Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rifle Range Gathering

I met several folks from my Sunday School class at the Volunteer Rifle & Pistol Club over the week-end. I've driven down Rifle Range Road millions of times while I was growing up in Fountain City, but I'd never been.
"The Volunteer Rifle and Pistol Club was founded on June 16th, 1930. It shares the use of John Sevier Range, which is a Federal military reservation, with the Tennessee Army National Guard, as well as, other branches of the US military establishment. Currently, the Army Corps of Engineers is the responsible agency for the administration of this Federal facility. VRPC has a permit to use the facility from the Federal Government on an annual basis. It is through the generosity of the Federal Government that VRPC enjoys the use of the John Sevier Range, therefore, all members are guests of the Federal Government and should treat the facilities accordingly. It is the responsibility of all members to conduct themselves as a responsible guest, keeping the facilities clean and accident free."
We shot at the bench rest range where you can set up targets at 15, 50, and 100 yards. All shooting must be done from the seated position. The shooting positions are covered, so no worries about sun or rain while you are firing. The cost was $6.50 for two hours.

Range Officers monitor the facility and direct the hot and cold periods. Before you can go downrange to setup/retrieve targets, the RO calls for a cease fire. Everyone has to remove clips/magazines, open the action, and step behind a line while they check that all weapons are safe. (Newbie tip: Make sure you flip the weapon to the correct side, so they can see the chamber.) The RO will announce all clear and you can go take care of your targets.

Staplers are provided for mounting your targets. They also have spotting scopes and rests you can borrow to aid in your long distance (50 and 100 is a long way for me!) shooting.

My impressions and notes:

- I really enjoyed shooting outside. This was the first time I'd really done that.

- Shooting at the bench rest range is less than optimal for pistols. You have to be seated. The closest targets are at 15 yards. The distance isn't outrageous, but inappropriate for the new shooters in our group. Trying to introduce someone to shooting by using a .22lr at 15 yards makes it a little difficult to provide good feedback. Letting them try the Glock 23 at 15 yards is even worse when they are very conscious of the recoil.

- I need to go and just shoot my rifle (the S&W M&P15-22). I shot it some, but messed up the scope. I had a fairly reasonable grouping at 50 yards for 25 rounds, unsupported. I was high and left consistently. When I made an adjustment, I was no longer on paper. Obviously, I need to focus a little more on what I was changing. (Newbie tip: Don't get over confident.)

- I only fired one shot out of Slim's EBR, but I squeezed it in with his group, so I was pretty pleased by that. He's offered to come back with me and help me site in my EBRjr.

- Large targets that change color when you hit are nice to have.

To sum up, I'm ready to go back!


  1. What really bothers me is not only did you squeeze in your shot among mine, it is that we were shooting over irons and you were more accurate with one shot than me with my three.

    We will set up a date and do it again soon. I am curious what we can do on your EBRjr.


  2. @Slim

    One shot is luck... multiple shots show skill. I got lucky and quit while I was ahead.

  3. Sounds like just the place to sight in my Mosin, once I get it all set up... I agree, though, that the benchrest requirement is rather stupid, especially given that the National Guard and whatnot else use the range for training. While I have absolutely no problems with any range kicking anyone who displays unsafe practices off the range in question, holding everyone to kindergarten levels of behavior just because some people are idiots is rather... well, idiotic, in and of itself.

    Still, it is cheaper than either ORSA or Norris (at least for infrequent visits), so there is that.

  4. @Linoge - re: idiots
    Always reminds me of the George Carlin quote, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that."

    But you are right - we racing to the bottom!