Thinking of going to Montana....


June 22, 2006, 09:23 PM
Please tell me about the various bigger cities and their stance on guns, places to shoot, etc. Looking to move there and want to take my hobby into consideration. Also if you have insight on the various cities in addition to gun friendlines that would be welcome too.

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June 22, 2006, 10:23 PM
I've been to Billings, its an oil and gas town; seems to have grown considerably and houses went way up in price. Thing is, people that I know, who are originally from Billings area all want to move back there from Wyoming, even though its cheaper to live in Wyoming. One thing cited is their belief that people there are more friendly, might be so. Montana's pretty gun friendly though and lots of wide open places to shoot. Seems folks in Buffalo and Sheridan, Wyoming towns that are just south of Billings are way more friendly than Central or Northwestern Wy.

Jamie B
June 22, 2006, 10:32 PM
A very good friend moved to Three Forks and purchased a motel about 10 years ago. He loves the area, and is a great host for his guests.

The area is very gun friendly, not unlike many farm communities.
He has hunted buffalo for meat and the hide, and has sworn off beef.

I am going to have to go and visit him one of these days!


June 23, 2006, 01:26 AM
Montana is very gun-friendly, and some of us are encouraging conscientious and responsible freedom-oriented people to move on up. We need reinforcements!

The Montana Shooting Sports Association is a very active and very effective gun rights organization. See

Here is an archived collection of Montana info related to the freedom migration, and low-level discussion. Lots of useful information!

also discussion groups relating to the freedom migration:

Travis McGee
June 23, 2006, 01:43 AM
A friend of mine here in SoCal decided to relocate to the NW, and did extensive research including many trips to the region. He finally decided to move to the Kalilspell area of MT just north of Flathead Lake. He bought quite a few acres there, enough to shoot his 50 on site.

June 23, 2006, 08:34 AM
My wife and I are looking into heading to the northwest some day. We're both horse people and want to have enough land to raise/train. As a shooter I'd also like to have the room to set up fairly long rifle range and put up some burms for a pistol. The problem is I'm a system analyst/programmer by trade which usually requires me to live in a fairly urban environment to work. Any regions to look at that's:
1) Inexpensive land
2) Horse/gun friendly
3) In acceptable commuting distance to technology jobs
4) 'standard' weather (spring, summer, fall, winter); I'm not interested in the 300 days of gloom and rain in the far north west. :p

Freeze N
June 23, 2006, 09:07 AM
I do not know any City in Montana that is not gun friendly. This is a gun state if there ever was one. Your hobby is welcome here.

Billings has 2 nice ranges that I know of. Don't know membership requirements.

State Law does not allow cities to pass gun laws that differ from current law. And I have never heard of a city wanting too.
Open Carry is legal (not practiced much), and it is a shall issue State for CC. Concealed means covered by ones clothing. To conceal in a vehicle you don't need a permit, and it may be loaded.

Just a few things I could think of, if you have other questions feel free to PM me.

June 23, 2006, 09:13 AM
I spent some time in Billings and Butte, back in the 80's. I really liked it there. The main thing I remember about the winters was, it can re-define cold. I distinctly remember one morning in Feb. 1981, when I awoke and dressing, went outside to find it was 45 below. Other than that, I may move there again myself upon retirement.

June 23, 2006, 12:03 PM
Montana usually gets a few days of extreme cold each Winter, but it is a dry cold, generally without wind.

Here's info on technology jobs in Montana

and general info on jobs and land:

June 23, 2006, 12:19 PM
Gonna raise you up a crop of dental floss, are ya? ;)

Montana sure beats LA for gun rights.


June 23, 2006, 01:23 PM's always a tough call to encourage people to move to Montana. Since you are a member of the High Road I'll make an exception:neener: . Montana is a great place to live if you like the outdoors, clean air, and a gun friendly environment. The cost of living is going up in some places but is quite low in others. (Bozeman is getting quite high while Butte is still quite low). There are technology/programming/Analyst type jobs here in the Bozeman area and other places as well I'm sure. As an example: The main competition for such jobs comes from Montanans who have moved away and want to come back. The draw of Montana is quality of life. The question is what are you willing to give up for quality of life? For me the answer was pretty easy and the choice to move back to Montana and raise my family here was the best choice I could have made. I don't ever plan on moving away again. Feel free to contact me for further information/insight.


Read this:

(Edited to add link at bottom)

June 23, 2006, 01:27 PM
The main thing I remember about the winters was, it can re-define cold. I distinctly remember one morning in Feb. 1981, when I awoke and dressing, went outside to find it was 45 below.

Boy, these southern guys sure like it warm :)

(I have to drive about 6 hours *south* to get to Montana)

June 23, 2006, 02:32 PM
Spent some time there twice - last was two years ago. My wife and I were driving our RV out to Seattle (should have stayed in Montana) We broke down twice - loose gas line on the carb in Bozeman, and then blew the water pump in the middle of nowhere.... Here's my impressions of the state -- both times, everyone we came across went out of their way to assist us. The Ford RV dealer in Bozeman couldn't fit us in, so he called around to find another garage (that's their competitor, folks!) who could help us right away. The other breakdown was equally as amazing.

The best part was getting a ride from a book store owner, down to the river to fish, while our RV was being fixed, and the little 6 yr old girl riding along with us was chatting about how her family lived back in a canyon, and there was elk and deer in the front yard, and her dad could hunt right at home, etc. I knew right then I wanted to move to a state where even little children knew what was important in life...

It's assumed you hunt and fish, it's not questioned... I can't wait to get back. :D

June 23, 2006, 03:20 PM
I grew up just over the border from Montana in Southern Alberta, and if I ever leave the Great State of Texas (unlikely), it will be for Montana. Glacier Park is one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Fishing, hunting, golf, skiing, hiking, you have it all in Montana. You won't be disappointed. Stay to the western part of the state if you like the mountains, the eastern part if you like wide open prairie.

June 23, 2006, 04:12 PM
You pretty much have to bring a job with you, unless you are a nurse or a teacher. I tele-commuted for 5 yrs but I've been "under-employed" for almost a year now: farming, weed-spraying, carpentry, etc.

There's lots of nice things here, like winter blizzards, wind, scorching summers, wind, noxious weeds, wind, biting insects, wind, rattlesnakes, wind, forest fires, wind, and prickly plants, to keep away people who don't really want to live here ;)

Oh, did I mention the wind ...?

Freeze N
June 23, 2006, 07:56 PM
Ok my fellow Montanan. I can get up with everything you said, except the scorching summers. LoL.

This is the nice time of year. Try spending 30 days straight at 115 degree high's every single day. Those are scorching. We are lucky to hit 100 3 or 4 times a year.

The winter's are a b*stard, I will agree with that.

Bob R
June 24, 2006, 03:00 AM

You forgot the seasons, winter and road construction. They don't sand the roads out here, they put rocks on them. I can't count the number of chips I had in my last car. I can tell you my new Jeep got at least 6 windshield chips, with one big one I had fixed the next day, this last winter.

Then there is the wind, I live right on the Rocky Mountain front, all we have is wind. My wife planted some poppies and the wind uprooted them and blew them away! If we don't get gusts up to 70 mph or so, we dont even consider it a good blow.

But, the hunting is great, the people are friendly where ever you go, it doesn't get too cold to hunt coyotes (usually), and we usually welcome free thinkers who want to come up and contribute while intergrating into the community.

I don't have to tell you about the others, the ones who come up with wads of "I sold my house in XXX money" and want to bring their attitudes with them.

Come up, visit, look around the state. It is big and varied.


June 24, 2006, 08:59 AM
Montana has a lot of microclimates. In general, the mountain valleys have much less wind, cooler Summers, and milder Winters than the plains.

The upper Yellowstone valley near Livingston and the Madison valley do have quite a bit of wind.

June 24, 2006, 02:02 PM
You forgot the seasons, winter and road construction. They don't sand the roads out here, they put rocks on them. I can't count the number of chips I had in my last car. I can tell you my new Jeep got at least 6 windshield chips, with one big one I had fixed the next day, this last winter.

Yep ... getting MT plates doesn't make you a Montanan - you have to have a cracked windshield from rocks, and a busted grill from hitting at least one deer;)

It also helps when your muffler falls off :D

Actually, after swatting insects and spraying weeds and fighting wildfires, I kind of like the winters (except for the short daylight:( ). Fall is a nice season, except it's only about 20 minutes long :)

July 5, 2006, 06:41 PM
Looks like Butte has several jobs I could apply for. But from what I heard it is the the Butt of Montana, and I am not sure that makes it a good choice for a residence, (not to mention the superfund site...).
Anyone from there or thereabouts that can give a good perspective?
Also if you had to choose a city where would you go?


ps thanks for all the replies so far.


July 5, 2006, 07:03 PM
I encourage you to move, but do not fall into the trap of suddenly expecting Montana to be 'just like **********'. Accept the fact that things move more slowly, people are not so much in a rush and please, please do not bring left-wing liberal non-sense into the state!

I just moved from Colorado to Wyoming because Colorado has been taken over by Californian transplants. What was once a great, gun-freindly state is now turning into LA...because all the **********ns want to change the state into the exact place they just left from! Gunlaws, high taxes, legal double-standards are sprouting everywhere.

Oh, and I don't mean to be rude, but your hobby is not a 'hobby'; it is a Right, like worshipping/not worshipping, Freddom of Speech, etc. Take it seriously, don't compromise and vote with your feet.

If enough rights-minded people leave the slave states for Free states the issue of individual rights will have to be addressed. However, if freedom-loving people do not move and comprise 49% of each state we will lose everything.

Ala Dan
July 5, 2006, 07:08 PM
"I've Come From Al'a Bam With A Banjo On My Knee"~!:uhoh:

Well not exactly, but I'd move there in a heart beat.:cool:

And if I visit, I'll just send for my bunk and junk~!:D

Cuz I will already have my guns with me.;)

July 5, 2006, 08:25 PM
Butte is an old mining town, full of big holes and Irish descendants. St. Paticks day is freakin' epic there, it'll blow your mind.

They've got a student population there, MT Tech. There's some bars, some restaurants, small businesses... Other than that, it really is small town and a little desolate. When it's cold there, it's COLD.

I'm much more of a WA state type. But all the people I know who love MT, really love MT. And everyone should visit Glacier Natl Park at some point.

Edit: I forgot to confirm that yes, MT is a gun-friendly state, if there ever was one. lol. MT, the NW, the PNW, this is the wild west out here.

July 5, 2006, 08:29 PM
Butte is an old mining city which has fallen on hard times with the demise of underground mining. It was a Democratic union stronghold then, and still votes Democratic, but its a kind of populist conservative Democratic politics now. It is certainly a very friendly town. And housing is very, very inexpensive, compared to elsewhere in Western Montana. Lots of old houses which can be had for back taxes. For more information on moving to Montana, including Butte, see these links.

July 5, 2006, 10:12 PM

I grew up in Wyoming & lived there most of my life. However, due to one of those rainclouds in life, I have found myself in Montana since 1999. I'm even a property owner here.

Billings: I'll defend my right not to have to live there to the death.
Missoula: Home of U. of M. Wants to be Berkeley.
Bozeman: Home of Montana State U. Nice town getting Kalifornicated
Kalispell: Bozeman without the university.
Dillon: Yer neighbor is Ted Turner
Great Falls: Underpriviledged economy, military town.
Lewistown: Bring your job with you & it's heaven on earth. Otherwise - - -
Butte: Pretty much been covered.
Eastern Montana: Is there & lots of it. Bring two jobs with ya.
Libby: Don't breath the air, or drink the water, otherwise it's gorgeous.
White Supher Springs: There is a home there that uses a Maxim machine gun, Spandau manufacture, as a door stop.

My wife is a native of Montana. She lived with me in Wyoming for 27 years. She'll look any Montanan in the eye & tell 'em they don't know what a high wind is. In Wyoming I quite literally saw breaking wave whitecaps in my toilet bowl, caused by the wind.

What else ya wanna know?


July 5, 2006, 10:53 PM
What else ya wanna know?
Well, ya fergot to tell everyone about places like Shawmut, Moore, Mosby, Acton, Two Dot, Ingomar, Forest Grove, etc ... :D

And then of course there is always Roundump :uhoh:

July 6, 2006, 03:59 AM
CB900Fand phoglund have it about right. I'm a "boomeranger" who spent about 20 years in the Bay Area and returned to Bozeman in '93. Very, very friendly gun culture here. I had a CCW for some years, but it was just redundant. I'll renew because I can, though. Bozeman, too, seems to have Berekely aspirations, though maybe not as much so as Missoula. If you're in high tech and need to be connected locally, Missoula and Bozeman's universities will be a significant draw for you. Other MT towns (and yes, they are all towns) have some MSU/UM affiliations, but MSU/UM in their home towns are the queen bees of the state system.

Housing prices are insane. Bring a lot of money if you want to live in a boom town like Bozeman. Go out further, say a 30--40 min. commute, and you can do much better. Don't forget to factor in winter driving commutes and how far out your nerves can take you.

In high tech also check out Zoot Enterprises. They're one of the largest employers in the area and have a great corporate culture, benefits, and competitive salaries. Speaking of, be prepared for some jaw-dropping pay cuts. I still make about 50% of my Bay Area salary, adjusted for inflation. But if you're a zany entreprenuerial guy you may do quite well.

So many out of state types have, sadly, helped create an ever-widening zone between the haves and have-nots. This place may never be an Aspen but it sure looks like we're heading that way. The cowtown days are way gone. If you haven't lived in a place like this you'll wonder what all the fuss is over growth, etc. It's still Big Sky Country, after all. But stay long enough and the growth will probably break your heart. Good luck.


July 6, 2006, 07:29 PM
It gets cold but I like that. Billings gets some good wind. I remember as a 4th grader the school I went had a side of the building, the west side, that was totally covered by a snow drift.

July 6, 2006, 09:43 PM
They just about have it nailed.
I love Montana and I'll be back.
But, don't go trying to change it.
and bring your own job
the wages are low, the taxes are high and it's worth every penny.
small town living (and they are all small towns) is different, get used to it.

Winters can get long, and it can get a wee chilly. But you get used to it.
Make sure your car has a block heater before winter.

Butte/Anaconda is dying, the only jobs there are government jobs and everyone is leaving. It is amazing to go there and see the mountain that is no more.

Rocky Mtns and west gets more Seattle like weather (lots of clouds, snow)

east gets more Denver style weather, cold, dry, lots of sun and wind.

The weather can change in a heartbeat.

Spring, all 5 days of it, is jaw droppingly beautiful.

August 15, 2006, 08:42 PM
Vistited Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Three Forks, Helena, Missoula and Hamilton.

Loved Three Forks, complete Americana!
Billings was nice, it had a nice flavor to it.
Bozeman, aka BozeAngeles, had a distinct Santa Monica flavor to it. Watch out folks so you don't get a slice of the Peoples Republik of Kali-fonia going in your own backyard.
Butte.....ergh....what happened? Did not like it at all.
Helena, old money smell, did not visit it enough, but had a great downtown.
Missoula and Hamilton were o.k. with me and the Mrs', but things seemed a bit drier there than the Bozeman area.

The Mrs. would love to live in Bozeman, as it is most likely we both can find jobs there. Personally I would love to live in 3 forks, but only time will tell.

Anywho, if we can find jobs, we are moving.

August 15, 2006, 09:09 PM
three forks is pretty cool, a lot drier, it's a good 500/1000 feet lower than Bozeman, Bozeman gets a lot more snow.
The range is right there on the exit between 3 forks and Manhatten.

Missoula is MUCH more liberal than anyplace else in the state.
Also, Missoula is MUCH wetter and cloudier than Bozeman. Bozeman is in the banana belt of Montana (really). A one day visit in the summer tells you nothing, but I wanted you be aware.

Butte can be intriguing, in it's own little ways.

Don't expect California wages, Montana wages are very low and the cost of living isn't all that much lower, just be aware to be shocked at the wages.

August 15, 2006, 09:17 PM
Good luck 686+. I like Three Forks, I could live there.

All the mountain valleys are semi-arid. The high mountains get all the precipitation. Bozeman does get more than the lower valley, it is right up against the mountains.

Butte was a rough town, and the open pit mine swallowed up half the old city. It has a lot of old architecture (and cheap properties), and was a Democratic union town, still is, just not as strongly so. Still, having spent time on the streets collecting signatures, I do believe Butte has the friendliest people in the state.

If you can telecommute, you can get very reasonable properties as long as you are outside commuting distance to someplace like Bozeman.

August 15, 2006, 09:31 PM
How is Helena?

August 15, 2006, 10:26 PM
My wife grew up in Great Falls and the only place she talks about being interested in is Helena.
I'll be looking to fill the freezer when we're back in Great Falls for Thanksgiving (it helps to have your own personal hunting guide (FIL) who's been there for 40+ years).

On a negative note, casino-itis has infected the state very badly.

August 15, 2006, 11:01 PM
I lived in Gardner for bit in 67. That can't have changed much?

August 15, 2006, 11:29 PM
Helena is a nice town, the state gov't takes care of itself. It's surrounded by mountains and near Canyon Ferry reservoir on the Missouri.

I don't think Gardiner has changed a lot. It's still a gateway town to the Park.

August 15, 2006, 11:41 PM
I was in Gardiner two weeks ago. Still no chain restaurants. One grocery store. I didn't look but I suspect the stores sell much the same tourist stuff they did 30 years ago. Of course it's now made in China instead of Japan or Mexico.

August 16, 2006, 12:15 AM
I am originally from Belgrade/Bozeman. If you are interested, you may check out Manhattan, which used to be home to the Oasis Bar and Grill, home of the best steak anywhere. Not sure if its still there.

We recently sold our ranch down Springhill Road. Prices for homes and ranches near Bozeman will astound you. Bring lots of cash. I will tell you, Bozeman USED to be a great place to live, but now that it has been Kalifornicated, the taxes have gone through the roof and there are Bistros on every corner. Even the Army/Navy store has gone wussy.

If you can live anywhere, try Hamilton, or Ennis, etc. Dillon might be an option even. Helena isn't a bad city, but the road layout was designed by a sadist with a bad toothache.

I truly am glad that I was raised in MT. I went to Belgrade High and Montana State. I am truly sorry to see what that area of the state has become.

If you like wide open spaces and tons of Prairie Poodle hunting, try the eastern parts of the state.

August 16, 2006, 01:07 AM
Again, to confirm; Helena isn't one of the places that's being California-ed?

August 16, 2006, 09:08 AM
Third Rail;

I moved my son out of Helena last weekend. The town is growing like a weed - on steroids. Most of the growth is fueled by out-of-staters coming in. The entire valley floor is either being developed, or will be soon.

Look to Lewistown for old Montana.


August 16, 2006, 09:31 AM
Well, I don't really have a choice. If I move to MT, it'll be in/around Helena; that's where the company is opening up shop. :)

I just want to know if it'll be liveable for a few years at the least; for comparison, I find CT and MA liveable enough.

August 16, 2006, 11:37 AM
If you want real Montana, then try the central and eastern part. Not as postcard pretty, but it kind of grows on you after a while.

A small town in Montana is a bar, a school, and a post office (the school and post office are optional ;) ).

I hate going to Billings, but really it is a pretty nice place as cities go. It has a lot available there because it is so far from anything and is the shopping and medical center for parts of several states. Traffic is horrible there now because of the recent growth, but once you get off the street there is a small town friendliness in most of the stores.

I think the guy that bought the place behind me would be willing to sell - he lives on the east coast and had a heart attack last fall and hasn't been back out here since.

August 16, 2006, 07:09 PM

On the other hand, I'd rather admit to having V.D. than live in Billings. I do live in Great Falls Montana though.

Helena has some very nice amenities, not the least of which is the Prickly Pear range up on McDonald pass, U.S. 12. Live in Rimini, commute the 8 miles or so into Helena proper. And the Brew Pub would be on the way home too!


August 16, 2006, 07:52 PM
If only ********** would just fall off into the sea...

August 16, 2006, 07:59 PM
What about Miles City, Glendive area?


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