Friday, October 19th, 2012:
My AR and setup at Top Gun
Friday evening I had the oportunity to go back over to Top Gun shooting range and I decided to go for it. It’s been great getting some extra practice with my rifle indoors. That 22 conversion kit was worth every penny. During Friday’s shoot I went back and forth between my AR and my Ruger SR22 pistol.
Before heading to Top Gun after work I printed off some multi-dot (1″ bullseye) targets from MyTargets.com. I like their website since it gives you access to a lot of different types of targets. As long as you have a printer you’re good to go.
I made sure to bring my bi-pod with me so that I could ensure steady shots while zeroing in. In addition to steadying my benched shots it also helped steady my freehand shots, as I had hoped. The extra weight at the end of the rifle added just enough to keep my arm from overpowering the barrel and swaying everywhere.
Bullseyes With Pistol
After sighting in my rifle and confirming that my pistol was still relatively close, I took a few shots at the targets. I decided that while group size and distance from the center was a good show of accuracy, taking one shot at each little bullseye and moving to the next would be an even better test. I didn’t do the best and I’m sure plenty of people have done much better, but I was impressed with myself. I was shooting the pistol freehand from 7 yards and my results can be seen at the right.
While Friday’s shoot was fun, I knew that Saturday’s would be even better.
Saturday, October 20th, 2012:
Ryan and I had been planning to go shooting all week so I was very excited for Saturday to come. I cleaned up my weapons Friday night and got them ready to go for Saturday.
We decided to try a new range this time (one with longer distances) and as a result we had to drive to the West Side Shooting Range in West Virginia. Getting there was really easy and we didn’t have any problems finding it. The road leading in was kinda rough though. Expect to take about 10 minutes to travel the mile between the main road and the range itself.
The range was surprisingly well set up and maintained compared to the road leading in. There were two separate ranges; one was for rifles with distances measured out to 25, 50, and 100 yards. The other was for pistols, measured to just 25 yards. We spent our entire 3 hours at the rifle range.
Showing the lane layout and other shooters
There were about 9 or 10 lanes (I didn’t actually count them) and all but 2 or 3 were occupied when we pulled in. We quickly grabbed the first lane all the way on the left and began unpacking our gear.
Being 90% prepared simply isn’t enough. I always seem to forget something and this time it was cardboard and clothespins. Without those two items it was impossible (or at least very difficult) for us to hang targets. Luckily one of the shooters who was leaving while we were unpacking was nice enough to leave his for us. He was just one of the very friendly people we met while there.
Having everything we needed we waited for the next break in firing and went downrange with everyone else to set up our targets. We started at the 25 yard mark and didn’t move to the 50 yard mark until Ryan was confident that his rifle was zeroed exactly where he wanted it.
My AR and shooting setup
After the zeroing we just had some fun shooting like always and by the end had pushed one of our targets out to the 100 yard mark. All in all it we had a great time. There were people there from all age groups; there was an elderly gentleman who brought his family and a father who brought his 9 or 10 year old daughter. Everyone we talked to was extremely friendly and we got to share tips and look at some weapons we hadn’t seen before. We saw everything from air rifles to bolt action 22’s to semi-auto shotguns (the website specifies no shotguns but I didn’t see any signs restricting it on site – just be aware if you intend to bring one that it may not be allowed). It was pretty exciting to see all these different weapons in one place.
I would definitely recommend this range to anyone who lives relatively close. It will be well worth the drive. Just be respectful and clean up all your trash and spent casings before you leave since this is a free range. One group of people can ruin it for everyone so we all have to work together to keep the range clean and safe.