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Public Range
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Super Member
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Joined: May 16, 2009
Posts: 8037
Location: Fort Worth TX

PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:57 pm    Post subject: Public Range Reply with quote

Gil, have you had it this bad?

I visited a public range with my college buddy today in PA. It was on PA State Land and you only needed a hunting license to use it. It was beautiful, plenty of room, and covered lanes for 25, 50, and 100 yards. There were no safety observers, no safety rules posted, no range cold flags, nor stand-behind-the-red-line with shooters down-range. Well, there was one rule --- no more than 6 shots loaded at a time which I heard the game warden enforced and would write a ticket when they would stop by to check.

I quickly had to turn into the range safety officer. Three beginners were shooting expensive ARs to my left at 25 yards who fortunately turned out to be respectful. First, they didn't have any tools to adjust their sights. I had an Allen wrench that fit their need (and I had just flown in from TX). Then a worker showed up to mow the lawn on a zero turn mower. They told him go for it and out on the range he raced. I saw the bolts on their rifles closed with mags in so jumped up and asked them to step back away from their rifles. They couldn't remember if they were unloaded when asked and started to go forward to check. I said NO, stay away, do not touch the rifles. When the mower was done, we approached their ARs. Yep, loaded. They thanked me and asked for other safety tips (like dropping the mag, bolts open, when cold range). We shook hands and exchanged names. They started calling me Texas and asking me for help every few minutes. They would shoot one round then try and adjust their sights. Asked me why they couldn't get on target. First, best to shoot 3 shots before adjusting. Then I found one of their sight screws was loose. Then I noticed their BUS were oi stalled backwards. It was actually good they were asking questions when they were unsure.

I kept my eyes on them all the time. Felt like F-Troop. But glad they were asking instead of being arrogant, don't tell me what to do.

"To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth." - Theodore Roosevelt

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - Albert Einstein

Last edited by slimjim on Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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Super Member
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Joined: Jul 27, 2008
Posts: 8161
Location: south island New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:28 am    Post subject: Re: Public Range Reply with quote

good on ya Mate
we all need to encourage newbies into our sport or it will die out.

You shot it You pluck it !
Them who eats the most duck eats the most feathers!
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Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 14423
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Public Range Reply with quote

Well done Slim. With your proactive actions, you have set three young fellas on the path to good firearms safety and enjoyable shooting experiences. The guy doing the mowing is a bit of a goose...why do it when the range is in use? Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to either wait until the range was empty or during target checking time when everyone is forward of the firing point and guns are safe. Maybe the Game Warden should assume a more proactive role and supervise the Range rather than just look for a reason to ticket people.

The range I frequent doesn’t have a dedicated Range Officer, but one of the experienced shooters is asked if he will assume the role whilst he is there. It doesn’t stop him from shooting and he hands over to another shooter when he has to leave. He is in radio contact with the overall Range Controller who decides on stopping shooting to check targets etc. the guy on the firing line is responsible to check firearms and declare them safe before the Range is shut. The range will not open again until he declares everyone is back from the targets and all is right.

Cheers, Vince Cheers

Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)
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Super Member
Super Member

Joined: Feb 18, 2006
Posts: 3963
Location: South-Eastern Washington - the State

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Public Range Reply with quote

Everything at the local range in Milton-Freewater is controlled by the folks on the firing line.
We are a courteous bunch of folks and break for folks who need to go down range and keep an eye out for stray farmers in the field beyond the ranges. There are usually a couple of range safety officers but rarely active unless somebody does something stupid. Rarely is anyone in a hurry so patience abounds.

You do have to be a member or the guest of a member to use the range so that helps.

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Super Member
Super Member

Joined: May 26, 2011
Posts: 2623
Location: Ipswich, Queensland Australia

PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Public Range Reply with quote

How does that work in the land of litigation?
That whole setup is an accident/incident waiting to happen, lots of room for the worse case scenario, lives to be lost, lives to be ruined and lawyers to get rich and then politicians with knees to jerk after the fact.
Clueless people and guns dont mix well.
Who has bet their life savings on opening this cluster in waiting?
Just saying.


Dont do anything you wont like explaining to the paramedics..............
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Gil Martin
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Joined: Jan 28, 2005
Posts: 1777
Location: Schnecksville, PA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:12 am    Post subject: Re: Public Range Reply with quote

You have clearly described problems when the public is left to its own devices. There is a public range on State Gamelands a few miles away that I tend to avoid except to collect brass. Shooters need a current hunting or furtakers license or must have an annual permit to use the ranges. The state gamelands ranges are usually poorly supervised and range rules are often treated as suggestions by the public. Seems the local game warden and deputies only enforce violations about shooting hours and excess rounds. Glad you were there to keep things under control.

Our gun club is located about five miles from the state range. We got a lot of members because they prefer our club, enforced range rules and range safety officers. All the best...

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