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Question on building berms or barriers.


Kirk James

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In the promotional video "light them up" I noticed they had some wooden walls for dividers between bays.  What is the most economical way to build barriers for cowboy action?   

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If space isn't at a premium, dirt would be the cheapest. I have seen railroad ties stacked and the massive concrete retaining blocks used for construction zones.

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We used railroad ties. Works well. 

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The ranges I shoot at have all used dirt.

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First what do you want to accomplish?  A little visual isolation or allow down range movement?

 

For visual separation a simple wooden fence is relatively inexpensive and performs well with just a little annual maintenance.

 

For down range movement, dirt is by far the safest as nothing short of artillery an round is going to penetrate it. Down side is dirt berms take up a lot of space.

 

Railroad ties seem like a logical alternative when space is at a premium but they have a serious flaw. Used ties are prone to damaged areas that compromise their integrity allowing a round to penetrate. A single layer is also not sufficient as a round can penetrate the crack where two ties meet.

 

If you can get access to them the interlocking concrete building blocks work well. However they do reflect noise really well. Some people counter this with a layer of wood glued to the blocks with construction adhesive.  They do require a good base so that they can be properly stacked with no cracks between them.

 

More labor intensive is a hollow wall filled with pea gravel, rubber mulch or dirt. The disadvantage to dirt is that holds moisture so the wood will not last as long.. The walls need to be separated by at lest 5 inches on the inside to ensure that even a hot round will not penetrate. 

 

 

 

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I have seen dirt, cinder blocks and wood (timbers between I beams). Heard of railroad ties and telephone poles, just never seen em.

Dirt is best but takes up the most space.

Cinder blocks take less space, but as mentioned need a good base. And point blank hot loads may punch through.

The timbers, I thought, was a good idea (neat and tidy) until I started thinking about the ricochet potential from the I beams. Very sturdy, small footprint

Telephone poles and railroad ties alternated would make a good barrier, but who wants to get near that stuff? And in hot climates, they will be melty and stinky.

Find a friend (or brother in law) with an excavator or backhoe or front end loader and do the dirt.

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A local Club uses LARGE hay bales, stacked as dividers. Dirt berms for the back. A point blank shot with a lead slug was tried and did not penetrate. 

My 2 bits.

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Dirt is good for stopping bullets but need repair as rains slowly erode the berms.  A local public shooting range has an additional problem: Lead miners sneak in and sift dirt from the front berms for lead to cast.  They can quickly destroy a berm if not stopped.

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The biggest question... where are you going to build a range in expensive Sedona? Anything you may build in the National Forest is going to be destroyed the other 29 days a month that Yavapai Rangers don't shoot. Avoid all that headache and join us at Granite Mountain Outlaws or Whiskey Row Gun Slingers!

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1 hour ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

Dirt is good for stopping bullets but need repair as rains slowly erode the berms.  ...

 

Good grass cover will limit erosion. 

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My club has used vertical 6 x 6s with 2 x 12s bolted through horizontal on each side filled with gravel. Pretty bulletproof, kind of expensive, maintenance can be difficult if boards start to warp or deteriorate. On the other hand, they don't take up much space and really do last a long time.  

 

FYI

Rev. Chase

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Look up Hesco barriers. The local range uses them. 

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1 hour ago, Matthew Duncan said:

 

Good grass cover will limit erosion. 

Grass is a great option, but not an option here in the desert.  

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Used truck tires filled with dirt work well too.

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5 minutes ago, DeaconKC said:

Used truck tires filled with dirt work well too.

Watch out for the reinforcing wires that hang out.  They cut like a knife.

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Our club laid builders plastic on flat ground and made up timber frames 32' x 4' and poured concrete into them (put a couple of steel pipes in) when they'd set we had a crane lift them with chains through the inserted steel pipes and placed into concreted H beams.

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Our club was looking to build a barrier 150' long and 10' high between a rifle range and a gun club roadway.  We considered the pressure treated timber wall filled with gravel.  The cost of pressure treated wood was astronomical, plus the amount of labor to build it would be substantial.  We actually came out cheaper by pouring a concrete wall.  Any company that can pour basements can do the work and it'll last forever with no maintenance.

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You can get Free Tires from just about any tire shop !

Stack tires overlapping and fill with dirt .

It will last forever .

Just Sayin 

Rooster 

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17 hours ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

Grass is a great option, but not an option here in the desert.  

With desert conditions there wouldn't be a lot of erosion would there?

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One of the most effective I have seen, that took up the least horizontal space, was a combination of wood and dirt.  They built a "fence" using 6x6 posts (might have been 8x8) with 4x6 horizontal timbers up both sides.  They installed a liner on the insides of the 4x6 timbers and filled the cavity (about 5 1/2" for the 6x6 post or 7 1/2" for the 8x8 post ) with dirt.  The wood will absorb any impacts and the dirt will prevent pass through of any rounds.  As a test, the built a small section and fired a 30-06 directly into it from a distance of a couple of feet.  Round made it through the first timber, but was stopped by the dirt and never hit the second timber.

 

While the dirt will settle over time, it can be refilled from the top with no problems.  You could use railroad timbers if you had them available in place of the 4x6 timbers just as well.  I thought I had pictures on my phone, but can't find them.  This was at the range in Fort White, Florida, the home of the Darkness Falls and Dark Day on the Santa Fe matches held in January.

 

We have dirt berms at the club where I am match director, and a combination of dirt berms and cinder block filled with dirt at another.  With the dirt berms, you can in fact fire into them, although we do try to minimize that, but not with the cinder block.  We attach plywood to the sides of the cinder block walls to minimize damage from ricochets and splatter, but they still take a beating, and firing into them would destroy them.

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22 hours ago, Reverend P. Babcock Chase said:

My club has used vertical 6 x 6s with 2 x 12s bolted through horizontal on each side filled with gravel. Pretty bulletproof, kind of expensive, maintenance can be difficult if boards start to warp or deteriorate. On the other hand, they don't take up much space and really do last a long time.  

 

FYI

Rev. Chase

one of our clubs did this with plywood. it probably lasted 15 years

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6 hours ago, Matthew Duncan said:

With desert conditions there wouldn't be a lot of erosion would there?

Heck yeah! They had to close the range here in Chino Valley when we had a frog strangler this summer! It washed dirt away and started to collapse railroad tie walls. When we get rain in the summer, it comes in buckets. The Navajo call the summer rains, male rain because it is powerful and damaging. They call the winter rains female rains because their soft and nurturing.

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Here is how one place does it. Ignore the guy in the middle...

 

image.thumb.png.314ac04a17e8a4da909523809c23d917.png

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A lot of great ideas.  Anyone else please.  Look at the walls in the light em up video.  Looks like simple construction but you cannot see what they were made of.  

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