by Vinh Nguyen (@nguyenkvvn)

A lot of folks have been asking me about my bullet trap that I use for testing, so I decided to write a small guide.

Backstory

I realized early on how inconvenient (and expensive!) range trips were. I wondered if there was a way to test my firearms indoors, especially without having to go out.

Thanks to the drum, I’m not held up by range trips- I can go downstairs to test out my designs at my own leisure, at any time of the day, no matter how brief if a visit or test it may be.

Disclaimer

These instructions are provided to you free of charge without any warranty expressed or implied. You are responsible for building and using the drum and plans safely. Neither Vinh nor CtrlPew contributors can be held responsible or liable for any injuries, deaths, or property damage from use or misuse of these instructions.

Materials

  • x1 55-gallon drum w/ lid and locking latch
  • x7 bags of 1.5 cu. ft. rubber mulch (Can be seasonally found at Costco: https://www.costco.com/ground-smart-rubber-mulch-in-cedar-red-or-mocha-brown.product.100462361.html)
  • x4 2x4in 96in long
  • a pack of general purpose screws for wood
  • x4 caster wheels (2835T16 from McMaster-Carr)
  • x1 60lbs Quikrete Concrete Mix

Building the Frame

 

First, you will need a frame for the barrel to sit on, as the end-result will weigh over nearly 100 lbs.
You will need to prepare the following beams:
  • x2 24in – vertical beams
  • x1 19.43in – vertical center strut
  • x4 23.43in – horizontal center struts
  • x2 40.89in – length-wise perimeter
  • x2 40.9 in – diagonal struts (cut to fit)
Begin assembly in the following steps:
  1. Lay the perimeter beams, and bind two of the horizontal center structs stacked together on each end.
  2. Mount the caster wheels on each of the four corners.
  3. Mount the vertical center strut on the same side as the caster wheels.
  4. Mount the two vertical beams on the same sides as each other on any end of the frame. Make sure they are pointed up from the caster wheels.
  5. Use the vertical center strut to connect the two beams together.
  6. Fit and secure the diagonal beams to fit, from the vertical beams to the frame.
Preparing the drum

This is important- choose where you want this drum permanently. It will not leave your home given its sheer weight. After your choose a location to place your drum move on to putting it together:

Now it’s time to test the fitment of the frame with the drum, as well as make the necessary adjustments to the frame.

Slide the drum onto the frame. The front lip should be accessible, and not obstructed by any part of the frame. In addition, you should be able to place the lid on top and remove it without any trouble.

With the lid on the drum, drill a 3in wide hole with a hand drill into the aluminum lid, directly in the center. Using some electrical or Gorilla Tape, cover up the rough edges of the hole, so that it doesn’t scratch your guns (or cut your hand!).

Using the largest bit you have, create six holes in the shape of a triangle, spaced roughly six inches apart from each other on the top of the drum. (This is so the gasses can vent.)

Building the drum

Remove the drum from the frame. Insert the materials in this order into the drum:

  1. Concrete – Mix the bag of concrete in a separate container. When the concrete is adequately mixed, pour it onto the bottom of the drum, ensuring it evenly spread across the floor of it. Be sure the drum is on the floor and the concrete is evenly spread across the base of the drum.
  2. Rubber pellets – After the concrete dries, pour the rubber pellets into the drum. At about the third bag, mount the drum onto the frame, then continue to pour in the pellets.
Using the drum

Here are some general guidelines for using the drum:

1. Be careful of how you shoot – ideally, the drum should be angled in a way that is easy for you to shoot perpendicularly to the lid. All your shots should be parallel to the depth of the drum, and perpendicular to the lid. This ensures your bullet’s path encounters the most debris to slow it down.
  1. Ventilation is important – you need to have proper airflow in whatever room you are shooting in. Otherwise, you will trip fire alarms, and breath in lead.
  2. Be considerate – the drum is quiet, but it is not sound-proof. You won’t be able to hear any rounds outside if the drum is in the basement of a 4-wall brick home, but anyone upstairs one floor might.
  3. Use hearing protection – just because the drum may make your shots hearing safe, doesn’t mean that you can rely on it, especially given user error. Wear hearing and eye protection when using the drum.
  4. Clean out the drum from time to time – if you sling a lot of lead into the drum, it is recommended you clean out any lead from it every 500 rounds. Use gloves and a mask to avoid breathing in lead.
Closing thoughts

I hope that, with this bullet trap made from a simple 55-gallon drum, you would be able to expedite your testing safely as I have. I’m pleased with the convenience it has afforded me to be able to test on my own time, especially indoors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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nguyenkvvn

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