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Old June 15, 2008, 03:00 PM   #1
Homesteader
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As green as they come...

Hello everyone,

I'm sorry for making my first post a saga of a new thread, but I have to start somewhere...

I'm wanting to get into shooting and hunting, but no one in my family shoots. I've never been around firearms, never shot, haven't been to a range, and don't have anyone to formally introduce me to the sport. I've been doing my research online, and am beginning to make sense of the jargon. I'm ready to take my first steps, but here's my issue:

I wanted to sign up for an NRA Basic Rifle class the other weekend, it turns out that I would have been the only one to sign up, so they cancelled it. The next one is in late September. I guess Illinois isn't a big rifle state since most ranges only allow rimfire. I'd really not have to wait that long, just to have that one cancelled, too, so my other option is to sign up for a First Steps Rifle course. The only catch is that I have to have the firearm for that one. Since I'm so new to this, it seems the best and cheapest way to get into it would be to pick up a .22lr rifle. I've been looking at different manufacturers and models, but have only read up on them at this point. (I'm thinking a bolt-action, Marlin 60 or 925, Ruger 77-22, Remington Model Five, or Savage Mark II-FVT)

Now, there is a range open house coming up next weekend where I could visit, observe others, get a basic safety course, and possible try out a couple rifles. I'm thinking I'll go to the open house, try a few, decide on one that is decent, and then pick one up after thinking it over a bit. There is a scheduled First Steps in August, so I don't have to rush on it.

Is this a reasonable approach, or is there a better way to get started? Any other suggestions for the newbies out there?
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Old June 15, 2008, 03:12 PM   #2
RedneckFur
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I think you're heading in the right direction by going to the range open house. No doubt there will be many experienced shooters, and several range officers there who can help you get started. Just make sure to tell the Range Officer that youre inexperienced, but want to learn. You'll likely get some good hands on help.

As far as a bolt .22 goes, I recomend the Savage Mark II. The fit and finish isnt quite as nice as on the marlin or ruger, but the savage will outshine both in accuracy.
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Old June 15, 2008, 03:33 PM   #3
chris in va
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Welcome, and my hat's off to you for being interested, living in one of the worst states for it (Illinois).

Sorry to hear about the cancellation, seems to be a rather common thing for instructors to do...among other things. Can you try and find another class a few counties over? Someone on here might be able to help you out.
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Old June 15, 2008, 04:39 PM   #4
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I looked for others in the area, and even out of state, but there were none (at least on the NRA website). There was another in the area at a different location, but it meets in October.

My other thought was to go to a basic pistol class, just to get started, they offer a couple every month or so.
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Old June 15, 2008, 04:56 PM   #5
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It'd be nice to try them all out to see the differences. With my first rifle, I hope to purchase a decent fit, and then re-evaluate once I've gotten some time under my belt.

It sounds like with the Basic Rifle class, they'd cover a few differences/options/features to consider, but I'm not sure I'd get to try a few. That's one of the selling points of the open house, though - they will have represetatives from the gun manufacturers, and certified instructors.

I'm a fast learner, so I think I'd get a lot out of the open house and even more out of the First STEPS. It's just taking the leap of purchasing when I have no experience, so we'll see after this weekend.

Then there's also the issues of "breaking-in" a new rifle, but I'm not sure that can be avoided no matter which route I take.
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Old June 15, 2008, 05:20 PM   #6
johnwilliamson062
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The first CCW class (NRA basic pistol) was also canceled. No one else showed up. I got there and they canceled b/c no shows. Lucky for me they were raising prices the following week and were kind enough to offer me the next class n extra hour from my home at the originally quoted price. They acted like this was really nice of them when I drove 3o minutes and woke up at 630 am on a Saturday to go to their class(I was a college student at the time and as a general rule only woke up at 630 to go fly fishing). I was ticked, needless to say I took the class from someone else and stopped shopping at Gander Mountain(host).
I would go to the range and mention the problem to a few of the guys who seem to be running things. See if any of them seem interested in helping you out. The range I shoot at I got a ton of help from the owner, even though his personality is a little rough. Most hunters/shooters will be willing to help you out as long as you listen to them and follow safety rules.
I just bought a marlin 891T. I am very happy with it. Only about 170 and fired cheapest federal very well. At $179 if I decide to upgrade to a cz452 or something in a few years I won't mind passing it off to someone just getting started.
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Old June 15, 2008, 06:39 PM   #7
boltgun71
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I would highly recommend attending an Appleseed Shooting Clinic. At an Appleseed you will learn how to fire accurately from the standing, sitting, and prone positions. How to properly use a shooting sling. Learn the history of the American Rifleman, and make lots of new friends that are passionate about shooting and teaching others to shoot. They are great for both novice and veteran shooters. The majority of shooting is done at 25yds, but depending on the range can include firing out to 500yds. Any rifle is welcome up to 8mm, a .22lr is fine and encouraged especially for the 25yd shooting. Their are currently three Appleseed shoots scheduled for the remainder of this year in Illinois. Even if you don't have your own rifle, contact the shoot boss for the event you plan on attending and more than likely they can arrange for a loaner rifle for you to use free of charge. Every Appleseed I have attended has had several loaner rifles for others to use.

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Check out the following sites for more information on the Appleseed Program.
http://appleseedproject.blogspot.com/
http://appleseedinfo.org/smf/index.php
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Old June 15, 2008, 09:02 PM   #8
Majic
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I don't know exactly where you are but there seems to be plenty of rifle ranges in your state.
http://www.huntingnavigator.com/Illi1.htm
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Old June 15, 2008, 09:23 PM   #9
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I can understand that a certain number of people need to attend a class in order to make it worth while to put on. Still, if I was the only one this time, then there's no guarantee that there will be any more next, so I'm trying to find alternates.

Yes, there are a few ranges near me, but I'd feel like a fish out of water just showing up/calling and basically saying "Teach me...please." I'd like to bring something to the table in that case (right now I don't feel I do), or start at square one with a structured course geared for that. I'm struggling with needing to get more hands-on experience without being a complete nuisance.

The Appleseed Shooting Clinic looks wonderful, but my first impression is that I'm not even to that point, yet. That could just be a bad read on my part. I'll definitely look into it more, though.
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Old June 15, 2008, 09:29 PM   #10
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Appleseed Information Central: http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=277920

I would also recommend the Appleseed training events. You can show up as a newbie and do just fine. Actually, you may do better since you don't have any bad habits you have to unlearn first.

Little kids with no experience can attend these shoots and do well. The price is right too!

Borrow a rifle and gopher it!
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Old June 15, 2008, 09:37 PM   #11
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Welcome to TFL Homesteader!
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Old June 15, 2008, 11:48 PM   #12
Majic
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Quote:
Yes, there are a few ranges near me, but I'd feel like a fish out of water just showing up/calling and basically saying "Teach me...please."
We all had to start somewhere so don't feel ashamed. Believe me ranges deal with this sort of situation all the time (I used to work at an outdoor range). Just talk to the RO and I bet he/she can probably introduce you to a shooter there who will be more than happy to help you out.
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Old June 16, 2008, 04:45 AM   #13
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welcome to TFL.
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Old June 21, 2008, 02:04 PM   #14
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So I just got back from the range open house. When I got there, I took a walk around the different ranges, saw the high-powered rifles, and then went to the .22's. I had to wait a bit as the line was under-staffed, but it was worth it in the end.

I shot an army surplus .22. It seemed a bit heavier than I was expecting. The clay disks were at 10 yds, so it was truly a beginner set-up. The instructor was cordial, but didn't really comment on posture, grip, etc. I know he was there more for safety, but he seemed taken aback by some of my questions. Though it may have just been he didn't hear me well. I asked what range would be typical for the .22, since I knew it was a beginner set-up. He said 25 to 50 yards (I was thinking 100 yds, but maybe I'm off), and then talked about the range rules for putting up your own stands, and that if you bring your own it has to be that the bullets end up in the berm and not in the ground. He also mentioned that he was a member of the range, but he normally goes to indoor ones closer to where he lives.

I just kept shooting, focusing on trigger control, aiming, and trying to be very aware of the 'shooter's rules'. As I made my way through the 20 rounds, I kept picking smaller and smaller pieces of disks, and found I was pretty accurate, but at 10 yds, it's probably not saying much. The instructor seemed impressed, "for a first-time shooter", but I'm sure his role is also to make it a positive experience for everyone, so there's no way to really tell on that.

Overall, the experience was a good one, though I was a little disappointed on the wait (1.5 hours for about 12 people in front of me), and that I wasn't able to pick a rifle (the choice was for pretty much everything else). Even still, I'm glad I went, it was good to experience a range setting, be around people shooting, and try it out, too!

Last edited by Homesteader; June 21, 2008 at 02:06 PM. Reason: grammar
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