Outdoor Shooting in Colorado


January 21, 2004, 11:32 AM
Hopefully someone can help me here. I'm looking for a place to shoot reactive targets in Colorado, preferably within an hours drive of Denver.

I'm not sure if it's tough to find places like this in Colorado, I just know that it was very common when I lived in Idaho and Arizona. There was always lots of wilderness/desert to go out and shoot the crap out of whatever you brought with you (plz don't shoot the cactus though).

I could probably find a spot myself but I don't have the time to go out scouting all around and driving down numerous different roads.

I just want a safe place to shoot where nobody cares that I'm shooting and no cops will come asking what I'm up to (I assume this kind of shooting is legal)

I guess other reasons I'm looking at this option is:

1. it's free
2. reactive targets are more fun than paper
3. I can be my own range master

So, I hope to hear from some folks in Colorado/Denver with good, safe places to shoot it up.

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Zak Smith
January 21, 2004, 12:06 PM
There's always the Pawnee National Grasslands, thought it's a bit far for you. The forest service - or somebody - prints a pamphlet about "How to shoot legally and safely in Pawnee"


January 21, 2004, 01:04 PM
I used to go on the NORTH side of Rampart Range Road, but you realize there are a number of clubs/ranges in the area too?

Front range IDPA shoots at Idaho Springs every 2nd saturday of the month.. lots of targets, lots of fun.

January 21, 2004, 01:09 PM
You're in Colorado man. That state is literally full of National Forest Land. Shoot all you want, so long as you follow some basic safety rules.

January 21, 2004, 01:28 PM
I used to just go into the Arapahoe National Forest right near my house. I would drive about two or three miles down a Jeep track setup and blast away.

As I understand it, all national forest in CO is this way, though I haven't lived in CO for several years now.

January 21, 2004, 01:35 PM
Not to beat a dead horse, but all National Forest in the USA are supposed to be this way. National Forest go by Federal rules, not state, unless there has been an agreement reached on game management. Texas is one state that controls the management of game within the National Forest in Texas. All other rules are Federal.

Jay Kominek
January 22, 2004, 12:36 AM
Does anyone know of some good shooting spots in the Roosevelt National Forest near Boulder? I realize that barring the standard national forest restrictions, I should be able to shoot in it wherever I please, but its a big place, and I'd rather not have to drive around until I find a convinent backstop, er, mountain. (And I'm just not that familiar with it, so I wouldn't really know where to go looking.)

January 24, 2004, 01:02 AM
I still have not had any luck finding anything good. I did learn a few things though.

Many National Forest areas specifically restrict shooting. Upon entering Pike National Forest I the biggest sign there was a huge one saying, NO SHOOTING!!!. Some of them do specifically allow it too though. The best method seems to be to contact each individual ranger district to find out where shooting is allowed in their district. There are lots of ranger districts in Colorado.

The shooting area at Rampart Range road has been closed down. The area is heavily traveled by other outdoor recreationists and the shooters made asses of themselves by leaving all kinds of debris at the range. Shooters are often their own worst enemies. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/spl/shooting_closure.shtml

The Canyon Lakes ranger district (lying a bit west of Fort Collins) is the only one that specifically says they allow shooting on their web site. I'll have to call the others. Here's the info listed for the Canyon Lakes district. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/districts/clrd/shooting/index.htm

The South Platte Ranger District also seems to have the same rules as the Canyon Lakes district. Shoot where it's safe to do so.

Here's the general answer listed on one of the web sites:

You can target practice in most areas of National Forest, with some exceptions. No shooting is allowed within 300 feet of a campground, trail head, residence, or anyplace occupied by people. Additional areas that do not allow shooting will be posted. You are not allowed to shoot across or on a National Forest road, trail or body of water. You must shoot in a safe manner, know where your round is going and have a safe backstop. You cannot place a target on a live tree. There are established target ranges on some National Forests.

So, it seems that the rule is follow these rules unless it is otherwise posted as NO SHOOTING, as the area that I visited today was. The best bet is probably still to call the ranger district. I'll probably call a few in the morning.

January 24, 2004, 01:12 AM
Write to Dudley Brown exdir@rmgo.org of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

Check out http://www.rmgo.org/ and, better yet, join RMGO.

There is also Left Hand Canyon out of Boulder that is still open to shooting.

What type of "reactive" targets are you talking about? Reactive targets could mean anything from beer bottles to one gallon milk jugs of gasoline with a stick of dynamite strapped to it.

The best reactive targets, however, are the ones at the prairie dog shoots. :evil: They call them "flippers".

January 24, 2004, 01:28 AM
I dropped Dudley and e-mail. Hopefully, I'll hear from him soon.

I think I've been down Left Hand Canyon Road. Isn't that there the trail head for Heil Valley Range is located? I'd have to get some more specific directions to a spot that's good for shooting down that road. I have driven it a great distance but I wasn't looking for a shooting spot at the time.

My wife wants to try all sorts of reactive targets. We'd probably start with a bag of oranges and some tin cans. We enjoy the outdoors for more than just shooting so we would always take back whatever we bring (including brass).

The reactive targets are not the only reason to look for a free spot. Range fees are $10 per person and that adds up if you have a group. It's easier to convince non-gun friends to come shooting when it's free.

January 24, 2004, 04:35 AM
There is also Left Hand Canyon out of Boulder that is still open to shooting.

Around here we refer to Left Hand Canyon as "Little Vietnam" because it's completely trashed out and utterly unsafe. I have seen so many safety violations there I won't shoot there anymore.

Another public spot that has not yet become trashed is southwest of Lyons at the junction of highways 7 and 72. Heading west out of Lyons on 7, approximately 100 yards before the junction of 72 is a pulloff to the right. There is a pretty decent area for shooting several hundred feet off the road.

The Pawnee grasslands remain an excellent public spot, though a bit distant from Denver.

You might also try the Colorado Rifle Club east of Denver at Byers.

January 24, 2004, 09:18 AM
Does anyone know how busy Pawnee gets of different days of the week, particularly on the weekend?

January 24, 2004, 10:00 AM
Pawnee can get busy on weekends...but I have always managed to find a place.

There is a small place in St. Vrain Canyon up near Nederland/ Allenspark .

Wherever you end up...please bring a big trashbag, since there are some that seem bent on ruining it for us all!

January 24, 2004, 10:42 AM
Mr. Dove;

Move to Casper Wyoming, join the Stuckenhoff range. It's public & extremely nice. Open tap running water on site. Fill your 1 gal milk jugs & you're good to go.

I realize that this may necessitate getting a new job, but so what? One must keep one's priorities in order.

:) 900F

January 24, 2004, 11:01 AM
Dragon Arms
1200 Dragonman Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80929


Worth the trip just to see his collection of full-auto and destructive devices.

February 7, 2004, 04:28 AM
Can anyone provide specific directions on how to get to the better shooting areas in Pawnee? I went as far as the grasslands but its a checkerboard of private and public land. I could buy a forest service map but I'm too cheap.

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