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For the better part of the last 10 years, I've rarely shot at either gun clubs or public ranges. I've been fortunate to have access to safe, private land on which to shoot; I've had limited use for a club membership or the need to go to a public range at a gunshop.

Well, this weekend, my parents (both in their 70s) wanted to get some trigger time in, so the wife and I loaded up with guns, ammo, targets, and all the extraneous crap for a day on the range, and went to the gun club my father belongs to.

The first thing I noticed was that it was nice to have overhead cover to keep the sun off... the shooting benches at the 50/100 yd rifle range were kinda nice... loading tables behind the lines... A shed full of target stands for setting up at different distances.... 2 bays for 'action' pistol/rifle... shooting.....while nothing fancy, it was well equipped and set up facility.

Of greater note was the social aspect. The place wasn't crowded at all, only 1 or 2 other groups at each bay we went to. But during lulls, everyone made the effort to introduce themselves to me and my wife, and get to know us a bit. Of course, the conversation revolved around the various guns we were shooting that day, but that's to be expected. Plenty of offers to shoot some of the different guns people had, and of course we shared what we had brought too...

The highlight of the (other than validating the function of my new 10 round CMC magazine) was the suppressed 10/22 and MK III. We were the only ones whit a can that day, and people loved it. There was a father there with his girls, about 12 years old- they couldn't get enough of it, and giggled like crazy with every shot... priceless. I think there father may have been a bit annoyed; he asked lots of questions about the can, and the NFA processes... I may have spent about $600 of his money.

I think I may have to become a semi regular fixture there; while I like the ability to shoot privately and locally, there's something to be said for the club environment that may make it worth the hour drive...
 

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While I MUCH prefer private, multi day, extended range sessions with close friends on my ranch shooting at any distance we can conceive of, its a good 6 hour drive away. There is something to be said about a convenient, well run club with good amenities, a solid set of common sense rules and a membership corps in good standing. I make it a point to volunteer for range repair or cleanup days because, as a member, it IS "my" range and I like a nice place to shoot and to share tales, info, reloading recipes, etc., with my fellow members. Might even get to shoot a supressed .300BLK too. :)
 

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My local club in SE PA is very much like you describe. You meet the nicest folks at my range.
As we are all responsible for our own safety (no range officers) I tend to become the default range officer ensuring that the range is cold, that everyone had chamber flags in, and no one is touching a firearm while folks are down range changing targets. Folks really appreciate me taking on the leadership role (and speaking loudly), especially new members. Even when I correct new members (with a very kind tone) the only thing I get back is true appreciation.

Most folks gravitate towards me due to the role I take and the fact I usually bring 3 or 4 STIs with me. Many folks have never seen and STI up close let alone been able to shoot one.
 

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While a couple of the rules seemed odd to me (its a 100+ year old 'wildlife and conservation club; founded by Southern gentlemen) it was, all in all, a very enjoyable experience.

As someone else mentioned, no RSOs trying to "run" things. Everyone on a given range simply communicated and worked together. The one spot correction I saw was handled in a manner so polite as to almost be comical...

For me, going to this club is less convenient than going to private land, but may be worth the effort once a month or so...
 

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It's why we belong to a private club. While about an hour's drive away vs 15-20 minutes for some public ranges, it's well worth it. Aside from all of the other benefits the club always has range officers on duty although they do have to drive between the various ranges at the club so it isn't 100% supervised.

Being retired I usually go during the week. Aside from a handful of other shooters during the week, the rest are usually police practice...runs from amusing to interesting depending upon whether they are training/qualification or swat.

They have multiple action ranges (which require certification) so I can set up paper or steel targets and draw from holster, shoot while moving, etc.

Well worth the drive...also, since I go about 3xmonth it ends up being cheaper than paying for the public range time even including the cost of gas.
 

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I started shooting by using a range run by the Lions Club. Multi station handun range under cover with benches. Multi station rifle range with distances to 300 yds. Trap range. Everyone friendly. Only problem was public could only shoot Tuesday evening and Saturday morning. Never found out what I could do as a member.

In February I joined the local gun club. 4 multi station handgun ranges, under covers with benches. 2 trap ranges with shooter operated launchers. Rifle range under cover with distances to 300 yds. A building dedicated to .22 handgun and rifle. And last but not least an archery range. External ranges available 8:00-22:00 7 days a week. Archery likes to boast it is available 24/7. :)

Old fart 1st year dues were $175. Annual renewal much cheaper. And you have to volunteer 6 hrs of time for range maintenance. Can be eliminated by paying
$100.

I am a morning person and retired. I love being able to hit the range first thing in the morning during the week.
 

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I only shoot at indoor/outdoor ranges, as the carefree jerks who like to shoot up TV sets and washing machines have successfully managed to get all the public lands closed to shooting around me. While it's nice to shoot at a facility with marked distances and a set of rules, unfortunately all I can ever shoot at are paper targets and that got boring a long time ago. I really miss being able to bounce tin cans along the ground or blow up milk jugs full of water.
 

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I used to shoot at a public range for many years. It started to get over run by idiots and people who did not know **** about gun safety. I regularly heard people cycling their slides to load their gun for when the range goes hot again ***while people were down range putting up targets***.

I stopped going to that range and now go to a private range that is about an hour and a half away. Nicer people, safer people and has covered benches with staging areas for cases, etc... To me, it is very worth the money and time.
 

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If you find a good one, do it!

also keep in mind certain times of the season and work weeks it could be slow, might be lucky that way.

sounds like you guys enjoyed yourselves!
 

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My range is usually my own fifedom. Rarely is anyone there past 10 am. We have awnings now and benches, etc.

My only concern is one volunteer RSO Nazi (that I trained, sorry to say) who keeps getting people angry and the board won't remove him cause he's an old guy and the range is his life. He does take good care of stuff. But it's embarrasing to hear people say, "oh we won't shoot there because xx wouldn't let our 12 year old shoot." (Which is not SOP policy, just what the geezer made up.)

I'm looking forward to a place I can shoot on my own land.
 

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This is one of the reasons why I'm so insanely jealous of Hickok45. He has his own personal shooting spot where he can blow up soda bottles and say "Sweeeeett!" all day long if he likes and nobody can stop him. :)
 

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Can't stand the local ranges with their books full of rules and self appointed range Nazis, but I have no choice.
 

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The 2 private ranges I shoot at are nice for the most part. Much like the OP described. Sometimes an idiot wanders in, but not that often.

Public indoor ranges on the other hand can be downright scary. I go to those when most likely less crowded. Not too many shooters Friday at 5:30 PM.
 

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I've belonged to a private club for 17yrs now. As the saying goes , membership has it perks. I can leave my stuff at the firing line while we check our targets without worrying about someone touching or driving off with anything. Membership at our club is hard to achieve (must be recommended by member in good standing , screened and interviewed by board of directors , pass background check , and waiting list is about 2yrs) and 99% of members don't risk losing it.

Ranges are very well kept. Ya can't "shoot to destroy" anything , paper targets only. There's cameras , so any shenanigans will result in loss of membership.
 

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I have access to two ranges locally. One is a public range that is self-policed and only occasionally visited by the state department of resources officers. It is anarchy on the worst of days and only semi-safe on the best of days.

The second range is a sportsman's club with a 100 yard rifle range, a 35 yard pistol range, pistol pits for IDPA and USPA shooting, an archery range, skeet range, stocked fish ponds, club house, and tactical shotgun shooting trails. There is a one to two year waiting list. All members are encouraged to qualify as club RSOs, and no range can be opened unless there is a club RSO present at all times. All targets on the rifle and pistol range are paper except for special events. There is a match or matches most every weekend. Matches are open to the public, and the club goes out of its way to host NRA training, Boy and Girl Scouts, Wounded Warriors, and a variety of other public special events.

All members are given electronic keys to get through the gate, and RSOs are given lock combinations to take a range hot. There are covered structures over the firing lines at the rifle and pistol ranges, with target frames maintained on a regular basis. There is a lot of camaraderie among the members, and many of us show up for the twice a year maintenance days. Individuals volunteer to maintain the various ranges and common grounds on a more regular basis. The only downside I have seen to belonging to a club such as this is that on weekends the ranges frequently have matches for much of the day. On the other hand, as an RSO I can visit by myself anytime during the week and frequently have the entire range to myself. But for other clubs, mileage may vary.
 

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Must be a nice range. The only ranges like that around me are $350 a year or more and have a 3-5 year waiting list.

Public ranges are over run. Not necessarily bad people, just too many people. There is 20 minute cease fire after 5 minutes of shooting so everyone can go set up their damn targets. Then guess what, the wind blows or they actually hit what they were shooting at and here comes another cease fire. Then there is always one tacticool guy there that is waving his Glock around, but "its cool bro, it wont go off because I know what I'm doing".

I need to buy some land and build my own covered range.
 

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The club range I am a member of is a fairly nice facility. Pistol, trap, rifle and archery.
Under cover shooting positions, also an indoor 22 and pistol facility for the sub zero weather.
We can bring steel targets as well as things like bottles of soda to shoot. As long as the items you want too shoot do not cause an
environmental or safety issue and you clean up after yourself everything is good. There are also sub clubs one can participate in. $135 per year dues = about $110 American seems pretty reasonable. Sadly because of our firearms legislation you must belong to a certified range in order to purchase and shoot restricted firearms; ie handguns and rifles like AR 15s.
 

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I shoot pistols indoors in the colder months at a local conservation club. The range has about 10 stations and is always monitored with 2 or 3 safety officers. Cost is $10 per hour. They are open a couple of Wednesday mornings and evening a month and every Sunday evening. Cost to join the club is $300 but you need to be sponsored by 2 members.

I shoot outdoors at the local DNR facility. It has all covered stations for both pistols and long guns. Longest range is 100 yards. Also have shotgun and archery ranges. Paper targets only. Cost is $4 all day. Open 5 days a week, Thursday thru Monday. You need to have a state sticker on your license plate that is $10/year and it gets you in all the state parks. Always at least 2 DNR range officers on duty. Place is clean and well maintained.
 

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Must be a nice range. The only ranges like that around me are $350 a year or more and have a 3-5 year waiting list.

Public ranges are over run. Not necessarily bad people, just too many people. There is 20 minute cease fire after 5 minutes of shooting so everyone can go set up their damn targets. Then guess what, the wind blows or they actually hit what they were shooting at and here comes another cease fire. Then there is always one tacticool guy there that is waving his Glock around, but "its cool bro, it wont go off because I know what I'm doing".

I need to buy some land and build my own covered range.
Sounds about like where I live.
 
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