Public Ranges--do you trust them?


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AJKC
February 8, 2013, 09:30 AM
Public Ranges--do you trust them? Also do you bring anyone who wants to go with you, or are you picky about who you bring? Why?

I'm not a big fan of public ranges, prefer to go only on weekday mornings. I'm very picky about who goes with me (need to be able to trust them with a loaded gun after all.)

What do you think?

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Roadkill
February 8, 2013, 09:36 AM
Like many long time shooters, I've had some less than positive experiences at public ranges. Mostly for convenience but safety is also very important, I only use private areas to shoot. As far as who goes with me, if I have questions about their safety habits I won't be going with them anyway.

Trent
February 8, 2013, 09:37 AM
I got shot at once at a public range. Well, not AT, but close enough. Stupid guy pulled up, unpacked his gear, and started hammering away at a target already downrange DURING A CEASEFIRE.

I was two stands over, pasting my targets - with my 5 year old son.

Guy was evicted from the range. Friends held me back, fortunately, because there was an assault charge looming in my immediate future.

After that happened I started hunting around for a private range, and after 3 years on the waiting list, finally got in to one. Haven't stepped foot on a public range since.

Even though I go to a private range now, I'm often there alone, so I ALWAYS keep my rifle with me, if shooting rifles, and a loaded handgun holstered.

I'm picky about who goes with me.

rdhood
February 8, 2013, 09:41 AM
I would never put a gun in the hand of anyone I thought was unstable. I don't take anyone who "wants to go". I invite people to go. But to that end, ANY range could have unstable people, and I am quite sure that other people at the range aren't as picky as you (or me) about who they bring along.

The public range I go to has a range officer on duty during hours that it is open. I would be wary of a public range with no range officer, though.

Sam1911
February 8, 2013, 09:46 AM
I haven't shot on a public range in years, over a decade at least. It is too hard to concentrate on what I go to a range to do, if those public ranges even allow useful practical shooting practice, which most do not.

Red Tornado
February 8, 2013, 09:48 AM
I've had pretty good luck. Missouri DOC has public ranges all over the state and I've never really had any issues. Everyone seems to police themselves and each other for the most part. Always stay on your toes, of course, just in case.
RT

MErl
February 8, 2013, 09:51 AM
I'm much more careful at public ranges but will use them. Have had my share of *** moments at them. Out here public ranges are gullies or valleys on BLM/forest land and after last summer I joined a club instead.

jr_roosa
February 8, 2013, 09:53 AM
I avoid them. I like the private places on weekdays. Can set up and mess with the chrony and adjust things at will.

I will only shoot at a public range if there is pretty strict range control.

-J.

longknife12
February 8, 2013, 09:56 AM
Haven't shot at a public range in 20 years. Finally got into my private one and am very picky who I take with me!
Dan
;)

Steel Horse Rider
February 8, 2013, 09:58 AM
I am fortunate that I have access to a private range, although there have been others there in the past that caused me to pack up and leave due to their actions. I have taken a number of guests with no or limited shooting experience with me from time to time and I definitely prefer teaching without others around as more time is spent in gun safety techniques and shooting form than actual shooting. Newbies retain more if there is not other distractions to make their attention stray.

dirtykid
February 8, 2013, 10:36 AM
We dont have any "public" ranges persay around my area, they are all private clubs with membership requirements, Although the one I frequent most which is conviently only 2.8-miles from my front door, used to have a very dangerous practice of no range-officers,it was just a check-in at the main house and go do your thing,
There was a few times that I felt uncomfortable with the crowd that was there, and I would simply leave and come back during odd-hours to avoid them, (I could usually tell when I pulled up in the parking lot,and there was a bunch of cars with the 5" diameter tailpipes with the trunk-wings and such on them )
Just recently they installed a 6-foot fence seperating the parking lot from the firing-range,making whoever showed up "funnel" past the grounds-keepers house, they added a bunch of new features on the pistol range,including overhead beams to catch strays, and during the busier times of the day,weekends etc.. there is a volunteer walking-about insuring everybody is co-operating,and following the rules,
Most everybody is on-board and easy to get along with, but ocassionally there is a couple yahoo's that wont keep their hands off weapons when range is cold, or will ignore the 3-round burst rule, (range is located in rural area,but among neighbors)
I couldn't imagine going to a range where it was just a free-for-all,,

radiotom
February 8, 2013, 10:37 AM
Wow. I just go to the "Public Hunting Area" 1 mile up the road from me. I go about 1000 feet in and there is a dirt mound I place my targets in front of....lol

Sam1911
February 8, 2013, 10:51 AM
In another similar thread someone said:

Reading this makes me happy I live in the country and don't need to go the a range.
Yeah, I used to feel that way, too. But when I got involved with my former club (down in MD) I found to my surprise that the benefits of being regularly active with a community of dedicated, skilled, and motivated shooters really encouraged me to grow and develop.

When I moved up to PA and joined my current club the group of folks I fell into was a godsend. Not every club has at its center of gravity (so to speak) a group of folks who put on the NTI for 20 years, and who are competitive "practical" shooters dedicated enough to meet every week to run drills and scenarios. But WSSA does, and my own life would be much poorer without those folks and that resource. Being not much of a social animal by nature, this comes as quite a shock to me, but a very happy one.

I am 10 times the shooter and competitor I would be because of those folks and that environment, and where I've gone and who I've shot with since then, and making my way on my own would have been a sad, sad thing by comparison.

Public ranges are better than no ranges, but never denigrate the benefits of a good club.

akv3g4n
February 8, 2013, 10:51 AM
The ODNR site that I go to is public but there are always at least 2 rangers who are range officers there to make sure that everyone is following the range rules. They also do a full introduction your first time there and make sure that you understand all of the range policies and procedures. I feel very safe shooting there.

I had a bad experience at another public range similar to Trent. A woman started firing during a cease fire when other shooters were setting up their targets. Her boyfriend/husband quickly escorted her off the range. There was no range officer at that range and it is still just an accident waiting to happen. I'm surprised (but glad) that there hasn't been an accidental shooting there yet.

gossamer
February 8, 2013, 10:55 AM
I've had pretty good luck. Missouri DOC has public ranges all over the state and I've never really had any issues. Everyone seems to police themselves and each other for the most part. Always stay on your toes, of course, just in case.
RT

I'll +1 on the quality of Missouri's public ranges. And the ones I've been to are very well run by some hard-case guys who do not truck with rule violations.

I've never been to the MO DOC range where someone was not thrown out for violating a safety procedure the first time. "Action closed during a cease fire? Bye."

On the other hand, I've been to the private range and seen worse with no reprimand.

At one private range I had a guy shooting there who smelled of alcohol on his breath and at least acted like he was under the influence - which is a felony here. I left.

joecil
February 8, 2013, 10:56 AM
I shoot public ranges mostly indoor also (Bud's). I've shot on a few private ranges as a guest of members but most are just a bit too expensive for me. The only person I've ever taken to the range with me is my wife in the last 10 years or so.

beatledog7
February 8, 2013, 11:05 AM
No shooting range is guaranteed 100% free from unsafe shooters, nor is any shooter guaranteed to be 100% safe. We're all human; the shooter who smugly considers himself incapable of making a safety error is the one I'll avoid if I can.

coondogger
February 8, 2013, 11:06 AM
I belong to a club, but in the past I have used public ranges. The three I have had experience with are Fox River Valley Gun Range in Illinois, Thunder Mountain Skeet and Trap in Ringwood, NJ, and a range in Manchester, NH, the name of which escapes me. All were very well run and in my opinion, safe.

MedWheeler
February 8, 2013, 11:14 AM
Less and less as time goes by. A week ago, a man rented a gun at my local indoor range, spent a short time target shooting, then killed himself. I suppose it's fortunate that he had the balls to do it himself, and didn't decide to make the other shooters there do it for him.

BoilerUP
February 8, 2013, 11:16 AM
Increasingly less and less.

Just yesterday, a COLD RANGE was called and a guy was 4 steps downrange when some moron two tables down fired his pistol.

I immediately left.

Akita1
February 8, 2013, 11:21 AM
Mostly private or at our hunting camp these days. I occassionally go to a public place called Tenoroc in Central FL because they have ex-military range captains (two at a time) who are constantly walking the ranges giving tips, correcting shooters, etc. They are VERY strict and if anyone steps out of line, they're gone (at least when I've been there). Feel safer there than anywhere else "public" I have ever shot. Sometimes the private ranges are just as scary as the public...paying more and passing a shooting test don't necessarily make people more responsible at all times.

AJKC
February 8, 2013, 11:24 AM
Thanks everyone for responding, it's interesting to see so many varied experiences.

My "better half" goes to public range on the weekend (tries to go in morning) and often brings along newbies. I know no one is 100% safe, but I still worry (esp after Kyle shooting.)

sota
February 8, 2013, 11:25 AM
I'm a member of a private club that is self-policing. everyone is mandated to wear their ID badges plain and visible which has big numbers on it. Normally when I go there's no one there but the few times it's been "crowded" (myself and 1 other person) there have been no issues. all it takes is a phone call to the club president (his # is on the bulletin board in big numbers) and there will be consequences.

stonecutter2
February 8, 2013, 12:06 PM
I am blessed to have private land to shoot on.

That said, i did use a public range for some time. I was always leery of those around me...either by their safety techniques (or lack thereof) or by their demeanor.

I tried to remain polite and considerate at all times.

Ultimately I accepted that I was willfully sharing a space with strangers that have loaded weapons. There is inherent risk in that endeavor.

As for who I bring, it entirely depends. Some of the most senior shooters can have terrible safety practices, just like the greenest beginner.

Onward Allusion
February 8, 2013, 12:18 PM
I don't do public gun ranges any more. Not since I got a private membership at a club. The last time I was at a public range was for archery. It got a little weird with a couple of guys that got really talkative and friendly. My wife was with me and we both felt something was off so we left rather quickly. It was just us, the two guys, and a really old guy. We were pretty sure it was an interview. I kept one eye on them while we packed, Thankfully nothing happen and I was armed as well.

It's said, but I don't trust public ranges these days. Don't get me wrong, I know that the overwhelming majority of folks who visit and use public ranges are decent folks, but it's the few that ruins it for everyone. Hell, even when I go to the club, I make sure that I am well armed going down range to change targets. With the crappy economy, it is a real easy way to grab a thousand bucks of property.

Rezin
February 8, 2013, 12:56 PM
I haven't been to a public range in many years. The 1 I used to frequent, close down after locals complain. However, when we did go, we went in force. There would be 1012 maybe 15 of us at the time, so that sort of takes the safety equation down a notch, when every lane his friends.

hueyville
February 8, 2013, 03:59 PM
Due to issues with some of my private clients, I still have to use public and indoor ranges for teaching. I have personal ranges from 75' indoor pistol range to 400 yard rifle. My farm though is located too far for most of my students. They are on limited time so we meet at ranges with good reputations that are convenient to them. I wear minimum threat level II and usually level IIIa armor at all public ranges. I will sometimes even wear it at my own range with certain students. When noticed, a lot of patrons consider me paranoid or even take it personal like I don't trust them in particular. I don't trust anyone I don't know well in a concrete room with a gun enough to bet my life on them being solid. Even professionals have lapses at times.

In 35+ years of using ranges I have seen all kinds of weirdness. That includes local Wildlife Management ranges, indoor and exclusive private ranges. The worst accident I ever witnessed sadly happened due to a mistake by an on duty NRA certified range officer. I have worked with and seen accidents at law enforcement ranges. We are people and thus imperfect. I have personally had one accidental discharge back about 30 years ago. I had a custom trigger job done that was just a tad too crisp. Luckily I practice good muzzle control. I witnessed a top level IPSC shooter have a lapse of judgement. I have seen guns discharged accidentally in gun shops, gun shows and police precincts by folks that know how to handle guns.

The bottom line is the more your exposed to something of potential danger, the higher the risk of involvement or witnessing an accident. Whether it is a professional carpenter hitting his thumb with a hammer, truck driver falling asleep at the wheel, race car driver getting rear ended in accident off track, chef cutting their thumb off, or police officer having his backup fall out of his pocket. In a related thread a regular poster quoted the verse "live by the sword, fall by the sword" and was chastised by people that took his statement completely wrong IMHO.

So I choose to limit chances of personal catastrophic accident by wearing a vest at the range. Does it eliminate the chance, nope, but I will take the risk while minimizing chances of deadly consequences. After a recent incident at an indoor range my new rule is when patrons mix girl friends and class 3 weapons we step off the line till they finish. Handing a full auto Uzi to a 19 year old girl who has never held a gun is a bad thing. Not that it is a female thing, same rule applies now if some dude comes in with one of the range rental full autos.

ThePenguinKnight
February 8, 2013, 04:46 PM
I have used the public MO MDC ranges since I started shooting ten years ago. The manned ranges (busch) are nice, but disallow practical shooting practice (1 shot per 3 seconds, etc). The unmanned ranges can get... interesting... I have only had one or two incidents that made me truly uncomfortable; one time, a gentleman showed up and started popping off rounds while a large number of people were downrange, myself included. Otherwise, so long as I am mindful I've not had trouble. Off hours are almost always deserted, and I cant count the free brass I've scored. I've also gotten to shoot a large variety of weapons from random people I've met at the range, lots of fun there.

I would love to join a club and get a regular group of shooting enthusiasts as friends, as a previous poster menyioned, but I am a bit short on funds for that kind of endeavor right now. Ah well, hopefully sometime down the road...

Isaac-1
February 8, 2013, 05:23 PM
Reading threads like this makes me glad my family owns several hundred acres that I have access to for shooting

Ragnar Danneskjold
February 8, 2013, 05:36 PM
The only public range I know of within driving distance to me is Island Lake DNR range maybe 45 minutes away. I avoid going if at all possible, though not because of trust. There's a very strong Fudd atmosphere among the regulars and range staff. I go when I must because it's the only range I know of that has 25y, 50y, and 100y outdoor lanes that I can use to zero my rifles and optics. But all of my guns are scary black guns which really seem to bother the people there. No, I'm not doing anything unsafe. Just a lot of "what the hell you plannin on hunting with that, boy?" and other remarks of that sort. Having both of the safeties for the entire line standing right behind me the entire time and repeating the commands like I'm some dangerous noob. Being the only guy in his 20s with an AR10 in a line of 50+ year olds with wood bolt guns really draws a lot of attention. All in all, going there is a very unpleasant experience that I avoid if I can.

Outlaw Man
February 8, 2013, 05:40 PM
I've felt relatively safe at most of the public ranges I've been to. The majority have good range officers that are watching pretty closely. There's always the occasional yay-hoo, though.

I'm actually more particular about who I'd bring to a private range.

My preference is to shoot at a private range, though.

tactikel
February 8, 2013, 06:57 PM
I have used public ranges in Illinois for 45 years, and have really had nothing but positive experiences. I always eyeball shooters on my line, and have helped many who: didn't know how to load their new purchase, couldn't hit paper, and didn't know what a "cease fire" meant. Every shooter I've met was an opportunity to educate, make a friend, and recruit a new member for the NRA.
I have shot scores of really cool guns I didn't own!:D

BaltimoreBoy
February 8, 2013, 07:17 PM
Like Red Tornado and Gossamer, I have been very satisfied with the public ranges here in Missouri (St. Louis area).
Very strictly run to be sure - but necessarily so since you don't know who is coming in. Haven't seen anyone thrown out because it never gets that far.
Some style cramping in terms of targets etc., but it is hard to beat $3 per hour.

Dirtpile
February 8, 2013, 10:33 PM
The ODNR site that I go to is public but there are always at least 2 rangers who are range officers there to make sure that everyone is following the range rules. They also do a full introduction your first time there and make sure that you understand all of the range policies and procedures. I feel very safe shooting there.

I had a bad experience at another public range similar to Trent. A woman started firing during a cease fire when other shooters were setting up their targets. Her boyfriend/husband quickly escorted her off the range. There was no range officer at that range and it is still just an accident waiting to happen. I'm surprised (but glad) that there hasn't been an accidental shooting there yet.
Are you referring to Grand River?
Thinking about heading over there once in a while once spring comes.

gspn
February 8, 2013, 10:42 PM
I shoot at a public range sometimes...I figure it's about as safe as driving there on a public road.

Your life is often in the hands of total strangers.

Despite the occasional bad safety habits at the range I see far more bad safety habits on the road. Drunk drivers, texting and driving, road rage, etc.

USAF_Vet
February 8, 2013, 10:46 PM
Wow. I just go to the "Public Hunting Area" 1 mile up the road from me. I go about 1000 feet in and there is a dirt mound I place my targets in front of....lol
This is what I've been doing, except my public hunting area is about 4 miles away.

I only started going there because my neighbor turned his range into horse pasture. :(

bri
February 9, 2013, 07:56 AM
No, I don't trust people at public ranges. I'm glad I no longer have to go to one...

Trent
February 9, 2013, 08:04 AM
Talking with a buddy of mine a while back.

Found out he caught a 50 AE ricochet at an indoor public range not long ago. Creased him pretty good.

Man had been trying to talk his little girlfriend in to shooting it. Harassing her to no end. My friend was getting sick of it, went to pack up. She grabbed the Desert Eagle, went "FINE", pointed it generally down range and hastily fired an unaimed shot off.

The bullet hit the floor, bounced, hit something in the ceiling just right, caused it to come back to the firing line. He caught that big projectile in the left bicep. Nasty, nasty bruise, but no blood loss.

The range SO came running in to find out what went on, evicted the couple.

He said "I'm not going back to that range again."

dragon813gt
February 9, 2013, 08:40 AM
I'm a member of five clubs in my area. Does that answer your question :)
I stopped going to the public range by me years ago. Last time I went there was an undesirable element, holding their pistols sideways, blasting away. Just to many unsafe practices. I've been told it's gotten better since PA requires a hunting license or a range use permit to use the public ranges. But with no range officers there is no one to make sure you have one. I occasionally use a public range in the Poconos. But it's always during the winter when no one is around.

I only take people that either shoot already. Or are willing to listen to me. I won't take a couple friends anymore because they can't keep their fingers off the trigger. I can't deal with ceartin unsafe practices. But the majority of people that I take, or are memebers of thr ranges, are perfectly safe.


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Sam1911
February 9, 2013, 09:37 AM
The funny thing about PA is there are SO MANY clubs that being a member of 5 or so makes total sense. They tend to specialize, too, so you join one club for IDPA/USPSA, one club for trap/skeet and sporting clays, one club for long-range, one club because it's just real close to your house, one club because it has a great CMP or smallbore program, etc., etc.

Fortunately it seems most clubs have dues of less than $100 a year (often MUCH less) so it's no burden. I love it here! :)

The state ranges are a good thing, I'm happy to support that, but they are so very limited (and so occasionally worrisome) that "serious" shooters tend to move into the private clubs pretty quickly. The public ranges act as both a stepping stone for new folks getting into shooting, or a utility range for the hunting crowd who just need to shoot half-a-box a year to make sure their deer rifle still hits the brown part.

Kaeto
February 9, 2013, 09:49 AM
Ragnar Danneskjold said: The only public range I know of within driving distance to me is Island Lake DNR range maybe 45 minutes away. I avoid going if at all possible, though not because of trust. There's a very strong Fudd atmosphere among the regulars and range staff. I go when I must because it's the only range I know of that has 25y, 50y, and 100y outdoor lanes that I can use to zero my rifles and optics. But all of my guns are scary black guns which really seem to bother the people there. No, I'm not doing anything unsafe. Just a lot of "what the hell you plannin on hunting with that, boy?" and other remarks of that sort. Having both of the safeties for the entire line standing right behind me the entire time and repeating the commands like I'm some dangerous noob. Being the only guy in his 20s with an AR10 in a line of 50+ year olds with wood bolt guns really draws a lot of attention. All in all, going there is a very unpleasant experience that I avoid if I can.

Ragnar, I go to the Sharon Valley DNR range and no one hassles EBR shooters there. I have to drive to that range from the Downriver area because all the ranges around me won't allow Black Powder or all lead projectiles. And the clubs around here either are shotgun only or have 5 year waiting lists.

ScrapMetalSlug
February 9, 2013, 10:16 AM
I used to shoot a lot at a public range. I normally would try to go early in the morning on the weekends or during the week if I had the chance to avoid crowds and a lot of others shooting. It was the type of range where guys with Ar-15s would shoot at silhouettes 10 meters away doing mag dumps and telling their friends how "sick" that was dude. No range officers.
It is quite the luxury to shoot where you live whenever you want. I have never been a member of a "private club" although it doesn't sound like a bad idea if fees are reasonable.
My goal is one day when I buy a house with some land to build a big berm with my own pistol and rifle range.

Pilot
February 9, 2013, 10:18 AM
Ahhh, no. I avoid public ranges, and have belonged to a private gun club for many years.

T2K
February 9, 2013, 10:46 AM
Regarding the Kyle shooting - he was murdered by an acquaintance. That could have happened anywhere. Guns don't have to be at a shooting range to function.

I've only used one single public range in my whole life (except for a handful of occasions on private land owned by friends). Twin Ponds Range in the Francis Marion National Forest near Charleston, SC. First went there as a 16 year old in 1989 and I've been going ever since.

There are range rules posted, but no on-site staff. Just a clearing in the woods with a covered firing line and a berm at 100m.

I've seen one unsafe thing in all that time (and that was in ~1990) which was a guy firing a pistol round during a cease fire when I was downrange. Other shooters on the line drew weapons (didn't aim at him) and told him to ceasefire. Other than that, dozens and dozens of positive experiences, meeting nice people, letting them shoot my guns and them letting me shoot theirs.

I've seen some people shooting 12 gauges at tin cans on the ground 20' downrange and lots of people (including me) shoot rapid fire sometimes.

Life is full of risks. Ski slopes, driving, being in the ocean, being in bars in areas you don't know...I consider my range to be as low or lower risk than lots of other things I might do.

Having said that, I do hope to have a private range someday. It would just make things more convenient to be able to check targets whenever you want, take things at one's own pace, teach people, host informal competitions, etc.

texasgun
February 9, 2013, 01:34 PM
no public ranges for me.... just a gun club (with ballistic steel barriers between the shooters) and an outdoor range in the middle of nowhere where it's usually empty.... I've had a scary experience at an outdoor range once with a girl muzzle sweeping the entire row with a jammed Glock (and her finger on the trigger) :what: never again.....

BBQJOE
February 9, 2013, 02:11 PM
I've never had the desire to pay money to go shooting somewhere where there's any number of people I don't know in possession of, and firing guns.

45lcshooter
February 9, 2013, 02:16 PM
I like to have the range to myself. But since I moved to the woods I can go right out back. I keep my membership to the gun club so I can be a brass rat and get cheap beer in the clubhouse. 1.05 for a frosted pint of government taxed brew tastes better than a 3.00 non frosted pint of same beer at a normal bar.

Sav .250
February 9, 2013, 02:19 PM
When you say,"puplic range" do you mean ones with no Range officers or do you mean a Range for members only?
If it`s the latter, mine is run with total safety in mind. The Range officials have full command of any and all activties. You mess up.....your gone.
It`s about as safe as one can be. You don`t have to keep looking over your shoulder as the Range official does that for you. Relax and enjoy.

dragon813gt
February 9, 2013, 02:35 PM
The funny thing about PA is there are SO MANY clubs that being a member of 5 or so makes total sense. They tend to specialize, too, so you join one club for IDPA/USPSA, one club for trap/skeet and sporting clays, one club for long-range, one club because it's just real close to your house, one club because it has a great CMP or smallbore program, etc., etc.


That's exactly why I'm a member at that many. They all have a specialty range that the other's don't. My dues for all five are less than $150. And all five are within fifteen minutes of my house. The public range is within this vicinity as well. I end up at all of them at least once a week to pick up brass. But I tend to shoot at one of them the most since you're allowed to shoot at anything except glass. The stepdaughter likes plinking empty refrigerant cylinders because "they make a cool sound."


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MasterSergeantA
February 9, 2013, 02:56 PM
Here in Arizona, you can pretty much shoot on any non-posted public land. (There are some restrictions.) And most of the state is public land. But I mostly shoot on the recreational range at Fort Huachuca. I also happen to be one of the range masters. It is open to the public, not just service personnel. We always have a minimum of two range officers onsite. And control is pretty tight. In fact, our biggest problem is the soldiers who show up and rent pistols from the range to qualify for a German military badge. Most have never fired a handgun before (this is the Army now, not my Marine Corps) and they can be a bit unnerving. But they are ALWYS taken aside and given a very thorough briefing...and PMI...before we let them near the firing line.

I have never hesitated to throw anyone off the range for any unsafe act. The MWR management has always backed us in every case where a patron had to be ejected. A couple of young officers decided to try to argue with me; it didn't work out so well for them.

BullfrogKen
February 9, 2013, 03:21 PM
Public ranges? I haven't stepped foot on a public range in over a decade.


I've never had the desire to pay money to go shooting somewhere where there's any number of people I don't know in possession of, and firing guns.


And I'm in agreement with Sam on this one. I used to feel that way, too Joe. But gun clubs are about a whole lot more than a piece of ground to shoot on. I'm a much better shooter than I was back before I came to PA and sought out membership in a gun club. I've belonged to 7 or 8 over the years now, but WSSA is my home. If I had stayed a lone wolf, I'd have missed out on so much. There's simply no comparison of my skills then to what they are now.

Sam said he's 10 times better. I'll describe it as the difference between the ability to read and illiteracy.


These clubs are where you'll find your Hunter's Education and other shooting classes. It's where you find people to get organized and oppose legislation. It's where you find organized competition. Jamie Gray would not have won Olympic Gold this summer if it weren't for Palmyra Sportsmen's Association and their world-class Junior program just across the river here from us.


But the community in these clubs is where it's at. Last month we buried a member of Sights, the local IDPA crew. I've attended several funerals for the friends I've made here at the club over the years. We've had Christmas parties at the club, and Christmas galas at hotels. The guys go on motorcycle rides, and we're all genuine friends outside shooting.


But we wouldn't have met each other outside the club. And right now, it feels real damn good to have the fellowship of each other for support.

BBQJOE
February 9, 2013, 03:26 PM
I agree that there have to be some benefits, including friendships among other things.
Personally, I like being left alone, and able to concentrate. And besides, I'm kinda with Rodney Dangerfield:
I wouldn't belong to any club that would have me as a member.:neener:

:D

Sam1911
February 9, 2013, 03:47 PM
I wouldn't belong to any club that would have me as a member.That was Groucho Marx, for the record. :)

AABEN
February 9, 2013, 04:09 PM
I have shot at are state gun range for 30 years and only had one little run in. The man setting two seat down was shooting my target. I ask who was shooting it he said he was so I said do not do it again he said he did not have any targets so I gave him three and said bring your own next time. His buddy said it was his first time he was there and talked to him he told me he was sorry. This range has a 25 yd 50 yd 100 yd and 200 yd They have a concrete walk on the 25-50-100 with benches that seat 3 at each and a campy over head we use it for free. The state puts up the back board when one gets shoot up. We bang are own targets. Can shoot at any thing on the ground.

AABEN
February 9, 2013, 05:28 PM
Sound like a lot of you are around a lot of beginners. We here in southern In know how to handle guns! There is no one that watches are gun range expect to check to see if any one is shooting thing on the ground and to see if we filled out the range paper. That is what they use to see if it is being used. The more that use it the more money go to that range. They drive by about every 30 mints.

BoilerUP
February 9, 2013, 05:49 PM
We here in southern In know how to handle guns!

Maybe down 'round Evansville way, but the most egregious handling I've ever seen has been at the Clark State Forest 'range' in Henryville.

In addition to the event I posted upthread, I've seen the following there:

1. Dipwads shooting my steel target without asking
2. Misfire in a Mosin, college kid starts to look down the barrel when the gun discharged with his buddy yelling HOLE-LEE SHIZZ DUDE
3. Cold range called, I'm 50 yards downrange wearing a bright red shirt and some jackass starts shooting, causing me to yell some four-letter words
4. Numerous, NUMEROUS muzzle sweeps and handling firearms with fingers on triggers

Twice I've packed up and left because of unsafe handling, and now I try to go only during mid-week mornings in an effort to avoid "Fudd"-level stupidity.

Artigas
February 9, 2013, 05:51 PM
I get nervous with a lot of noobs around that I am responsible for, but I always try to take one with me when I go. Spread the word, you know.

Blue .45
February 9, 2013, 06:17 PM
Maybe down 'round Evansville way, but the most egregious handling I've ever seen has been at the Clark State Forest 'range' in Henryville.


Good to know. I have a friend who lives around Scottsburg, but doesn't know of any good places to shoot in that area. I found the range you're talking about online and suggested he give it a try. However, after reading your post, I'll recommend that he search for a better place.

Deltaboy
February 9, 2013, 09:00 PM
I go to public ranges all the time on Weekdays before 9 am. Private ranges are too rich for my blood.

wiltonar
February 9, 2013, 09:15 PM
the only public range i ever shot at (used regularly for 3 years) was problem free. No range officer or anything like that. Everyone was always respectful be it the weekend or weekday morning. The ony issue i would have was too much range trash being left out by people not cleaning up. This was a range on the border of virginia and west virginia on public land by the way

Milamber
February 9, 2013, 09:36 PM
I shoot very regularly at our local WMA range. Never had an issue. RO on site and they don't take any nonsense. Only issue I have is the one second between shoots rule. Place is very quiet on weekdays, weekends can be hectic. Weekend following CT it seemed every table had a new AR.

blaisenguns
February 9, 2013, 09:43 PM
Public Ranges--do you trust them? Also do you bring anyone who wants to go with you, or are you picky about who you bring? Why?

I'm not a big fan of public ranges, prefer to go only on weekday mornings. I'm very picky about who goes with me (need to be able to trust them with a loaded gun after all.)

What do you think

I only use public ranges, I have never had an issue. The clubs are WAY to far away for me. The best I get for a private range is occasionally I get to shoot at a friends ranch, which is in the next county.

I am absolutely picky about who comes. For me it has always been a father and son thing, and I have only ever gone without my father once. My general rule is: If you don't have your own ammo, I don't want to play with you (I shoot big guns, and they are expensive to shoot). People ask me to take them all the time, and if they ever gave me the "this dude should not have a gun" vibe I blow them off.

I would say that I would be absolutely willing to take someone who is uninitiated in firearms, especially in light of all the misinformation out there. That is the only way I know to turn an anti into a pro-gunner.

Oh and I would NEVER take anyone other than my dad to my friends ranch, that is just courtesy.

BoilerUP
February 9, 2013, 10:19 PM
Good to know. I have a friend who lives around Scottsburg, but doesn't know of any good places to shoot in that area. I found the range you're talking about online and suggested he give it a try. However, after reading your post, I'll recommend that he search for a better place.

Its not always bad...but you just gotta keep your head on a swivel there.

kynwatch
February 23, 2013, 10:28 PM
I used to go to Bud's in Lexington, but I got tired of Rambo in the next lane raining brass on me.

I joined a local sportsmens club and never looked back. I'm 41 and only once in 3 years has anyone younger than me been shooting at the same time. Thats was a father and his 2 sons. They were very safe and well taught. Most of the time it's older gentlemen testing out their newest reloads. I am respectful of them and they are willing to share some of their knowledge. One guy even reloads my 500sw brass for me at $0.75 a round!:neener: Also I have had a chance to fire some very fine revolvers over the last few years. So never ever going back to public ranges!!!

BullfrogKen
February 24, 2013, 01:19 AM
I'm 41 and only once in 3 years has anyone younger than me been shooting at the same time. Thats was a father and his 2 sons.They were very safe and well taught.

I'd be very careful concluding that only people older than you can safely handle a gun.


What would you conclude about a 20-something on the range beside you shooting "unconventially" when you learned he just returned from OIF/OEF?

Or if not a foreign war, some young kid I just last month gave some instruction to on my range?

kynwatch
February 24, 2013, 04:08 AM
I was just pointing out my experience at an invitation only private club. I trust no one until they prove themselves. I shoot at about the same time every week and it usually the same older gentlemen there. The three I'm usually with I trust completely. One is a marine that retired when I was in high school, one was a firearms instructor for the state police years ago, and the other has been shooting since before I was alive. If you screw up with them there don't count on your membership being good the next day.

I'm a veteran and I show respect to my fellow shooters. One way I show this is to be mindful of where my brass is flying. If the guy was endangering others I would report the incident to the membership review panel for expulsion. I don't care who it is.

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