Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    Hi

    I have gone to the shooting range for the first and only time with my dad in AZ a couple of weeks ago. Now that I am back in Wexford, PA, I intend to go to the range in Wexford. Here are my questions, and I am a newbie to all of this.

    1) What do I need to bring to the shooting range besides my permit, which I read about and costs 30.00, gun and ammo, eye protective wear, and hearing protectors. Do I need to bring my own targets or do they sell them there? Do I need to bring a stapler to stable my target to board or do they have them there?

    2) Is there a website or link that I can go to that can tell me about shoot range etiquette? I know obviously, never to point the gun in a dangerous direction, regardless if loaded or not. But what is the word I am suppose to say when I am changing my target and do just shout it out, or wait for everyone to stop shooting, etc.

    Thanks all!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr37 View Post
    Hi

    I have gone to the shooting range for the first and only time with my dad in AZ a couple of weeks ago. Now that I am back in Wexford, PA, I intend to go to the range in Wexford. Here are my questions, and I am a newbie to all of this.

    1) What do I need to bring to the shooting range besides my permit, which I read about and costs 30.00, gun and ammo, eye protective wear, and hearing protectors. Do I need to bring my own targets or do they sell them there? Do I need to bring a stapler to stable my target to board or do they have them there?

    2) Is there a website or link that I can go to that can tell me about shoot range etiquette? I know obviously, never to point the gun in a dangerous direction, regardless if loaded or not. But what is the word I am suppose to say when I am changing my target and do just shout it out, or wait for everyone to stop shooting, etc.

    Thanks all!
    1) At the game lands ranges there will be NOTHING there for you. You need to bring any/everything you want with you from all your equipment to staples/tape to affix your targets (that you brought with you).

    2) Suggest you google 'public range etiquette'. No point re-typing what's been written 10,000 times already. Understand there is basically never a 'range officer' at the game lands ranges. It's more collaborative/DIY.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    There are actually two ranges at Wexford rangelands, one for rifles and a separate one short distance down the road for handguns.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    Some general advice-

    As mentioned, there is no range officer. The people shooting with you could be very experienced or they could be just beginning like yourself. I have shot with very safety conscious people at public ranges and complete flaming a'holes at public ranges (by the way, the same at expensive private ranges.) Also, very experienced shooters can also get sloppy on safety so there's no harm in being new.

    Keep your head on a swivel.

    Again, these are just some general rules. Every range usually has a set of posted rules specific to that range. Read them before you go to the firing line.

    If you show up and somebody is shooting, just take your gear to the firing line and wait until they are done shooting. Somebody may say clear, or cease fire or "hey you done ?"

    Make eye contact with other shooters, make sure all weapons are grounded (or placed on benches) preferably with their actions open. If somebody is still fumbling around with theirs, do not go downrange until everyone has acknowledged they are going down range (or you are going downrange) and everything is grounded. Go downrange and place your targets. I usually make a glance or two back towards the bench to make sure nobody is handling weapons. Had a bad experience with that in Tennessee years ago but that's another story.

    Come back to the firing line. Do not handle your weapon, magazines or ammo while others are down range ! In fact, I usually take a few steps back from the firing line, stick my hands in my pockets, sit down on a bench or chair if one is there, or look at the birds, play with my phone, whatever, so that other shooters know I am not handling anything.

    When everyone is back behind the line, somebody may say going hot, or just glance and give a thumbs up, or ask "ready ?" Look left, look right. When everyone has acknowledged you are going hot, nobody is downrange you can pick up your weapon, start loading magazines etc.

    As a courtesy, make sure everyone has their muffs on before you start shooting.

    Bang, bang, bang. Everyone is having fun. There is no set time limit to how long you will be shooting until it is time to repair or put up new targets again. You will just notice some of the others on the firing line grounding their guns and looking around. If you notice the amount of fire starting to slacken off, and five other shooters are staring at you, it is probably not courteous to keep banging away yourself for the next 20 minutes. You will get a feel for it.

    Back to placing targets again as above.

    Everyone has the right to yell "cease fire" if they see something unsafe. If somebody is doing something that puts you or others into danger you have the absolute right to correct them. If they don't, it is usually good practice to pack up and leave.

    You will meet lots of nice shooters that like to try different guns. If you are unfamiliar with a weapon that somebody offers to let you shoot ask the owner to give you some instruction.

    Have fun and let us know how it goes.
    Last edited by Pittsburgh Pete; February 16th, 2017 at 04:49 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    good advice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    Pistols have a 6 round limit & Rifles a 3 round limit.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    Awesome. Thanks for all your help. Pittsburgh Pete, thanks for thorough response.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    Also worth noting, a hunting license (at least for now) is actually cheaper than a range use permit (I think around $21.70), though you'll need to have Hunter's Ed to get one (free class). It's a cheaper way to get onto the range, and maybe you'll want to get into hunting someday.

    Weird thing about the SGL ranges is, at least the last time I was there, the word that everyone uses to call for a cold range is the same as the word everyone uses to call for a hot one ("Clear").

    Also, if you're looking for an opportunity to shoot elsewhere, feel free to join us on April 22nd at the PAFOA group shoot (details here: http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.php?t=316384 ) It's an informal shoot at a club around 45 minutes from Wexford. Everyone shows up, shares their guns with each other, eats bacon, chats, and has a good time. It'll be an opportunity to take a look at the club too, which is one of the better ones in the area.

    Or, if you want, I can guest you into the club any other day, since I'm a member there. I enjoy taking new shooters out! Once you shoot at a club like PMSC, you'll never want to go back to the SGL range ever again. More ranges, better ranges, safer shooters, fewer stupid rules. I've gone back to the SGL range about twice in the past 2 years, both times to zero a hunting gun for a friend. I go to PMSC about once a week.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    If you would like I can also get you in as a guest at Evans City S.C. I'm there 3 or 4 times a week. I'm a Range officer there and can hook you up with any NRA basic training courses. Or just go over all range procedure and safety. Our club is newby friendly. Just contact through forum.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New to Shooting Range, Questions about State Game Lands 203

    This thread is refreshing. Reminds me of the way things used to be.
    Good and helpful info posted.

    Welcome to the forum, Zephyr37, and yes feel free to come out to the group shoot(s)!
    June 16th PAFOA Group Shoot and BACON Fest! (near Pgh) Details HERE - ALL WELCOME!

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