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Thread: Same Range, Different day....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Default Same Range, Different day....

    At the range yesterday, a few of the shooters were a little...ahh...inexperienced. A short wait and watch from behind the lines until I got tired of them handling their guns when others were down range and ran them off. Why is that so hard?

    Another pair of guys, brothers, in their early twenties, were shooting their other brother's (Darrell's?) rifle. He was off serving his country in another land. These two were not well schooled in the art and were taking turns shooting the 300 Win mag BDL. The rifle was getting quite a work out but the target was still in good shape. I intervened for the sake of the glowing red rifle barrel, just to BS a bit. Brother one was sure they needed to adjust the scope, brother two said the ammo was just "bad". Both were complaining about their shoulder hurting. This after a box and a half of ammo was sent down range with only one five minute break.

    Trying to save the Remington, I ask if one of them would hold the barrel and count to ten. He looked at me like I was an idiot then grabbed the barrel, no counting just... EEOUCHH!! followed by several expletives. "What the ......"

    The conversation went something like this;
    Don't you think you should let that cool off a little? Ah...I guess so...why?
    Because it is melting the bullets before they leave the barrel. You mean that's why we ain't hitting the target. No. I don't think you would hit the target with a cold barrel, but you're burning up the rifle. Boy, (Darrell) will really be miffed. Just slow down and let it cool, if you cant hold it and count to ten it's too hot.

    We go up and move the target to 50 yards, it has a hole in the upper right corner. Have you guys shot this rifle before? No but he (Darrell) said we could shoot it. Ok. I think the scope is off, it hasn't been shot in a while. Maybe I can help with that.

    I took the rifle and pulled the bolt out. I could see the anguish in their faces as they watched me destroy their brother's rifle. I layed the rifle on my sandless sand bags and looked through the barrel at the their target, centering it, then holding the rifle still I looked through the scope. The duplex reticle of the 3-9 leupold was about two inches high and two inches to the right of the target center. Certainly close enough to get on the paper. I dialed the adjustments right and up sixteen clicks each, (Yeah, that's the right direction.) and rechecked my alignment. Close enough.

    "Do you guys mind if I shoot this once, you know just to see if it is sighted in for ya?" I asked. Brother number one replied, "Is it cool yet?" They're learning. "Yeah, I think so." brother number two said as he held the barrel of the Remington. Here goes. Boom! I could see the hole in the target, I stood up and handed the rifle back to one of them and he said, "ain't you gonna shoot no more?" Nope, it's ok. "Is it ok if we go look?" Oh, yeah.

    One inch low at six o'clock. That's where it shoots. We then talked about stopping at SW and getting the appropriate equipment to clean the rifle and how to hold aim and fire without thinking about your girlfriend or your car. How to hold the rifle correctly and press the trigger not yank and get it still and keep it still during the shot. That's all there is to it. You guys try that. I'm gonna hit the road. Take care of your brother's rifle.

    I see alot of this, in varying degrees. I wonder why folks don't get the correct indoctrination from someone with a little bit of knowledge before starting out with a gun. I know lots are not receptive to "lessons" due to their ego but down they understand that it will just be a bunch of gun guys talking about guns. How bad can that be?

    We all owe it to the upcoming generation to help with this when ever we can. Be it shooting tips, gun care, or especially safe handling practices. Everytime there is a gun handling violation or misuse of a firearm we look bad in the public eye. We must police our own ranks or the antis will do it for us. Helping a fellow shooter at the range benefits us all.

    Any others out there who help out even without being asked? Care to add your experiences here for the rest of us.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Good story!

    I've had a few close calls with others at the range and seen others do some dumb things. Once, a friend of mine was shooting a .44 revolver of mine at a sandpit and I only heard 5 shots go off but he came back waving the muzzle all over the place with his trigger finger still in the trigger guard! Needless to say, after ducking and moving a bit, I set him straight...then took his gun away and made him stand in the corner!

    Another time there was this old timer (90+) shooting his .22 at an event where I was assisting as something of a rangemaster, though this wasn't an official range. I turned my head for just a second to look at another shooter and when I turned back, he was gawking down the muzzle! Evidently he had a misfire and figured he'd take a look-see down the barrel for any obstructions!

    I've also been downrange at a free, unsupervised county range where people sometimes continue firing. Usually, it's folks that have no clue and they are OK with being "clued in". Even when they are several positions away shooting at the 25 yd. berm, it's rather unnerving!


  3. #3
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Murphy...

    I hope you showed & explained to them, how to zero the rifle with the scope, otherwise, they'll leave without knowing how to do that in the future, if they didn't learn from this experience...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Thanks for the lessons

    Murphy, never met you, but thanks for caring enough to step up and help a brother (or 2). There are a lot of things we can do that don't require training, a license, or even common sense (owning a dog, girlfriends wives and kids, and guns).
    A lot of our dads meant well, but sometimes did not hit the mark when it came to really teaching and training. My dad did ok, but now that I look back I wish he had done things a bit different. So my turn came as a dad and I try like heck to fill those voids.
    Men are especially bad about thinking they can do anything on their own. Your example seems to prove my theory. Sure am glad those guys were receptive to your input and hopefully they will be willing to learn more and pass that on too.
    I have been known to be quite "vocal" at the Fbks range when people handle guns incorrectly. Nothing gets me excited quite like guys looking my way through a scope or sights. I do realize the importance of trying to keep the message positive whenever I can.
    Thanks again and maybe we will see you down there soon.

  5. #5
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Southeast Alaska

    Default Amen!

    Sounds familiar.

    Mostly of late I've been handing out earplugs. Just the foam disposables - I keep a $3 package in my range bag. For 15 cents a pair I can do a little something to make sure somebody's kid will be able to hear his or her own kid years from now when it comes time to give shooting lessons like the ones they got.

    Why is it always the kid who doesn't have earplugs?

    Luckily, I haven't had to break up too much unsafe behavior. But I've learned that having a chronograph and a notebook at the range makes you a shooting instructor in some people's eyes. I just try and keep myself from giving advice if I don't actually know anything on the topic...

    It can also be pretty handy to have a set of screwdrivers along. I've adjusted quite a few thises and thats for people who would otherwise have had to call it a day.

    Still, there's only so much you can do for those who won't ask for help. It can get a little painful listening to some of the zeroing-in conversations a couple lanes over. This one starts about 8 rounds in:


    "OK, that last one was 3 inches high, but dead-center. So move the scope 3 clicks."

    "This way?"

    "No, the other way, so now go back 6."

    "OK, let's try another one." ... BANG!

    "Shoot. Still high, but now you're about 2 inches to the left. So move this one three more clicks, and move that one two."

    "I thought one click was less than an inch. I think I should move it four."

    "Oh yeah, that's right. OK. Try again."


    "Dang. Now you're about 3 inches low and ... about... 2 inches to the right."

    "What? How can that be?"

    "Are you aiming at the same spot?"


    "Well, maybe you have to put the caps back on the scope adjusters before you shoot."

    "I don't think so. ... Hunh. ... Well, anyway, I'll move this knob 3 clicks back, and that knob one click back. That should get me in the center, right?"

    "Yup. That's gonna do it. ... One last shot to be sure and we're done."

    "Good. My shoulder hurts."

    "You wimp."

    "You <unprintable>" ...

    ... BANG!


    "Well, where did it go?"

    "Ummm... I'm not sure. Maybe it went through one of the other holes."

    "I thought it was supposed to be dead on."

    "Well, there's lots of holes in the target now. You can take a look and see where you think it went."


    "I dunno. Dang, this benchrest was a waste of a hundred bucks. I thought it was supposed to make this easier than last year."

    "Maybe we should put up a new target and try it again."

    "Nah. I only brought one box of ammo. And this stuff is like, 30 bucks. I gotta have a couple of rounds left for hunting, man. Let's go."

    Some days you have time to go over and help out with a new target, some days they just take off. I'm certainly no expert marksman, so I usually let the guys who are at least on the paper at 100 yards do their thing until they ask for help. The ones who can't even find the target with a bullet are another story.

    As Murphy said, the best way to go about it is just as gun guys, talkng about guns. Nobody likes a pushy so & so (although I don't mind being pushy about safety), but a fellow firearms enthusiast who comes over to chat about what you're shooting and how long you've had it, and who slowly works around to other subjects, can be a great help.

    Shoot, I've been known to go over to the feller putting every round in the black at 200 yards - while standing - and ask for a few tips myself. What's the worst he could say?

  6. #6
    Member Big Al's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    "Triangulation" Is a word we never hear spoken anymore, when it comes to sighting in a rifle. It's fun to watch guys at the range try to get on the paper at 200 yards,. Even more fun to watch the trips back and forth to the target.

    One of the eaisest things to do, is sight in a scoped rifle in TWO yes that's the number 2 shots, with the proper equipment.

  7. #7


    Taught my son, my grandson and some friends. My grandfather taught me and saved me from some hard lessons if he had not been in my life. I try to help anyone who wants to know how to do the simple things at the range. Yep, I have seen some stuff at our range an our range master lets them know but he also shows them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Anchorage, Alaska


    Nice story Professor Murphy...I'm sure that all of us who frequent the shooting ranges appreciate the scenario that you describe, and we all have experienced similar situations. The challenge for me is when to teach rather than mind my own business (unsafe firearm handling is a definate teaching moment), and sometimes I just want to be into my own zone, focusing on squeezing out that last bit of accuracy from a particular load or practicing for an upcoming hunt. There always seems to be someone who really needs some guidance, which I'm sure is a commentary on our lack of cultural support for shooting and firearm useage. Most people I have helped are very appreciative.

  9. #9


    Anybody here besides me ever have his gun shot by the guy at the bench next to you when the gun was sitting in the rack between the benches? I'm glad I can laugh about that.

    The thing that gets me is the kid that comes in with an AR style rifle and blasts away at body silhouette targets ignoring the no rapid fire sign, then turns to me and asks, "What are you shooting? That thing sure is loud." The muzzle blast from his short barreled rifle has just hit me like a lithotriptor for 10 rounds while I've waited for him to finish his urban warfare fantasy, and I say, "A .222." Now granted, my .375 H&H and .338 Ultra Mag can be a little loud, but I don't have muzzle brakes on them and I'm not shooting them this day. He wants to know how I can stand to shoot a bolt action. They are so slow. I smile and tell him that you don't need a lot of shots if the first one is a good one. He can't understand why I'm cleaning my rifles every few rounds and why I don't just shoot a group and change rifles. He tells me how expensive his rifle is so it must be more accurate than those old bolt actions, and why would anyone want a single shot? Are they any good? I then learn about inexpensive his ammo is. I tell him that I reload and he doesn't see any reason for it because it's so much work and his ammo is so cheap and he shoots it up so fast that it just wouldn't be worth his time.

    We go back to shooting, and instead of moving his target back, he moves back a couple of steps so he is in behind his bench and the end of his barrel is almost even with me. Blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam blam, blam. You talk about muzzle blast. I take a look at his target through my spotting scope and see about 2 holes. Somebody calls a cease fire to check targets. I've gotten off exactly zero shots since our conversation. While he is downrange checking his target, a gentleman in his seventies comes over to talk. He's unhappy about the rapid fire and no one in charge making our buddy move up to the bench and obey the three shots in succession rule. It's the main reason he won't go to the range on weekends anymore, and it is only Wednesday. We talk about bullets, reloads, and how accurate our Encores are. By the time I finish 5 shot groups with 3 rifles, our little buddy has gone through about 100 rounds and has packed up and left wishing everyone a good day and, "nice talking to you."

    He wasn't a bad kid, just oblivious to how his range etiquette affected others. The range rules, not being enforced, were merely suggestions, and youth spends much of its energy testing the rules to see if anyone really means to enforce them. It's the nature of the beast.

    On the 90 minute drive home I thought a lot about how different my generation sees things from the younger one. The first 10 shot semi-auto burst had made me wish Jumbo hadn't recanted, but only for a minute. Very seldom do I see someone under 40 with anything other than an AR or AK type rifle. It's like when a generation had to adjust to the adoption of cartridges, and then smokeless powder, and repeating rifles and in their lifetimes. The young guys will continue to annoy old guys like me because that's what they do best, annoy old guys. Eventually they will mature and start to annoy each other, and then their range etiquette will improve and they will complain about the next generation.

    One thing the hunter ed course in my state doesn't do is give instruction in range etiquette. You have to be familiar with different types of guns, actions, and ammo, but there is no range time, just paper and pencil knowledge.

    As we have moved to a professional armed forces made up of volunteers fewer and fewer dad's have experience with firearms training. I was fortunate that my dad was a hunter, and even though his eyesight kept him from front line action in WWII he was proud of the fact that he qualified as a marksman. He was a stickler about safe gun handling, and taught me the fundamentals of shooting rifles and shotguns. It's too bad more of the younger guys aren't at the range with their dads.

  10. #10


    I wanted to give my 2 cents. We need to start as young as possible teaching our kids to handle guns safely and to shoot straight. They need to not only count the cartridges but the empty cylinder holes when unloading a revolver etc.... How old was your youngest grandson when he counted the forcing cone as well? I have watched and tried to help you instill safe gunhandling techniques in your grandchildren. They love to shoot their 22's and occassionally need a refresher while at the range. There is no ego in children to deal with. The testosterone is not there to hinder their learning. That is probably the biggest hindrance while at a range where you see somone doing everything wrong/unsafe. Hopefully we all have the right approach and their ego does not get in the way when we try to help them out. Everyone has fun while being safe and talk guns.

    P.S. your grandaughter is still a better shot than her brothers.

  11. #11
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Talking That's an Understatement if I've ever heard...:)

    my .375 H&H and .338 Ultra Mag can be a little loud,

  12. #12
    Member wolfkiller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    north pole ak

    Default All clear

    I had a 10-12 year old shooting his bb gun next to me at the range a couple years ago. He was with his mother. There was a clear called, and while walking down to check my target I here the pop pop of the bb gun. I ran back and gave the boy a few words about range rules when his mother replied "It is JUST a bb gun!" I gave her a ear full and she replied that mabey they should just leave. I agreed.
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


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