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Old July 4, 2013, 07:17 PM   #1
Mike38
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Come on people......

Went to check out a new range today. The one I have been going to for the past few years raised fees again this year. $30 per person per day. Me and my son, plus gas money, and I’m looking at $80 for a day of shooting, not counting ammo. This new range, near Princeton Iowa, is run by the Iowa DNR, and it’s free. I will have more travel time, a little more gas, but figure I’ll save $50 per shooting session.

But here lies the dilemma. This range near Princeton Iowa is pretty much uncontrolled. There is a guy that’s a Range Safety Officer present on weekends and holidays, but the shooting line is long, and he’s just one person. During a cease fire to check / change targets, I walked out to the 50 yard line to get a better view of the berm behind the 100 yard target stands. On my walk back a woman was holding a M1911, with the slide locked forward, pointing it 90 degrees away from the targets, but still, a major infraction. I yelled at her that the line should be safe, no touching firearms, slides back, magazines out, pistols on the bench, don’t touch them! She looked at me like I was from another planet and kept handling the pistol.

Come on people! Get with the program!

Rant over. You may continue enjoying your Fourth of July. Have a good one!
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Old July 4, 2013, 07:56 PM   #2
BigD_in_FL
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We have a similar one here in a National Forest - went once ten years ago, never went back
There's a reason private ranges charge what they do..............
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Old July 4, 2013, 08:08 PM   #3
olddav
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I've got to agree, don't like to shoot with people I can't trust. Spend the money and be safe or save the money and leave if someone shows up who is unsafe. Good Luck
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Old July 4, 2013, 11:13 PM   #4
JimmyR
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We have a free public range that is within 15 minutes of where I live, and I never go there. I can't make myself. I would rather go to the one thats 30 minutes away, but an indoor public range. Fees are reasonable (last time I went for 30 minutes on the range and 4 targets i was out $14), and wait time is however long it takes you to reload your mags. Pistols, rimfires, shotguns, and pistol caliber rifles only, but I only have the first 3. Plus the staff are friendly, which makes it an enjoyable experience.
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Old July 5, 2013, 07:54 AM   #5
Uncle Buck
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I stopped by the free public range about two weeks ago to look for brass. HOLY COW! Kids running around unsupervised, young men and women showing off to each other.

One guy was either trying to sight in his rifle or testing new ammo at the 100 yard bench. These kids where crawling around UNDER his bench. He was very polite and kept telling them they needed to go back over to their parents. The parents where, or seemed oblivious to the situation.

Another group was setting cans and bottles up along the firing path to the 50 yard target. (While others where still shooting.) While two guys were down range, another in their group decided to shoot at some cans behind them.

Trash trash and more trash. I decided that free brass was not worth the risk of hanging around these people.

I can see where prices of private ranges could have gone up. Insurance increases (Mine went up another $125.00 this year) tax increases, utilities, personnel expenses. Also, with the hard to find ammo, the ranges are not getting what they use to and the profit they made from selling ammo has decreased. They have to make it up somewhere.
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Old July 5, 2013, 09:02 AM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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I can't believe what some people go through and have to pay to go shooting.

I've never even seen a "public" range. There are numerous private ranges/clubs within 15, 30, 45 minutes drive of me.

The most expensive charge around $125 a year and that's if you don't do any work. Do 10 hours a year and its $30 for membership. My favorite (the only one I joined/go to) cost $35 a year, has 4 pistol ranges, 100 yard, 300 yard, skeet and trap. Every time I've been there, there was no more than 3 others shooting. Never seen a soul on the 300 range.

Indoor pistol range is 35 minutes away and charges $30 or $35 a year. Their only problem is that they're too PC and don't allow any "human" analog targets... bullseye only. Still, $35 a year, unlimited use, free targets.
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Old July 5, 2013, 10:30 AM   #7
g.willikers
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Eghads, and the folks around here were complaining when the local range raised their daily fee to $12.
As for letting kids run around a shooting range:
At an action pistol match, I happened to notice that a large bush was wiggling, about half way up the backstop berm, and in line with the targets.
Suspicious that there might be some kind of critter behind it, I hollered to the RO to stop, so we could check it out.
Well, there was a critter behind the bush, a six year old girl, playing.
Yikes.
Her mother just about had three heart attacks and two convulsions, as we brought the little girl down from there.
Yup, watch the kiddies, or better yet, leave them at home.
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Old July 5, 2013, 10:49 AM   #8
AllenJ
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I've been shooting at an unsupervised public range since the 80's and Mike, I understand your rant
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Old July 5, 2013, 11:11 AM   #9
Pahoo
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It is what it is and bend with it.

Mike38
Here is what I'm reading; You don't like the new fee, at your current private range, although it is safer and closer to home. I can appreciate that. ...

You like the lack of fee at the Princeton range but you don't feel safe and you picked one of the busiest days to attend, where you have the uninformed and untrained, trying out their new handgun, with one box of shells. I can surely appreciate your feelings but you can't have it both ways. ....

You did not mention name of the private range but I think I know which one you are talking about and have shot at both ranges. I can say that it is a miracle that no one has been hurt at the Princeton range but that is what you have at public ranges. I always pick a better time than the weekends and the last time I was there, there was one other guy for an hour and after that, I had the range to myself. .....

Bend and;
Be Safe !!!
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Old July 5, 2013, 11:42 AM   #10
KnotRight
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The GA DNR has a public range about 30 miles from the house and I prefer to use it over the indoor range about 8 miles from the house. I just do not like shooting indoors.

Every time that I have been to the DNR range and the range was declared "COLD", nobody picked up their firearms unless they were leaving the range.

When the range was declared "HOT" or "COLD", everybody gives the thumbs-up. The last time I was there, there was not even a range master working and I saw no infractions of the rules. Also, there were not kids running around or there. A lot of military also use this range.

The only issue I have is that I will not go to the range by myself. I do not want to leave all the guns on the table while setting up my targets.
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Old July 5, 2013, 04:30 PM   #11
ClydeFrog
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PA Game Commission...

The PA Game Commission has some of the same problems.
The free gun range in SW Pennsylvania(metro Pittsburgh area) was in a remote location, had small print safety rules/warning signs, the "non sworn" PGC deputies there were unarmed & did not explain or fairly enforce the SOPs.

My good friend(a Act 235 licensed armed security officer) & I were cited by a over-bearing WCO(Wildlife Conservation Officer) who claimed we didn't follow the posted PGC rules(a pistol regulation limiting shooters to only 6/six rounds).
We were both cited($168.00 each, fees + court costs). We both pled NOT GUILTY and had a formal hearing with a PA District Justice about 3mo later.
The WCO & his "deputy"(a volunteer not LE certified) lied repeatedly under oath.
The Dist Justice found my friend & I more credible then found us; NOT GUILTY.
The Dist Justice also admonished the PGC officers, saying; "I told you to stop doing this to people."
NOTE: In the mid-2000s, the same WCO officer was moved to a rural county & later named; "PA Game Commission Officer of the Year"
His state award even mentioned the "hundreds of thousands of $$$" in fines/fees the game officer generated in his career.

Id be concerned to that other gun owners, unsupervised would be on drugs/alcohol or using illegal-class III firearms.

Clyde F
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Old July 5, 2013, 08:47 PM   #12
MattShlock
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I sat on a board that controlled the busiest range in this region of the country. After some issues the public authorities temporarily closed, invested in infrastructure improvements after bringing in an NRA consultant and range engineer (per my pending lawsuit), but then insisted we raise the rates to break even. We looked around and ultimately came up with something like $21/day for non-residents (they really had foot the bill for the place) in PEAK season (last weekend of Sept. thru first week weekend of December) and annual passes for them about $200. Non-peak was half that and resisdents paid half of whatever the non-resident rates were, and everyone with an annual pass was to pay an additional $1-per-visit (we really did have guys who almost came every single day).

We reopened with much lower rates after an outcry but our tenacity and my organizational and marketing expertise in keeping the place open. The site did not cost the public much money (one full time employee and four dozen part time paid volunteer range officers and supervisors), was loved, was very safe, and a jewel in the crown of its Parks Dept. The Democrat Party took over every single seat of the overseeing government, which paid $3,000 per year for land lease, however and closed the facility when the lease ended by insisting on a 30-year lease from the landlord who only wanted to give them another 10 years but was willing to negotiate up too 15 as I understand it. I had resigned my involvement and left it to people who pretended they had kept it open in the past. The Leftists simple ploy was beyond the idiots I left in charge who let politicians get away with it and it closed forever in Dec. 2007. Generations of the busiest range in this region of the U.S. have lost the key place to be exposed to shooting safely and cheaply. And the anti-gun tide will grow. And guns will be taken away. The Left is very patient in undermining America.

Lose a range and they do not reopen. But there is a breakeven price and elasticity in the market. At $30/day the range of the OP's thread will not get much repeat business and will close.

Last edited by MattShlock; July 5, 2013 at 08:53 PM.
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Old July 6, 2013, 04:23 PM   #13
Uncle Buck
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Quote:
As for letting kids run around a shooting range:
At an action pistol match, I happened to notice that a large bush was wiggling, about half way up the backstop berm, and in line with the targets.
Suspicious that there might be some kind of critter behind it, I hollered to the RO to stop, so we could check it out.
Well, there was a critter behind the bush, a six year old girl, playing.
Yikes.
Her mother just about had three heart attacks and two convulsions, as we brought the little girl down from there.
Yup, watch the kiddies, or better yet, leave them at home.
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Old July 6, 2013, 07:40 PM   #14
TommyP
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I know what you mean.... The last time that I went to one of the more popular public ranges in my area I had a random guy come and tap me on the shoulder while I was shooting my .40. I wasn't changing mags, mind you, nor was there a cease fire in effect.....I was firing my weapon and he thought it was a good time to come ask me what I was shooting. He didn't even have glasses on.....lucky he didn't catch some brass in his eye.

I did give him a brief earful about safety and common courtesy however.
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Old July 6, 2013, 08:19 PM   #15
Garycw
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Come on people......

There's a DNR range near me with same weekend ranger. However there is a large sign stating the rules that at least you have that to back your protests up. I don't blame you one bit for being upset. If she disregarded rules again I'd call the ranger to explain it to them or leave till they did
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Old July 6, 2013, 08:24 PM   #16
9mm
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$30 all day is cheap, one I go to is $12.50 an hour LOL. Some others all day is like $22.
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Old July 7, 2013, 11:01 AM   #17
Pahoo
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What to expect !!!

Quote:
However there is a large sign stating the rules that at least you have that to back your protests up.
At the public range that the OP was referring to, there are at least two such signs and very nice ones at that. When they were first posted, my buddy and I commented on how long it would take before someone shot them. Surprisingly, it took two weeks and now they look like horse-crap, on a white horse. .....

Since Iowa went shall-issue, over two years ago, counties have been literally flooded with permit requests. Surprising there have been a high percentage of women and I think that is great. It follows that you see them at the ranges, in high numbers. Most have only had four hours of classroom training and no range-time. ...

What to expect;
1st. timers; Brand new handgun with one box of ammo.
Rambos; Speaks for itself !!
Casual shooters; They pretty much follow the rules.
Serious Shooters; Most of them don't use this range during the busy times. Most of these guys, not only follow the rules but "encourage" others to do so. We act as range officers and most folks do appreciate the involvement. I Think that all of us, are obligated to do so but personally, I don't like playing a cop.

Be Safe !!!
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Old July 7, 2013, 11:15 AM   #18
Mike38
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Quote:
At the public range that the OP was referring to, there are at least two such signs and very nice ones at that. When they were first posted, my buddy and I commented on how long it would take before someone shot them.
I noticed that. For as long as I live, I’ll never understand how people can destroy something that was placed for their benefit / their pleasure. The state of Iowa doesn’t have to provide the land for shooting ranges, they choose to. People should appreciate what is being done for them and not destroy it. To top it off, the taxpayers of Iowa are the ones that paid for this range, then a taxpayer destroys it?

I just wish Illinois did something like this. I live about 15 miles from Green River Conservation Area here in Illinois. It’s about the same size as the area near Princeton Iowa. No target shooting is allowed at Green River. Hunting during season is allowed with special permits, but no off season target shooting. Too bad, I’d be there every weekend. Heck, I’d be a volunteer there and help out in any way I could.
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Old July 7, 2013, 11:29 AM   #19
atlantadad
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Come on people......

I live in GA and used to go to a local range that was recently shut down due to a lawsuit. While I enjoyed being outdoors - you sometimes have idiots ( hence the lawsuit from bullets entering homes). Indoor ranges around here all have bad air. The DNR ranges are at least an hour away and some are a bit goofy. It is getting harder to enjoy the sport.

Last edited by atlantadad; July 8, 2013 at 11:26 AM.
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Old July 8, 2013, 11:07 AM   #20
bikerbill
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You never know how good you have it until you hear stories like these .... my range charges a $20 lifetime signup fee and $10 a day to shoot ... it's well-supervised, clean, has plenty of over-priced ammo, rental guns, etc. no children allowed on the line, RO calls the cease-fire for target replacement and gets kinda mean if somebody wanders over to their bench for any reason while the cease-fire is in effect ... I've been to a few indoor ranges (don't like them, anyhow) where they charge by the hour ... this place, apparently, is heaven ...

it offers 7-, 15- and 25 yd pistol benches, a 200-yd rifle section, a skeet section and another area to practice with defensive shotguns ...
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Old July 15, 2013, 02:02 PM   #21
eightclicknine
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Interesting story. I belong to a public range here for $30 a year, 20 minute drive from where I reside. I haven't observed any issues at the rifle portion of the range, although there generally isn't any RO's present. The pistol range has at least 2 RO's present and is generally very safe. That being said, I prefer private land, far less risk involved.
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Old July 15, 2013, 07:02 PM   #22
8MM Mauser
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I go to a completely free, completely unsupervised range. No problems unless youre squeamish about seeing a shot up TV or two. Doesn't bother me personally.

I have never seen anyone do anything dangerous or stupid (except for something a "friend" of mine did once) and everyone respects everyone else and shoots at one range at a time.

It's been a mostly positive experiance, but upkeep has been slipping lately and I have thought about joining a club.
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