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  1. #1
    Expert bloodandgutsmurphy's Avatar

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    Building A Backstop and Need Some Help

    Good evening guys and gals,

    I am going to build a berm in my backyard and need some help. I live on 30 acres of land and it is legal in the county I live in (in case anyone is wondering).

    My idea is to buy some railroad ties to support a pile of dirt from the back and sides of it. I will probably have to place a tie in front of the pile to keep the dirt from spreading.

    My main questions are
    1) Where can I find railroad ties in Indiana? Or is there something else recommended?

    My dad said I have to keep everything neat and tidy: simply dumping a big heep in the back isn't an option.

    2) is clay a suitable material for a Backstop? My neighbor dug up his pond and has a mountain of the stuff lying around

    3) How does you guys attach stacked ties? Drill holes through them and run rebar through the holes?
    Last edited by bloodandgutsmurphy; 4 Weeks Ago at 22:41.

  2. #2
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    Bigtanker's Avatar

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    Menards sells RxR ties.


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  3. #3
    Expert bloodandgutsmurphy's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigtanker View Post
    Menards sells RxR ties.
    Thanks. How would you attach them? Drill holes and run rebar?

  4. #4
    Master CampingJosh's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodandgutsmurphy View Post
    Thanks. How would you attach them? Drill holes and run rebar?
    Yep.
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  5. #5
    Grandmaster Cameramonkey's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodandgutsmurphy View Post
    Thanks. How would you attach them? Drill holes and run rebar?
    I'd suggest treated 4x4s buried in the ground and cemented, then bolt the ties to the front of them, or lash them with rope until you can pile up the dirt to keep them in place.


    But with that much land, why not just piles of dirt/clay/etc? I'd only use ties if I wanted to limit the depth of the berms or didnt have access to lots of soil. It sounds like you may have access to plenty of dirt and lots of room. And you want depth of soil to stop the bullets.

    Personally I think you are over thinking it and you'd do fine with carefully piled berms of dirt.
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  6. #6
    Master Twangbanger's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cameramonkey View Post
    I'd suggest treated 4x4s buried in the ground and cemented, then bolt the ties to the front of them, or lash them with rope until you can pile up the dirt to keep them in place.


    But with that much land, why not just piles of dirt/clay/etc? I'd only use ties if I wanted to limit the depth of the berms or didnt have access to lots of soil. It sounds like you may have access to plenty of dirt and lots of room. And you want depth of soil to stop the bullets.

    Personally I think you are over thinking it and you'd do fine with carefully piled berms of dirt.
    Agree with CM; if meeting the specifications of a "tidiness Luddite" is one of your project constraints, then I understand what you're trying to do. But a mound of dirt with some vegetation allowed to grow on it eventually blends into the landscape nicely.

  7. #7
    I still care....Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twangbanger View Post
    Agree with CM; if meeting the specifications of a "tidiness Luddite" is one of your project constraints, then I understand what you're trying to do. But a mound of dirt with some vegetation allowed to grow on it eventually blends into the landscape nicely.
    Do the face in the ties as recommended and put a mound of that clay behind them. A deep mound. You can never have "TOO" much backstop.
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  8. #8
    Expert Simon6101's Avatar

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    I built a backstop for a Vet that I used to work for with railroad ties. WE drilled holes and stood 6X6 post up like we were running a fence and then stacked the ties in front of them. WE bought those long landscape screws and ran through the 6x6 post into the ties from the backside( this way we were less likely to hit them and cause a ricochet). WE then dragged every tree stump and log we could find on the property in behind the ties. WE then took his manure pile and backfilled on top of that. Everytime it rained we added more until we finally had it so that we could actually drive up the back side to the top of the ties. Didn't take long with the size pile and number of animals on the farm. His backstop ended up being about 8ft high
    2 to the chest and 1 above the vest

  9. #9
    Plinker

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    When I built my backstop, I put treated 4x4's up like fence posts and built a three sided box out of railroad ties (ties on the inside), one tie deep and two ties wide, 8 feet tall. After placing the ties, I lagged them to the 4x4 posts and placed diagonal supports on the outside to reinforce the fence posts. I then filled the box with a couple of triaxle loads of dirt. Clay will be fine, but put something on top that will grow grass to help with erosion. Your plan sounds similar to mine. It will will work great.

  10. #10
    Grandmaster shibumiseeker's Avatar

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    I built a 4’x4’platform 3’ off the ground with the base tilted forward about 10 degrees and 4’ high walls on three sides. Put a roof on it and dumped a tractor load of sand in it (about 10 cu ft) piled up against the back. I used it for years until it finally died a few months ago, working on V2 now.

    I use a kitty litter scoop to get the bullets, most of them are completely intact and undeformed unless it hit another bullet. I ran a few LRN .45 cast through my sizing die, reloaded them and shot them again.

    I shot everything I had pistol wise and rifle up to .308 (didn’t want to try my .50bmg) and other than piling the sand back against the back occasionally and adding a 5 gallon bucket of new sand, it took very little maintenance.

    Bullets don’t travel very far in loose sand or clay. Deepest I ever had to dig was 6-8”.

    IWTFM Eternal vigilance is the price of chickens. JFC advocate.

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