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Thread: How cold is too cold to go shooting?

  1. #1
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    Default How cold is too cold to go shooting?

    We've hadda buncha warm weather lately, and I only took advantage of it and went to the range ONE time, so far. Mostly, because I wasn't feeling good. You young guys feel good all the time. Some of you even drink booze to make yourself feel bad.

    Say, you got some testing to do. You NEED to go the range and burn some powder. To see what's, what, or whatever. BUT, it's TOO COLD, you think, to really accomplish what is needed.

    How cold is that? Approximately?

    I know you Fairbanksakans have harsher winters, but yew're TUFFER too, of necessity. So whaddaya consider too cold, considering, it may vary with what you want or need to do.

    For me, when it gets down into the teens, that takes the fun out of it. When my glasses start foggin up, I don't shoot so goot, anyway.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    The range I shoot at (Snowshoe gun club) is set up to where we have an indoor area heated with a woodstove that allows you to shoot outdoors via sliding Plexiglas Windows.
    It's adjacent to the covered outdoor shooting area so you are at the same range.
    So really the deciding factor is how cold you get setting up targets etc.
    There is another such building on one of the pistol ranges.
    Granted the cold comes in through the shooting doors. But the woodstove takes the chill off and you can always use the stove to warm-up around. It also helps with the foggy glasses.
    I'm a cold weather guy.
    So if its too cold to shoot I might go icefishing instead.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Below zero is too cold for recreational plinking. I'll go down to -20 if it's really important. I've ended up butchering around -40 when the bottom fell out while afield, but I wouldn't set out in those temps intentionally. It's too hard on the tools and the fingers. I'll leave that stuff to Stranger.
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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I think the real deciding factor is situationally dependant.
    Your "need" versus the point at which you are comfortable and/or can shoot properly.
    Wearing bulky clothes that effects your shooting or rushing your shots just so you can warm up will not help you in the long run.
    Everybody has different heat/cold tolerances. So everybody will have different go/ no go temp ranges.
    A person should not sacrifice their safety or that of others for a perceived "need" to shoot.
    Unless you are finishing load work for a February hunt I'm guessing it can wait.
    For me I don't think I need to shoot at below 0 temps. Even though I can withstand those temps and colder quite easily.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Something else that we need to remember is that 'cold does effect' some powders. If one is working up loads when it is really cold outside, then that same load may be too hot for shooting in warmer temps. While I do some shooting when it gets cold, I do not work up loads during the winter. I do shoot some of my varmint loads during cold temps just to see how much they might be from the warmer temp zero.

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    Thank you Bearcat, I was thinking the same thing. Though I live in Georgia now, I was in Fairbanks and worked up loads, then was transferred to Texas. The same loads were much hotter in the 110 degrees of Fort Hood than in Fairbanks.

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    I would say zero and colder, although now approx 10 above now I would have second thoughts. I picked up this.375 Ruger and only fired factory rounds thus far. No hurry to buy dies yet but am encouraging my children to keep an eye out for RL17, knowing full well in a few months an accurate load will be required as I begin to wander around sloughs and river channels. Spring will be here soon enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grizz106 View Post
    I would say zero and colder, although now approx 10 above now I would have second thoughts. I picked up this.375 Ruger and only fired factory rounds thus far. No hurry to buy dies yet but am encouraging my children to keep an eye out for RL17, knowing full well in a few months an accurate load will be required as I begin to wander around sloughs and river channels. Spring will be here soon enough.
    Same here.

    If one is used to working outdoors and knows to dress so he's comfortable working, that would make a world of difference. I just got back from a woodsy hike, and I'd dress warmer if I was shooting, instead.

    But, if you're out and about nearly every day, actually doing something, you learn to dress for the changing temps.

    The 20s don't discourage me much, but the Teens, do.

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    Just need to keep the firearm dry, as in no oil and leave it outside rather than taking it in and out.

    I was in Central years ago and hunting grouse with a Rossi 22 pump, pulled the trigger and the hammer ooozed forward rather slowly and might have just touched the firing pin.....? In any case, It did not go BANG...! Went back to cabin to put some wood on, thermometer was bottomed out at some ridiculous temperature....

    If I was going to the range...20 above minimum and no wind...... even if I do live in Fairbanks.....!
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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    -40 was common for me to be out, generally checking traps. Always carried a rifle with my reloads to get meat, firearm never failed. I always bring it in and break it down, wipe the moisture off and put it back. Again, developing loads in the temps was never done......just too cold for bare hands unless I was dipping my hand in the animal that I was skinning to prevent from freezing. No fun for bare hands.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    For just plain old recreational shooting, I've been known to bust a cap at -20F. That'll actually teach you something about your weapon. You gotta dress warm and I like to have something to warm my hands up with too.

    Probably would not do load work ups but checking a zero is no problem.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member 2dawgs's Avatar
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    I shoot leagues, so however cold it is...go shoot. I think they shut it down at -16 though.

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    I have shot at zero, for a short while. No problem with the gun, I got cold. Point of impact was different than when I sighted it in around August though. Tried to work up loads in the winter and always had different results in the summer. So, I test loads in the winter at 20 or above now if I am serious about it. I have gone plenty of times around 10 degrees. You are just out there less time, no big deal.

  14. #14
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    The cutoff for our rifle matches at Eielson AFB is -20f. When I was younger, my friends and I would go out at 30 and 40 below. We would leave the car running for warmup. Anymore, 20 below is my cutoff for most outdoor activities.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Quote Originally Posted by grizz106 View Post
    I would say zero and colder, although now approx 10 above now I would have second thoughts. I picked up this.375 Ruger and only fired factory rounds thus far. No hurry to buy dies yet but am encouraging my children to keep an eye out for RL17, knowing full well in a few months an accurate load will be required as I begin to wander around sloughs and river channels. Spring will be here soon enough.
    Keep your eyes open for .375 bullets too, they are fairly hard to come by right now, depending on what your shooting. A-frames at $65 a box is about all that I see consistently.

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    I lived in Nome for several years and several of us would take snow machines out for a week or so in late Dec, early Jan for the yearly moose hunt. Temps were usually between -15 and -45. I didn't mind shooting at those temps but it was usually only a shot or two. Target shooting stops for me at about 0 any more.

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    I shot my AR one time at approx -35 and the plastic nose on the buffer turned to dust causing malfunctions. I guess that was "to cold" for that buffer
    I have such a hard time trying to decide which outdoor activity to do every chance I get!! Living in AK is a mental challenge

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I used to shoot almost every week at Rabbit Creek during my lunch hour, and that was back when Anchorage had honest to goodness winters and before they installed the french fry heaters above the benches. I do recall one session at -20 and it seemed like I spent more time warming up my numb hands than squeezing off rounds.

    I don't have a cutoff temperature per se, but find down to +20 is no big deal, down to 0 isn't terribly pleasant but is doable, if it's -20 or colder I will more than likely find something I'd rather be doing than heading to the range.
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  19. #19

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    At this stage in my life if it is below freezing or blowing hard I don't go. Many years ago me and another guy went out with out gloves at -30 and shot a 48 round qualification course with our K Frame S&W revolvers. It was the fastest qualification we ever did and not our best score. it gave us an idea how much fun it would be to get in a gun fight in the winter. When we finished we were froze and sat in the truck wit our paws on the defroster for a long time. I envy those that shoot in warmer climates.

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    I have been shooting in weather as cold as -11. Shot for two hours before getting frozen out. I don't know if I'd ever do that again. But winter is a time when I have more opportunity to shoot. Not busy hunting or fishing. So I just naturally wind up at the range working on my skills for warmer weather. I shoot at Birchwood and they've done a lot to warm up their shooting benches. Good for them!

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