Homemade Bullet-Stops

In Gear 101, The Huntby RMEFLeave a Comment

With time and money being two of the main reasons most of us don’t hit the range as often as we should, why not make the most out of your time there? With some old newspapers, magazines and a few boxes of gelatin the range can be a whole lot of fun.

A good chunk of ballistics gel that you see on television crime dramas will run north of $400. For less than $100, you can cook up your own batch in the kitchen. One drawback to using gelatin involves the mess, both in the cooking and the clean-up. Don’t drip any on your burner. And, you only get one shot, maybe two out of each block. There are a few different recipes on the internet, but we found that a good rule of thumb is 1 cup water to 1 ounce of non-flavored Knox gelatin. Follow along to make your own chunk of gel.

  1. Measure
    Find a long, thick piece of Tupperware (think shoebox) to use as a mold. With high-powered rifles, you’ll need to place two or three blocks one behind the other. Measure how much water your molds hold and the formula above to determine the amount of gelatin needed.
  2. Stir
    Stir in a premeasured amount of gelatin into a pot of cold tap water. Once all the clumps are stirred in, place in refrigerator for two hours to allow the gelatin to “bloom.”
  3. Slowly Heat
    Fill a sink with hot tap water and place the pot and the gelatin into the warm bath. This slowly heats up the gel to create a liquid. Once it’s liquid, remove from sink and place on stove until the gelatin is completely melted. Make sure it does not go over 130 degrees.
  4. Pour
    Remove from heat and pour gelatin into your molds. Let it set up overnight and then place in the refrigerator in the morning. Leave for at least 24 hours. Do not freeze gel or let it get to hot.

Does the thought of time in the kitchen make you shudder? Then grab some bailing wire and a stack of old newspapers or magazines, soak them in water for a few minutes, and voila—instant bullet backstop. Unlike the gel, you only need about a foot of wet paper to stop an elk round. It doesn’t mimic the flesh of an animal like gel does, but it will give you an idea of how your bullet will perform on impact.