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Old April 19, 2013, 01:56 PM   #1
callmemoose
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Free gun ranges?

With all this snow we're getting in Minnesota, I have not been able to get to the family farm, where I usually try the loads I make over the winter. Turkey hunting is coming up, and I would really like to sight in my red dot, and try some loads. I cant justify buying a membership to a range, I'll be leaving to college in a few months. I don't see why it is so much to ask to simply shoot my shotgun a few times at a range! Every range I know of requires a membership (except for the trap range usually), and the DNR says I cant shoot on WMA state land, only in state forests? I can't beleive there aren't free, or even cheap ranges around. The closest one to me requires $100 initially, and $85 a year. How do they even get members?!!!
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Old April 19, 2013, 02:24 PM   #2
FinalJenemba
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Really? Thats odd. All of the ranges around me have membership ranges and public ranges, the public ranges are usually around $10-$20 for the day. I can't think of any that are member only.
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Old April 19, 2013, 02:45 PM   #3
UncleEd
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$100 initiation fee and $85 a year thereafter for a gun club membership?

Now that's what I call dirt dirt dirt dirt cheap for these days. Seems like maybe that club's living in the way way way way past.
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Old April 19, 2013, 05:10 PM   #4
dyl
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That's a good deal

Good deal depending on what they have. The range I'm a member of it's about $225 a year for access to the rifle and pistol range. (this includes the necessary general membership and NRA membership). But the other alternative is $12 an hour at an indoor range where you must use their targets. With it I have access to a 25 yard (max) outdoor pistol range and 300 (max) Yard rifle range. I don't really use the trap/skeet or archery range.
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Old April 19, 2013, 05:58 PM   #5
9mm
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a
Quote:
$100 initially, and $85 a year. How do they even get members?!!!
LMAO ARE YOU KIDDING ME? thats cheap, is that outdoors with 300+ meter shooting because here that type of range cost $20 hourly/$250+ a year.

Most indoor ranges are $200 here.
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Old April 19, 2013, 06:46 PM   #6
Joe_Pike
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There are some free unmanned shooting ranges not far from where I live, but I don't want to deal with the dirtbags that frequent these places. One fellow had a handgun stolen from him at one here locally. It's also not unheard of for people to be drinking and shooting at these ranges. No thanks.
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Old April 20, 2013, 05:34 AM   #7
callmemoose
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I'm soon to be a college student, running on borrowed money, so there is no way I could afford the $185 membership. I guess I'll just have to try and pattern the day before my turkey season starts on the hunting land.
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Old April 20, 2013, 06:12 AM   #8
Frank Ettin
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You might try to make friends with a member who might be able to take you as a guest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by callmemoose
...I can't beleive there aren't free, or even cheap ranges around...
But providing folks with a place to shoot is going to cost someone money. Except for public land upon which shooting may be permitted, any range or club is going to be on private property, whether owned or leased by a club or whoever is operating the range. And there has to be some maintenance expense.
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Old April 20, 2013, 07:27 AM   #9
45_auto
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Quote:
I'm soon to be a college student, running on borrowed money, so there is no way I could afford the $185 membership.
Even the poorest college students I've seen blow way more than $15/month. It's just a matter of setting your priorities.
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Old April 20, 2013, 09:50 AM   #10
sigcurious
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This may have an obvious but unstated answer. Why not go a state forest range? A good place to start.
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Old April 20, 2013, 12:30 PM   #11
dyl
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Different situation

Part of the issue here is the frequency you have in mind. If I go to my range 15 times a year I'll feel like I made my money back, even better if I bring a couple guests and introduce some newcomers to shooting.

You on the other hand are looking for a one time necessity to sight in so those prices seem unreasonable for your intended use.

I've met those that are distinctly "hunters" and "shooters" and less frequently those that fall into both categories. Since I currently fall more into the "shooter" category I have wondered how hunters can stand to only shot a few rounds to sight in before seasons starts - and miss the real fun the rest of the year

This may not be applicable to sighting in but you may not want to throw out the idea of such a membership. When I was in college the nearest range without membership requirement was 2 hours away or else I would have frequented it more. The greater issue in my opinion is time management and priority. You could raise the money if you really wanted to (several friends chip in, part time job, save for several months) so it could happen if you think that's for the best. My friends asked me to eat out about at least once every weekend.
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Old April 20, 2013, 02:01 PM   #12
MEATSAW
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The local range I go that I try to go to 3-4 times a month charges $30 for an annual membership. It only goes out to 140 yds, but its great for working up loads, .22 plinking, and handgunning!
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Old April 20, 2013, 02:56 PM   #13
MLeake
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Others have pointed out that private land must be owned or leased for the range, and that maintenance costs are also involved.

I have not seen insurance mentioned, yet, but that is another cost.

The only ranges I have been to, where membership was not required, fell into two categories: those run by government, and those ranges which sell ammo, accessories, or even firearms.

Private range owners are usually in it to make money, and even the hobbyist types are not in it to lose money.
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Old April 20, 2013, 03:39 PM   #14
deepcreek
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All of our free ranges close to Denver got too crazy and have been shut down. They would get full of yahoos, meth heads and other losers with no respect and gun safety. They would shoot as other were placing targets, shoot from all over and behind other shooters, bring trash to shoot up and leave, it was a nightmare.

The one by Colorado springs a guy was shot and killed while changing his target so it was closed down, the one in lefthand canyon was just sketchy a ranger claims he had a bullet wiz by his head and it was shut down.

I don't mind paying a small fee for a range master and maintenance. We have a big shortage of ranges here and most are expensive.
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Old April 20, 2013, 08:42 PM   #15
CurlyQ.Howard
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With the EPA and state equivalents, I have to believe that some of the cost of a shooting range must fall on individual users regardless of the taxes that residents pay.
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Old April 20, 2013, 09:10 PM   #16
kraigwy
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We have a rifle range up to 300 yards, pistol to 50 (you can shoot on the rifle range if you want to shoot your pistol farther) plus an indoor range.

We charge $25 a year for membership ($35 for family) which gives you unlimited access to the range.
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Old April 20, 2013, 10:25 PM   #17
Dave R
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The only free range around here is "the desert." There's probably something like that in MN. Maybe "the forest" instead?
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Old April 21, 2013, 09:16 PM   #18
leprechaun50
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callmemoose, If you are in the SW Mn area send me a PM and you can shoot at my farm. (Luverne)
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Old April 21, 2013, 09:41 PM   #19
Aaron1100us
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Re: Free gun ranges?

That would suck having to pay to go to a range. The two ranges here are both free to the public and thats the way they all should be.
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Old April 22, 2013, 08:59 AM   #20
Dashunde
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Guess we're lucky here in MO, we have a vast number of Conservation Area unmanned outdoor ranges.
They're sort of free-for-all areas, shoot what you want at whatever you want. Your supposed to shoot paper only, but its generally not frowned upon to shoot the usual cans, wood, and whatever so long as its not dangerous or glass and you clean up your mess.
I hear the rangers were writing tickets in Warrenton, but that might have been due to complaints after a vacuum, TV, and other unsuitable bits of junk were shot up and left behind. It was starting to look like a dump there for awhile.

Yep, there are a few odd folks there now and then, but no problems as far as I know.
Mostly just ordinary locals.

I'm a little surprised that rural areas of MN dont have the same kind of free shooting ranges attached to public hunting grounds.
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Old April 22, 2013, 10:01 AM   #21
MLeake
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My only experience at the local DOC range was a mixed bag, Dashunde.

For one thing, it only had one shooting area, with a 50 yard range. For another, the guy next to me departed, and left some targets up when he did, so I slid over one to use the leftovers.

This caused a couple guys who apparently had the same thought to become belligerent. I shrugged it off and told them they were welcome to them, but they continued to act like jerks, and then they left.

The other shooters were confused. None of us could see what the big deal was.

Shortly after that, I closed on a horse property. I have a 100 yard range in my west pasture. Friends are welcome to shoot at my place; we do not go to the DOC. My place is nicer, and jerks are not allowed.
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Old April 22, 2013, 10:45 AM   #22
SPEMack618
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Growing up, I could shoot small bore rifles and trap in the backyard. Also, walking down to the bottom part of our land, there was a place where you could shoot pistols, though that was quite a hike to get to.

For big bore rifles, Pops and I would go to the local DNR Wildlife Managment Area, where a 100 yard range was available. It had a covered shooting area, benches, and target stands.

Until recently, it was free. Now, it is required that you buy a day pass for three dollars. However, if you have a valid GA hunting or fishing license, you can use it all you like, and can even bring one guest for free to.
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Old April 22, 2013, 07:24 PM   #23
BigD_in_FL
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Most trap skeet clubs have a pattern board - why not just go there?
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