Rifle range and instruction


November 26, 2003, 05:42 PM

I’m a dad who is interested in taking his sons duck, deer, and pheasant hunting when they get older. I have enough experience with the duck/pheasant sort of thing, but very, very little with deer, and I would like to learn enough now that I’ll feel comfortable teaching them when they get older. I also don’t have much experience with rifle use, which is what I’m most interested in here. (I do realize I could use my shotgun, which would take a whole lot less work to get used to, but hey, I NEED new toys don’t I?)

So, I had a couple questions, and any advice is appreciated.

I’m located in a southern suburb of the Twin Cities, Minnesota. I’m looking for a rifle range that I can shoot at, mainly to get some practice and to learn. I’m also looking for a range or an instructor to take a couple lessons from. My rifle experience is mainly from a firearms safety course and a boy scout event when I was younger, so I think it would probably be worthwhile to get some more expert training rather than just popping off rounds by myself.

Could anyone recommend a range in my area, or an instructor (or both)? I plan to start mainly practicing with a .22 for now.

I plan on taking up deer hunting next season. I know this is kind of long range planning, but I’d like to have time to practice and learn a bit before wandering around with an unfamiliar gun. Fortunately I have a couple friends with a fair amount of practice, so I won’t have to go it alone. However, I wouldn’t mind picking up a little bit of knowledge before I go out. That leads to a secondary question, any books/videos/etc. that could be recommended for whitetail? I would probably be hunting up in central MN, more or less.

Any advice would be appreciated,



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November 26, 2003, 06:17 PM
Firstly, welcome to THR! Nice to have you join us.

Also, please accept my very sincere congratulations on the way you're approaching this. I wish more "beginner" rifle shooters / hunters would follow your example! You're making sure you know how to use the firearm you intend to hunt with, and you're looking for instruction to avoid any bad habits or learned mistakes. Wonderful! Again, congratulations.

I don't live anywhere near your area, but I'm willing to bet that the local gunshops would be a good place to start asking questions. They're bound to know the good local ranges. Also, don't be afraid to travel a bit: there might be a very good facility within an hour or two's drive, and it's worth the effort, IMHO.

Finally, spend time on the Rifle and Hunting forums here. Post questions, ask for advice, and seek out those identified as living near you. We're a very friendly bunch, and eagerly seek any excuse to go shooting with someone! :D

November 26, 2003, 06:30 PM
Is there a place called Harris east of the Twin Cities near the Wisconsin border?
If so, there's a range there with several rifle programs.
If it isn't Harris it's some other town/area out there.
I thought about going to a match or two there years ago.

There's a club outside Princeton, MN, but they mostly shoot full auto stuff at a meet in May and September.

November 26, 2003, 06:34 PM
I have never been anywhere near Minnesota, so I don't know where you can shoot up there. But I would recommend checking this website. http://www.wheretoshoot.org/
I found some nice places within 15 minutes of my house by using this website. Try it out!

November 27, 2003, 04:12 AM
ACP230, does this look familiar? This would actually be in a twin cities suburb, but its what I can find with Harris in it, and I think they have some competitions up there, from what I could find on it. Looks like a bigger range.

Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club
Address: 7325 University Ave NE
Fridley, MN 55432
Contact Person: Steve Petschel
Phone Number: 612/784-0038
Directions to Range: Hwy 35 to Harris Exit. W on Cty Rd 7 to Cty Rd 61
Hours of Operation: Year round unrestricted

Thanks for your help,


November 27, 2003, 04:13 AM

>>>>Finally, spend time on the Rifle and Hunting forums here.

Thanks for the warm welcome. I've been browsing here for a while now, lots of good info, and I tend to just enjoy reading the threads. Nice group.


November 27, 2003, 04:17 AM

Thanks, that gives me a good list to start from. I found a couple nearby, and at least can start there and see if they fit.


November 27, 2003, 07:01 AM
Does Minnesota have or require a hunter education course?

Some states require a person to take the course before s/he can get a hunting license.

Try contacting the Minnesota state agency that regulates hunting and asking about hunter education courses.

Welcome to THR.

November 27, 2003, 09:30 AM

There is also a very nice and free range out east a ways in Menomonie Wisconsin where I like to shoot that has benches and taget points out to 300 yards. The Oakdale Gun Club and Moon Valley (in Chaska on Flying Cloud Drive) are also ranges a bit closer but they cost money. The range in Harris is really nice, but I believe that you have to be a member to shoot there (or a guest of a member) and it is just as far a drive for me as Menomonie. Then there is the Minneapolis Rifle Club just west of the cities. If you go to this website: http://www.mrra.org/default.asp and look under Match Schedule you will see links to the diferent local ranges, including maps.

Also, it is refreshing to hear someone talk about practicing shooting a full year before Deer season. We should be so lucky as to have everyone actually prepare and become proficient before heading afield.

Just let me know if you want any more info. :)

Harry Tuttle
November 27, 2003, 09:32 AM
theres a ton of Waltonians out there:

November 27, 2003, 10:28 AM
I almost forgot, you said south metro suburb right? There is also the Dakota County Gun Club:


Hope that helps.

November 28, 2003, 07:47 AM
It's on the north side of the cities, but Armored Fire in Circle Pines is a nice indoor range that allows centerfire rifle calibers. I'm not sure if the other indoor ranges allow rifle shooting.

November 29, 2003, 02:19 AM
>>>>Just let me know if you want any more info.

LOL. Always want more info. Thanks for all the help you've already offered. I did have another question.

I'm also looking for suggestions on where to get some rifle instruction. I figure that if I practice a bit I can probably shoot decently, but I'd like to be a bit better than that eventually, and I think I'd probably enjoy punching holes in paper from moderately longer distances. So, if I'm going to pick up shooting a rifle I'd like to learn it the right way the first time.

Are there any ranges/instructors/schools/etc. that any of you could recommend for getting some instruction? I'm mostly wanting to shoot for hunting, but I've always enjoyed shooting at the range too, and I think I'd enjoy target shooting.

I've been hunting and shooting clays with a shotgun since I was a kid, and when I am in practice I'm accurate enough, but I've found I have a couple bad habits. I'd like to try to at least avoid learning any more, and I'm sure if I mainly teach myself I'll learn to shoot well enough to hit a deer at a short range, but not as well as I'd like.

If you know of any of the ranges that provide a more serious set of instruction, or of any individual instructors, a recommendation would be great.

Thanks again for the help.


November 29, 2003, 02:22 AM
>>>>>>Armored Fire in Circle Pines is a nice indoor range that allows centerfire rifle calibers.

Cool, I had found their website previously, but didn't realize they allowed larger calibers. Thanks! It may be a while before I start shooting anything larger, but I had been looking for a place that would be open in the winter that I could shoot a .308 at.


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