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Thread: Indoor Shooting Range in Anchorage AK.

  1. #1
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    Default Indoor Shooting Range in Anchorage AK.

    Hello everyone, I'm in the middle of getting everything together to build an indoor shooting range here in Anchorage.
    (Yes, I understand the cost, lead filter system and the permits involved.)

    I'm wanting to know what you, as local shooters would like to see in an in-door shooting range.
    Any suggestions on:

    -facility
    -specific structural safety precautions you would like to see
    -caliber separation
    -membership prices
    -targets
    -amount of lanes
    -partnering with shooting classes
    -possible on site gun and ammo store
    -food and beverage (close by or on site)
    -hours of operation
    -handgun only or long guns allowed?
    -handgun and AR platforms only?
    -how do you feel about Range Safe lead free ammo?

    also, what are some things you don't like about the two
    outdoor ranges (privet birchwood, and state rabbit creek) ?


    Any an all suggestions are welcome. We are building this for the anchorage/eagle river/JBER demographic.

    Take care,
    -Thom

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    OP, it is good to hear that some one is finally looking at an indoor range for Anchorage. It has been many years since the one on the Old Seward highway closed down. Not knowing much about how to handle rifle calibers, I think that it would be best to have a range that can handle pistol calibers and rim fire. While 'lead free' sounds good, it could be costly for people to shoot that shoot a lot. For us, we reload a lot of cast bullets, as it keeps the cost down. My thinking is that all ranges should offer classes from beginning weapons handling up to CCW type classes. I would think that there would be a good demand for a range, but I would look real close as to which part of Anchorage/Eagle River to put one in. While it could be a challenge, having an 'on site' gun smith and small store would be nice.
    Good luck!

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    One I used to use in Boise was awesome. 0-25 yd range controlled by pushing a button. Well lit, friendly folks, gunsmith, gun sales as well as rentals to try guns out. Simply having the control of bringing targets in to take down/put up or to take a better look at without having to have a cease fire and walk downrange is great. I would certainly support it!

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    I used one in Michigan that had a 300 yard range underground. It was a long cement pipe roughly 6-8 foot around, you shot from a bench thru a window. There where targets on a roll at 50 yard increments with a monitor and video cameras that could select what range you where shooting. You could advance targets and everything by remote. It was a cool setup

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    I live in Juneau and a new indoor shooting range opened up this past summer. They are the Juneau Merchantile and Armory 907-957-9622. I would call them up and ask them those questions. Also ADF&G operates two indoor shooting ranges one in Fairbanks and the other in Juneau. The range masters at either of those facilities would have some answers and thoughts as well. The biggest drawback are the necessary filtration systems and all indoor shooting facilities in AK are energy suckers. The folks at the Juneau Merchantile have paired their range business with a gun store, and offering shooting packages where you can rent all kinds of guns to shoot (gattling guns to .22s) to offset the range expenses.

    The Juneau Empire online has an article on them so do a google search for Juneau Merchantile and armory.

    Sobie2

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    One of the benefits of an indoor range is to make kids comfortable in winter and allow them to shoot their .22's to develop their skills. An indoor range would also allow for .22 small bore match shooting in the winter. However, making the range lead-free will keep most .22 shooters away since there is an even more limited supply of "green" .22 ammo, and the few green .22 I have seen has stated to not use it in a match chamber. And their production quallity can be extremely poor based on user reviews.

    So right off a majority of your potential customers will not be able to use their weapon of choice.

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    Have women on staff and a ladies night. No boys allowed.

    Gotta have rifle lanes. Only one or two. Up to .50 for express rifles. Use snail system from Savage so no lead issue.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    Most excellent idea! I think it would be a mistake to not have a range for all the Ar guys. That market has exploded! I don't think it needs to be 100 yards but somewhere to go blow through rounds would be great in the dead of winter. My biggest complaint about the rabbit creek range is some of the "range officers". Many people I know won't go there because a couple of the guys that work there can be a huge PITA. I would buy a membership for sure!

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    There was a gun shop with indoor range in Tacoma that was very popular because you could rent a gun to shoot a bit before buying it. I think that would be a good idea up there, an on site gun smith sure would be a good idea.

  10. #10
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    "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

    Anchorage used to have an indoor shooting range off Old Seward Highway in the mid-1990s. It was called the Firing Line and was a good way to spend an evening shooting handguns. You could buy memberships or pay as you go. You could rent a range gun to shoot if you were contemplating buying a similar model and weren't sure if it was worth it (try before you buy). I bought several guns this way as they were a FFL also. The Firing Line also swept up fired, uncollected brass and sold range ammo. From talking with the ex-owner of the Firing Line, it went out of business (sadly) because of high INSURANCE costs.

    That being said, Palmer has their own indoor shooting range. If you go to Las Vegas, you can shoot Class 3 weapons indoors such as UZIs and MP5s. The Bass Pro shop in Las Vegas even has an indoors range to shoot handguns you may want to try before you buy. The business model seems like a no-brainer for a gun friendly state such as Alaska.

    I encourage anyone with a dream and capital to start another indoors shooting range (or several ranges) in the Anchorage area. Especially in the dark winter months, who wants to freeze their rear ends off when you can shoot in a heated range, and retrieve your targets as often as you like on the machine?

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    I went to the Firing Line every time I went into Anchorage. I'd rent a couple pistols and buy four boxes of ammo each, then burn'em up. It was so much fun, and I still have the little membership cards for me and my wife with the pistol hit diagram on the back.

    I remember shooting the Glock 20 once. Used up four boxes making lots of holes in the targets. I went early so no-one else was there. Dang thing kept ejecting the spent cases into my face. One even stuck to my forehead (that was HOT). I left wondering why the two guys were s******ing (huh, the profanity filter would not let me post s n i g g e r i n g. Maybe I should use snickering?), while I was turning in the pistol. When I got seated in my rental car, I looked at my face in the rearview mirror; my face was covered with little half-moon burns and soot-marks from the cases.
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    In order to get my business, lead bullets would have to be allowed as I exclusively reload with cast.
    Powered target retrievers and no cease fires every 10 minutes would be great.
    I would use it primarily for handguns.
    Evening hours would be great as local folks could shoot after school and work.
    On site FFL, gunsmith and ammo sales would all be a plus.

    Best of luck, and I hope your dream comes to fruition!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Try MVS. It isn't any further than lotsa folks commute each day. You can relax, and get Psyched-In on the trip up there.

    It's usually not very crowded on Wed. Nights. I don't know bout other times.

    It's a great place, with lots of classes, activities, etc. And great people. It seems to run pretty smoothly.

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    I think lead free would be a deal breaker for most shooters.

    Other than that, sounds like a good plan. Personally I wouldn't be interested in a rifle range unless it was at least 100 yds.

    Something to consider would be promoting competitive shooting, bullseye, BR-50 etc.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    I'm in. Had a membership @ the Firing Line years ago. Loved going there on chilly windy days. Renting guns was a bonus, helped me decide on a couple of purchases.

    Lead free would be a deal breaker, and rifle lanes would be a membership maker. Cost is always important, but so are choices. For the right options, I'm willing to pay a little extra - extra hours, lower rental fees, family/friends allowed, etc.
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    Whatever happened to the indoor range? This still in the works? #hopingitstrue : )

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    Apparently, shooting ranges are so expensive Private Enterprise cannot build them and get enough return on investment.

    We need to get the Guvment to build them and have them managed by contract with a non-guvment entity. It's a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY.

    AND, CIVIL RIGHTS. Every American has a RIGHT have practical access to a shooting range. I find it OUTRAGEOUS that the numbers of firing ranges is a mere fraction of the number of basketball courts.

    Hmmm, let's see,,, on each "Shooting Campus", we would need special ranges for the AR shooters, and the AUTO Handgun shooters, 2 of the biggest subcultures, and a cupla three more for everybody else.

    We also need Tax Credits for the purchase of ammunition and hand loading components.

    BULLY, BULLY

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    I'm not sure what happened but I have a hunch the people trying to do this found out how expensive air filtration, insurance, commercial property, heat, lights, buildings and every thing else involved is. And then they found out not many people were going to show up if you couldn't shoot your own lead bullets and pay the dues a club like this would cost and it just kinda fizzled out for lack of a decent profit margin. Just a guess of course but that's my take on it.

  19. #19
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Indoor shooting ranges are more financially viable in temperate climates where buildings don't require craploads of insullation and BTU support 9 months out of the year... And would-be entrepreneurs from those climates tend to have a more "sheltered" view of reality.

    Up here, pie in the sky plans tend to freeze solid, and shatter like glass when they land.
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    Suspect it has a lot more to do with Anchorage codes than anything else. Yea it will cost to heat a large building there but there are many indoor ranges here in Arizona and they are under AC most of the year . . . my electric bill on my house went from $90 in March to $270 in April and $455 in July here, heat is way cheaper than cooling!

    I looked into a combined store/range in Anchorage some and the code compliance to be aloud to shoot in town was the first major issue I found, they are very strict on such a venture . . . in other words they don't seem to want it there.
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