RepackboxWidenersInline FabricationADvertise here
Lee PrecisionRotoMetals2Titan Reloading

Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Small bullet trap concerns- ideas?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Posts
    5

    Small bullet trap concerns- ideas?

    Have an old bullet trap I found on craigslist, it had a sticker on it saying it was rated for handgun use only, but there was no manufacturer info anywhere. The trap weighs about a hundred lbs itself and has a curved top plate that deflects the bullet into a spot behind a baffle where the bullets collect. It is not a snail trap unfortunately, I think that would be better. I have not seen anything on the internet that is the same, but it clearly was a commercial product at one point.

    Anyhow the trap works well for stopping handgun rounds, but it kicks up a visible cloud of lead dust when you use it, although .22 rounds don't seem to have the same problem so much. I believe the trap is at least partially made from armor steel as it is shattering the bullets it stops. Anyhow the lead dust is so bad that I haven't been using it until I figure out a way to not contaminate the area so much, and I don't want to breathe any of it in either. I shoot steel targets as well and the fragmentation off those does not consist of dust. All I can think is that each incoming round at the trap just keeps pounding fragments into the pile of lead in the trap, so it is constantly smashing the particles smaller and smaller until it can become dust and then it gets airborne.

    So I was wondering if anyone has ideas. I am thinking of putting a rubber sheet over the entrance to the trap to stop dust from getting out, and now I am wondering if I should pour in a quart or two of oil to help trap the fragments. It will make a mess to clean it out, but I am more concerned about breathing that stuff. Plus the oil will just help flux when I smelt the lead right?

    Another idea would be to dump in a bunch of the rubber mulch (shredded tires) to see if that might keep them from getting so smashed up.

    Anyhow if anybody has ideas I would love to hear them. Hoping to be able to recover my lead, just not willing to breath any of it in the process.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    329
    I don't know if this is still kosher, but my grandfather used to take me to an indoor range that used conveyor belt against the impact area and the bullets fell into a pan of water held at the bottom. I don't recall there being any dust to speak of.
    But of course lead toxicity does mess with the memory......

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    3,945
    a picture might help
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  4. #4
    How about a mister like they use for flower beds.
    A steam mister across the top inside.
    Maybe a row of small nozzles or injectors to create a mist curtain that would wet the dust and contain it making the stuff fall to the floor.
    Or something along those lines.
    I think some spray paint booths pull the exhaust air through a mist curtain to weight down the air and catch the particulate on the collection containers.

  5. #5
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    1,545
    When a lead boolit hits steel there will be some dust! I would assume you will be 20 - 100 feet away when this occurs. I have the front of my boolit trap (snail type) covered with cardboard that stops most of the dust and any "shards" from escaping. I just wait for the dust to settle before emptying it slowly (to prevent more dust)

    I believe that if you put a pan of oil in there you would have oil all over everything and running out the front after the first shot


    With the rubber mulch, you don't even need a trap, it is a trap. for most handgun and rifle rounds, a large bucket full of rubber mulch shot through a piece of cardboard or? covering the front/keeping the mulch in will stop the boolits,

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Conditor22 View Post
    When a lead boolit hits steel there will be some dust! I would assume you will be 20 - 100 feet away when this occurs. I have the front of my boolit trap (snail type) covered with cardboard that stops most of the dust and any "shards" from escaping. I just wait for the dust to settle before emptying it slowly (to prevent more dust)

    I believe that if you put a pan of oil in there you would have oil all over everything and running out the front after the first shot


    With the rubber mulch, you don't even need a trap, it is a trap. for most handgun and rifle rounds, a large bucket full of rubber mulch shot through a piece of cardboard or? covering the front/keeping the mulch in will stop the boolits,
    I remember an older thread where one of the members here used a 55 gal drum with rubber mulch in the top 2/3 (spacer in the bottom I think) and I believe he said it stopped everything he ever shot into it.

    He used plyboard in front but had to keep replacing it as the front board kept getting chewed up. Figure a rubber front or some sort of self healing design and you'd be in business

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Cecilia, Kentucky
    Posts
    3,287
    Mild steel will disintegrate pistol bullets same as armor plate will. My guess on the dust is that the incoming bullets are throwing up debris from the previous bullets. Personally I'd use something like oiled sawdust or sand to curtail the fragments. A rubber sheet might be a good solution for a time but will wear.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    716
    if one uses sand inside how do you separate the lead bits and sand after? assuming your using a catch for recycling purposes

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Cecilia, Kentucky
    Posts
    3,287
    Quote Originally Posted by bmortell View Post
    if one uses sand inside how do you separate the lead bits and sand after? assuming your using a catch for recycling purposes
    That's a good question. I spoke the idea without thinking it through. Sand traps bullets no problem but the dust from a bullet trap would be a different story. I suppose you could throw the sand in and smelt it off? I don't think it would cause any issues but admittedly I haven't done it. The oiled sawdust would be better all the way around.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Hudson Valley NY
    Posts
    905
    Get a horse stall mat & cut it to size, you'll get several fronts from one mat & it's somewhat self-healing. I've seen several youtube vids of guys using these for similar reasons.

    https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...t?cm_vc=-10005

    https://www.ruralking.com/quality-ru...BoCo2IQAvD_BwE

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    212
    Quote Originally Posted by bmortell View Post
    if one uses sand inside how do you separate the lead bits and sand after? assuming your using a catch for recycling purposes
    My bullet traps are 18" H x 24" W and 10" deep filled with sand.
    They are mounted on 2x4s planted in the ground vertically.
    The front is old plywood screwed into the front and back of the box.

    When the front plywood gets shot up I unscrew the front and let the sand fall into a wheelbarrow that has a 2'x3' frame with 1/4' metal screen.
    It works just fine and I recover everything down to 22LR bullets.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    1,138
    Rizzo, does the sand in your trap catch the bullets directly, or is there a deflector plate that directs them into it? I imagine that deflector designs have a lot more small fragments that will not be caught in a quarter inch screen.
    Last edited by kevin c; 01-05-2020 at 01:45 AM. Reason: Editing my edit

  13. #13
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    In the beautiful timber of the PNW
    Posts
    75
    I use old workout foam mats as a wipe over my bullet trap. If ya move your targets around the wipe lasts longer.

    My bullet trap is a 5 gal bucket with a disc of 3/4 plywood in the bottom, 1 bag of rubber mulch from a big box store, 1 disc of workout mat 1/4 - 3/8 thick and the lid snaps on. The best part is the bullets stay whole for the most part. And go directly back into the pot.

    I shoot thru the lid and it stops up to a 357 from a rifle. 223 zip thru.

    Lids and buckets are free from a friend who is a painter.

  14. #14
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    1,545
    mats https://www.harborfreight.com/search?q=mats

    10 inches of sand should stop almost anything you shoot at it -- quicker than rubber mulch - a 5 gal bucket full of rubber mulch stops 06 and 556.

    we cut cardboard to fit the top and hold it in with 4 screws from the sides. sand is heavier but drains - boolit retrieval is easier. with the bucket of rubber mulch, we wait for several outings before dumping it out and picking out the boolits.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    In the beautiful timber of the PNW
    Posts
    75
    My mulch traps weigh 30-35lbs depending on how much lead. I dont want them much heavier because I carry them 50 yards to the shop for lead retreval. I only empty these every 3 or 4 months.

    Sand is a great media, just heavy. And even heavier when wet.

    There is a guy on youtube...paul herrell, I think is his name. He does some caliber comparisons, or ammo type comparrisons and will use wadded up fleece blankets as a stop. I forgot about that. Ill load a bucket with fleece one of these days...works for him tied up in a old belt.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    716
    he uses fleece to stop things after they have already went through a foot of water based materials

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Carmel, Ca
    Posts
    2,376
    If I remember right, wet sand is not nearly as effective as dry sand for stopping bullets. Over 100 kinds of sand too. Google booming sand.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    212
    Quote Originally Posted by kevin c View Post
    Rizzo, does the sand in your trap catch the bullets directly, or is there a deflector plate that directs them into it? I imagine that deflector designs have a lot more small fragments that will not be caught in a quarter inch screen.
    No deflector used.
    I also screw a piece of cardboard to the face of my bullet traps.
    Then use push pins to hold the targets that I use.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    146
    Unless this is an indoor range, why not just use a berm to trap bullets?

  20. #20
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Posts
    5
    Tried to upload some photos of this thing but no luck for some reason.

    Anyhow- I don't mind lead projectiles in my berm, or even fragments, but the fine particle cloud of lead dust coming out of the trap is much more likely to get breathed in or transfered to clothing/ etc. I am LE range instructor, with far too much lead exposure already from all that (poorly ventilated indoor range we used for years...).

    And I want to trap the bullets so I can reuse the lead and make more!

    I have plenty of experience with large traps- old style Caswell traps, rubber berms, Action Target TCT, etc, but those had good ventilation for one thing, but also they never had as much fine particle creation as this little one.

    Oil or water was used at times on some of the older traps, and Savage still makes a water trap that they claim is very clean.

    Anyhow I looked at it and took photos to show (not that they would upload), and I think if I put in some rubber mulch in the rear most chamber it will stop the bullets from completely shattering. Gonna try it as a bag of the stuff is only $7.

    Appreciate all the input and help, I will keep trying to get the photos to work as I think others might be interested in how this little trap works. I looked at a lot of info on homemade traps like a barrel full of rubber mulch, then happened to find this commercial trap on Craigslist. It has to be at least 50 years old, and I scoured the internet looking at old bullet trap photos and never saw a similar one.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check