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Old January 19, 2021, 05:31 PM   #1
reubenray
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First Range Visit?

I have not shot my handguns very much and only outside. I need to shoot them more, so I am getting prepared to go a range. I have shooting glasses and ear muffs. One of my handguns is only about 6 months old and it is a S&W Shield 9MM, I also have a Taurus PT92AF that I bought back in the early 90's and a S&W 38 Special revolver that is older. I would estimate that I have shot less than a box of rounds in the Taurus. Until the recent events these have been in storage except for the Shield. I also have some reloads from when I first bought the Taurus. Are these safe to shoot? I do have some new Winchester target loads.

Being I will be a newbie at a range what should I know and do? I would most likely shoot only the Taurus and Shield being the 38 special is my wife's gun. I do have a bag to hold everything in. What else should I bring?
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Old January 19, 2021, 06:33 PM   #2
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Take chalk or a marker of some type to mark your targets, masking tape, ear plugs (to aid your muffs), a plastic bag to "police" YOUR brass, a small container of gun oil, and a gun rag to wipe the firearms down when complete.
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Old January 19, 2021, 07:25 PM   #3
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Break it down into elements and support what is needed

A few things I'm not seeing is whether it's a private/public, indoors/outdoors.
A note on private ranges is that there will be a RSO present and posted rules. Then of course you have plug/muffs and safety glassed with side shields. Whenever I go shooting or hunting. I make a list of what I feel I need to support that activity. Basically; What, Where, When and How. .....

If you go to a public range, a Fist-aid kit might coma in handy ......

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 19, 2021, 07:44 PM   #4
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If the range has a website read the rules if any posted.
Follow them.

Some private ranges have had rules of "only use ammo sold here". I don't know how well they are doing with the current shortages.

Safety of someone else's reloads is always a question. See the rule above. How well do you know the person that reloaded the cases? Will they go to the range with you?
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Old January 19, 2021, 07:53 PM   #5
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All of the (few) outdoor ranges I have been to use wood target holder stands, to which large sheets of cardboard have been attached. Targets are stapled to the cardboard with a Swingline-type staple shooter. One club I know of locally has ONE staple shooter available for lone. Most have none. So if you'll be at an outdoor range, bring a staple shooter or masking tape,

The indoor ranges where I have shot have all hung cardboard backer sheets to the target runners, and targets are attached to the cardboard with masking tape. The range I belong to usually provides the tape, but sometimes there's only one roll for thee to five lanes. It can't hurt to toss a small roll of masking tape into your range bag.

Especially indoors, I like to double up on hearing protection: disposable foam ear plugs, and ear muffs over those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahoo
A note on private ranges is that there will be a RSO present and posted rules.
I have two friends who belong to two different ranges. The ranges are open to members every day of the week, but there is an RSO on duty only on weekends when traffic is high.
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Old January 19, 2021, 08:00 PM   #6
reubenray
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There are two ranges I am checking into. They both are private and one is indoors and other is outdoors. Which one would be better? The outdoors one is cheaper and closer.
Neither mention that I have to buy their ammo.

The person that loaded the reloads was a friend back in the early 90's. I have no idea about the loads themselves. I have not seen him since the late 90's being we moved out of state.
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Old January 19, 2021, 08:21 PM   #7
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So you haven't seen him for 20+ years. You have no idea how meticulous or how sloppy he is in his reloading. You probably have no idea if these are starting loads, mid-range loads, or maximum loads (or beyond maximum) for the "calibers."

What could possibly go wrong?
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Old January 19, 2021, 08:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
There are two ranges I am checking into. They both are private and one is indoors and other is outdoors. Which one would be better? The outdoors one is cheaper and closer.
I like outdoor ranges better. Less abusive noise wise. Usually more elbow room. Fresh air. Sunlight. Just dress warm in layers and bring some mechanix gloves and maybe hand warmers.

When you go, tell the person in charge that you are new and ask if there is anything you need to know. They will appreciate it. Folks generally like to help new folks. I've seen it many times at my range.

Above all things, make sure all guns are always pointed down range! Never in any other direction, especially not pointed at any person including yourself, even if unloaded. Make sure they are unloaded (triple check!) and action open during cease fire (Slide locked back on the semi-autos and cylinder open for the revolver).

Definitely stick with quality factory ammo. At least wait until you get very familiar with your guns and shooting so you will be able to feel if there is something wrong with the rounds like they are under powered or loaded too hot or just have terrible accuracy.
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Last edited by DMK; January 19, 2021 at 09:11 PM.
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Old January 19, 2021, 09:10 PM   #9
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I recommend going in off peak times. If I go on a weekend, I go when they open. If I can squeeze in a trip during the work week I find that at lunch time the range is nearly empty. I prefer outdoor ranges, inside always seems to have air quality issues with the shooting, but inside avoids the weather. Even a little wind can make outside shooting frustrating.

Bring/buy plenty of targets, and as previously mentioned something to mark your shot groups with. I became a much better handgun shooter when I started paying attention to my groups. Firing a hundred rounds into a shot up, swiss cheese target won't tell you if you're hitting what you are aiming at.

Don't shoot reloads! The general maxim seems to be only shot what YOU yourself reload. I think that is a good rule. Trying to save a buck I purchased some gun show reloads and terribly regretted it. In a pistol I had full faith in with any factory ammo became a jam-o-matic. It cost me some significant money in factory loads after that experience just to reestablish my faith in the gun. To be honest I think I was lucky. The internet is full of nightmare stories from people shooting someone else's reloads.
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Old January 19, 2021, 09:42 PM   #10
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Get a set of plugs and wear them under the muffs. The earpiece of glasses can interfere with the seal of the earmuff and degrade their effectiveness (tiny little gap lets big noise in..)

DON'T shoot other people's reloads! What's that good trusted buddy likely to do if one of his rounds blows up your gun and injures you??? Is he going to pay the expenses? Any part of them?? Or are you going to have to face your (now former) friend in court for restitution???

Commercial reloaders have licenses, they have INSURANCE, does your buddy??

Follow all posted rules. If you're not sure, ask. Know when you can, and cannot handle your gun (hot range, cold range) Go to the range sometime to just watch how its run. And keep in mind, always, safety, Safety, SAFETY!!
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Old January 20, 2021, 06:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
Get a set of plugs and wear them under the muffs.
This ^^^

Double up on your ear protection.
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Old January 20, 2021, 06:23 AM   #12
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Yes, I would not use reloads from someone I have lost contact with.
I firmly believe the best way to learn to shoot a handgun is the old fashioned Bullseye way, lets you develop the skills necessary, see the importance of sight alinement, breath control, etc.
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Old January 20, 2021, 09:01 AM   #13
reubenray
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Can I take the reloads and get my brother to reload them again? He has been doing this for years.
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Old January 20, 2021, 11:24 AM   #14
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Can I take the reloads and get my brother to reload them again? He has been doing this for years.
You can, of course, do whatever you please. But I'm joining in with group urging extreme caution in shooting reloads you know nothing about other than who loaded them. Especially if you were not there with him when he loaded them.

I use these plugs under my muffs. Especially important (imho) in indoor ranges where you get the echoes.
https://www.earplugstore.com/ear-inc...rplug-kit.html

I prefer outdoor ranges, as stated. Unless its cold, then I like indoor ranges
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Old January 20, 2021, 11:36 AM   #15
reubenray
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I wear full ear mold hearing aids. When I shot my handguns a month or two ago I turned them off prior to putting on the ear muffs.

The reason I keep bringing up reloads is the availability of ammo. There is no sense in going to a range if I can only shoot a few rounds each time. I have 100 rounds of new target rounds, a hundred rounds of JHP and about a hundred rounds of reloads. I don't plan on shooting any of my JHP rounds. My brother reloads most of the rounds that he shoots. I would have no idea if he was doing something wrong or not.

Last edited by reubenray; January 20, 2021 at 11:41 AM.
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Old January 20, 2021, 11:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Can I take the reloads and get my brother to reload them again? He has been doing this for years.
Reading this again, I think I may have misunderstood. I think what you are asking is: Can your brother break down the loads and load them again? The answer is: yes, that is possible.

Of course, rather or not your brother is WILLING to go through the pain of pulling apart someone else's loads and using his powder to load them again is another question entirely (he won't be able to salvage the powder, and the bullets may or may not be reusable). The good news is that the primed cases are re-loadable.
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Old January 20, 2021, 02:01 PM   #17
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A solid brass squib rod, for those unexpected emergencies --- And a rubber mallet hammer.

I prefer outdoor ranges...but if you prefer indoor: A PPE ballistic vest for safety purposes is not out of the question.
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Old January 20, 2021, 02:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reubenray View Post
What else should I bring?
A ream of cheap white letter size paper and a roll of masking tape... seriously

I think one of the biggest mistakes new/newer shooters make is shooting at conventional printed targets
Most of these targets tend to make it difficult to see your own hits
They are far more expensive than plain paper so most folks tend to fill them with holes making it useless to see hits properly

Hang the "free" target most ranges give you but then tape a sheet of paper to it
Fire a magazine or few cylinders then tape up a new sheet
If you hold a standard sheet of paper to your torso you'll note that it is sized just right for decent hits
You may also notice that it's close to the same size as "A" and "down zero" zones of IDPA and IPSC targets
Also nearly identical to the center of mass zone on FBI-QIT qualification targets (the only printed targets I use)

For more "advanced" practice grab a few colored reams as well
Most of the "free" target ranges give you are large enough to tape up four colors
While in a low ready have your partner call out a color and make the correct shot
Bring a marker and write letters and numbers on the sheets to add more variety
"Red"... "White"... "Three"... "Blue"... "A"... "Green"... "Upper Left"... "One"... Etc

I've been training new and newer shooters this way for decades now
Many have come to me with issues and had been practicing on printed targets
But quickly "got it" once I had them use my method
I've even helped out a few of my struggling deputies this way
Same for experienced shooters with many being surprised at what a difference it made
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Old January 20, 2021, 04:47 PM   #19
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My brother commented that he could if the brass is not stretched and that they could be trimmed. I am checking to see instead of throwing them out.
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Old January 21, 2021, 06:38 AM   #20
reubenray
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I was able to buy two 50 round boxes of Federal American Eagle target loads. This will give me a few more to shoot at the range.

I thought of this question last night.

Are masks required at the ranges? I hope not while shooting at least. My glasses fog up while wearing one and along with safety glasses and ear muffs this may not be fun. I did not see anything mentioning a mask on the range websites.
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Old January 21, 2021, 01:35 PM   #21
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At our outdoor private range...masks are not required on the firing line, due to fogging of eyeglass lenses when wearing a mask --- But masks are required when someone enters the range clubhouse.

Though our range tries to observe the 6 foot distancing rule, by having our shooters occupy odd numbered firing stations only.
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Old January 21, 2021, 01:56 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reubenary
Are masks required at the ranges?
That depends on the range, and the state.

At the indoor range where I shoot and the outdoor range I have limited access to, masks are required.
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Old January 21, 2021, 05:30 PM   #23
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One of the most important range "courtesies", which is also an important safety practice, is not to handle any firearms, or even approach the firing line, when the range has been declared "cold" and there are other shooters downrange. Any well-managed range will have this as one of their rules, but even if not you should observe it. At our range (a private club with a large membership) there is a yellow safety line five feet or so back from the shooting benches and individuals not going downrange are required to stay behind the safety line (firearms stay on the benches with actions open) until the range is declared "hot" again. Some ranges will allow you to load magazines as long as you stay back from the firing line, but even that's not a good thing to do, IMHO. It can be very unsettling to be downrange and look back to see shooters in the vicinity of the line fiddling around with something - and you can't identify exactly what the something is.
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Old January 22, 2021, 10:06 AM   #24
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Being it is a rainy day I dug through my ammo again. In 9MM I have 150 rounds of JHP and 200 rounds of target loads. These are new and not reloads. I have another 100+ loads of reloads. In 38 Special I have 50 rounds of JHP and only 30 of Blazer/CCI rounds that are not reloads. I have another 50+ rounds of reloads. I believe I am set for a while with 9MM, but I need to find some more 38 Special.
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Old January 22, 2021, 04:33 PM   #25
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As stated, ear and eye protection. Your firearms and ammo in a case. Maybe a spotting scope for rifle shooting, if you have one. Take your own targets and a staple gun. Nothing ruins a range trip faster for a new guy than not having the basics to do what they came to do. I got one of those big range bags years ago so I don't have to remember my stuff for each trip, just pick up the bag and go.
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