Northern VA


January 3, 2007, 12:36 PM
I'm living right outside DC, but its only a 50 minute drive out route 66 to the Skyline drive and 81 which runs north south. I want to take my boys out and plink some tin cans, but I'm deathly afraid of the Police dropping out of black helicopters and finding me even if I go to the George Washinton National Forest. So I'm looking for some advice. Can one hike out to the outback and set up some cans in a National Forest without getting some sort of permission from Smokey the Bear or whoever?


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January 3, 2007, 12:55 PM
Yes. You can shoot in the National Forest. Go up to Front Royal and go back to Elizabeth Furnice. I used to shoot there all the time. Just dont shoot around any camp sites and far enough off the road. Please clean up any trash and your brass.

Semper Fi

January 3, 2007, 01:07 PM
I don't think it's kosher to plink in the NF.

I think there's an Izaak Walton club up there. May be pretty near to you.

January 3, 2007, 01:19 PM
In AZ we can shoot, plink and hunt in our National Forests.

Mal H
January 3, 2007, 01:32 PM
It is perfectly legal to shoot in a National Forest - not to be confused with a National Park, such as Skyline Drive. In fact the NFS has setup several shooting ranges in some of the forests within a few hours of Northern VA.

Thanks to ZeSpectre for providing the NFS link. :)

January 3, 2007, 01:33 PM
Gilberts small arms (Lorton)

Shooters Paradise (Woodbridge)

NRA Headquarters range (Fairfax)

Blue Ridge Arsenal (Chantilly) -never been there myself

Loudoun County Chapter of the IWLA (Leesburg) -never been there myself

Clark Brothers Gun Shop, Inc (Warrenton) -never been there myself

more info here...


George Washington National Forest (see here )

January 3, 2007, 02:01 PM

I've been eyeballing these guys, but the price is steep if you're not going to be going once a month or so.

Shooters Paradise here in Woodbridge is a pretty nice place, but the shopping center it's in is a dive. I understand that it's the only storefront in it that's never been robbed...

Clark Brothers in Warrenton is outdoor, I don't like shooting pistols outdoor personally. The range is free but you have to shoot their moderately overpriced ammo. You can shoot skeet & trap there, though.

Believe it or not, I work within walking distance of the NRA range and have never been there....

I have a relative in Culpepper who owns about 5 acres and shoots regularly. I think (do NOT quote me) that state law says you have to be 100ft off the road, and that's about it, provided you're being safe otherwise. Don't know about Federal property either.

January 3, 2007, 03:43 PM
My wife and I were at Clarke Brothers today. It's not a plinking range, but a nice place to shoot. Yes, their ammo is slightly overpriced, but since the range time is free, it more or less balances out.

We went through about 600 rounds of 22 before my wife got tired and was ready to come home. Since she had knee replacement surgery a couple of weeks ago, just getting out of the house was a treat for her. She was making some pretty small groups in those targets too. :)

Me? Well, we won't talk about that. :D

January 3, 2007, 03:49 PM
The NRA range is extremely nice IMO, well lit, good airflow, and the staff tends to be nice.

January 3, 2007, 03:59 PM
Sorry looks like plinking is prohibited outside of a range. However there are several public ranges available.

# Weapons are not allowed on national forest lands outside of hunting seasons. ( See State Game Regulations.) Firearm ranges are the exception.
# Firing a gun is not allowed: a) in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area; b) across or on a road or body of water; c) in any circumstance whereby any person may be injured or property damaged; and d) outside of hunting season, unless a specific supervisorís order exists stating otherwise.

A couple of important facts to keep in mind as you plan your visit to the National Forest; Firearms may be discharged for target practice only at established shooting ranges. Firearms may be discharged in the general area for the purpose of hunting during the open season. Discharging a firearm in a developed recreation site is dangerous and prohibited. For more information, contact the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest Headquarters at 5162 Valleypointe Parkway, Roanoke, VA 24019, 540-265-5100.

chris in va
January 3, 2007, 07:04 PM
Oh hey, I've got a great place for you.

It's called The Cove Campground. Mapquest Gore Virginia and it's about 6 miles south of hwy 50 at Gore.

If you have a vehicle with some ground clearance, they have what I call a 'junkyard' range at the top of a hill. Bring anything you want to shoot at, and anything you want to shoot with. Full auto, 50bmg...whatever.

The roads can get sloppy after a rain. I usually head up there with my Cherokee or my friend's Tundra. $5 during the week, $12 on weekends and that includes use of the campground if you're so inclined. 4 fishing lakes too.

January 3, 2007, 07:23 PM
Chris, is this the place?

chris in va
January 3, 2007, 07:43 PM
That would be the one.

January 3, 2007, 07:55 PM
Hi, In DC and finding a spot were you and your sons can shoot with-in driving distance look West ! Sleepy Creek State Park has a shooting range. Located in the Eastern Panhandle of Wv about 1/1/2 hrs outside of DC . ........WVleo

January 3, 2007, 08:56 PM
You can also look into the Arlington-Fairfaxx IWLA.

100 yard rifle-pistol range in Centreville, along with trap/skeet, & bow area.
There may be memberships available. ~$140 a year, but bno rqange privileges till the member complets 8 hours at the facility working - mowing things, cleaning up, fixing ranges, painting the club house, spreading gravel, whatever needs doing at the time. It is an organized day with a number of different tasks available.

January 4, 2007, 10:53 AM
Hi all,

The Arlington Fairfax chapter of the IWLA, located on Mt. Olive Road, in Centreville has to be a well kept secret. I say that as I see many posts looking for places to shoot and yet the club has open membership slots.

Brickeyee has it right in that the annual cost is $145. This is a great time to apply as membership dues are due now, and people will be thrown off the list in February.

If you help the club out during the year, you'll get a credit making the annual costs closer to $100.

So what do you get for $145? There's a 15 postition 100m rifle/pistol range, five shotgun fields, the best field archery range in Northern VA, a fishing pond, campsites, and a somewhat elitist Olympic target archery range.

The economics alone should make IWLA an very appealing argument. I have little sympathy for those that are aware, choose not to act, and then whine about lack of shooting ranges.

PM me directly for the membership chairman's e-mail address.


Ohen Cepel
January 4, 2007, 10:56 AM
Another vote for the IWLA!!

January 4, 2007, 05:18 PM
NO vote for IWLA. I was a member there. You cannot even draw from a holster.

January 5, 2007, 08:35 AM
Thanks Chris,
and for that matter all that responded. I have been to Clark Bros. Target, Gilberts and for that matter just about every indoor range in our area. The boys and I like Clark's since its outdoors, but weekends are usually crowded, and you can only poke holes in paper.

I wanted to take both sons out as I did when I was a kid for some Father/son bonding that involved knocking over tin cans and the isolation of the woods, not something you're gonna get at Isiac Walton league, or an indoor range. We have a couple shotguns, a .22 lever Henry golden boy, 1858 Remington BP with the .45LC R&D conversion cylinder an 1860 Open Top Colt and my Christmas present a Ruger .44 anniversary Magnum. Given this variety it would be great to take the Jeep Commander Off road somewhere and set out a couple plastic water jugs at various distances. I can't imagine Clark Bros. allowing this.

I wouldn't mind going with another party for the first time just to get the location correct and have a little group fun so keep that in mind for any others in our area.

Thanks again.


January 5, 2007, 10:09 AM
I wanted to take both sons out as I did when I was a kid for some Father/son bonding that involved knocking over tin cans and the isolation of the woods, not something you're gonna get at Isiac Walton league, or an indoor range.

This time of year Sleepy Creek in WV is usually pretty quiet, especially if you can sneak away during the week. Just prior to the opening of deer season it's packed.

January 5, 2007, 02:46 PM
hmmm... Full Auto? :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:

January 6, 2007, 12:27 PM
The Cove at Gore Va has a pdf file that is a map, and I see roads and stuff, but no Junkyard range. There is a rifle range in the right upper side of the page. It looks like you drive? towards Stone Lodge then make a right on Persimmon Pond Trail. Is that the correct site? And, how Trail like is Trail? will I be able to negotiate this in my Commander without needing to visit the body shop on my return?


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