Range time!

Well, everyone, I know much of the country is experiencing spring already, but up here in the Northeast, the temps are finally rising above 50 degrees semi-regularly. The plowed-up snowbanks in my front yard have gone from 6 feet high to knee-high, and we finally have bare patches in the yard. Spring is here! That means ho-hum things like raking and cleaning, but it also means that (for us common rank-and-file who don’t go to a rod and gun club or indoor range) that there’s no wading through thigh-deep snow for 100 yards to set up a target at a sandpit. No digging through snow to try to collect all your empty brass. No worries about ricochets off crusty, granular snow or ice. No trudging back out to collect your targets. In short, it’s the best time of the year if you’re a shooter!

 

You do go out and practice with your SHTF guns, right? Right? For guns that you’re going to NEED to work in an emergency situation, it’s imperative that you are confident the gun will go “BANG” and cycle every time you pull the trigger. It’s imperative that you know you can hit with it…and not just during calm, windless days shooting at targets over a known distance from a bench. Get out there and shoot from improvised rests. From offhand. Prone. Sitting. Be sure to get wingshooting down with your shotguns – being able to hit birds in the air is a great skill for someone looking to forage for food. Learn to shoot your handguns well – they are much harder to master than a long gun. In short, the time spent dusting off the SHTF guns and running a few rounds through them will pay off. Get some professional training, too. It will be worth every penny, I can promise you that!

 

Shooting buddies

Take your kids with you. Be sure to impress upon them the utmost importance of being safe and respectful with firearms – but let them know they are not the evil machines the media insists they are. Remind your children that they are tools to keep yourself fed and safe, and only as evil as the person holding them. They are nothing to be afraid of; they are everything to be respected. Drill the 10 commandments of gun safety into them (and yourself!), and be sure to tell them WHY each of the gun rules ARE rules, so they understand why they must know these “commandments” and how it could effect them or others, and not just memorizing meaningless lines. In case you need a refresher, here are the gun safety rules everyone should know by heart:

#1: Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction AT ALL TIMES. Or, as Jeff Cooper once wrote, “Do not point the gun at anything you do not wish to destroy.”

#2: Keep the firearm unloaded when not actually in use. Children, curious visitors (welcome or not) and others are naturally drawn to firearms. Give the gun a visual and physical check (then do it again!) to ensure it is empty before you pass it to another person. Check it again upon return. Keep the gun’s action open when not in use.

#3: Don’t rely on your gun’s safety. These are simply mechanical devices, and can fail. Usually when you least expect them to.

#4: Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. Bullets, regardless of caliber, carry tremendous power and momentum. A mere .22 Long Rifle bullet can travel a mile and a half. A .30-06 is still LETHAL at that range, and will travel much further. Bullets can still scoot a long ways after penetrating through a target, as well.

#5: Always use the proper ammunition for your gun. Know the caliber of your firearm, and only use ammunition that is in good shape (no corrosion or case splits) specifically marked THAT caliber for your gun.

#6: Keep the barrel and muzzle free and clear of any obstructions. Mud, insect nests, too much oil, dust, a stuck bullet: All of these things can and WILL blow your gun up if not cleared from the barrel. Firearms can run tens of thousands of pounds of pressure behind a bullet. If something obstructs that bullet, that force needs to go somewhere, and it’s not pretty.

#7: Store guns and ammunition seperately, out of the reach of children and careless adults. Use gun locks if possible, or even better, a safe.

#8: ALWAYS treat EVERY gun as if it were loaded. ALWAYS. Accidents happen. If the gun is treated as if it was loaded, it will be pointed in a safe direction, and nobody will be injured.

#9: Never shoot at a hard, flat surface or water. Be sure your backstop is adequate to stop bullets when target practicing. Bullets ricochet beautifully off water and hard surfaces. Once that happens, you no longer have control over where that bullet goes.

#10: Shoot sober! No alcohol or drugs in your system. At all.

 

1972336_793932560634290_2133095379_n

 

My boy Andy and I, seven years ago with the first .22 round he fired, out of the “Chipmunk” rifle my dad bought for me when I was 5. Here is Andy now, at 14 years old, (he’s as tall as I am now, for perspective) shooting little tiny groups a long ways away with my brother’s HS Precision-stocked Remington 700 SPS:

10154951_422205444580938_1531187567_n

 

Yes, he has a .22 revolver in a holster on his hip. He’s been trained to be safe (gun never gets loaded until he’s on the firing line, and we both check it to be sure it’s empty when he steps off the firing line) and I trust him. Plus he loves it. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

If you bring your kids with you shooting and teach them safety at a young age, it will stick with them, and you will have a wonderful shooting partner to go with you eagerly to the sandpit to target practice. It’s always one of my favorite things to do with my 14-year-old son, and that’s because I know he’s safe and I don’t have to stress about him picking up guns and misbehaving while I’m stapling new targets up downrange, for instance. It’s a good thing….if you don’t have kids, bring a neighbor or spouse or co-worker you trust to not be an idiot with a firearm. Shooting is always better with a friend!

Be sure to also show your shooting compatriots to respect the land they are shooting on. Pick up your brass and shotgun shell hulls. Don’t leave targets scattered about, riddled. Bring a trash bag along and clean up the debris the other jerks before you left behind. If we can show more people how to be respectful and safe (and not just with firearms), there is hope for our future yet.

 

So get out there! Ammo is getting easier to find (to an extent), so let the moths out of your wallet and buy or load a few rounds, and get to the range on a nice day for some quality time with yourself and people you care about. It’s good for your soul, and it makes you more confident with your SHTF gear. How can you go wrong?

 

When was the last time you got to the range? Did you bring the kiddos or family? What did you shoot?

Stay safe out there!

-Road Warrior

10 comments… add one
  • Roseman April 9, 2014, 7:52 am

    Rough winter has prevented us older folks from accessing the range. Have plans to start back this month.
    Also signed up my wife, son and daughter-in-law for a handgun self defense course as range shooting should be supplemented with professional training IMHO.

    Reply
  • NoSox April 9, 2014, 9:51 am

    Yessir! My birthday was Monday so i went and spent as few hours in the wilderness then finished up with some time at the free outdoor county range at the bottom of the trail. It was 2′ of snow up there so I had it all to myself and my youngest dog of course. Felt good to shoot again:)

    As far as ammo i’m about to make a purchase right now…
    http://buygunsandammo.com/product/5-56-62gr-fmj-ss109-penetrator-sealed-brass-case/

    Reply
  • kevin April 9, 2014, 1:24 pm

    I was taught WEAPON safety when I 5 by my uncle who had just gotten out of USMC not just gun safety 55 years later and still follow ever single one of the rules outlawed here

    Reply
  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. April 9, 2014, 1:54 pm

    Last time I went shooting was about 3 weeks ago. .45ACP and 9mm Para were the amunitions shot, it was fun.

    Rule #4 above is important – in fact, Texas writes explicitly that it is up to the shooter to be very aware of their backstop and can be prosecuted if a stray bullet hurts property or another person.

    The primary rule for us is FINGER ONLY TOUCHES THE TRIGGER WHEN FIREARM IS READY TO FIRE – NO EXCEPTIONS.

    Great post Road Warrier.

    Reply
  • Ray April 9, 2014, 2:06 pm

    The local range is knob creek, I try to stay as far from that silly “TV Star” BS as god will let me. I spent 20 years on good terms with the family that owns/runs it, but the MG shoot, reality TV and a truly F***ed up “Hollywood ‘tude” have turned that into some place best shunned.— I did get out to my moms farm and shot my flintlocks over the winter, and will try and get out and shoot my new .243 and my cowboy carbine. (pre-top safety Rossi 1892 saddle carbine in .45 colt. My .243 is a 1970 Remington 700 ADL)

    Reply
  • irishdutchuncle April 9, 2014, 3:07 pm

    thanks for the safety rule refresher.

    I spent a day at the range once, (seems like 10 years ago) I shot my friends .45, and .380, and .22…
    then we shot my .357 (the recoil was a little unpleasant with the original grips) the time before that, we plinked with my 10-22.
    I really need to get myself out more…

    9

    Reply
  • Don April 9, 2014, 4:07 pm

    There is a new range/gun store here I am going to check out Friday. When you buy a firearm from them, they give you free range time, a free target, and a free box of ammo.

    Reply
  • AuricTech April 9, 2014, 7:22 pm

    It’s been too long since my last trip to the range, but I’m attending a one-day Appleseed shoot on 19 April (Patriots’ Day).

    Reply
  • Michael April 9, 2014, 7:22 pm

    I’ve got a free pass for an indoor range that I’m going use tomorrow. I actually managed to score some .22 ammo the other day* so I’ll be taking my SP101 and Single-Six with me.

    *The store was limiting everyone to two boxes of 100 rounds per person and there were people all heated up and pissed about it. It seemed sensible enough to me & and even if there wasn’t a limit I know .22 is hard to come by and would have only taken the two boxes. anyway.

    Reply
  • Mrs. B April 9, 2014, 8:30 pm

    Got to the gun show in Spokane ,WA last weekend. Bought a 870 tactical 12 gau and Henry’s 30-30. The DH was jacked to see the egg money go to use he could “use.” Picked up 4 AK47 mags but .22LR ammo was 60.00 a brick. Been over 9 months without a sniff of any coming my way. That being said, I refused to be held hostage for .22 rounds and walked off after picking my jaw off the table. I was pretty sure I wasn’t rude either. I only muttered things about his heritage! :)

    Last range trip was two weeks ago sighting in the 30.06 (new scope).

    Excellent article.

    Reply

Leave a Comment