Need Backyard Range Advice


New Member
Oct 28, 2008
I'm considering putting in a 100-yd range in my backyard, which looks out over a HUGE cotton field. Had an idea the other day that I'd appreciate some feedback on:

Has anyone ever used or considered using a dirt-filled dumpster for a backstop instead of a dirt berm?

I will primarily be using 9mm pistol (mostly 7- to 20-yds out) and .223 AR, but may be picking up a .270 or .30-06 later on. I have some ideas on possible problems with this, but I want to see what others say before I bring them up.

Any and all advice/comments gratefully accepted.


New Member
Oct 28, 2008
Steel or "plastic"...depends on what I can get and how thick the steel is, I guess. Don't want anything that's going to spit lead back at me.


Active Member
Apr 28, 2008
Kenefick, TX
The only potential issue I see is that dumpsters are small, in relation to the "normal" size berm.

If you are talking about a standard dumpster they are what, 6 foot wide x 5-6 tall? Small backstop for the longer ranges.

If talking about a 40 yard construction roll off dumpster I agree that they are about 7 ft tall x 23 feet long and when filled with dirt or sand would make a very good bullet catcher except, for the fact that unless you already have one it would be cost prohibitive to dedicate it to that purpose. (It could even be laid over on its side so the open top becomes the front and removes the metal side from the ricochet equation.)



TGT Addict
TGT Supporter
Jul 16, 2008
(It could even be laid over on its side so the open top becomes the front and removes the metal side from the ricochet equation.)

On a commercial dumpster, the upper edges are going to be at least a couple inches wide (reinforcing the upper edges of the dumpster). Bad idea if concerned with ricocheting.

At 100 yards, I'd get an uneasy feeling lobbing bullets towards active croplands if the berm (and it would be earthen only) wasn't at least 8 feet in height and twice as wide. Just my

Bullseye Shooter

Active Member
Apr 28, 2008
Texas Panhandle
East is a bad choice if you plan on shooting in the morning. Most ranges point north since the sun in the winter time will be behind you and in the summer, overhead but not in your eyes. The targets will not have any shadows on them.

The rifle range at Wichita Falls points east and at the last High Power match, I had a hard time seeing the target through the rear aperature on my AR. Next time, I'll wait and shoot the second relay. At least by that time the sun should be a little higher in the sky. It would have been nicer if it had been cloudy.


Active Member
Jan 9, 2009
Round Rock
I would be very concerned about bounce backs with low velocity rounds like .380 and maybe .45. If you did get penetration, the dirt would eventually start to spill out. You would eat an area out that would let large amounts of dirt spill.

For my backstop I used old tires stacked up and filled with wood scraps. two layers deep stopped 7.62 NATO FMJ's w/o difficulty. If you know someone with a tire splitter, stacking the halves would be a very sturdy backstop. There is still a small bounce back potential with .32 ACP and .380 ACP. I just made a frame with a thin plywood face to staple targets to. The plywood caught all the bounce backs and were found on the ground between the tires and frame.


Jan 6, 2009
Sandbags? Have you thought of buying sandbags and stacking them up for the final back wall, as well as, setting a wall with an opening (window) about 10ft out so that the field of fire is limited so much that the normal size target down range is the only thing that can be shot without an intentional pointing of the firearm in the opposite direction? This way your neighbors cannot complain about where the bullet is actually going.



Greeneye Tactical
third coast
DK Firearms
Tyrant Designs
Every Day Man

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Latest member
Top Bottom