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Public Ranges--do you trust them?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by AJKC, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. AJKC

    AJKC New Member

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    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?
     
  2. Roadkill

    Roadkill Senior Member

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    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.
     
  3. Trent
    • Contributing Member

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    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.
     
  4. rdhood

    rdhood Member

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    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.
     
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    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.
     
  6. Red Tornado

    Red Tornado Senior Member

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    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
     
  7. MErl

    MErl Senior Member

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    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.
     
  8. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Member

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    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.
     
  9. longknife12

    longknife12 Member

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    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
    ;)
     
  10. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Senior Member

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    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.
     
  11. dirtykid

    dirtykid Member

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    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,,
     
  12. radiotom

    radiotom Member

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    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
     
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    In another similar thread someone said:

    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  14. akv3g4n

    akv3g4n Member

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    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.
     
  15. gossamer

    gossamer Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  16. joecil

    joecil Member

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    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.
     
  17. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Senior Member

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    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.
     
  18. coondogger

    coondogger Member

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    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.
     
  19. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Senior Member

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    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.
     
  20. BoilerUP

    BoilerUP Member

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    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.
     
  21. Akita1

    Akita1 Member

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    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.
     
  22. AJKC

    AJKC New Member

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    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.)
     
  23. sota

    sota Member

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    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.
     
  24. stonecutter2

    stonecutter2 Senior Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  25. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Senior Member

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    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.
     

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