT
I have a friend who asked me about this but I didn't know the answer, maybe someone here could help me give him an answer.  He lives on a 12-acre propery in North Hanover, NJ and he was thinking of setting up an area where could shoot a .22lr, and maybe a 9mm and .45 on his property.  He says his neighbors hunt on his property all the time so I'm guessing the discharging of firearms is not a problem, but on to the area where the shooting would be done at.  Would a very large mound of packed dirt be sufficent to shoot a .22lr into?  What type of backstop would be needed if not, and what would need to be done to shoot 9mm and .45ACP into?  Any advice or suggestions for me to offer my friend would be greatly appreciated.
Link Posted: 8/23/2006 9:56:47 AM EDT
Dirt is a highly effective stopper.

However, the real concern is setting it up in such a way as to minimize the hazards when/if one accidentally goes "over the berm".

Sometimes inexperienced shooters (as well as us older folks) make mistakes.

Aim it in whatever direction has the least chance of striking people in an overshoot.

Designing it properly from the beginning saves lots of time, money, and heartache later on.

Dig down with a front end loader to angle everything down to begin with, then maybe do a berm above the berm as emergency backstop.

Also, some wood or solid material above the berm, while not necessarily stopping anything, allows you to inspect what/if anything has gone over.

Without that, one may never know whether other shooters are using the proper discipline.

Putting a marker or line on the berm helps "only shoot below the line".

Others will chime in with better ideas.
Link Posted: 8/23/2006 10:17:51 AM EDT
Yeah, dirt works just fine.  I'd put a backer on the berm as well so you have something to build the dirt up against.  Maybe build up with some timbers or something, then pile the dirt in front of it.  Build it higher than you think you need it, as well.  Depending on if you want to get all legal-ly and stuff, put up signage warning people.

One of my Wife's Uncles has a farm in North Jersey and the closest neighbor is about a mile away.  They shoot on their property and have no problem.  They don't have a true berm, however.  They shoot down a little hill, and it's mostly just sighting-in rifles.
Link Posted: 8/23/2006 11:27:04 AM EDT
That's are we use at CJRPC. Nothing more than dirt backstops for the pistol and rifle ranges.
Link Posted: 8/23/2006 3:44:54 PM EDT
Best bet would be a steep hill with a field facing it.  Just pack some more dirt on that.  Rent a backhoe for the day and build a 15-20 foot berm.
Link Posted: 8/23/2006 4:24:57 PM EDT
Awesome, thank you so much for all your help guys!
Link Posted: 8/23/2006 4:37:44 PM EDT
Contact the NRA they have a lot of information on building ranges, IIRC they have a department that deals with range building, and if you call and ask for a Field Representative they can proabably put you in touch with somebody in your area.
Do it right and plan for expansion and long range shooting, even of you never fire a hi-power rifle, you'll always have the option to... besides if you do it "right" you'll have friends wanting to stop by all the time.  
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