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When gunnies don’t know laws

This weekend, Les, Rich, a friend, and I went to the Volunteer Rifle and Pistol Club‘s John Sevier Range. I’ve gone there for a few years and was a member (let it go once Junior was born since I don’t go as much now) and never had a problem. Then, this weekend, it was as if the elderly range officers were trying to run us off. I guess us young punks with our assault weapons, 90 round AR-15 magazines, and homemade guns are not to be trusted. At one point, we had three benches and three guns going (an AR, an SKS, and a 1911) and, quite coincidentally, we all let off a volley of rounds at the same time. One of the guys at the range (who was not the range officer but was chummy with the officers) made a comment about how it sounded like a war zone. Of course it did, it’s a firing range.

And that guy and the range officers kept coming by and criticizing, offering advice, and generally making us feel unwelcome. At one point, one of the range officers went to Les and told him that he had to put the bayonet on his SKS away. Of course, the bayonet on the SKS is basically permanently attached so he folded it down. The range officer then said, and I am not making this up, that it was illegal to have a bayonet on a gun. I informed it wasn’t and that just about every SKS on the market comes stock with one. He then made the equally ludicrous comment that it had to be under a certain number of inches to be legal. Les just stepped away, shaking his head. I didn’t say another word. It was clear the guy had no idea what he was talking about. Les later looked at me and said he just didn’t think it was worth it to argue. He was right. Supposedly, like the Mosin-Nagant, you’re better off sighting an SKS in with the bayonet unfolded because it helps with weight distribution.

The also have this new rule that all guns must be shot from the bench. That includes handguns. That didn’t make the day as fun as it could have been as the 90 rounder is a bit unwieldy from the bench and you don’t get range time in the standing position. And it pretty much sucks for shooting handguns.

After a while though, the range guys started warming up to us. Particularly since we gave them a couple hundred rounds of 5.56X45 and .45ACP brass. And, you know, we were there for a while and didn’t kill anyone.

Note to you older gunnies: When the younger folks show up with their evil black assault weapons and want to shoot, welcome them. Make them feel wanted and at home. Otherwise, you’re not encouraging anyone to take up shooting, particularly at your range.

I’ve not decided if I’ll be back to the John Sevier Range yet.

20 Responses to “When gunnies don’t know laws”

  1. Blounttruth Says:

    Where is this range located? I usually go to the Louisville range, but the pistol range is outdoors. My wife and I should not be too intimidating to the range officer as we only fire pistols, but I would love to get into some of the rifles you mentioned.


  2. SayUncle Says:

    It’s off Rifle Range Road in Knoxville. Where’s the Lousville range? I may need to check that out.

  3. _Jon Says:

    Is there any harm in writing to the owners / officers?

  4. SayUncle Says:

    Dunno, the handgun thing is probably their rule.

  5. Chris Says:

    I tried to inquire about doing some handgun shooting there a few years ago, but was told that you could only shoot handguns there from 1:00 to 4:00 on Tuesday (or some other equally narrow time slot during the work week) or with a range officer present.

    I had previously shot there before TWRA took it over, but it appears to be an untenable shooting spot for handgunners who are not NRA certified range officers.

    Like most other things, it looks like dealing with private sector providers yields better results.

  6. Ravenwood Says:

    I’m an RSO at Quantico, and we usually welcome all sorts of guns, evil black ones too. The only rules are the caliber limitations set by the Marine Corp, and the range safety rules. Bayonets don’t matter as long as you keep them pointed down range.

    As for “sounding like a war zone”, Quantico really does sound like a war zone, what with the Marines next door on full auto fire. All the RSOs I know (myself included) usually bitch when it gets too quiet.

  7. Marc Says:

    This is one of the problems we as gun owners have.

    Too many enjoy their own niche in the shooting sports while looking down their noses at the rest of the shooting world. You might think I’m talking about trap shooters and some are guilty of this mind set but you can see it elsewhere even in the action pistol sports, think IDPA v. IPSC.

    It’s not helpful to our cause. The antis hate and fear ALL guns in private hands (even JFKerry’s shotgun – at least when it’s not being used trying to win national office).

  8. Steve Ramsey Says:

    Been there, done that.
    My local club tolerated obvois gangbangers on the range because they paid cash public entry fees, and shot slowly, as well as poorly. Me and my self loading rifles were not welcome.
    No rapid fire.
    No more than 5 rounds in the magazine.

    I quickly and forever became EX member #3003, Tacoma “sportsmans” club.

  9. jr Says:

    Here’s a good one. Backwoods range north of Dallas. There’s a range nazi there that delights in finding anything to ding you about. One Saturday, I was shooting an IDPA match in one bay, where we shoot as fast as we can (several rounds per second, depending on the stage), and thanks to a pal’s handloads, had a squib that I had to clear. After checking with the range officer (the aforementioned goober), I stepped over to the next bay to function check my gun. After a couple of deliberate shots, I let loose with about 5 in rapid succession. He wasted no time in reminding me that I could fire no more than 1 round per second. I thanked him for the reminder, then stepped back over to the bay where I could shoot as fast as I wanted.

    On another occasion, we were waiting to shoot, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. It was literally pouring down rain. One of the guys there was dipping snuff, and unceremoniously spit into the parking lot that was being inundated with rain. Range Boy fussed at him, because spitting wasn’t allowed on the range – it’s a health hazard, ya know.

    People like this simply do not belong on a range, and they do not represent the shooting sports.

    I’ve not been back since.

  10. Kevin Baker Says:

    For some reason I thought you were a crusty old(er) fart like me!

  11. SayUncle Says:

    Nah, i’m 34ish.

  12. Xrlq Says:

    Depending on the definition of “ish,” so am I.

  13. Head Says:

    I’ve run into range idiots and the deer rifle mafia too. It is a shame. Good post, and reminds me that our initial reaction, “its not worth it”, is sometimes wrong- offering the offender a chance to run a mag through an EBR often converts them with a big grin.

  14. FishOrMan Says:

    Old geezers you all are!

  15. Phelps Says:

    You know, given that everyone there is armed to the teeth, it probably isn’t a good idea to be an ass. Gun people are by and large well controlled, but why take the chance? When your job is safety, you want to make sure that they are still listening to you when you tell them they are doing something unsafe. Crap like this is the highest form of incompetence, because people tune them out. Hell, I’m not rude even when I am pointing out that someone is being idioticly unsafe. (I did grab my brother’s girlfriend’s arm and shove it back downrange when she started waving the pistol I was teaching her to shoot around. But I did it in a nice, polite violent way.)

  16. yankeetechingermany Says:

    while i am no longer living in WA, was a member of the Tacoma Sportsman Club, if it is the one i am thinking of off of 512 in Puallup(sp?) right? If it is when did they come out with a rounds in mag limit? i used to go out there all the with my evil black guns (3 ar-15 (both .223 and one in .308) SKS and AK’s (a few moddels and a both calibers) i would often burn off 3 or 4 full mags standing, and doing quick reloads. but if they have gone bad, i guess i wont spend my shooting money there when i am on leave next year.

  17. John of Argghhh! Says:

    I like my two local Missouri Dept. of Conservation ranges. 1. Unsupervised and free, but you do get some idiots, but the Rangers are by often, and are proud of the range (and will take time to do some shooting, too)

    2. The very formal, supervised range, with a minimal usage fee. The only restrictions (reasonable to me) is no rapid fire (enforced only if you are playing machinegunner) and no human-shaped targets. Run like a military range otherwise… and the idiot-shooters are kept in check. It has a building with classroom that can be used by anyone, and is great for taking new shooters… to get them started off right in terms of safe, responsible shooting, with lots of reinforcement (socializes them properly!)

  18. Nylarthotep Says:

    Listen to all the whining. Damn, be thankful you have open ranges. I live in New Hampshire near the border of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts and there aren’t any open ranges that I can find. Just private sportsman’s clubs. Most of them look at you funny if you want to shoot. And forget rifles.

    I’d gladly deal with the curmudgeons or foolish rules if there was someplace I could go. Every “sportsmans” club I’ve asked at state that they aren’t looking for members. And the waiting list pretty much gets you into the next century.

    Damn, some of you even have choices as to where to shoot. I can go to friends private property to shoot, but that usually ends up with the local law enforcement showing up to ask you what you were thinking firing a firearm in private. Last time I shot the police and the local game warden both showed up. We thanked them for their concern but pointed out that they had no say in our activity, seeing that it was in complete compliance with the law. They muttered a bit but left.

    Be thankful you at least have options. The options around here are few and far between.

  19. Roberto Says:

    Why monkey around with Volunteer? Go to OR. Great facilities (civilian thousand-yard range; plinking range; benchrest range; indoor pistol range; archery range). Great flexibility, too.

  20. Zendo Deb Says:

    There is a range near me that has rule stating only 1 round can be loaded in the magazine at one time. Ok if you are sighting in a hunting rifle, but sort of puts a dent in the fun of playing with autoloaders. I have never been there – why bother?

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