When the Bullet Trap arrived, it was boxed as shown below. Throughout this review, clicking on a photo will bring up a higher resolution photo.
After opening the box, the basic components are shown below.
Also in the box were the following printed items; Instructions, Warnings, Registration & Returns.
I arranged the pieces is their approximate locations for assembly. Note that there were actually 10 screws and the photo only shows 9. One screw was stuck in the bent piece of metal used for hanging the targets.
I placed the back and bottom pieces in their correct pistons for assembly so you can see how the trap system is supposed to work.
Each side installs easily with the 5 screws and an Alan wrench provided with the bullet trap.
Before I got if fully assembled, I took measurements to understand the thickness of the steel. The back plate thickness measured at 0.198" (2/10th".
The bottom plate thickness measured 0.107" (1/10th").
The side plate thickness measured 0.097" (1/10th").
When you are assembling it, you need to remember to put the back rod in place. All of this information is covered in the instructions provided in the packaging.
Assembly was extremely easy and I had no issues.
Do-All advertises this as a 10"x11" target area. I would say it is more realistically about 9"x11". It seems you lose some area at the top by hanging the target and then also at the bottom due to the trap area.
Since I didn't want to deal with any potential stray bullet and holes in my wall, I placed the target on a shelf that I made quickly for my backstop.
The photo below shows the target with a 8.5"x11" target.
This photo shows the target after shooting two shots. At this point I must be honest and say that I was not shooting at the minimum distance of 25 yards. Actually I was at 7 yards while shooting my pistol. After the first shot, I thought I felt something like blowing sand hitting me in the face. I shot one more time and it was clear that I was having lead splatter bounce back 7 yards and hitting my face. If you observe the upper target area closely, you can see that the splatter actually penetrated the paper as it bounced back. Just to be clear, you need to understand that the difference between shooting at 7 yards versus 25 yards will be very small when you compare bullet energy. Basically you will get the same results (energy transfer at the target like splatter & dust) at both distances. Since I'm shooting a pistol and not a rifle, there is a possibility that a rifle at 25 yards may have more energy due to increased bullet velocity than a pistol at 7 yards.
I was shooting Winchester 36 Grain Xpert 22 Hollow Points.
After the first two shots, I dumped out all of the particles that I could from the bullet trap. The trap appeared to collect only 26 grains of bullet fragments. There were some particles stuck to the back of the target where the bullet impacted, so I will say there was another 10 grains still on the target. This means that about 50% of the bullet turns into fragments that were not captured by the trap. As long as you are 25 yards away, I don't see the fragments as a safety risk. Since I was indoors and much closer than the minimum recommended range (and shouldn't be), I was getting a little concerned.
Next I cut some cardboard and put it behind the target so that it would make it more difficult for fragments to splatter forward from the back plate.
I took another 8 shots for a total of 10 shots so far.
After removing the target, you can see some small pricks on the upper surface area where lead was trying to splatter through the cardboard.
When I flipped the cardboard over, the below shows the lead splatter on the inside upper surface.
The next photo shows the dust accumulation on the lower trap area along with the fragments that were prevented from splattering out of the target and fell on the supporting shelf.
When I poured out all the fragments from the inside of the trap, I collected the pile below.
This pile of fragments weighed in at 146 grains. 8 bullets should be 288 grains. Again the trap only collected about half of the lead bullets material.
At this point I realized I had a hazardous material issue starting to brew and decided to stop testing the trap with lead bullets. My concern is that if I'm going to use this in my basement (which I shouldn't), I don't want a basement full of lead fragments and dust. Take a look at the photo below and you will understand the dust issue a little better. I also don't want lead dust to migrate to the rest of the house through the air conditioning system or tracking it through on my shoes. Lead has real health issues as you can see from Wikipedia. You can see how much lead dust was generated from only 10 shots by looking at the photo below. A single shooting session with my pistols would be more like 100 shots and that would mean 10 times the fragments and dust. If I did this on a fairly regular basis, this could create a real health issue.
As far as the trap goes, I was not able to detect any deformation on the back plate from looking at the back side of the trap, so I believe the 0.20" thickness must be good enough for lead bullets.
The photo below shows my Sig Trailside 22 pistol, the ammo used, and the first and only target I used with this bullet trap.
I would not recommend this trap for anyone who is interested in setting up a shooting range in their basement unless they plan to use lead free bullets. Even if you do use lead free bullets, you will need to keep in mind that you will have splatter from the bullets that can come back at least 20+ feet. Using cardboard, you could mitigate this issue. Before I went the route of lead free bullets, I would contact Do-All Outdoors and get their input on using lead free bullets with their product. The trap clearly stops the normal lead bullets and I could see it being used in an outdoors situation where you are at the minimum distance of 25 yards. I do still have concern that even outdoors you will get lead dust generated and whoever is changing out targets will get it on their hands. Being a survivor of a serious blood disorder and knowing what I know now about the dust generated, I couldn't see sending any of my children down range to change out a target on this trap. This brochure from the Texas Department of State Health Services gives more information on the lead dust concern. In the end I returned this product to Cabela's and asked them to update their website to at least make sure they point out that this product should be used outdoors only and asked that they look into these concerns on this product.
I will try to contact Do-All Outdoors and get some clarification on the use of this trap outdoors and the potential lead issues. Maybe they can shed some light on these risks and considerations they made when developing this product. I will update this post with anything I find out.
For now, I'm going back to my development of my Poor Man's 22 Bullet Trap with material that will absorb the bullet and not produce splatter and dust so I can use it in my basement.
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