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View Full Version : First time at an outdoor range with a pistol - what to expect?


Ktzero3
12-25-2012, 8:08 PM
I recently purchased a Ruger 22/45 MK III and I'm looking to visit an outdoor range for the first time in the Bay Area once the rain eases up. I'm thinking Los Gatos, Sunnyvale, or Metcalf. What should I expect?

I understand that some ranges don't sell ammo, but that won't be a problem as I'll bring my own, as well as eye/hearing protection. Do I need to bring my own targets as well? Tape? Staplers? Will they have things I can tape/staple targets to? Do I need to bring a target STAND?

Are outdoor ranges farther? I have some 3, 4" reactive targets but I feel like I won't be able to see them at like 25 yards. Should I bring binoculars for spotting? I imagine there isn't a switch to bring your target back to you... will I run out of things to shoot before the 15 minute firing period is up if I only have a pistol to shoot?

So many questions...

Laythor
12-25-2012, 8:14 PM
each of the ranges you mentioned have web sites that answer your questions :)

No matter what happens you'll have fun. I doubt any of the people working at the ranges will have problems answering your questions... you might even be asked to sign something stating they explained it to you

I would suggest bringing targets (whatever you like), water to drink, and if you have it already bring the spotting scope but if you're using a pistol then it's really not needed.

Ktzero3
12-25-2012, 9:05 PM
I visited the websites and some of them answered SOME questions at best. I understand that they'll set me up when I arrive, but seeing how Sunnyvale/Los Altos ranges are in the middle of nowhere I'd rather go prepared... hence this post. Thanks for the water tip!

Laythor
12-25-2012, 9:07 PM
i always go as if i was camping. bring more then i'll use but it's easier to leave stuff in the car then wish i had brought it :)

polo.45
12-25-2012, 9:07 PM
Lots of fun!!

Gryff
12-25-2012, 10:13 PM
Most outdoor ranges provide/sell targets. If you are shooting a handgun, remember that you cannot go downrange until a Cease Fire is called (about once every twenty minutes or so). Because you can't stroll out and check your target whenever you feel like, I would recommend bringing some Shoot-N-C stickers to put on your target, and maybe a pair of binoculars.

BonnieB
12-26-2012, 12:53 PM
Put everything you think you need in the car. Then use it or don't. Bring targets, they may not have the ones you want.

I'm not clear if it's your first time shooting, your first time shooting outdoors, or your first time shooting outdoors in the Bay Area.

However:

If it's a commercial range (pay to shoot), introduce yourself to people in the office/store, tell them it's your first time there. You'll be surprised how nice they are to you and they'll give you a tour if it's not too busy. (Expect it to be busy on weekends. I usually shoot on Tuesday afternoons)

pennys dad
12-26-2012, 1:48 PM
I agree with Bonnie.
Outdoor shooting is awesome because it offers space vs an indoor range lane; but you must be prepared for things.
Lythor mentioned going as if you where camping and that is great advise.
Go over prepared as Bonnie mentioned until you have experience and know what your base outdoor range items are.
I travel with clothes to match the climate and since my outdoor range is at 4500 ft, in the winter I pack for cold weather.
I bring:
* water mostly
* but also 1 gatorade
* 1 soda or ice tea
* coffee
* trail mix
* apple and banana
If I am going for the day I bring up a subway sandwich or burrito.
I take my own targets and target stands because I dont like to pay for the ranges and because I like using reusable items.
I bring:
* staple gun (moving to adhessive spray soon)
* staples
* tool kits for gun and target repairs
* wear good boots for walking on a rocky range
* full brimmed hat
* shooting mat
guns and ammo.


Put everything you think you need in the car. Then use it or don't. Bring targets, they may not have the ones you want.

I'm not clear if it's your first time shooting, your first time shooting outdoors, or your first time shooting outdoors in the Bay Area.

However:

If it's a commercial range (pay to shoot), introduce yourself to people in the office/store, tell them it's your first time there. You'll be surprised how nice they are to you and they'll give you a tour if it's not too busy. (Expect it to be busy on weekends. I usually shoot on Tuesday afternoons)

carnelianbay
12-29-2012, 3:46 PM
Donít over think it. A few targets, maybe some shoot-N-C dots, and basic general supplies is all you need. Since youíre shooting 22 I suggest Sunnyvale. They have a separate section for 22ís, including some metal spinning targets. For the metal targets black spray paint is helpful. They also have wood blocks, sand bags, and staple guns for use at no charge. Great guys. As another poster mentioned binoculars are a good idea, especially if youíre taking notes after each shot.