Lessons From the Range

Range (1)When I was in the military, going to the rifle range was not fun. I had to go and function with a group, had to follow countless rules, was always hurried, and I was expected to shoot proficiently while never getting to spend the amount of time I felt I needed to get my weapon zeroed. The military soured me on going to the range, so I never wanted to go after my enlistment was up. I have opened up to the idea now but I still feel the pains of the past sometimes and this is how I avoid them.

The most prominent annoyances that stand between us and spending quality time in the outdoors are other people. I dread seeing other people when I am hunting and I bet most of you do too. In fact, I am hyper-competitive by nature, but if I have to compete with someone while in the field hunting, I won’t do it. I walk the other way or go home. It’s not worth it to me to lower my standard of solitude for the sake of sharing with others when I don’t have to. The range is like that to me also. There is no escaping other people sometimes so I try to go as early as possible or go as late as possible. If you belong to a range, find out what hours you can get away with.

When you find yourself shooting in a line of strangers, let them all shoot for a few minutes before you begin to settle in for some precision shooting. The range I belong to is always full so I have learned that after a few shots by each shooter, they mostly have the info they are looking for and there is not really any reason for most of them to shoot more than a few rounds. This is when you can get your best concentration in, and it can happen without all the loud reports of everyone’s rifles banging away.

Be passive aggressive. If you feel like you are holding the line up from stopping and going to check targets, so what? Take the time you need to get your range work done. They can wait a few minutes for you as I am sure you have waited countless minutes for other people. Don’t be too shy to stand your ground and shut everyone else out of your mind for a few moments. 

Finally, don’t take shortcuts. Although two shots make a pair, three shots form a pattern and that is what you need to best determine how your load, rifle or scope are performing. Refer to the above advice and don’t feel rushed enough that you take shortcuts and cheat yourself out of accurate results. Another common shortcut is to shoot when you are not ready. Forget that. Step back and take a breather if you have to. If your rest, position or the wind doesn’t feel right, fix it or wait until it fixes itself. Remember, you are there for yourself, and as long as you are generally courteous, and not a range ogre, take your time.