Posts Tagged ‘Harrisonburg’

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.

Directions:

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.

Set Up:

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.

Rules:

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.

Looking out toward targets

Looking out toward targets

There are 7 or 8 benches

There are 7 or 8 benches

Looking from the benches to the parking/entrance

Looking from the benches to the parking/entrance

**  There will be an ammo update this evening between 6pm and 8pm so check back!  **

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The gun show was in town this weekend, the 8th and 9th.  I had been waiting for it for a good few weeks but was actually pretty disappointed when I went.  I should’ve went earlier this weekend but I was unable to and arrived with only 3 hours of the event left.

By then I guess all the reasonably priced firearms (if there were any) had already been purchased.  The only guns I were even slightly interested in were priced over $600.  And about 90% of those were over $1,000.  Way out of my price range.  The only guns I could afford were low end bolt action or lever action hunting rifles in calibers I didn’t want to buy ammunition for.

There were a bunch of Ruger Mini-14’s available but they averaged around $800.  That’s way too much for one of those and I say that as an owner.  Even the pump shotguns were priced outrageously.  The only semi-auto shotgun I saw was over $1,100.

The only gun I saw that I actually considered purchasing was a 9mm Hi-Point Carbine.  And that was only because it was one of the strangest weapons there.  It was also I think the only gun that was priced under $300.  But unusual design was not enough to merit a purchase.

Moving away from the firearms I looked at some of the ammunition that was for sale.  Most of the boxes appeared to be 30 years old with faded labels and visible layers of dust.  I’m not sure where these people dug this stuff up, but I wasn’t about to purchase any of it.

There were a great deal of accessories available.  There was everything from AR parts to survival gear.  I almost bought a mid length quad rail handguard for my AR15 but it was priced too high.  I guess I’ve been spoiled by the internet because I’m always judging prices based on what I’ve found online.  I’m sure almost everyone at the show would’ve negotiated prices but I’m not into haggling so I just kept walking.

Overall it seemed like a decent setup and if you had lots of money to blow, this would’ve been the place.  But I didn’t, so the $14 I spent for my fiance and I to get in the doors was wasted.

But now I’m going to go eat my pizza and try to forget about it all.  Tonight I’ll work on assembling my new crossbow . . .

With my recent revelation of ammo prices I began looking for some alternative methods for rifle shooting.  My Ruger SR22 is really cheap to shoot compared to my other two firearms so I decided the path to cheaper shooting would be through the .22lr cartridge.  Deciding to invest in a rifle that shoots .22lr ammunition left me with a few different options to choose from.

1) Buy a new rifle that shoots .22lr.  This was an interesting thought at first because I do have an addiction to buying weapons (as my recent series of quick purchases lead me to believe).  I looked around a little bit and it seemed that there were many different 22 rifles out there that were made by very good companies who were asking very reasonable prices.  But then I thought back to my Ruger Mini-14.  The first gun I ever purchased was sitting at home propped up in a corner of my room with no accessories and no case.  Everything had been transferred to the AR15 when I started shooting it more.  Buying another rifle would demand even more accessories and storage space.  I decided this was not the option for me (for the moment at least).

2) Buy a dedicated .22lr upper for my AR15.  One of the best features of the AR platform is its versatility.  As long as you buy parts that are of decent quality, there usually isn’t a problem mixing and matching them.  I demonstrated that very heavily when I built my franken-rifle.  Buying (or building) a dedicated upper was slightly more appealing than buying an entire new rifle.  A dedicated upper would’ve cost as much as, if not more than, buying an entire rifle but it wouldn’t take up as much space as a whole rifle.  In addition, I would keep (pretty close to) the same weight of my AR as well as the same trigger.  Keeping those the same would allow me to practice most of the important shooting techniques on one rifle but cheaper than shooting .223.  It would still require some storage space though, as well as its own set of sights since they stay with the rifle’s upper.  I kept looking . . .

3) Buy a conversion kit for my AR15.  There are products online that are readily available that can turn your .223/5.56 AR15 into a .22lr AR15 with virtually no alteration to the rifle as a whole.  Essentially these kits are a new BCG (bolt carrier group) that accepts the smaller 22 cartridges as well as a magazine that does the same.  All you do is separate the upper and lower halves of your AR, remove the .223 BCG and insert the new BCG in its place.  Then you re-attach the halves, load and insert your .22lr mag, and fire away.  This keeps everything on the rifle the same aside from the magazine and BCG, allowing for the exact same shooting experience you would normally get – with cheaper ammunition.

The cost of the conversion kit was right there with buying a new 22 rifle, but since it takes up virtually zero space and requires no serious modification to my rifle, I decided to get one.  The savings on ammunition alone would pay for it in no time at all.

The kit that I bought was made by CMMG and it came with one 25 round magazine.  Many people who left a review said it would be wise to buy more than one mag also, so I bought one spare and a box of Remington.  All the parts came in today and I assembled my rifle as soon as I got off work.

I then thought, when will I get to shoot again??  I wasn’t going to my dad’s today so I wouldn’t be able to shoot at home.  The closest outside range is in West Virginia, and by the time I got there it would’ve been dark.  I started to become disappointed.

But then I remembered Top Gun shooting range in Harrisonburg.  They only have 25 yard lanes and only accept pistol calipers.  No rifles accepted, excluding those that shoot .22lr.  My rifle is technically a .223/5.56 rifle, but with the conversion kit it would shoot the required ammo.

I called and asked if I could shoot it there and they gave me the go ahead.  I raced to the range as soon as I got off work, paid my fee, and began testing it out.  Ill try to post a review of it tomorrow.

**  Click Here to go to the review  **