Southern Arizona: tell me about it.


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Gord
October 14, 2010, 07:30 PM
Looks like I may be relocating to the Sierra Vista area in the near future.

I'd very much appreciate any tips on good gunshops, good ranges or other places to shoot, or general pointers (feel free to PM if not gun-related enough to pass muster - looking for any and all info about the area). Much appreciated!

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SaxonPig
October 14, 2010, 07:32 PM
Here's what I know about AZ based on my limited experience:

Low elevation and it's hotter than Hell.

High elevation and it's snowing.

Jonnybronco
October 14, 2010, 08:48 PM
I grew up near Sierra Vista (Safford) and currently live in Yuma.

Yes, it gets hot, but winters are beautiful.

There is a small free range north of Safford, and I am sure there are good places to shoot near SV.

As I am sure you already know, AZ is very gun friendly.

Jonny

jnyork
October 14, 2010, 08:50 PM
Sierra Vista is a nice town with a large military contingent at Fort Huacucha (sp?) on the edge of town. Military members are well treated in town. Elevation is about 4000' IIRC, with occasional snow falls in the winter time but not bad, and summers cooler than most of Southern AZ. There are several ranges and gun clubs within easy driving distance, lots of metallic silhouette shooting among other disciplines. You can play tourist all you want , lots of neat things to go see within a daytrip distance. Arizona is very gun friendly so you wont have much if any hassle with CCW, etc. If you like 4-wheelers or jeeping you will be in hog heaven. If I had to move from where I am, Sierra Vista would be on the short list. Have fun!!

sohcgt2
October 14, 2010, 09:05 PM
There are a few gun shops in town, but I have not visited any of them. I don't know about ranges in the Sierra Vista area but you can shoot in the desert. You are fortunate to be moving down here at this time of the year. The rainy season has ended and the summer heat has gone with it.

Brer Rabbit
October 14, 2010, 09:08 PM
I live in Tucson, and visited Sierra Vista many times. As stated earlier it is a great place pleasant weather, and growing. The military has kept the town alive, but it has turned into a good place. Best shopping is still in Tucson. There is a public range about 45 min drive from SV on the south side of Tucson. Plenty of BLM lands that you can shoot on. I think that you will like it.

Brer Rabbit

Gord
October 14, 2010, 09:35 PM
Thanks for the responses so far, all. Very helpful. :)

As noted over to the left, I'm originally from southern California and currently in Utah, so I'm used to the "drive until there's nobody around, then shoot all you want" method. I've been to SV a few times to check out the area and it wasn't as bad as I was expecting for so close to the border. The Homeland Security/BP checkpoint on the highway into town was pretty intimidating - they had a HMMWV with a mounted and manned M2 parked right out front. Once past that, it seemed to be business as usual.

Stopped at Tombstone on the way out. Boot Hill was probably the biggest disappointment in the world.

Frank Ettin
October 14, 2010, 09:54 PM
There's a good range/club off of Highway 90 not far outside the town. See http://www.sierravistarange.org/. Earlier this year Massad Ayoob taught a class or two there, and he'll be coming back next year. It's a nice facility.

Here's an article that might interest you: http://ezine.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=41.

230therapy
October 14, 2010, 10:02 PM
Pros:

Sunny
Dry
Nice folks
Lots of land to shoot on
Grows rocks, not weeds

Cons:

Drug dealers
Hot
Military convoys with illegal goods in them
Murder, rape and kidnapping by foreigners
Hot
Must have tinting on car windows
Smugglers may decide to take over parts of your land

wankerjake
October 14, 2010, 10:18 PM
I think Sierra Vista is nice, plenty of area to shoot in the desert. I was there a couple weeks ago and saw like 3 gun shops. There are plenty of deer and predators in the area too if you hunt. About the illegals...I'm down in prime illegal country all the time and I've only seen one. They are there but by and large they aren't out looking for hikers/hunters, they are hiding by day. Even the pirates are mostly after other illegals running drugs. A lot of folks spend a lot of time down south without incident. Even so, I'm always heeled when I'm down that way.

Cons:

Drug dealers
Hot
Military convoys with illegal goods in them
Murder, rape and kidnapping by foreigners
Hot
Must have tinting on car windows
Smugglers may decide to take over parts of your land
It is hot. Drug dealers are everywhere, this is not specific to AZ. Can't say I've seen convoys filled with illegal goods. Smugglers taking over private land is not a problem I'm aware of. I also haven't had a problem with murder, rape, or kidnapping by foreigners and none of my vehicles have tinted windows...

Blackrock
October 14, 2010, 10:23 PM
The area has really built up in the last 20 years. Lots of good resturants and major chain stores now. I met my first ex-wife there in 1974 and there wasn't muchon the main drag then. Several good gun stores and a good shooting range out on hwy 90. Lots of things to do and see and as mentioned a Jeep or Quad will get you into some great back country.
Yeah Boot Hill is a joke tourist trap. A relative of mine C.S. Fly was a photographer in Tombstones boom days and chroncled many events including the shootout at the OK Corral.
Right now I live over near Safford Az.

Gord
October 14, 2010, 10:24 PM
At least he did make one good point:

Grows rocks, not weeds

I'm very much looking forward to not having to water, fertilize, de-weed and mow a lawn frequently. Utahns are pretty anal about their grass.

russ69
October 15, 2010, 12:05 AM
That may be the prettiest area of the entire USA, a true Arizona Highways picture perfect spot. You'll need a nice sidearm rig for informal occasions and of course a nice CC rig when you want to be discreet. You are a lucky guy.

Thanx, Russ

jpwilly
October 15, 2010, 02:21 AM
Welcome to AZ it's a great state and yes not without problems but nothing more than most other places.

Gord
October 15, 2010, 03:33 PM
Anyone know what the general attitude toward campus carry in AZ is?

jdowney
October 15, 2010, 08:23 PM
Anyone know what the general attitude toward campus carry in AZ is?

Pretty much completely verboten at state schools and community colleges. Not too hard to find in the Arizona Revised Statutes, but I haven't looked recently. In addition to allowing concealed carry without a permit for all eligible US citizens, I've heard they now explicitly allow storage in locked vehicles on campuses, which used to be a bit of a gray area. Its possible CC on campus will become legal the way the state is going.

Here's where to find the info:
http://www.azleg.state.az.us/arizonarevisedstatutes.asp
AFAIK, the gun stuff is in chapter 31 of the criminal code (tittle 13). May be other references elsewhere in the statutes.

Gord
October 15, 2010, 08:32 PM
Hmm, looks like I was reading a badly written or incorrect version of the statutes from some external source: I was under the impression that campus carry by CCW holders was state-legal but subject to the academic policies of the college in question.

The Arizona DPS site states that campus carry is legal for peace officers only. Bummer.

jdowney
October 15, 2010, 09:15 PM
Now that I think of it, the Arizona Board of Regents sets the policy at the universities, in the absence of actual legislation. Campus policing agencies are typically pretty clear about the rules, might look on the website of the campus in question. The University of Arizona in Tucson is very clear about the policy on campus - there's a sign stating "no weapons" on every entry door to every building.

wvshooter
October 16, 2010, 01:18 AM
Stopped at Tombstone on the way out. Boot Hill was probably the biggest disappointment in the world.


I was in Tombstone once and thought boot hill very impressive. Situated on a little knoll on the east side of town with a great view of a low mountain range about thirty miles due east with a beautiful wide valley lying between the two. The cemetery itself is small with winding paths that meander among the graves. Of course many of the markers are inscribed with humorous verses. Example, "Here lies Les Moore, no les, no more." How can you not love a place with so much history surrounding it.

But then I guess there are people who visit Gettysburg and say what's the big deal.

Bernie Lomax
October 16, 2010, 01:37 AM
Here's what I know about AZ based on my limited experience:

Low elevation and it's hotter than Hell.

High elevation and it's snowing.

The southeastern part of the state, where Sierra Vista is located, is somewhere in between those two extremes. It's chaparral, not desert, and the summers and winters are both relatively mild:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Vista#Climate

As a kid, I used to go to summer camp near there.

The southwestern part of the state is a different story. It is, as you so succinctly put it, low elevation and hotter than Hell.

russ69
October 16, 2010, 02:41 AM
...Example, "Here lies Les Moore, no les, no more."

If you are going to quote, get it right.

Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a 44
No Les
No More

Gord
October 16, 2010, 04:56 AM
How can you not love a place with so much history surrounding it.

Because there isn't any. Somebody decided to build a tourist-trap gift shop right in front of it, and the cemetery itself is a bunch of neat little piles of rocks with spankin'-new plywood headstones and smaller plaques made out of scrap lumber bolted to pipes, all surrounded by a rickety stick fence. I'd be depressed playing miniature golf there, much less trying to convince myself that it was in any way an authentic experience. The rest of Tombstone was much more impressive - well-preserved in its original state, and managed in a way that is profitable, but not crassly so.

Double Naught Spy
October 16, 2010, 10:48 AM
I have friends who live in Sonoita, just a tad NW of Sierra Vista. They get a lot of sonic booms, but I don't think you will get that in SV. As with many other areas of southern AZ, you may certainly have illegal immigrant issues.

http://www.desertinvasion.us/invasion_pictures/invasion_sierra_vista.html
http://www.svherald.com/content/news/2010/08/04/cochise-county-sees-little-change-number-illegal-immigrant-deaths
http://outside.in/sierra-vista-az/tags/Border%20Patrol

luigi
October 16, 2010, 10:50 AM
Hotter than a monkey's ass

Blackrock
October 16, 2010, 11:26 AM
The San Pedro Riparian area is a nice hiking/picnicing area and there are several canyons up in the Huachucas that are real pretty.

armoredman
October 16, 2010, 11:58 AM
Tombstone is 100% grade A tourist trap. My wife grew up in Scary Vista, hated it, but it had grown up since then. C'mon down, AZ has a beauty most don't appreciate. Plus Constitutional Carry. :)

Gord
October 16, 2010, 03:08 PM
AZ has a beauty most don't appreciate.

I know what you mean - I always found something beautiful about the desolation in CA, at least on the occasions I managed to find myself in a place not covered in trash and litter.

You'll be happy to hear that I'm bringing at least two CZs with me. ;)

xcgates
October 16, 2010, 04:14 PM
Nothing like a good reminder that I really need to take a road trip around NM and AZ now that I call TX home. It has been a long time since I've traveled in any environment that the northeast.:cool:

thetoad45
October 16, 2010, 07:38 PM
I live in Huachuca City about five miles north of Sierra vista. The summers are normally in the 90's from May through September but this year is above normal and we are having high 80's and low 90's in October. I work in pest control and this year has been wicked for scorpions. (and killer bee's) :banghead: I've been stung so many times through my bee suit I have lost count. Nasty little buggers. If you don't like bugs don't come here. Everything bites or stings. Trust me, I get it a lot.
The winters can get cold and snow tips the Huachuca mountains. There isn't all that much "public" land here in Cochise county. Get a good map because you will need to know where to go. There is some deer hunting if your drawn as well as javalina. Dove and quail hunting is popular also.
If your going to spend some time up in the mountains you will notice the signs stating beware of the drug dealers/smugglers. :uhoh: Pack a gun. If your going to just hike the more popular trails close to town then don't worry about it. Also this is basin and range land which means there are areas of high grass. Be very wary of snakes. Had a border patrol bitten awhile back while following a smuggler and had to be flown out. While we sport many species of rattler we also have the Mohave as do many counties in Arizona. These guys will ruin your day. We have more than a few horses and dogs bitten every year by snakes. Some live, some don't.
I have lived here for awhile. I don't plan on staying here any longer than I have to. I came from the northern states and in my honest opinion there is better hunting and fishing up there than down here. Pretty humble down here really. Sierra Vista is really the only "town" in the county worth anything. The rest, (Benson, Tombstone, Douglas, Nogales and so on) are either little dumps or run down border towns situated on our next war front. Yeah, it's great. Tucson (in the next county) is a war zone already. Ain't enough money in the world get me to live there. It's hot, dusty and full of drug crime. It also fits into my grouping of "a dump"......:barf:

azyogi
October 16, 2010, 08:35 PM
One should mention our Skyislands, mountain peaks scattered around the desert rising to 8,000 to 10,000 ft. Even in the middle of the summer a trip up the road and it's 20 to 40 degrees cooler. In the winter there is often enough snow for sking, the southern most ski area in the US is on Mt. Lemmon about 40 miles north of Tucson. {I don't ski so don't ask how good it is} These Skyislands are like going north thousands of miles, pine forests on top, tailing to scrub oak and pinion down below. Picacho Peak betwen Tucson and Phoenix is the site of the western most civil war battle. Mt. Graham just south of Safford has interesting hot springs. For star gazers these mountain tops are, dry, dark, and secluded.

sernv99
October 16, 2010, 10:13 PM
any good sporting clays/trap/skeet ranges in this area? I am thinking about applying for some of the DoD jobs at Ft. H........

sohcgt2
October 17, 2010, 01:02 PM
There is a giant and well maintained trap and skeet field just west of Tucson off Ajo Way.

Rexster
October 17, 2010, 03:10 PM
Interesting thread; thanks. If any place can lure me from Texas, this part of AZ might be it. Retirement will probably happen for me somewhere between one year and two days, to eight years, depending on several factors.

On going out into the desert to shoot: Don't just shoot at infinity, or into brush. Besides the hazard of hitting an innocent party, there could be the not-so-innocent who may be bedded down for the day, and may well return fire. Some acquaintances of mine had such an experience recently in southern Texas; the return fire was full-auto.

millertyme
October 17, 2010, 03:25 PM
That may be the prettiest area of the entire USA, a true Arizona Highways picture perfect spot

couldn't agree more. I lived on Ft. Huachuca for three years while my dad was stationed there from 1988-91. Some of the best memories I have are from hiking the canyons around base and in the immediate vicinity and the rich history of the area. I think the Chiricahuas have some of the most picturesque landscape and scenery in all the places I've ever lived. We always called it Sorry Vista, but we were Army brats and privileged to a better life than the civies in the areas. In all, I would love to move back to that area some time, but the current problems with the border could keep me away.
Lots to do with plenty of space to do it, I'd say.

Bernie Lomax
October 17, 2010, 04:25 PM
I think the Chiricahuas have some of the most picturesque landscape and scenery in all the places I've ever lived.

Never been to the Chiricahuas, but when I was in the Dragoons (next range over) I thought the exact same thing. The rock formations there are surreal. the Dragoons are probably my favorite place in Arizona:

http://skywalker.cochise.edu/wellerr/students/chiricahuas/6Image4.jpg

DennisB
October 18, 2010, 06:56 PM
Don't overlook the Whetstone mountains between SV and I-10. When I was stationed at Davis-Monthan back in '72-75 I spent many trips in those hills, south of what is now Karchner (sp?) Caverns. Nice deer country in there. A tour of the caverns is pretty cool too. I once found a stalagmite in the hills near French Joe's cabin, told myself that one day I'd find where it came from. Then the Air Force sent me to Germany and someone else found the cavern--
I still have in-laws from SV to Sonoita to Nogales and up to PHX and visit at least yearly. I'd move back, but the grandkids are all in Ft Worth...

Gord
October 19, 2010, 03:52 AM
Okay, solidly off-topic, but bear with me, we'll get back to gun stuff:

Where's a good place to stop in for a martini? Bonus points for Hemingwayesque atmosphere. Rowdy clubs ain't my thing.

millertyme
October 19, 2010, 04:35 AM
Bernie, Is that a photo of Cochise Stronghold you linked to? I haven't been there in 20 years. Found a stone spear head last time I hiked the trail.

Bernie Lomax
October 19, 2010, 05:07 AM
Bernie, Is that a photo of Cochise Stronghold you linked to?

I don't know. I found that pic by doing a Google image search for "Dragoon mountains" Cochise stronghold is in the Dragoons, so it's quite possible that it is.

Gord
October 20, 2010, 04:14 PM
Bump 'cause I'm thirsty :D

Anyone?

Okay, solidly off-topic, but bear with me, we'll get back to gun stuff:

Where's a good place to stop in for a martini? Bonus points for Hemingwayesque atmosphere. Rowdy clubs ain't my thing.

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