Archery Backstop

For those who live in areas where firearms are not an option and those that are smart enough to have a back up.

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Archery Backstop

Post by Watch Ryder » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:13 pm

Anyone who is serious about archery should make themselves a decent backstop.

For long-term archery targets you want one that can absorb arrows again and again. Not only should it be easy to remove arrows from the backstop / target, but the arrows should be undamaged as well.

From my own knowledge hard-wood / plywood is not wiseunless you

That's where soft material comes in.

Bales of hay, straw or earth are ideal. Also worthy of note are carpet and unwanted foam insulation.

Stack up your materials about six feet high by twelve feet across. Go more than this if you can spare the materials.

Behind your soft materials consider a harder backstop to prevent any penetrators from going too far beyond the bales.

Carpet can be packed into a wooden frame and stacked up piece by piece, making a near-infinite durability for arrow shooting.

Don't forget to waterproof your bales / carpet or the weather could end up ruining it.

Here's one I built earlier...

It cost me $3 per bale of straw and the other materials were scavanged from nearby locations.

How about you lot? Have you built your archery backstop yet? :)

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Re: Archery Backstop

Post by Mikeyboy » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:40 pm

Thankfully I have a slopping backyard with one section that has a chest high (5ft) rocky vertical drop. The Kids and I would shoot arrows, BB's and airsoft guns in that area of the backyard. I put 4 bails of hay around and behind the big cheapo archery target more to protect the arrows from breaking when they hit rock with a miss and to prevent BB and airsoft ricochets back at the shooter.

I do wish I took your advice about weatherproofing the hay...I already have weeds growing out of the tops of the bails.

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Re: Archery Backstop

Post by procyon » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:05 pm

We use hay bales, but also live on a farm.

The second cutting is always in square bales, and we just stack them up for the backstop. Since the kids do tend to use them as cover for paintball games, air gun targets, etc - they don't get used as feed. But they are just fine for nesting boxes, bedding for the chick warmers, etc.

For us waterproofing them is just throwing them in the back of the truck and returning them to a couple pallets in the barn.

One trick with haybales is to try and make sure you have them two rows deep if you can. First row stacked with strings up and the second row with strings on the side and staggered with the first row. That leaves no 'seams' through the backstop. I have had arrows sneak through between bales when they were stacked with edges matched up.
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Re: Archery Backstop

Post by Jeriah » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:07 pm

I had a shed built for storage, but chose its location in part so it could serve as a "hard backstop" for archery. Not the thing you WANT your arrows to hit (because it breaks arrows and puts holes in your shed), but something that keeps them from hitting the neighbor's dog if you miss or penetrate your actual backstop.

Actual backstop is currently just several 4x8 panels of foam insulation leaning against the shed. Targets are foam also so the backstop only catches the misses.

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Re: Archery Backstop

Post by ineffableone » Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:15 pm

I have used many different things for backstops. Including those mentioned already.

Something not yet mentioned that can be helpful cheap and easy to set up is a loose tarp, heavy weave cloth, or even carpet. It needs to be loose to give when struck by an arrow, this is part of how it works.

Not picture of ones I have made but some examples



These are quite popular backstops and you can find a lot of images of them is you search, there are also countless commercial versions available ... tting.html

On a side note, Samurai were known to employ a thin cape as protection from arrows in the back. This uses the same principals as these arrow back stops but in a mobile form.

*edit to add, it should be clarified a back stop is what you put behind the target in case you miss the target or go through it. A lot of people incorrectly call the target a backstop. Just figured worth mentioning.
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Re: Archery Backstop

Post by mattltm » Mon May 11, 2015 12:42 pm

Nice video. Seems to do the job well.

I have a layered foam boss, an 8' round straw boss and a bunch of backstop netting but nowhere to use them since we moved house :(
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Re: Archery Backstop

Post by gallowglas » Sun May 17, 2015 10:01 am

I made a movable backstop on a frame, with the target. (long story as to why) Had husband's shed behind it to be a backup.

First shot missed not only the target and the backstop...and I now have proof I can hit the broadside of a barn.

Was not fun explaining to husband that I put a hole in his newly installed shed doors.

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