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Moving to Birmingham...where to shoot?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Felonious Monk, Mar 8, 2006.

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  1. Felonious Monk

    Felonious Monk Member

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    I've taken a job in Birmingham, and would like to know where some good ranges are in/around that area.

    Also, I anticipate moving to the area once I'm settled into the job. Where are the most gun-friendly areas of town to live in? Would those areas also include ways to avoid the awful traffic to get to my downtown office?

    I'd prefer to be somewhere with a 'rural' feel to it, would LOVE to be able to buy a place where I could shoot on my own property, but I also don't want to have to drive an hour or more to get there.

    Anybody have suggestions/opinions?
    Thanks,
    Felonious
     
  2. GruntII

    GruntII member

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    How far do you want to commute each day? I would advise living not in Jefferson COunty but one of the surrounding more rural counties. Traffic is a nightmare in the city. Birmingham is one of the 10 most dangerous cities in nation on a per capita basis. There are 2 Ranges I know of.The FOP inc out door range complex is a good range. I think membershiop is 200 a year. They have IPSC and IDPA as well as a range capable of handling Class III . Teh second range it the Alabama PIstol training Institute or some such. It is an indoor range with no membership requirement and small pro shop A permit in Alabma is relatively easy to get, self defense is a justifiable reason. Cost per year ranges from about 10-35 dollars depending on county. There is a great pistol/gunsmith in the Roebuck area at Plaza Gunworks by the name of Paul. He stays covered up with work. There are several large gunshops in the metro area form the Gun Cellar in Hoover to Plaza Gun Workd to The Pistol Parlor to Southeastern Guns In Trussville.
     
  3. Felonious Monk

    Felonious Monk Member

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    Thanks, Grunt!

    I am comfortable with a commute of anywhere from 10 minutes (yeah, right) to a half-hour, maybe a little more out of necessity.

    I've heard suggestions re: Pelham, Helena, Alabaster, McCalla. Opinions on these?
    Living on the edge of a State Park (Oak Mtn) sounds nice in theory; what kind of area is that? Expensive? Anything close to a rural feel?
     
  4. GruntII

    GruntII member

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    That whole area is a mix running form old homestead to 200,000 Plus homes.
    10-30 minute commutes is kind of a dream but you can try. I commute 50 minutes a day. Where will you be working? What side of town? Alabama has it's problems but generally it's a great place to live. Our politicians are crooked but the people are nice.

    Go to the web check out http://www.thesourcefm.com/ it's our local conservative talk station. Pelham is nice, Alabaster is overrun with illegals and had been the siteof a city sponsored land grab. Check out St CLair County and the City of Moody. A small bedroom community about 20- 30 minutes east on I-20.
     
  5. Felonious Monk

    Felonious Monk Member

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    18th St. Alabama Power Bldg. Smack downtown.

    BTW, a couple of folks have told me now that B'ham is very dangerous. Good news is, there's a parking garage directly attached to the bldg.
     
  6. BigFatKen

    BigFatKen Member

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    easy way through B'ham

    The best way to get through Birmingham is to just walk on the air, it is so dirty. If you can't do that, think about geting your job located a little south. There are houses on five acres around Alexander City for under $100,000. Alex City is on most top ten places to live in the Country.

    Sorry, that is about I can contribute. The Lake Martin area is clean, cheap and with all of the old vacant mill buildings, railroads, and the four lane now runs from B'ham through Alex City to Auburn, it will once again grow and prosper. Maybe you can get your boss to let you start the new branch. Regular houses in the city start at under $50,000.

    Best wishes and welcome to Alabama. BTY, we passed a law in special session last year to keep Emient Domain to Public Use as per the Constution. No Mayor grabing your land because his brother-in-law wants to make it a condo.
     
  7. ALHunter

    ALHunter Member

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    I live in unincorporated Shelby Co.
    Too many areas and too much to recommend/not recommend in a post. As with anything, it depends on what you want and what you can afford before you can start considering areas to live in. If you want to talk by phone just PM me.

    Mark's Outdoors in Vestavia has a decent selection. I much prefer the extra drive to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bessemer to deal with the people there. THRs' Ala Dan is there too.

    I belong to Iron City Trap & Skeet Club off of 459 by the dog track. I also belong to Steel City Gun Club (also known as Brock's Gap) off of 459 towards Hoover. Both are great places to shoot. Steel City is doing a big expansion and once complete it is going to be outstanding.

    Welcome to B'ham.

    Editied to add: I've been to the Alabama Pistol and Training Institue once, about a year ago. It's in Tarrant, I guess considered on the outskirts of "downtown Birmingham." Indoor range, only about 6 or 7 lanes. I found it dirty and uninviting. FWIW. I have no plans to go back. Besides, I prefer to shoot outside.
     
  8. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Greeting's All And Many Thanks For The Kind Word's AL Hunter my friend-:)

    Well, yes like most places these days Birmingham is VERY dangerous
    with a high crime rate.:uhoh: So far, some good suggestions have been
    made; like McCalla, Hoover, Homewood, Irondale, and Trussville. I would
    stay away from "central city" as much as possible. Gang bangers run
    rapid 'round here, and also North Birmingham (Collegeville) and East Lake
    (Gate City). One city I forgot over the mountain is Vestavia Hills, but its
    kind'a pricey. With most newcomers settling in Shelby County, Homewood
    seems like an ideal location for you. Jump on the Red Mountain Expressway
    and you would be at Alabama Power in 'bout 10 minutes, on a good day.

    The Pleasant Grove F.O.P. range is a most excellent range. They offer
    annual memberships; or hourly rates. Its owned (and run) by a Pleasant
    Grove police SGT, who likewise lives on the land. Also, Steel Cities in
    Hoover is a most excellent range. They just recently joined forces with
    the Hoover Police Department, so shooting on Wednesdays for civilians
    is out of the question. Also, as a last resort the first Saturday of each
    month Bessemer Police Department opens its range too the public. Its
    operational hours are from 0800 hrs to 1600 hrs. They have a range
    safety officer on duty, and offer basic marksmanship instruction too
    newby's. Its free too the public.

    And YES, I'm at Simmons on Thursdays, Fridays, and most Saturday's.
    Welcome and I hope you enjoy your stay~!:D
     
  9. Felonious Monk

    Felonious Monk Member

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    AlaDan, the Tennessee Vol Fan...you've GOT to be hardcore Vol (blood run deep orange?) to be so fanatical in the midst of pachyderm (Tide) country. Goodonya!

    We've talked a few times, and now it appears I'm going to actually be close enough to come shake your hand. Looking forward to it!

    Thanks for the recommendations. I'll definitely be by to see you in the next couple of weeks.

    BigFatKen-- That's SO funny! Thanks for the sales pitch. Wish I'd known you were in D'ville all this time!
    We moved to AC in August of '04, to take a job with the MAJOR employer in the area. Well, turns out they are a company in HUGE crisis. Managed to make it look pretty, just long enough to convince me to come to work for them, then pulled the curtain back and started the "Oh, by the way..." business.

    Suffice it to say I now have good legal representation. :cool:

    So, my time with that company will not have been in vain, but alas, we may have to move from Mayberry in order to pick up and continue the career.

    Any other recommendations re: B'ham?
     
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Although born in Birmingham, I haven't lived there since I went off to college in 1963 and cannot comment on where to live and how to get to work.

    I do shoot there, IDPA at Steel City. A nice range with an ambitious expansion program.

    http://www.scssa.org/
     
  11. BigFatKen

    BigFatKen Member

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    big employer, maybe Russell?

    I'll take a wild guess that you worked for Russell.
     
  12. Felonious Monk

    Felonious Monk Member

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    Discretion is the better part of valor, Ken.
    I'll plead the 5th. :cool:
    ...at least until the attorneys finish their wrangling.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2006
  13. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Greeting's Again Mr. Monk-

    I will be looking forward to our meeting, Sir~!:D

    BTW, yes my veins bleed orange even here in BamaLand.
    I just hope 06 turns out better than 05~!
     
  14. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    I lived for about 10 yrs in Birmingham in Homewood, Cahaba Heights, and Mountain Brook. None of those places are scary at all. It doesn't take long to get to downtown from there either. I worked at UAB at the time, which is not in downtown, but pretty close.
     
  15. Souris

    Souris Member

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    If you want to stay in an unincorporated area and still want to be close to birmingham you might want to check out the Shannon area. I expext that buying in the Shannon area would be a decent investment since it is surronded by Hoover, Homewood and Bessemer. Hoover is expanding and so is Homewood. Bessemer is just trying to stay the same size. I expect over the next ten years that Shannon will be Annexed by Hoover.
    Homewood, Mtn. Brook, Vestavia have the best public school systems. Birmingham only has a school systems to pay its' administrators and not to educate. In the Birmingham city proper you might check out the Downtown loft condo's or the Highland Park, 5pts So, Redmont area's for nice housing.

    North of Birmingham is an area that everybody seems to forget about. Hayden, Gardendale, Fultondale,Warrior are all good communities. I have a friend in Hayden that let's his son hunt his garden. Last year they bagged a 4 pt. It's about 30-45 minutes out of town on 65.

    There is an indoor gun range on 40th St So in downtown B'ham (not a great part of town but you will be armed :) )
    SCSSA in Hoover
    Magic City Gun Club in Tarrant
    FOP Range in Pinson
    Public WMA Range in Helena
    I think there are a couple of others that I can't remember at the moment.

    If you reload you will get to know Simmons Sporting goods in Bessemer as they are the only place that sells reloading supplies.
    Mark's Outdoors in Hoover has really nice high end Shotguns and clothing as well as a nice selection of new and used rifles and handguns.
    Gun Cellar in Hoover is a decent place to check out.
    Southeastern Guns in Trussville is a good place to buy.
    I have not had good experiences with any gunsmiths in the city of Birmingham. Unfortunantly there are only 2 places that I know of that do any gunsmithing type work.

    All of the Birmingham area guys should get together some time and go shoot.
    JR
     
  16. greyhound

    greyhound Member

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    I live in Hoover and its about 25 minutes up Rt.31 to get downtown. I could jump on I-65 but thata always backed up..

    I love it here - moved from Maryland in Nov. 2004 and haven't looked back. I also belong to FOP Range, and while Marks Outdoor Sports is only 5 minutes away I try to throw as much business over to Ala Dan and Simmons.

    Welcome! And btw, the Alabama Power Cafeteria is great. I eat there frequently (though I don't work there).

    Hey off topic but my Jefferson County Pistol Permit is up for renewal in May - are they going to send me something or should I just go down there sometime around the renewal date?
     
  17. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Greyhound My Friend- Greetings Again-

    No need to sit a'round and wait for the "pink slip" to arrive in the mail
    reminding you that you need to renew your CCW. Just try to drop by
    local sheriff's office, and pluck down the $7.50 fee and you will be on
    your way. Takes all of a'bout five minutes. Those "pink slip's" aren't
    sent out until CCW license is from 30 to 90 days past due.

    BTW, Jefferson County AL does require a six months residency
    before a CCW can be issued. Good Luck~!:D
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2006
  18. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin member

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    Where to shoot. If Birmingham is the same as it was when I lived in Huntsville I would say out your window or on any street corner after sunset. Just kidding, there are lots of nice areas of Birmingham but there are some bad ones too. The only time I have ever had to pull a weapon as a civilian was in Birmingham. That was back in like 1991-1993. :)
     
  19. greyhound

    greyhound Member

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    Thanks Dan - yep the 6 months residency deal is why I had to wait till May to get my CCW when I was here in November.

    So since I'm usually pretty organized - is it OK to stop by in mid-May if my CCW doesn't actually expire until May 31st? (I realize this is actually a question I should be posing to Jefferson County Sheriff's office, but thought maybe someone has some experience here!:) )
     
  20. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    I havent lived in Birmingham for 10 years, but when I was there, the shootings were pretty much all confined to black-on-black crime that ocurred in north Birmingham after dark.

    So unless you are black or north of downtown afterdark, I wouldn't be too worried about Birmingham.
     
  21. rlltdjpr

    rlltdjpr Member

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    On Pelham, Helena, and Alabaster you will have a hellacious commute up I-65 every day--most afternoons it is gridlocked (that drive can develop into an hour spent in the car quite regularly). As for me, I've worked in Irondale, and several afternoons have had to go to Alabaster--a full hour. I don't think McCalla would not be so bad traffic wise, for now, but just give it 5 years. There is alot of housing construction in that area. As for gun friendly, pretty much anywhere in the area seems to be, and there is a range on the Cahaba WMA near Helena, its the one I use because it is much cheaper than those others. Good luck!
     
  22. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    That is correct Greyhound my friend-!:) Makes no difference at all,
    amd I'm sure they will be happy to see you.:D
     
  23. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Well Lone Gunman My Friend-

    Crime in and a'round Birmingham has rapidly spread into the suburbs;
    and is not limited too North Bombingham, or after dark thirty
    for that matter. The East Lake and Roebuck areas seem too have
    taken the lead as I write this; but Southtown projects, and the
    Cooper Green housing developement will hold their own as well.
    The "Brickyard" near Ensley is history, but the area is still a very
    dangerous place. But, so is Bessemer~!:( Anyone moving too
    these neighborhoods should arrive with a can of comet scrub
    in one hand, and a handgun in the other~!:uhoh: :eek: :D
     
  24. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    Well thats too bad Ala Dan. Are Vestavia, Homewood, and Mountain Brook still pretty safe?
     
  25. Hutch

    Hutch Member

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    I've lived in B'ham just about all my life (still own a house in Hoover where my college kids live), but I'm in Opelika now. IMHO, Ala Dan, for whom I have great regard, is overstating the crime problem. I strongly recommend Hoover for the schools and affordability, but if commute is more of an issue, then Vestavia or Homewood is a better bet. Depending on what your real-estate budget is, Mountain Brook is a short drive and a beautiful community, but very expensive (Think: Old Money). All of the above-mentioned school systems are first-rate.

    Regarding ranges, the Steel City club, morphing into Brock's Gap Training, is the best I have ever seen. Great facilities, and is being rapidly expanded. I'be been a member since '79 or so, and the difference is phenomenal. You just can't do better, and it's a short drive from 'most anywhere in Hoover.

    After having read your post more carefully, the commutes from rural areas can be brutal. Where they are not, the real estate values are questionable. I mean, you can probably afford 5 acres within a 30-min commute, but that'll take you to the least desirable areas to live, as in West Jefferson or Pinson/Tarrant. May we inquire as to your family demographics (if any)?
     
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