55 Gallon Bullet Trap – How to build

Being able to step onto your back deck and magdump into the mountain side is truly a gift. Its a slice of the American Dream that the founding fathers intended us all to experience. Unfortunately, for most of us the back deck of our homes points directly at the back deck of our neighbors who would probably not appreciate us magdump into it (which is what you’re going to get if you don’t return that drill Ted!). So in order to preserve the peace and not concern the neighborhood watch to much were going to build a 55 Gallon bullet trap for you to install in your basement, workshop, or garage.

A few considerations before we begin. This project is designed to capture a bullet (up to 556 but this is DIY so your mileage may vary) but not mitigate sound, or hazardous material like lead. And these are things you should be thinking about while/before you start on this project.

Materials List

  • x1 55-gallon drum w/ lid and locking latch – Preferably a clean one. Make sure you know how to deal with any residue remaining.
  • 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 60-120lbs Quikrete Concrete Mix

Cut List

  • 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)

Lay the perimeter beams, and bind two of the horizontal center structs stacked together on each end.
Mount the caster wheels on each of the four corners.
Mount the vertical center strut on the same side as the caster wheels.
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.
Use the vertical center strut to connect the two beams together.
Fit and secure the diagonal beams to fit, from the vertical beams to the frame.

Preparing the drum

Choose where you want this drum permanently. It will not leave your home given its sheer weight.

Slide the drum onto the frame. 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.)

Concrete – Set the drum on a flat surface. Mix and pour in the concrete.  Wait a full day for it to cure before proceeding.

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.

  • Hazmat – Lead dust from catching your bullets is a real thing. Ventilation in the room where this is installed would be a good thing. Not to mention breathing all the gas from the powder burning probably isnt the best idea.
  • Magdumps are bad – Sexy but bad.
  • EarPro – The drum will dampen it a bit but its not hearing safe.
  • EyePro – Obvious reasons.
  • Maintinence – The barrel will need to be cleaned out every 500-1k rounds to deal with the lead buildup and check the degradation of your rubber pellets. Wear gloves and a mask to avoid inhaling as much lead as possible. Check your state laws regarding its disposal.


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