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Tim Hancock's Avatar
 
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Just finished/tested my prototype indoor bullet trap

My wife and I plan to join a good friend and his wife this winter in a fun shoot .22 league at a local indoor range. Both my wife and I suck at bullseye type shooting with a pistol so we need to practice quite a bit over the next couple months so as not to embarrass ourselves too badly. I just finished a nice outside IDPA range, but it is winter now and bullseye type practice (especially for my wife) would be much nicer inside my heated shop.

I had some free 1/2" x 16" tall x 24" long steel plates available at work so after searching other available bullet trap designs I came up with this one. It works so nice, that I may look into building some to sell out of lighter material.

It consists of gradually sloping side plates that terminate with a 1/2" slot that is then attached to a 4 1/2" diameter slotted tube mounted at an offset. The bullets hit the side plates and are directed into a tangent entry into the round tube where they spin around losing energy then they simply fall into a coffee can at the bottom of the tube. If I start producing them, I will use a larger tube and reduce the angle even more to keep bullet fragmentation to an absolute minimum which will further reduce lead dust.

I presently have this thing cobbed up on an old sawhorse in my auto repair/paint booth room and have been running the exhaust fan to remove lead dust, but I may eventually attach a shop vac to it with a hose and set the shop vac outside with the hose ported thru the garage door which result in less heat loss than my present set-up which requires a open window to allow cold make-up air in to feed my large paintbooth exhaust fan system.

I have put a couple hundred rounds thru it this weekend with no issues. It presently looks like @ss, but it works great. I shot a few 9mm rounds into it also, but it's main purpose is for the wife and I to practice with the Ruger target .22.

Designing/Building





Initial testing





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Old 12-14-2009, 08:06 AM
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That's EXACTLY what I want to build for myself (but bigger, my pistol league goes out to 25 yards).

How thick is the steel plate? Have you attempted to determine the largest caliber you can use?
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:10 AM
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Cool. I need one of those for the garage!
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:34 AM
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I had one when I was a kid. My dad and I would shoot our .22 in the back yard. Today I would imagine they would call a SWAT team.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:03 AM
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damn, tim! you do not do anything halfass, do you? that is awesome.

are you worried about lead dust/fragments coating everything inside of a structure? i had a mini version of that for my pellet rifle, and that would leave a sheen around.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:07 AM
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I looked at a house in Utah and the basement was dark and wide open floor space about 50 X 30 'and all of the walls were thickly insulated with the foam sheeting even the 2 windows had a cover made for them.
After finding a light bulb I got the room lit up.
To find the end wall that was cut open about 3 feet off the ground and open behind it , had a huge piece of thick steel sloping inwards from the ceiling top and ending behind the wall with about 18" of sand filling the bottom, behind the wall .
It turns out the PO had made up this basement shooting gallery and i would guess that he did quite a bit of shooting here , the steel plate was about 1 inch thick and the wall opening was about 8 feet across and about 6 feet high the steel was anchored at the top and bottom was anchored to the wall behind the wall that was cut out.
Pretty cool
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:15 AM
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vash View Post
damn, tim! you do not do anything halfass, do you? that is awesome.

are you worried about lead dust/fragments coating everything inside of a structure? i had a mini version of that for my pellet rifle, and that would leave a sheen around.
Well it is kind of halfass looking.

I am not worried about the lead dust as my large paintbooth fan is about 4' from the trap and I had a window open upstream of it. The smoke/dust gets sucked out by the fan..... On top of that, it is in my paintshop/auto repair area which is usually fairly dirty. I will probably rig a shop vac to it eventually and will place the shop vac outside. I could rig a water/oil emulsion pump to it to coat the interior walls to further reduce dusting if it becomes a problem.

I hate OSHA, EPA, etc, but I know that I need to exhaust the lead dust and would not recommend anyone cobb something like this up unless they address the lead dust for long term health reasons. I am plenty good with my exhaust fan.... at some point I will see how a shop vac does..... Easy enough to test using smoke in front of and around the unit.



Legion, I don't know for sure what caliber it can handle, but I am confident that the 1/2" steel side plates are over kill for .22 thru non magnum centerfire pistols. It worked fine with my 9mm, but I will strictly use it for .22 as I have a dirt berm range built up outside for when I want to practice IDPA with the 9mm.

The 1/2" plates are such a shallow angle that I think they would be fine for even centerfire rifles, but the 1/4" walled back tube might not be sufficent even though the rounds are direct at it at a pretty shallow angle.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:26 AM
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I would add some sand bags around it just to grab some mistakes!
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:33 AM
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Nice Tim!!! Also will be a great starting place to get the daughters BF's to man up and learn to shoot a gun! hahaha ( and of course if their pict are hanging where the target is that's a suttle hint )
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:33 AM
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Thats very cool !

Great concept, I may have to try one of those.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:49 AM
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I was involved in building a range where I work. The design is exactly like yours, on a much larger scale. 25 lanes. The collection tube is horizontal with an auger to remove the debris.
The chamber is fashined so that the rounds actually spin around inside without escaping. I would guess the impact of a .22 on that plate absorbs the vast majority of the energy. Here they are shooting 9mm and 40 cal so much more energy to disperse.
Great job on yours. Should be fun.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:31 AM
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Is it generally legal to fire a gun in your basement?
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilke3169 View Post
The chamber is fashined so that the rounds actually spin around inside without escaping. I would guess the impact of a .22 on that plate absorbs the vast majority of the energy. Here they are shooting 9mm and 40 cal so much more energy to disperse.

I have seen those snail traps on-line. Something like $12,000 for their smallest one which has a 24" x 24" opening. Of course they also have self contained water spray and air filtration. I can't tell how many times the bullet goes around in my tube, but they definitely go around as you can see from my initial 6 round test fire pic I posted of the tube looking from above.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:10 AM
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i would be worried about the flat leading edges of the trap, anything that hits that, might ricochet in a bad way, outside the trap.
I'de put those behind sandbags, just to be safe.
Old 12-14-2009, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardDrive View Post
I had one when I was a kid. My dad and I would shoot our .22 in the back yard. Today I would imagine they would call a SWAT team.
NY State has a law on the books about no shooting within 100' of a dwelling. So even in the country - all that shooting of the front porch at beer cans is illegal.

I wonder about inside of a dwelling...
Old 12-14-2009, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svandamme View Post
i would be worried about the flat leading edges of the trap, anything that hits that, might ricochet in a bad way, outside the trap.
I'de put those behind sandbags, just to be safe.
I actually was thinking of building a rectangle frame of 6" x 6" lumber and attaching it to just cover the leading edges plus adding a slight buffer for errant shots. A 6 x 6 would slow an occasional errant shot down enough to avoid much damage. Behind the trap I might end up with a few sheets of plywood/scrap metal/carpet if I end up wanting to let others shoot in my shop. A hole or two in my sheet metal pole barn interior wall would not be the end of the world, but I would want to slow em down enough to keep them from going outside. All that said, my 16" x 16" opening is plenty for decent .22 target pistol shooters at my 40' max range where it presently sits. I have been mainly shooting at 25'.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:20 AM
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You're concerned about lead dust inside your building but not outside? What do your neighbors think? Do you care?

"I hate OSHA, EPA, etc,...."

That's apparent, but can you be a little more responsible with the lead dust you're creating?

Sherwood
Old 12-14-2009, 12:12 PM
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Sherwood.... Have you not seen pictures of Tims place? The neighbors are MILES away.... I doubt they notice any difference...
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:15 PM
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About the lumber frame, just make sure it's really soft wood, as a kid i once tagged myself one in the forehead with a lead break barrel airgun that way: plinking around at random objects about 6 meters away, when one ricoche'ed off some hard wood... it didn't do any real damage, but i sure felt it...
never mind if i would have gotten it in my eye...
Old 12-14-2009, 12:18 PM
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:18 PM
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