I remember having a terrible time when I first decided to go to the range in West Va. Lots of people I knew had been there but nobody could give me much info about it. I remember looking online and coming up with little more than a general idea of where it was located.
So I decided to post this to hopefully help others looking to visit this range.
From Harrisonburg, Virginia, you need to head west on U.S. Route 33. This leads you to within a little more than a mile from the range; there’s no need to worry about other roads until you cross the mountain and enter West Virginia.
When you reach the bottom of the mountain on the West Virginia side (3.4 miles from the state line) there is a road off to the right with a sign indicating there is a shooting range. This is FDR 151. There is a very tiny sign that says “151” but don’t be looking for that. The range sign is much larger and easier to see. Take this turn and continue for just over one mile. During that mile there is only one more turn you make (a slight turn to the right) and its clearly marked and easy to see.
Be prepared for a long slow ride. That one mile takes me about 6 or 7 minutes. It’s a one lane gravel/dirt road all the way and its full of holes and ruts. After a lot of rain, there’s plenty of mud as well. If you have a small car like me, keep this stuff in mind. FDR 151 is also completely surrounded by trees. Its entirely possible that after a storm (or even moderate winds) trees could be down in the way.
Once you make it through all those perils however, you’re there.
There are two seperate ranges, one for pistols and one for rifles. Both have their own parking areas but they’re close enough that walking between them is no issue at all. There is a bathroom near the rifle range’s parking but it has no running water. If you intend to wash your hands after shooting (or using the bathroom for that matter) plan to bring your own water.
The rifle range is set up with 7 or 8 benches in a shelter that is covered by a roof. There are large cans at both end of the shelter for disposing of trash. Please take advantage of this because this is a free range after all and not frequently maintained. The pistol range does not have any shelter but if its raining you probably aren’t going to be shooting anyway.
The rifle range is marked out to 25, 50, and 100 yards. They don’t have the numbers posted but there is a hill behind each set of targets and it’s easy to tell where each is. Each distance has metal posts with string tied between them for hanging your targets as well. You should always bring some extra string however; if the string is broken, there is no replacement. On the left side of the range there is a gravel path that leads all the way to the 100 yard mark.
There is a board posted at the rifle range that lists all the rules. Most are common sense and basic safety things but I wanted to share a few that you might not consider.
1) They do not allow shotguns. Many people use shotguns there but its clearly posted that they are not allowed so to be safe just leave the shotgun at home.
2) No clay shooting. I assume this has to do with the broken pieces that end up all over the range. It makes a mess and even the biodegradable stuff takes time to disappear.
3) No shooting bottles, electronics, glass, or basically any target that isn’t made of paper or cardboard. There is glass and plastic everywhere from people who don’t follow this rule and its very disrespectful and dangerous.
And always do your best to clean up when you leave. I pick up all my brass (or steel in my case) and throw away all the targets I don’t keep. In addition I always pick up some trash that others before me have left. Its a free range and I try to leave it at least a little cleaner than when I arrived. If you don’t want to help clean up at least leave a donation (not that you can’t do both) in the locked drop box across from the rule board. Its a big cylinder looking thing. Someone has to maintain the area and if it becomes too expensive they could start charging a fee or just close it all together.
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