How to Build a Bullet Backstop Outdoors

By Jennifer Young

A bullet backstop is a device constructed to stop bullets fired at the device. Backstops are installed on firing ranges according to safety philosophies endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the National Skeet Shooting Association. These devices ensure that bullets won't continue to travel and potentially cause injury to humans, animals or property. The size, location and bracing of backstops differs depending on the size of the range and the caliber of bullet fired.

Measure and mark a piece of steel plate that is 12 inches by 18 inches. Cut the marked area with an angle grinder.

Drill holes in each corner approximately 1/2 inch from the edges of the corner.

Measure, mark and cut the following pieces of 2-by-4 inch lumber with a circular saw: two pieces measuring 12 inches, two pieces measuring 8 1/2 inches.

Place one end of each of the pieces cut in Step 3 in a miter saw set at a 45 degree angle. Cut the angle on the widest edge of each piece.

Place the two pieces measuring 12 inches parallel to each other on a flat surface. The angled ends should be vertically positioned on the right. The shortest edge should be on the top.

Place the two 8 1/2-inch pieces in a vertical position on the left end of the parallel base pieces. The angled ends should be on top. The pieces should be turned so that the narrow edges align and the longest edge is on the left or edge of the bases. Secure the vertical supports to the corresponding base pieces.

Position the steel plate so that it lays flat against the mitered edges. Rotate the plate as needed so that the 12-inch edges are horizontal.

Spread the base and vertical support pieces apart until properly spaced. Insert screws through the drilled holes and into the vertical supports and bases to secure the plate to the structure.

Measure the height, width and angle of the sides of the base. Measure, mark and cut two pieces of plywood to the proper size. Mount the plywood to the base structure.

Paint the structure and plate with outdoor spray paint. Allow the paint to dry.

Position the backstop in the desired location so that the steel plate is sloped away from the firing position.

Fill five sandbags with sand using a shovel. Place one sandbag on the left and right side of the backstop against the base. Position three sandbags along the back of the steel plate so that the sandbags are pushed against the steel plate without moving the location of the backstop.

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