Run in with BLM Ranger


October 10, 2005, 12:50 AM
Out to the desert to have a little fun with some friends this weekend. We went to the same place where we have been shooting for 10 years. About 4 hours into the session I looked over my shoulder (check six constantly) and noticed a ranger pulling up in the wash.(First time we ever saw any LEO here in 10 years) I gave a friendly wave and started walking down to the trucks where he had pulled up. He said I need to check your rifles for compliance. Sure no problem we told him. By now my friend had joined me and the other three guys (all rookies to the gun culture) just sat down in some chairs. Mr ranger proceeded to tell us that our calif legal M1A's (visible in the back of the truck) were not compliant and then asked if we understood the assault weapons law and the penalties for violating said law, he then told me to take off my sidearm ( I was the only one armed) and to step back while he checked out all the other weapons. My friend and I politely argued that we were compliant and that these were the approved calif legal muzzle brakes designed to replace the "flashhiders" that are legal in 49 other states. He did not seem convinced and recited his mantra of detachable mag, flashhider equals assault weapon. Well when he uncased the Serbu 50 cal things got interesting to say the least. He asked for AW paperwork and we said that none is needed yet. After a lengthy discussion of the assault weapons law and M1a's and 50 cals and flashhiders, detachable mags, pistol grips, ad infinitum ad nauseaum (sp?) Mr ranger actually believed us and our explanations. Calmness and logic prevailed, confiscation and legal hassles avoided, yeah! I have to seriously commend this guy for remaining calm and listening to what we had to say. So next I just had to ask "So dude you wanna try the 50???" He replied that people always offer to let him shoot their guns and he always turns them down but he wasn't going to pass up a 50 cal. We had some fun shooting the 50 and we parted friends, Mr ranger gave us his card and said to call him anytime and he could show us some cool places to shoot. Final thoughts, not all LEOs are up to speed on the law, this guy was convinced after a bit that we were legit and knew the laws and were obeying them. Not all LEOs may be this understanding. Interesting thing he said was that he sees a lot of shooters in his job but that he had never ran across a couple guys like us, the guns we had, the number of guns and the variety was like nothing he had ever seen. We ARE gun guys and we take guns seriously I replied. ;)

edit for spelling

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Black Majik
October 10, 2005, 12:55 AM
I love stories with happy endings. Sounded like fun Paul :D

Gordon Fink
October 10, 2005, 01:07 AM
Has the .50-BMG registration deadline not passed yet? I couldn’t afford to buy one before the ban.…

~G. Fink :(

October 10, 2005, 01:08 AM
Paul, I had a VERY similar run-in with a Sherrif's deputy on BLM land with the Barrett M82A1ca.

When he first approached he mentioned he had 'heard something big' and came to take a look. I explained that it was likely my M82A1ca and that he would be more than welcome to put a few rounds through it should he like.

He was very friendly, and did not even preach to us. He did ask me if I had 'Paperwork" for the M82. I advised him, slowly, that as this was the new special 100-unit run of a Fixed-Magazine variant, which is NOT an assault weapon incase that was what he was thinking it could be, and that as the 04/2006 .50BMG registration deadline had not yet passed, I did not have any paperwork nor was any at this time encumbant upon me.

I proceeded to show him (slowly and detailing each action before I took it. "I am going to first reach down to the rifle and while pointing it in a safe direction, insure that it is unloaded <ca-klunk>) the fixed-magazine feature and the specific CA model number, all the while reviewing SB23 Category III AW basics.

It was clear that I knew far more on the law than he did, and we were able to exchange information freely albit slowly and formally. Mostly, he listened. He then went to his jeep and talked with dispatch for a few minuites, who probally confirmed everything I just said.

He came back and just said "Thanks guys." At which point I asked him again if he would like to put a few rounds through it, which he respectfully declined.

The following left me with a good deal of respect for the SD; I also had my G34 clearly open-carried in right-hand belt holster the whole time and was not asked to remove it.

All in all, not a disaster, but nonetheless hardly a good thing either. I was rousted, and I feel unreasonably searched <gun's sn was run I am sure, he did take it down>. I happened to pass the check this time, but the principle and level of scrutiny is not comforting.

Buck Snort
October 10, 2005, 01:57 AM
Maybe the LEOs are as spooked as we are?

October 10, 2005, 02:02 AM
He said I need to check your rifles for complance.
Why is a BLM guy checking your guns?

October 10, 2005, 02:22 AM
Psssniper, I have had a similar experience, twice actually. I don't have a 580 Cal., but I have had all my serial numbers run. The funny thing was that on one of my guns, three other guns came up under my serial number. I heard this on the ranger's radio. I have three guns registered to me that I don't own. So much for the accuracy of the California gun registry database.

Where were you shooting? I go out near 1000 Palms all the time and occasionally out off of the 395 near Lancaster.

Jim March
October 10, 2005, 02:29 AM
You're doing the right thing in calmly citing the law.

In California we run into stuff like this all the time in urban areas, regarding knife laws. Same deal: calmly cite facts.

In some cases what's really going on is that the cop is doing an "attitude check" - if you respond in squirrelly fashion, things will go rapidly downhill. Which sucks because some people just can't keep their cool but on the other hand aren't murderers or anything.

October 10, 2005, 02:35 AM
So you guys are minding your own business, a cop comes over, detains you, demands to see paperwork, then accuses you of breaking laws he doesn't understand before leaving, having failed to find any paperwork crimes. And this is a happy ending, presumably because he didn't steal your legally owned property, falsely arrest you, or beat you down LAPD style.


ETA: read this thread ( for a preview of what CA shooters will sound like 20 years from now. "Pro-PRC Laowai" specifically.

October 10, 2005, 03:26 AM
My own experiences with BLM personnel have been very positive.

Admittedly, none of them have involved firearms, but all have involved laws of some kind. I've found them - unlike the other governmental enforcement divisions (e.g., county, USFS...) - to be more willing to be reasonable, to evaluate the situation rationally with kindness and understanding.

Maybe it's because BLM folks got "stuck" with overseeing the land that no one else wanted: moslty deserts, dry grasslands & junniper woodlands, not urban areas, human occupied rural areas, or forest lands (USFS). Thus, they are more likely to be just good country folks seeking to keep the peace. If one approaches them with respect and intelligence, and a modicum of respect, then it all works out well, and friends are made.

I find that when looking to satisfy that craving for the experience of big, open spaces *, I am consistently drawn to BLM land instead of National Parks or National Forests.

(* Warning: "big open spaces is a concept that those living east of Colorado cannot understand.)

October 10, 2005, 04:15 AM
So you guys are minding your own business, a cop comes over, detains you, demands to see paperwork, then accuses you of breaking laws he doesn't understand before leaving, having failed to find any paperwork crimes. And this is a happy ending, presumably because he didn't steal your legally owned property, falsely arrest you, or beat you down LAPD style.
That's about right. Like I said, hardly an ideal scenario.

Although I was merely in an 'encounter' (if I were being detained I imagine I would be disarmed.) and outright accusations did not fly.

I'm hopeful that said SD has gotten a little more field education and this will be the last of such incidents.

Small consolation for dealing with a borderline gestapo situation I know.

October 10, 2005, 06:49 AM
I DO think the Leos are as spooked as we are, and that's no big consolation. Hypervigilance might equal "quick to jump". We have to keep a cool head. I commend you for your calm handling of the situation.

October 10, 2005, 06:53 AM

you cant buy a .50 it just does not have to be registered until april of 06 for those that got them before the deadline of jan 1, 05.

Dave P
October 10, 2005, 07:16 AM
"Calmness and logic prevailed, confiscation and legal hassles avoided,"

Excellent job keeping thing calm and making new friends, but by definition that encounter was a legal hassle!

"your papers, please, mein herr!"

Such a pretty state, too ...


Gordon Fink
October 10, 2005, 11:19 AM
… it just does not have to be registered until april of 06 …

Yep, got that from artherd’s post. For a moment, I had been thinking that Psssniper might have been really lucky to avoid arrest. That wasn’t the case fortunately.

~G. Fink

October 10, 2005, 11:28 AM
He said I need to check your rifles for complance.
You got a warrant? :neener:

I'm just glad I don't live in a police state like CA :uhoh:

October 10, 2005, 03:57 PM
Check rifles for compliance?!

You guys must look like pushovers. Every time me and my buds are out firing in the woods or desert we're completely loaded up with our vests, mags, etc. Always have about 10 extra mags loaded for each rifle ready.

Always carrying a rifle too. I don't care WHO approached me, I'd have my handgun on me and my rifle right next to me with a mag ready. It has nothing to do with being tactical, it's simply being smart being in a very rural location with firearms.

I have had multiple run-ins in the Nevada desert and never had a Gestapo inspection take place.

The Rangers in the States I've been in may hear firing or get reports of firing and they'll drive around so see if anybody is firing close to the road. We're usually up on the mountain and can see all activity below us.

I'd be personally worried about anybody parking and walking a half mile or several miles to 'inspect' our firearms.

I don't think I'll ever be shooting in Cali.

October 10, 2005, 06:18 PM
You guys must look like pushovers.
If carrying a $10,000 rifle capable of putting a round a second through a Light Armored Vehicle at over 1000yds can be considered 'pushover' then I wanna come see what you guys are shooting!

October 10, 2005, 06:30 PM
Check rifles for compliance?!

You guys must look like pushovers. Every time me and my buds ...blah blah blah...couch commando bluster... never had a Gestapo inspection take place...yak yak yak...

I don't think I'll ever be shooting in Cali.

You know? Not every encounter with the local authorities is a challenge to the size of your genitalia, or a tactical exercise. One does not always have to pull the a**hole card every time one is the subject of a contact. While I am loath to admit it, many officers are rather ignorant of the multitude of California firearms laws. On the other side of the coin, many are not. I commend Psssniper for his calm, cool, and collected demeanor dealing with the Ranger. This was a positive outcome for all involved. What could be better than that?

With all of the so called 'militia movements', sovereign citizen dingbats, and various other extremist nutjobs out there who are just sane enough to purchase a firearm, do you think it's realistic that law enforcment officers would not be a bit cautious or 'spooked'?

Trust me. The Us vs. Them attitude goes both ways.

October 10, 2005, 06:52 PM

Have I mentioned that I despise california?

October 10, 2005, 07:19 PM
This sort of "Proves the truth" ...Knowledge is POWER. I'm glad all of you keep up with the law and various ordinances that affect the sport.

October 10, 2005, 07:36 PM
I'm new around here, but I thought I'd post my most recent encounter with local LEOs and their take on my Carry Gun.

I was driving my Daimler Ferret Armored Car through Decatur, Ga (the county seat and the closest municipality) one late late night and I get pulled over with blue lights. Not a new thing, usually the cops pull up next to me and get incredulous about the car, usually I'm asking them if they'd like me to pull off so they could check it out. I'm also usually asking them if they want to see the registration/insurance card. More often than not they're in "ooooh...shiny tank thing!!!" geek mode. I've had it since 2001 so it's not exactly new.

These guys however pulled up behind me on my 5 OC and 7 OC in the parking lot I pulled over in. I chose a well lit lot and pulled over sedately from my previous sedate speed through town. I shut down the engine and pull myself partly out the front hatch (hands visible) and wait. Nothing happens for a sec then I hear one of the officers say "Driver.....exit the......vehicle through the um....turret" over the PA. Umm. Ok, so I climb back in slide the driver's seat back and pop the turret hatch and climb out that way with hands clear.

They start asking questions, I start explaining that it's a 60's British Armored Car. I offer up the Drivers license and my CCW. They then proceed to run my DL, run the registration and after looking into the driver's area, they see my sidearm that's stuck up in the cluster of control boxes. They then want to get to that, I let them reach in from the outside to get it (It's bloody awkward if you don't know how to climb in and out, though in retrospect one of them could have gotten his fingers bit by the hatch).

Well, they then ask me if it's registered. :scrutiny: Huh, we don't have gun registration in Georgia. They're being friendly, I'm being friendly back but I politely tell them we don't have any firearms registration in Georgia. The one asking backpedals to say, "You know if it's run through the system". "Well, I don't think it ever has been." "Who'd you buy it from?" "A lawyer friend of mine about 10 years ago." So then they run the SN off my handgun.

In all the times I've been stopped either for traffic stuff or just on field sobriety check points I've never had my handgun run on it's SN. It was just odd. Of course, the whole thing was an exchange that was pleasant the whole time. They seemed a bit nervous but I think my calm nature helped keep them from being wigged out.

What's vaguely humorous is though they didn't go through the entire felony stop procedure, they ordered me out of the vehicle from the safety of their squad cars. It's a frikken armored car with a turret and what looks like a machine gun....your car isn't going to protect you if I'm what you fear I am. :neener:

Of course I didn't say this at the time. I don't want to even appear to be threatening Mr LEO, Smile a lot, say please, thank you, keep your hands out where you can see them, smile some more.

I'm not the paranoid type, but I'm wondering if I should snag a second handgun like the first just to keep it off the 'registry' that the officer seemed to think was around. In Georgia, the local law enforcement (well probate court) is prohibited from using the CCW application as a form of registration. I wonder if someone has implemented a new system to do just that by caching the data from Stolen Gun inquiries.

October 10, 2005, 07:44 PM
Contrast your experience with how you'd have been treated in New Orleans to get an average.

Baba Louie
October 10, 2005, 07:48 PM
any chance of seeing some photo's of your wheeled firearm carrying devices?

October 10, 2005, 07:52 PM
My son-in-law and my bro-in-law were out shooting when a female game warden drove up. My son-in-law wanted to make her feel at ease as she walked up to them. He unholstered his Sig and set it on the tailgate and stepped away from it.

She wrote him a ticket for having a loaded handgun in a vehicle. He went to court and the judge thought it was pretty crummy of her to do that and cut my son-in-law some slack, but did not completely dismiss the ticket.

Dave Markowitz
October 10, 2005, 07:52 PM
I am so glad I don't live in Deutschland California.


October 10, 2005, 07:55 PM
Pictures. We need pictures.

A story like that plainly requires pictures...



50 Freak
October 10, 2005, 07:59 PM
I am so glad I don't live in Deutschland California.

Never fails. :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

Time to wake up and look around you buddy. Your surrounded by increasingly anti-gun states. But it's easier just to blame "Kali" isn't it. :fire: :fire:

Standing Wolf
October 10, 2005, 08:01 PM
I'm sure I'll always miss the temperate climate and beaches.

October 10, 2005, 08:03 PM
Why is a BLM guy checking your guns?

Because rangers on BLM land are considered LEO's. It's their job to check for firearms violations.

Every encounter i've ever had with a ranger on BLM land has been positive.

Last August me and a couple other guys (a total of 3 jeeps) were doing a little offroading on BLM land up in the Sierra's. One of the guys (Martin) rolled his jeep 2 3/4 times. He didn't have any visual injuries but was complaining of severe abdominal pain. The rangers, a sheriff's deputy and CHP all showed up. The deputy wrote up his report and left. The rangers took Martin out to the trail head (about 5 miles) so he could be flown out. The deputy wrote up his report and left. One of the rangers asked the CHP if he would like for him to write up the report. "I have to write up one anyway. No use in both of us having to do all that paper work". The CHP said sure and left.

After the CHP left the ranger told us the reason he offered to write it up was because if he wrote it up it wouldn't be reported to the DMV and it wouldn't show up on his driving record. Seems any wrecks that happen on BLM land aren't reported to the DMV if there wrote up by a ranger and not the CHP.

They helped us recover the jeep, towed it out to the trail head with their jeep and stayed untill the tow truck showed up. They were really concerned about getting the jeep out before dark. Not because they didn't want to be there untill after dark, but so that the jeep wouldn't get stripped during the night. They didn't have to help us recover the jeep. They did it just because it was the right thing to do.

Did i mention the guns? Martin had a Ruger GP100,unloaded, in a locked case which was sitting on the hood of my jeep. I had a Glock 17 and a Springfield XD, both unloaded in a locked case. Laying on the back seat was a cased, unloaded M1 Garand. My other buddy had an unloaded, uncased M1 Garande and an 8mm Mauser laying on the back seat of his jeep. The guns were seen by all and no one said a word. I had noticed the ranger was carrying a Glock . I asked him how he liked the Glock. We had a good conversation about Glocks and guns in general.

Good post.

October 10, 2005, 08:06 PM

That's the Ferret.

Then there's the 5 Ton

And the Dingo

A Friend of mine and I have another WWII vehicle as a joint restoration project. It's in the UK, in pieces right now (engine & tranny rebuilt)and the hull is getting bead blasted. The sheet metal was all rotten. We hope for it to look like this in a few years.

Yes, we want an operational M6 37mm cannon....Its on the long list. The short list is getting it running and in the US. Then we get all the bits. We'll probably have a dummy barrel for some time until we can get a 37mm barrel and the dummy breach. The BESA will probably end up being a gas gun. I don't know of anyone in the US that has a functional BESA. Of course I have two gas cut BESA HMGs. Every time I see them I want to cry. :(

October 10, 2005, 08:10 PM
Wow, that is some cool stuff.

And I thought my shooting hobby was expensive! LoL

October 10, 2005, 08:16 PM
Two years ago, I had a quiet conversation with a Dekalb (county that Decatur is the Seat for) officer that was doing side work at a local Home Despot. I had parked, gone inside to shop leaving the ferret to gather gawkers like a dead cow gathers flies. I come out and the cop is standing on the curb gawking as much as he can from his assigned area. I walk up calmly and ask what he thinks. He looks at me sideways and says,

"I'm trying to figure out if we have anything that could take it out...I'm in SWAT"

"Got any Light 50's in the department?"


"then you guys are outta luck. It'll stop up to .50 ball from the front, and 7.62 from the side. 50 AP will go through front to back though, but you can't fire slap outta a light 50 what with the muzzle brake and all."

"would smoke work?"

"Not really, the engine draws air in from the crew area, both for the air intake and for the radiator, so it'll clear the crew compartment pretty quick. You'd have to get the smoke in anyhow, you could sit the smoke bomb on the side and let it filter in, but that'd hardly be effective. wanna take a look inside of it?"


He of course observed that it smelled perfectly like the tanks he served in in the Army. "Gear oil, oil, fuel, and dirt!"

I like having parity with the local PD. They're real polite like. :D Though in all fairness, they generally are.

Of course he took his own opportunity to joke with his supervisor who drove by to say "Hi". "Hey LT, there's a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot over there...." ;)

He of course complained about all the people that kept asking him if it was legal or not. Sheep...blasted sheep everywhere.

GoRon, yep. I could have all sorts of class III toys if I didn't have all my money sunk into armor. Given how pricy gas is, I'm not sure which would be more expensive to feed.... Sometimes I wonder. But, hey, you don't get to scare cops and get away with it with guns. Not regularly. With's fun. Cops as I said are usually in the "WOW!...that's cool!" mode of thought. I did clear most of Atlanta's Zone 3 one evening. I had a mechanical breakdown and the officer helping me called in that he had a "tank" broken down on such and such street. Everyone showed up because they didn't believe what they heard on the radio....

October 10, 2005, 08:29 PM
Wow, the Ferret is street-legal? :D No wonder those poor cops were confused! :D :D :D

That is really, really cool. I'm very jealous.


October 10, 2005, 08:33 PM
I understand the ranger approaching you on BLM land, what I don't understand is said federal officer attempting to enforce state law.

Time to wake up and look around you buddy. You're surrounded by increasingly anti-gun states.

I beg to differ. With the exception of corrupt socialist hellholes like CA, MA, NY, MD, NJ, IL et al, the the general trend (although slow and minutely incremental) has been pro-gun at the state and federal level, with the most significant being right to carry laws being enacted nationwide. Those laws after enactment are also adjusted over time becoming more streamlined and libertarian.
Conversely, states on the above mentioned list continue to become more anti-gun as time goes on. Do the math.
The Deutchland comment may be a little offensive to those who live in CA, but it's pretty damn accurate. Don't like it? Change your govt starting with that jackass AG. Don't have a majority to make the changes? Sounds like you're a political refugee in need of a new place to call home.

October 10, 2005, 08:40 PM
Actually, Pax, one of the chaps on the Ferret List is a Seattle resident. His wife, a friend and him took his then newly purchased/arrived Alvis Scorpion light tank out for a ride to get the tags sorted out. Rubber tracks and all are apparently legal in Wash State. Passed some cops, cops look, cops double take, cops turn around, slowly pull up next to the tank and ask "Can we get a picture please?" Stewart waited around for the cops to call a friend to also come get photos. There was much laughing and posing in front of the tank ( with a ticket book. :D

There, I've more than slightly highjacked this thread. Sorry!

Randy in Arizona
October 10, 2005, 09:13 PM
rmgill, Don'y be sorry! Your toys are very interesting, thanks for the pictures!

October 10, 2005, 09:17 PM
My son-in-law and my bro-in-law were out shooting when a female game warden drove up. My son-in-law wanted to make her feel at ease as she walked up to them. He unholstered his Sig and set it on the tailgate and stepped away from it.

She wrote him a ticket for having a loaded handgun in a vehicle. He went to court and the judge thought it was pretty crummy of her to do that and cut my son-in-law some slack, but did not completely dismiss the ticket.

Er, if he was in an area where it was otherwise legal to discharge firearms, I belive it was perfectly LEGAL for him to have the loaded firearm in a vehicle! What PC did she cite exactly?

October 10, 2005, 09:19 PM
Now, THOSE are cool. rmgill, you are my new hero. :)

Sir Aardvark
October 11, 2005, 12:19 AM
In my 25 years of exploring the California desert I have had a run-in with a BLM Ranger only once. He was about 25 years old and looked like some surfer dude, all he asked was if we saw anyone else driving past the camp and then he left.

As for Fish and Game, I've seen them multiple times. They are always nice; the only time I saw one upset was when he pulled into our camp and was bummed out that we were there, because that was where he wanted to spend the night.

October 11, 2005, 08:54 PM
Your surrounded by increasingly anti-gun states.TX legislature passed 9 separate pro-gun/pro-hunting laws this past session. You may not like the comments about CA on this thread, but they're more accurate than the one you made.

October 12, 2005, 02:29 AM

The rule at THR is that the new guys brings the beer, but if you bring the Ferret to the range, we'll let it slide. :cool:

BTW, welcome to The High Road!

October 12, 2005, 08:07 AM
To the original poster-good going! Most leo's respond well to calm discussion if they don't have a chip on their shoulder. He probably still wasn't sure everything you told him was correct, but he wasn't going to try to haul all of you in only to find out you were. He had your license plate #'s, probably your driver's license numbers, etc., and he went back and checked a few things after he left. If you were lying to him, someone would be paying a visit to your house.

50 Shooter
October 12, 2005, 10:18 AM
Good job! We've had them come out to the "spot" and never had a problem. That's with all the .50's, 1919's, BBM's.... All they ever asked us to do was keep an eye out for Hunters. :) Guess we'll see how they are this weekend when we're out.

You can still get a .50 in Kali!!! You can get the .50 DTC or one chambered for .50 spotter/tracer. If you have a registered AR lower you can buy a .50 upper for it.

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