I built a shooting range in my yard when I first moved to my house. I set the backstop up at the bottom of one of the hills in my pasture, and I could shoot down at it from the top of another hill 100 yards away. It wasn’t ideal, though; the backstop hill was full of rocks, so ricochets were a big problem. I found a pile of 6×6 timbers and I lined the backstop area with those, and that worked until the cows started kicking rocks down from the top of the hill onto my ricochet-preventing timbers.
I finally quit being lazy and rebuilt my backstop farther out in the pasture, where there was another good hill to serve as a berm. From this new spot, I could move back to 600 yards. Much better. I stacked those 6×6 timbers to stop most of the bullets, and the ones that went through would be caught by the hill. I thought it was perfect, but then I shot at it. The timbers stopped most of the shots, but the ones that went through ricocheted off the rocks in the berm. Not good. I added another layer of 6x6es and some rubber trailer floor mats, and that worked – until I got a 6.5 Creedmoor.
I knew I was going to need to dig that backstop into the hill, so that there would be no chance of a pass-through shot. The hill itself would be my backstop. But that was a lot of digging, and I didn’t think I could make it happen – but then I inherited a tractor with a backhoe.
I finally finished my ricochet-proof backstop on Father’s Day. It was a lot of work, even with the tractor, but now there’s absolutely no chance of a ricochet. It only took me 12 years to get this thing done, which makes it one of the chores I’ve accomplished in the least amount of time. I’m rewarding myself for my hard work with shooting sessions every evening.