Friday, September 17, 2010

Do-All .22 Bullet Box Review (Bullet Trap Review)

Wouldn't it be nice to have an indoor shooting range in your own basement?  Even if it would only allow rimfire weapons, it would still be great.  The other day, I set out to make a spot in my basement where I could start my own indoor range and shoot my .22 pistols.  I decided to do two things.  The first was to make a backstop that would be able to stop and absorb the bullets without a formal metal trap.  The second was to purchase the Do-All 17/22 Bullet Box (Bullet Trap) to see if it would reduce the wear and tear on my wooden (absorbing) and concrete (stopping) backstop.  This review is for the Do-All Bullet Box (Bullet Trap).  You can see the details of my backstop at this link (Poor Man's .22 Bullet Trap).  I purchased the Do-All Bullet Trap from Cabela's for 49.99 plus shipping and handling.

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.

Bottom Line:
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.


  1. Thanks for the great posts! This helps me in my quest to build a setup similar to yours. Thanks for inspiring me!

  2. I realize that this is a year old, but did you try any subsonic rounds? I'm trying to set up something in my garage and 2x10s get expensive.


  3. I didn't try subsonic ammo, but I feel there wouldn't be a huge reduction in dust due to the lower velocity.

  4. Thank you for that very fast reply.

  5. your not to use hollow point the box tell you plan dont be dume read the box

  6. what a great post, just got one, will use outside with 22 CB shorts in revolver, thanks for the lead advice!!

    anyone else use this ammo?

  7. wow, didnt read such a post before,, great. keep going

  8. NICE post ...

    I think you should have kept the target. Opened all your basement windows to get some air flowing, its ALWAYS good to do that. Put some soft pine, 3/8" or 1/2" duck-taped against the impact area, and on top of that put 3 to 5 layers of coordinated card board and into this.

    It could be that there was a good chance that the missing lead was actually vaporized lead going into the air occurring when the bullet impacts the steel, but my suggestion should totally eliminate this.

    Measure the weight of the lead cardboard sandwich before putting it in place and afterwards you can still get a weight on lead absorbed !

    You were really thinking, had a lot of good ideas there, I like your wood backstop, but you STOPPED THINKING <-- bad !

    Oh, and stop worrying so much, that will kill you quicker then the lead. Take Modifilan for detox, give some to the kids, and stop worrying !!!

  9. I agree, I should stop worrying. So far the wood backstop works great, but I still need to repace the wood about every 6 months.

  10. Yeah, stop worrying! That will kill you way faster than the carcinogens in particulate lead! Trust me, I'm a bioastropsychophysiscientistdoctorengineer with forty-six degrees from nineteen different world-class universities. I'm kind of a big deal.

  11. I found the same problem with lead fragments escaping. What I found was it was escaping from them seams that were not a tight fit. I had all the seams welded and that seemed to do the trick. The trap is now a lot more expensive but much safer..

  12. Anyone thought of using a shop vac attached to the trap pulling thru a wet or water filter? Also filter the exhaust of the vac. You would need to make sure all joints were welded as one other person discovered

  13. I just bought a marlin .17 HMR rifle and some hollow point jacket ammo, blew a hole in the trap after four shots in a tight group.

  14. As a gunsmith and weapons developer for a few companies, I use a special bullet catcher design that one of my client companies showed me. It works great for .22lr of all grains, leaves ZERO lead dust or splash, easy to clean and maintain too. Contact me via my website at www dot graphitedynamics dot com for details. Happy to share with fellow shooters.

  15. Stuff the trap with rubber mulch and tape cardboard across the front. no more splatter.

  16. Using burlap as a retainer would be better if outdoors due to water, snow etc. I just picked up a bag of shredded rubber for about a dollar a pound at Home Depot. I found burlap bags 12" X 14" online for two dollars each at This setup would fit right into the trap and eliminate a lot of the above problems.
    I am using an old heavy steel wheelbarrow for my backstop and burlap bagged rubber mulch behind a jerry-rigged target assembly. While I'm only using mine for pellets, the concepts are the same for .22's.

  17. Instead of using .22 bullet I prefer .223. The reason is that, .223 can be used for both short and long range. You can shoot the target located up to 700 meters. Whereas in the case of .22 bullet, you merely can reach the distance of 300 meters. Thanks for the review - MA Firearms School

    1. Thats Mr Firearms instructor! No one asked what bullet you prefer.

  18. This thing says right in the description its only for soft nose shells doesn't it?

  19. I flipped the trap on its back. I filled the trap with rubber mulch until it was flush with the top, sides and bottom. I placed 2 layers of cardboard on top of the mulch and secured with some duct tape. It eliminated the noise and captured the lead.

    1. John, good idea and thanks for the tip. For some reason you post listed 4 times so I deleted three of the duplicates.