TRM9999

Safety at WMA Rifle Ranges in SJ

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How safe are the WMA gun ranges that allow 22 rifles?

Specifically, I found the Make Peace range recently. Pretty nice as they go.
2 folks shooting but were just finishing up so I didn't get to see what goes on. They seemed to be very reasonable and safe. 

My concern is walking down range to set up targets, and do folks follow or even know of the right safety protocol.
Don't touch....

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Any range is as safe as the A-holes that USE it.  Presumably SOMEONE in every group at a NJ WMA has a hunting license.  Which means they passed a test designed for a 10 yr old to pass so he/she can go hunting.  Did YOU pass the test?  Walking down a range during a cease fire means if you're the only person there, YOU'RE THE RANGE SAFETY OFFICER whether or not you have the creds from the NRA to prove it.  So if anyone else shows-up, they listen to YOU!  Same goes if the place is packed.  Range Etiquette dictates that SOMEONE should "call the line" hot & cold, and then check actions/chambers.  This can be "schmoozed" in a nice, thorough way without throwing a fit for infractions.  If schmoozing doesn't solve the problem, then pack up & LEAVE THE RANGE!  Chest thumping bravado & fisticuffs over who's in charge is juvenile & asinine!  EVERYONE IS A RSO where I'm a member, even if they didn't take the class.  Each of us has to be willing to visually inspect for open actions & empty chamber indicators (flags).  ANYONE can call a CEASE FIRE AT ANY TIME!  Even that 10 yr old kid!  Understanding the (4) "ALWAYS" Rules, and obeying them keeps everyone SAFE!

In addition, things like un-casing only at the firing line, not sweeping each other while casing & un-casing, using a chamber flag if your guns' bolt won't hold-open by itself (Ruger 10-.22's and others), clearing guns while pointed at the berm and other obvious safety rules are always employed.  Don't be afraid to point-out an infraction.  It's how the imperfect LEARN.  And sometime in your future it will be YOUR TURN to be imperfect & need reminding (schmoozing) :) 

Rosey

NRA Chief Range Safety Officer

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I like both responses. Good points. Boy have I made my share of mistakes, esp when younger. I really am happy about promoting using bore flags, although still too many that don't. 

I wonder if officers ever come by. Are there even such people for WMAs?  

Going to try it one day ( was hoping today) during the week. They already told me don't bother on weekends. 

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I have shot at both Clinton and Collier-Mills numerous times, including several time recently with my young grandson.  I have not encountered any major issues but am certainly very diligent regarding safety and observing the behaviors of any other shooters that are there.  There was one occasion where a father and his two daughters were shooting. When the father went downrange to change his targets his daughters started touching his rifle.  I instructed them not to touch any firearms while people were downrange and they complied. 

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I was at the now closed WMA range on Piney hollow road, shooting at the far right of the range. I took a shot and saw someone walking out on the left side. I wouldn't shoot anymore, almost crapped my pants and left. They didn't care less. But you guys are right, say something. And the road/trail running along side the range seemed a little strange as well as I used to hike to blue hole past there until I realized they were shooting. I was truly sorry it closed. 
I used to joke that arrows would come over the trees from the archery range in back of this. Until I saw an arrow on the ground in the parking lot. I'm glad they are improving them. 

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I find the WMA a nice place to go and target shoot with my .22s but as others have mentioned just use common sense, When I walk down range to change targets I take my bolt with me. I have seen folks shooting slightly different than I do but they seemed to be doing it safely.  I prefer bolt actions and they like the autoloaders and playing army, just their thing not mine as long as their safe.   That said the people I have seen that are dangerous are the ones who I would have thought would be safe yet are the dangerous ones.  An elderly ( about 65 I would guess) black powder shooter at Clinton comes to mind.  people down range and he's fiddling with his gun, This was not a one time thing.  sweeping his rifle, messing with the action, pushing the rod down the barrel, was he loading it? cleaning it? who knows but he did seem angry at something.   you will also encounter people throwing away their trash and calling it targets,( sorry guy but that's what we call garbage) and leaving it out there.   I started cleaning up their trash when I am the only one there and it is safe to do so as that will surely get the range closed.

 

One other problem at the WMA ranges is not a safety issue but a construction issue especially at the ones I'm familiar with, Clinton and Walpack have a "common " bench so when I'm trying to do accurate bench rest shooting the guy who brought his kids with him are doing jumping jacks on the seat and playing with their phones bouncing all over.   ( If that's you just let your kids stay home please)   also the benches must have been designed by a race of people that are 9 feet tall,  you cant comfortably sit and bench rest shoot as your feet don't touch the ground and your chest is 12" back from the bench, there is no place to rest your elbow or butt of the stock, I have constructed a "table top" that I clamp down so it brings the bench top rearward as well as a protrusion to rest your elbow and rear stock. this helps out greatly.  Also at Clinton they have posted a sign that tells you where and how your targets should be placed,  again not sure who engineered this but it just seems  illogical  to me,  metal spinners at 25 yds only? where there is a greater chance of a ricochet coming back at the shooter, metal spinners should be at 50 to 100 yards out to minimize a round coming all the way back at you or other shooters ( this by the way is the scariest thing there)  Not sure who designs these ranges but I would sure like to know to show them how they should be built.     The one I like the most is Stafford forge,  separate benches and plenty of room along the line and in a nice area of the state.

 My job has me travelling all over NJ and I keep a few .22s all the time and every time Im near a WMA range I stop in for and hour or so and just shoot away.      Clinton, Walpack, Stafford forge, one there is one between Hammonton and Egg Harbor not sure of the name,   and the one closest to my home was closed because of noise complaints (black river)  it is now a usless WMA so we should all take care of them because as I know they will go away.  

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I go-to the one at Stafford. If someone is there along side of me. I introduce myself.  Make sure we are on the same page as far as safety goes. I've dealt with a couple Yahoo's before and let them know the bullshit wouldn't be tolerated.  They left soon after. 

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WMA ranges are great, safe places to plink with your .22.

EXCEPT during the months of Oct., Nov., and Dec., at which time, they become havens of self-proclaimed experts, garbage dumpers and professional hunters.

On more than one occasion, I've had to try and convince shooters that adjusting your scope during a cease fire IS considered handling a firearm.

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