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  #1  
Old 09-03-2009, 08:39 PM
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Default Bullet Trap

Built myself a bullet trap this week and was very disappointed in the amount of of lead that was recovered. Most of it in my catch basin was dust or very small chips. Seemed not worth the trouble. How do I recover my lead?

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Cork
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jchapm9 View Post
Built myself a bullet trap this week and was very disappointed in the amount of of lead that was recovered. Most of it in my catch basin was dust or very small chips. Seemed not worth the trouble. How do I recover my lead?

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Cork
Don't know what type of trap you built. If its a hardened steel plate set at an angle and you are shooting hard cast bullet at high velocity they'll do just as you found and fragment when hitting the hard surface. You can try reducing your velocity if you reload to help reduce the fragmentation or you can use something in front or incorporated in the trap to slow the bullet down before it reaches the plate.

The indoor range I shoot at has a snail type trap where the bullet deflects and goes through a snail like set of baffles that decelerates it till it drops into a trough at the back of the trap. This has aged over the 20 years its been in service and they have added a loose fill that looks like rubber pices probably from shredded tires, you see this type of product in some play grounds that is used to replace sand. Its supposed to be easier on kids when they fall.

Anyway, such a product may be to slow the rounds down or it may just be there to prevent fragment bounce back or lead dust from coming back into the range.

A sand barrier would normally stop the bullet and you could recover the lead using a sieve or another way is to throw the sand and spent bullet mix into a cement mixer and run water into it to wash out the sand, the lead being heavier will be left, similar to a sluice to mine for gold.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:23 PM
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I've been thinking of doing the same thing. Mine was basically going to be sheet steel angled down into---?

I'd be interested to know what alloy you're shooting. I use straight wheel weights, and when I shoot my steel gongs out at the gravel pit, I don't find the remains of many bullets.

Maybe a bullet trap works best with low power loads.

Anyone got any good ideas.

Jim
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:02 PM
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I have a bullet trap and have experienced the same problem. I put an old inner tube in the bottom of mine and this helps to some degree. In order to remelt the lead you will need to clean the trap out frequently because bullets entering the trap further pulverize the lead already in it.

Powdered lead is like dross it wont melt at typical lead melting temps.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:10 PM
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Sand catches lead bullets, but as the lead piles up, subsequent shots hit the bullets and send them flying every which way. I've seen them land behind the firing line.

A lead bullet hitting a steel plate does not leave much bullet to pick up, just a little disc.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:10 PM
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I once fashioned a bullet trap in order to salvage bullet metal but experienced the same thing.Found it was more trouble than it was worth.
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:45 AM
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You guys are over thinking this. I'm uploading some pics into photobucket of my trap. It's cheap, simple, reusable, and bullets are recovered in one piece....no dust.

Trap, front view


Top/side view with top door open. Inside is 90# of rubber mulch


Back view with arresting plate (old umbrella stand 1/4" thick) dented from my 185gr Beartooth bullet round I use on boars...dents occured after bullet penetrated 24" of mulch


Overall view. The target would equate to a head shot on a 6" person. You can make it whatever height you wish.



Bullets are collected via using shop vac without attachment. The mulch gets sucked, most of the bullets drop out. You could just dump the mulch into salt water to make the rubber float and lead sink. The mulch does a decent job at predicting expansion and penetration, so long as there are no other bullets to crash into each other.

Here are what some of the recovered bullets look like.

Last edited by pps; 09-04-2009 at 01:09 AM. Reason: added pictures
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:22 AM
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PPS , I know some people who have built something similar except they used sand for filler. Of course this made it necessary to have an angle iron frame around the thing to hold it together.

The rubber mulch is a much better way to go.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:35 AM
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For a plate type stop, you need to have sides to catch the splash when the bullet splatters on the angled back plate. Dust and chips melt into ingots just the same as whole bullets.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:54 AM
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PPS, what a great idea/invention!

Can you explain the front a little more? Is the front wood or cardboard. How often does it get replaced and what happens to the mulch? By the pic it looks like the front slides up and down for replacement??

Thanks
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:30 AM
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The front is cardboard. It gets replaced when it will no longer accept staples to hold the paper targets.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
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The front is cardboard. It gets replaced when it will no longer accept staples to hold the paper targets.
Thanks, I also meant to ask what are the rough dimensions of the box itself?
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:02 AM
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Mine is 18"x18" and 24" deep
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Old 09-04-2009, 04:40 PM
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Thanks again.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:16 PM
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I have made a similar trap for garage shooting .22lr, I use 12” of rubber mulch. You will obviously need more for higher calibers. I posted it on the lounge a couple of months ago.
I use a commercial self sealing target backer made by justshootmeproducts.com, works like a charm.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:25 PM
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The target would equate to a head shot on a 6" person.


That would be pretty good shooting. That's shooting a nickle sized target.
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckloads View Post
The target would equate to a head shot on a 6" person.


That would be pretty good shooting. That's shooting a nickle sized target.
lol...yep...used a macro lens for the pictures. Sorry about the typo...supposed to have said 6 FOOT person.
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:02 PM
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After reading what you all have posted I will agree with my wife that I am dumb as a clam. I want my bullet trap to bust the bullets up so they won't ricochet and be dangerous. I didn't know the purpose was to save bullets. Larry
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:14 PM
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Great trap and explaination. Where does one buy the rubber multch?
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:34 PM
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Great trap and explaination. Where does one buy the rubber multch?
You can't. Must have a rubber trees and shred it up

Most Home Centers have it. Supposed to be Eco Friendly
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:01 PM
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i shoot a big oak stump, alot of my cast bullets fall back out , i can remelt them one day,
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:48 PM
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If anyone is interested, this is roughly how a comercialy made rubber Gran trap is made.

This top picture is the steel frame that holds the bedplates and the ground up rubber.



The next picture is the bedplates attached to the framework. This also shows the fill line for the rubber. The bedplates only hold the rubber the bullets should never contact the steel if the trap is properly maintained.



The last pic shows the trap filled with rubber. The rubber that we used was more like cubed up than shredded.




The granulated rubber was covered with pure gum rubber sheets which had a great "self healing" properties.

This trap was good for up to .308 ballistics or so. Remember---NO TRACERS with the rubber.

The gran trap dose a great job of stopping the bullet with just basically friction. The bullet is kept intact until the trap gets too full and bullets start banging into each other.

This is another kind of rubber trap. It works fine for a low volume range. It is three rows of the belts in a herringbone pattern. We installed these in mostly crime labs and private residences.


I hope these pictures helped with some ideas that you already had.

Last edited by target tech; 09-06-2009 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:23 PM
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Great info and pictures!. Thanks for sharing those.

How is the lead sorted out when the rubber base is filled up?. Some type of sorting machine?
I watched the process at a State run outdoor range when they came and sifted out the giant dirt berms and put the lead in 55 gal steel containers. What a job!. They were there for over a week doing 2 rifle ranges and a handgun range. Very efficient operation though.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:17 PM
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In my 12” X 12” X 12” box filled with mulch the bullets tend to migrate to the bottom and since I am shooting in the center the bullets look undamaged. I haven’t felt the need to harvest the lead yet but it will be easy to do. I am not seeing much mulch break up, I had imagined the need to keep topping it off.
There must be 20 places around here who sell the stuff, very good for pathways. If I were going to build an outdoor range without a concrete pad I would put rubber mulch on the ground, very good to walk and stand on.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:40 AM
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Caswell sells a giant industrial "shop vac" for recycling the trap. It has either a 220v electric motor for indoor use or a Briggs and Stratten for big outdoor ranges. There is no can on the vac just a big 6" dia pick up tube and an exhaust tube, to blow the rubber back into the trap. You basically shovel the contents of the trap out onto the floor of the range and carefully vacume the rubber up, leaving the lead bullets on the floor. A trap recycle is a very messy and EPA/OSHA regulated affair, that is why there are outside companys like the ones that go arround and do asbestos abatement to take care of the recycles.
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