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View Full Version : New to public outdoor ranges- Questions


No4Mk1*
April 13, 2000, 01:36 PM
I want to do some shooting ranges in National forests in GA and SC. My first time to an outdoor range was last week. I have some questions for the experienced out there:

1. When everyone quits shooting and I walk downrange to post a new target, I left my pistol on the table at the firing line. It was unloaded and slide locked back, but I felt uncomfortable knowing I had left a pistol unattended. Can I holster it on my hip and walk downrange? With it loaded? Can I enter and exit the range area with a holstered pistol? I have a GA CCW if that matters. What about in South Carolina where I have no special permit?

2. The range had 4 shooting benches covering about 1/2 of the firing line. I shot standing up. Is that ok, or do you have to use benches? With a rifle?

3. Transporting a pistol in the console or glove box is legal in both states. How do I transport my rifle? I currently do not have any form of rifle case. I drive a SUV, so there is no trunk. Do I need a lockable case, or can I use a cloth rifle case with a mere zipper? I know it has to be unloaded.

Here is a link to the range rules. The fourth makes it sound like Holstered pistols are not allowed when going downrange, but that seems safer to me. www.fs.fed.us/conf/rec/shooting.htm (http://www.fs.fed.us/conf/rec/shooting.htm)
Thanks.

[This message has been edited by No4Mk1* (edited April 13, 2000).]

VictorLouis
April 13, 2000, 01:52 PM
It seems pretty clear that they wish ALL guns to be secured on the benches. Is there a supervisory official at the range? If so, you might ask him/her if secured/holstered is an acceptable alternative. If not, you should ask the other shooters on line if the practice is acceptable w/them. Everyone's comfort level is different.
If your concern is the security of your weapon, or your vulnerability down range, I can relate. Keep something concealed on your person to fight with, should the need arise.
Sorry, I can't help with the transport questions.

johnwill
April 13, 2000, 08:33 PM
I don't have a lot of experience at truly public ranges, since both of the places I shoot are membership only places. I have never had anyone complain about a holstered gun at a range, though I guess it's a good idea to ask the range officer about their policy. There isn't a range officer at any of the places I go, but I don't feel like anyone is going to carry off my guns when I go down to set targets, so I haven't spent any time thinking about this problem.

If there is a place to shoot standing, one can assume you probably are allowed to shoot there. OTOH, this is another place where a question to the folks running the range is called for. One of the places I shoot is in a populated area, and there are a lot of restrictions on rifles, they are very aware of the possibility of a round leaving the property.

Al Thompson
April 13, 2000, 09:33 PM
Hi there.. Here's my take on this question.

1. When.. (snip) What about in South Carolina where I have no special permit?

In SC, no permit is needed to carry loaded/unloaded if engaged in target shooting. I would never go downrange without a loaded pistol on a public range.

2. The range (snip) With a rifle?

As long as the muzzle is ahead of the bench (protecting your neighbors) you can shoot anyway you wish.

3. Transporting a pistol in the console or glove box is legal in both states. How do I transport my rifle? (snip)

If you think about it, pickup trucks with gun racks are common. Case and unload your rifle and have fun. BTW, it is not a requirement in SC to have your pistol unloaded or in a locked glove box.

Here is a link to the range rules. The fourth makes it sound like Holstered pistols are not allowed when going downrange, but that seems safer to me.

Note - I do not shoot on public ranges anymore. Too many yo-yos. If you'd like details on some of the private ranges in SC, drop me a line..

Giz

jeffelkins
April 14, 2000, 11:00 AM
We have an unsupervised public range here, in the Ocala National Forest. Horrible place.

1. Weapons theft occurs frequently.

2. No range officers. A cold range is a matter of luck.

3. Alcohol. Not uncommon for beered-up bozos to be firing weapons.

4. Rude shooters. Arguments on-range and sometimes actual fighting.

Despite warnings at every local gunshop my wife and I visited once. We personally observed #2,#3 & #4. We didn't shoot and have never been back.

[This message has been edited by jeffelkins (edited April 14, 2000).]

Bullwinkle
April 14, 2000, 04:08 PM
If its an un supervised or informal range I would suggest always keeping a _loaded_ holstered gun on you. Its not unheard of for a BG to descreatly watch a lone shooter or small group of shooters fire till everything is empty then come out of the bushes with a gun to collect the keys, money, guns, etc.

chink
April 14, 2000, 06:01 PM
I'm in CA where I don't think unsupervised public ranges exist. (actually, they do just not in my area) The ranges I go to are private club, where they charge non members a fee to shoot and member pay dues and run the range. Theft of weapons at these types of ranges in almost unheard of. Because each part of the range has its own range officer keeping every thing kosher. Then there is the guy in the booth who is keeping an eye on everything. On top of that, one entrance/exit.

As for holstered weapons. They don't allow it. At the beginning of the cease fire all the firearms are check to make sure they are not load., bolt held back and magazine separate from the weapon. If you make a move for the shooting bench, even just to pick up some paper, you'll have like 3 people yelling at you.

Attention to safety is why I continue to frequent these ranges. Never had anyone accidently point a the business end of their gun at me, everyone is friendly and everything is safe.


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