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View Full Version : Bay Area Places to Plink?


oldrifle
12-13-2007, 9:01 AM
I live in San Jose and I'm looking for a place where I can go and shoot stuff without anyone bothering me. I used to live in Wyoming and we could just drive out to the national forest a few miles from town and shoot at whatever we wanted and no one would bother us. I know WY and CA are nothing alike when it comes to attitudes towards guns, but I'm wondering if there is some place near me in the North/South Bay where I could play with guns without getting hassled... preferably for free.

berg
12-13-2007, 9:05 AM
Click on the link to Los Altos range: http://www.dragunov.net/bay_area_ranges.htm

oldrifle
12-13-2007, 9:16 AM
Click on the link to Los Altos range: http://www.dragunov.net/bay_area_ranges.htm

That looks like a pretty cool place but I'm looking for more of an open land situation where I can do my own thing without having to follow range rules and stuff. I think I found what I'm looking for here:

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/recreation/hunting.html

"Target Shooting is allowed on public lands. However, you must provide your own targets and remove your debris when you leave your site. It is illegal to shoot at trees, signs, outbuildings, or other objects on federal lands that are for the public's enjoyment."

ohsmily
12-13-2007, 9:23 AM
That looks like a pretty cool place but I'm looking for more of an open land situation where I can do my own thing without having to follow range rules and stuff. I think I found what I'm looking for here:

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/recreation/hunting.html

"Target Shooting is allowed on public lands. However, you must provide your own targets and remove your debris when you leave your site. It is illegal to shoot at trees, signs, outbuildings, or other objects on federal lands that are for the public's enjoyment."

This is the closest thing to you (not close). http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/hollister/panoche_tumeys.html

gimmejr
12-13-2007, 9:42 AM
Make some freinds who own some land in Gilroy or Hollister.

oldrifle
12-13-2007, 10:33 AM
This is the closest thing to you (not close). http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/hollister/panoche_tumeys.html


Close enough! Thanks :)

SJshooter
12-13-2007, 10:44 AM
Be very, very, very careful where you plink outside. This is California and you can't just plink like you can almost anywhere else.

I'll tell you a story just to get your blood boiling. I had some friends take a trip to Death Valley area. One day, they were out the middle of nowhere - no people around for miles. So, they set up some cans and stuff and started shooting. They were having such a great time that they didn't even notice the ranger/sherriff (can't remember which one it was) drive up to them, despite the fact that they could have seen a car coming for 10 minutes had they noticed. Well, LEO gets there and says "What are you guys doing?" "We're just shooting some cans."

Long story short: BUSTED. All of their handguns on site and at home in the safe were confiscated and they no longer have handgun privileges in California for 10 years (well, 8 years by now, this was in '05).

With very few exception, you can't plink in California. Sorry.

oldrifle
12-13-2007, 10:48 AM
Long story short: BUSTED. All of their handguns on site and at home in the safe were confiscated and they no longer have handgun privileges in California for 10 years (well, 8 years by now, this was in '05).

With very few exception, you can't plink in California. Sorry.

Uh, what laws were broken? The NRA would have a field day with that one. If they didn't break any laws, how could they have had their handguns taken away? The website says clearly that target shooting is permitted on BLM lands with a few reasonable conditions.

SJshooter
12-13-2007, 11:12 AM
I'll have to ask my buddy, but I think it was negligent discharge, and they must not have been on BLM land. All I know is that California is like no state in the union when it comes to stuff like this, so proceed with caution. I can't even carry a gun while hiking in areas near my home where there are mountain lion signs.

MudCamper
12-13-2007, 11:23 AM
With very few exception, you can't plink in California. Sorry.

Nonsense. It all depends on where you live. There is more NF and BLM land in California than in any state besides Alaska. And you can shoot in any of it. Now oldrifle lives in San Jose, so there is nothing like this close by...

MudCamper
12-13-2007, 11:24 AM
I can't even carry a gun while hiking in areas near my home where there are mountain lion signs.

See: http://www.paul.net/guns/CaliforniaOpenCarry.pdf

SJshooter
12-13-2007, 11:28 AM
Nonsense. It all depends on where you live. There is more NF and BLM land in California than in any state besides Alaska. And you can shoot in any of it. Now oldrifle lives in San Jose, so there is nothing like this close by...

That was my point -- if he wants to plink outside, he is going to have to make a special trip somewhere. I don't know of any BLM land nearby. So it's not that you can't do it, it's that you just can't causally do it where it might seem otherwise acceptable if this was, say, Arizona and not CA.

SJshooter
12-13-2007, 11:31 AM
Yeah, just try and open carry on a hike. The first California liberal who passes you on the trail will whip out their cell phone and you'll have LEO descend on you. You'll have to go back and forth for way too long to convince them you aren't some dangerous loon, even if the area is clearly open-carry friendly. Maybe if you are in Kern County, or another rural area, fine... but try that up in Marin County where I love to hike and you are only asking for a giant headache.

I was camping once with friends. You are 10000% percent perfectly legal to have a loaded firearm on a campsite, no question. Well, nearby campers saw the gun, called the cops, and you would not believe the third degree and argument that ensued when the ranger showed up. At the end of it, he obviously was allowed to keep his gun on the campsite, but you would think a slam-dunk rule like this would cause no grief or arguments. Not.

Simply put, California is not a gun-friendly state. Ironic given its history, but true.

SJshooter
12-13-2007, 11:37 AM
Just called my friend. He wasn't home, but his wife said they were in Death Valley National Park, and not on BLM land. She did not know the charge, but thought ND sounded familiar. More info when my bud calls me back.

oldrifle
12-13-2007, 11:41 AM
Simply put, California is not a gun-friendly state. Ironic given its history, but true.

Yeah, and not exercising our rights out of fear is not going to help. We should all do it more to get cops and civilians used to the idea of open carry. It only shocks people because it's unusual. It's unusual because we're too afraid to exercise our rights. The solution seems clear.

movie zombie
12-13-2007, 11:44 AM
Close enough! Thanks :)

do make sure to note the shooting restrictions listed at this website for the BLM! pretty clear that shooting is limited even here.

movie zombie

SJshooter
12-13-2007, 11:52 AM
Yeah, and not exercising our rights out of fear is not going to help. We should all do it more to get cops and civilians used to the idea of open carry. It only shocks people because it's unusual. It's unusual because we're too afraid to exercise our rights. The solution seems clear.

No thanks. It isn't worth the harassment, and I do mean harassment. I don't care how much I and others open carry, it is going to be frowned upon even when legal and they are going to make it difficult for you. Very difficult. I am not interested in being stopped and interrogated every time I want to open carry - who wants to spend 10 minutes with LEO trying to convince them that you are not dangerous? Especially when you just want to hike. No thanks.

I've accepted the fact that rabid anti-gunners are the vast majority out here. I don't like it, but I accept it because it is true.

If you want to start a one-man crusade to educate your local LE of your rights, go right ahead. You won't enjoy it. And they won't let up. Welcome to California.

Lon Moer
12-13-2007, 11:55 AM
I've done several 'desert trips' to the Mojave area where we shot 1000 rounds a day per person.:o

oldrifle
12-13-2007, 11:55 AM
I am not interested in being stopped and interrogated every time I want to open carry - who wants to spend 10 minutes with LEO trying to convince them that you are not dangerous? Especially when you just want to hike. No thanks.

Those who sacrifice Liberty for [convenience], will have neither.

Thanks for the advice but I will exercise my rights and defend yours! :) I will happily give up portions of my time and even my life, if required.

SJshooter
12-13-2007, 12:05 PM
Those who sacrifice Liberty for [convenience], will have neither.

Hmmmn, big difference substituting convenience and security in that famous quote. I'll take the convenience.

FinweElensar
12-13-2007, 12:42 PM
National Parks and Guns do not mix well

oldrifle
12-13-2007, 2:03 PM
Hmmmn, big difference substituting convenience and security in that famous quote. I'll take the convenience.

So then you would trade Liberty for convenience?

Why would you trade security over convenience? It seems like security is much more valuable than convenience. Of course, either one pales in comparison to Liberty.

By the way, if you really believe you need to carry a gun to be safe at the location you mentioned, aren't you potentially trading your life for convenience?

I don't know, some of you California people amaze me. :rolleyes:

dwtt
12-13-2007, 4:04 PM
Just called my friend. He wasn't home, but his wife said they were in Death Valley National Park, and not on BLM land. She did not know the charge, but thought ND sounded familiar. More info when my bud calls me back.

National Parks and National Monuments ban guns. If your friend was in BLM or national forest land, it would not have been a problem.

SJshooter
12-13-2007, 4:10 PM
So then you would trade Liberty for convenience?

Why would you trade security over convenience? It seems like security is much more valuable than convenience. Of course, either one pales in comparison to Liberty.

By the way, if you really believe you need to carry a gun to be safe at the location you mentioned, aren't you potentially trading your life for convenience?

I don't know, some of you California people amaze me. :rolleyes:

Because the areas I hike where there are mountain lions don't allow concealed carry OR open carry. I gotta take my chances, and I don't think I'll be mauled by a cat. Maybe I will. If it happens, it happens. I'd love to have a gun with me on those hikes, but prefer to stay out of prison. There aren't bears in my area, so I feel safe.

MudCamper
12-13-2007, 4:48 PM
Yeah, just try and open carry on a hike. The first California liberal who passes you on the trail will whip out their cell phone and you'll have LEO descend on you. You'll have to go back and forth for way too long to convince them you aren't some dangerous loon, even if the area is clearly open-carry friendly. Maybe if you are in Kern County, or another rural area, fine... but try that up in Marin County where I love to hike and you are only asking for a giant headache.

Perhaps a visit to this forum (http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum12/) is in order.


I was camping once with friends. You are 10000% percent perfectly legal to have a loaded firearm on a campsite, no question. Well, nearby campers saw the gun, called the cops, and you would not believe the third degree and argument that ensued when the ranger showed up. At the end of it, he obviously was allowed to keep his gun on the campsite, but you would think a slam-dunk rule like this would cause no grief or arguments. Not.

It all depends on the campground. State Parks and National Parks do not allow guns. Anywhere else, including National Forest and BLM you are OK.


Just called my friend. He wasn't home, but his wife said they were in Death Valley National Park, and not on BLM land. She did not know the charge, but thought ND sounded familiar. More info when my bud calls me back.

National Park was the problem. Fed law against guns there.

Hunter
12-13-2007, 5:01 PM
Be very, very, very careful where you plink outside. This is California and you can't just plink like you can almost anywhere else.......

Long story short: BUSTED. All of their handguns on site and at home in the safe were confiscated and they no longer have handgun privileges in California for 10 years (well, 8 years by now, this was in '05).

With very few exception, you can't plink in California. Sorry.

As you already noted, they shot in a National Park. This has NOTHING to do with the park being in CA or not. If your friends took their guns to Wyoming and shot them in Yellowstone NP they would have the same FEDERAL charges against them. So if they are banned from gun ownership, it will not just apply to them being in CA.

As for CA not having the same general firearm rules as say NV or AZ for shooting on public land, this is simply not true (outside of our AW issues here). If the land is public and is either NF or BLM, the laws are the same regardless of the state..meaning in general shooting is allowed with the exceptions of a few local ordinance issues. And as another poster already stated, CA has some of the largest NF lands of most states. Yes, they are not all in the backyard of Bay Area folks, but they are available. It all comes down to how far one wants to drive.

Jase858
12-14-2007, 4:10 PM
I lived in Santa Barbara, CA before San Jose, Ca and my buddies and I used to go into the mountains to shoot. It was anout a 45 minute drive up mtn roads, but it was fun as hell. The cops would drive by once in awhile, but they never bothered us. There were these large rocks that were positioned to face a mountain. Everyone just faced the same direction and started firing. People would bring all types of firearms too: .50 cal, Mini 14s, AK 47, MP5. The only thing we had to do was clean up after we shot, but there was someone who would clean up after everyone so most of the time, we shot and left. We'd take all kinds of stuff out there too shoot: Tvs, Computer monitors, furniture. One time, a roommate left his crap after we all moved out, and since we didnt want to lose our deposit, we took his abandoned furniture and did target practice. We sent him pictures later.

I would keep a loaded mag when i left tho, because I heard of certain groups of people who would wait after a person had finished shooting, and if they had exhausted all their ammo, rob them of their firearms.

I havent found or heard of a place to shoot like that up here. I guess thats why my interest in firearms has dwindled a bit.

trashman
12-14-2007, 4:30 PM
I'll jump in here and echo - National Forests and National Monuments are shooting no-gos. Hunting MAYBE, depending on the area. Death Valley may look like much of Nevada, but for legal purposes it ain't even close.

When I lived in the DC area, the closest "open land" was Jefferson Natl Forest -- and there is no shooting to be had there.

Our here in Cali, though - I carry on my solo backpacking trips in some of the nearby Wilderness areas in the Eastern Sierra (, etc). Last trip a few months ago up at Cottonwood Lakes I even ran into a park ranger checking wilderness permits and we chatted amiably for about half an hour -- the whole time with a Trail Boss .44 mag hanging tanker-style on my chest. He never mentioned it.

There are some reasonably safe (and legal) areas to go shooting east of Pinecrest Lake off of Highway 108 (Sonora Pass road) as well, but you're well advised to take topo maps and hike in as far as you can, and select your backstop carefully. That's Stanislaus Wilderness area IIRC.

--Neill

HOGDOG45-70
12-14-2007, 5:22 PM
for people worried about lions on trails there are ccw permits and compact 1911s. for thpeople looking for a place to go plinkin on just do some hunting just make a weekend out of it and head to northern california ( anything an hour and a half north of sac and further) we have places to hunt and shoot all over the place. I know your pain, i grew up in santa cruz mountains and the only way i got away with shooting is what neighbors we did have where afraid to complain. good luck.

SJshooter
12-14-2007, 7:23 PM
for people worried about lions on trails there are ccw permits...

Ha! If my sheriff would issue ccw for mountain lion protection, I'd quickly buy stock in Merrell's Footwear, as everyone and their brother would suddenly take up hiking. That reason isn't going to cut it on a ccw application.

Suvorov
12-14-2007, 8:34 PM
Hey, Old Rifle, nice to have another Wyomingite on the board. I've been living here for 8 years and there seems to be no where close that you can just go out an plink like back in Wyoming. The ranges are your only and safest bet. Also, you can't go 4-wheeling on your own here either as all the "public land" has been closed off to the public. I feel your pain. I feel like a caged wolf and sometimes it makes my blood boil.

But until we can find ourselves back in the land of the free, we sure can enjoy the great weather, wonderful scenery (you got to admit that the coast is beautiful), culture, and other things the bay area can offer (even though I am currently boycotting SanFransiko for its anti-military attitude).

The folks here at Calguns are fighting the good fight and have done a lot for the gunners around here. Support them, shoot, and just maybe we can bring a little Wyoming to California the way they seem to export it to Jackson Hole.

Fellow Calgunners should feel honored to be in the presence of 2 Wyomingites :D

oldrifle
12-14-2007, 8:45 PM
Fellow Calgunners should feel honored to be in the presence of 2 Wyomingites :D

Actually I was born and raised in Kalifornia. I only lived in WY for a few years and was amazed at all the freedom I suddenly had. The only problem was, Cheyenne might be one of the most boring places on Earth to live (well... besides, say, pretty much anywhere else in Wyoming). No offense, but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Well, at least that's what I thought at the time... now I'm starting to appreciate wide open spaces.

I didn't own any guns in Wyoming, but a friend of mine did. Now I'm really kicking myself for not taking advantage of all the gun freedom I had. Oh well, it just would have made the move back to Kali hurt that much more. Now I'm looking at buying land in the Hollister area so I can sort of be free again. My friend in Wyoming with all the guns teases me for moving back to CA and brags about all the cool stuff he gets to own and shoot whenever he wants. :32:

Suvorov
12-14-2007, 9:13 PM
Actually I was born and raised in Kalifornia. I only lived in WY for a few years and was amazed at all the freedom I suddenly had. The only problem was, Cheyenne might be one of the most boring places on Earth to live (well... besides, say, pretty much anywhere else in Wyoming). No offense, but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Well, at least that's what I thought at the time... now I'm starting to appreciate wide open spaces.

I didn't own any guns in Wyoming, but a friend of mine did. Now I'm really kicking myself for not taking advantage of all the gun freedom I had. Oh well, it just would have made the move back to Kali hurt that much more. Now I'm looking at buying land in the Hollister area so I can sort of be free again. My friend in Wyoming with all the guns teases me for moving back to CA and brags about all the cool stuff he gets to own and shoot whenever he wants. :32:

Well, OK, one Wyomingite. I should have figured the odds of being 2 Wyomingites on the same forum would be pretty small considering there are only 450,000 of us in the world. I see your point about Cheyenne being boring and unless you are outdoor inclined, I agree with you. I love so many things about Kalifornia, and don't miss the -25 degrees with blowing snow days, but I will never get used to the mass of humanity and mountains of nanny laws that make up modern Kalifornia.

If I do stay in Kalifornia (largely dependant on my wife as well as future employer), I plan on buying some land up in the Red Bluff area so I can at least pretend I'm back in Wyoming (albeit about 30-60 degrees warmer). :D