Safety at the range

Bob Ouellette

New Member
I was out shooting a few weeks ago at the Boggy Head range in the National Forrest and I happened to over hear the other two guys talking about range safety. One of the men said he had been out shooting and while other shooters were down range changing their targets, other shooters were firing from the standing bench at the far left of the firing line. The man I was talking to said that he told them to stop and that it was a cold range.

I'm just curious how everyone thinks they would handle it if they were on the firing line or if they were the one down range.
 

thebrasilian

New Member
I probably would have called 911 telling them that I was fearing for my life. To say the least I would not be a happy camper.
 

Bob Ouellette

New Member
thebrasilian said:
I probably would have called 911 telling them that I was fearing for my life. To say the least I would not be a happy camper.
I don't get cell phone reception out there, so that would definitely not be an option for me. At the very least, from the firing line, I'd yell at the people shooting to stop, and stop them if they didn't. If I was down range, I would probably think someone was shooting at me, intending to kill or maim me and start returning fire to whoever was pointing a gun down range. Yes, I'm just paranoid enough never to leave myself defenseless when I know there will be other people with weapons :roll: Would that be over-reacting? Maybe, maybe not. I don't and won't rely on anyone to look out for my best interest and my life but myself (which is why I carry a CCW).
 

Bob Ouellette

New Member
HOLY DIVER said:
thats CRAZY! every range i've ever shot at no one is allowed to touch there firearm when some body is down range
That is a generally understood rule of firearm safety, and I have been lucky enough to never have witnessed it myself.
 

Clicker

Member
The closest I've been to that sort of situation was at Twin Ponds.
Cold range and I was setting targets when I heard the distinctive sound of a Ruger 1022 bolt slamming home chambering a round. I turned around to find some clown holding his rifle and with a stern voice I asked if that sound was what I thought it was? He replied yes, uhhh I'm sorry, and placed it on the table. That was pretty much the end of it.
To be honest I was in disbelief over the whole thing and never really bitched at the guy too much, I think if that happened today I'd run the guy off the range

The opposite of this was when a buddy & I were shooting and we cleared a table of our guns to make room for other shooters. My pal picked up an AR15 upper (not attached to a lower) and swung it around moving it to another table. The guy approaching the line accused him of muzzle sweeping him and commanded him to "point that rifle in a safe direction". Startled by this my bud quickly jerked the muzzle skyward only to have my bolt carrier fall out onto the concrete!!!

You know the type - the guy who knows everything about every gun and proclaims so in a loud voice so all can hear! We both looked at each other wondering why we even tried to accommodate this guy. We just shrugged it off and once shooting resumed the new guy suddenly changed his tune and wanted to become my new best friend when he noticed the gun had a happy switch. Needless to say I didn't give him the time of day! Oh yeah it tasted so sweet.
 

Bob Ouellette

New Member
Clicker said:
The closest I've been to that sort of situation was at Twin Ponds.
Cold range and I was setting targets when I heard the distinctive sound of a Ruger 1022 bolt slamming home chambering a round. I turned around to find some clown holding his rifle and with a stern voice I asked if that sound was what I thought it was? He replied yes, uhhh I'm sorry, and placed it on the table. That was pretty much the end of it.
To be honest I was in disbelief over the whole thing and never really bitched at the guy too much, I think if that happened today I'd run the guy off the range

The opposite of this was when a buddy & I were shooting and we cleared a table of our guns to make room for other shooters. My pal picked up an AR15 upper (not attached to a lower) and swung it around moving it to another table. The guy approaching the line accused him of muzzle sweeping him and commanded him to "point that rifle in a safe direction". Startled by this my bud quickly jerked the muzzle skyward only to have my bolt carrier fall out onto the concrete!!!

You know the type - the guy who knows everything about every gun and proclaims so in a loud voice so all can hear! We both looked at each other wondering why we even tried to accommodate this guy. We just shrugged it off and once shooting resumed the new guy suddenly changed his tune and wanted to become my new best friend when he noticed the gun had a happy switch. Needless to say I didn't give him the time of day! Oh yeah it tasted so sweet.
Wow, that first story is pretty crazy. Luckily you were close enough to both hear what was happening and say something about it. It's a shame that some people feel they need to be above everyone and know everything. Most people don't care if you know everything about everything. Even with a round chambered, I don't know of a way it could go off unless the barrel was hot enough to cook it off. But at that point, you'd have some other issues.

Things like your stories generally make me prefer to go by myself or with one other person. The guy I was talking to in my first post said (and I don't know how true it is) that some people were being found at the outdoor ranges with a bullet in the back of their head and all of their guns taken. Can't hurt to always be aware of what's going on.
 

fiundagner

New Member
This happened to me at scout camp about 16 years ago. The firing line had been cleared, and everyone moved off it. I went downrange to change out targets while the range master stepped off the line to pull out some more ammo and extra rifles for the class. I had just turned around to go back to the firing line when I heard a click and saw one of the scouts had walked onto the range and just picked up a rifle and started playing with it. You will be amazed at how fast you can cover the distance from the targets line to the firing line, while yelling cease fire. I am reasonably certain I heard the sound barrier crack, or at least stretch thin, on my way up there. Grabbed the barrel, slammed the rifle it back into the scouts shoulder while getting the muzzle up and away. The scouts excuse? ?You we all the way on the other side of the range, and besides, it wasn?t loaded?.
 

PCShogun

Member
Yeah, you meet all kinds at the public ranges.

Most of my "Bad" experiences regarding safety has been At Twin Ponds.

I was taking aim when I heard a commotion on the right side of the line, where the sidewalk is, so I slacked up on the trigger and took a look. I saw a guy, wearing an EMS jacket no less, walking down the path to setup his target while firing was going on on the left of the line. I growled "CEASE FIRE!" like a drill Sergeant for the first time in my life and the shooting stopped (amazing how that works). We started to berate the guy for walking in front of the line and he looked at us like we were the stupid ones. "I wasn't going over where they were shooting, I was just going over here to the right to setup my target." Later this same guy uprooted my targets and started moving them over to his side of the range. Needless to say, he thought the targets were provided by the county and you could shoot anything you saw out there.

Another experience was when a group of about 15 teenagers and young adults came to the range with a few handguns.The range was packed that day and their crowd just made it worse. They took turns shooting but had a bad habit of slowly stepping back from the line after handing the weapon to the next shooter. Some were 6' to 8' feet behind the line, with people at the next table literally a mere 3 feet to their right and unaware of them being so far back while they shot. I stepped over to them, got their attention, and walked them back up to the line where it was safer. They were polite, but three shooters later, back behind the line they stood shooting again. This time another person told them to step up, which they did. Yet again, they started stepping back off the line, handing off the pistol, and not stepping up to start shooting. I gave up at that point and started packed my stuff. My wife asked me why we were leaving since we had just gotten there and its a 40 mile trip to get there. In a loud voice so as to be overheard over the din of firing, I said, "Because I did not come here to see someone get shot".

It is because of this second incident that I now have a homemade trauma kit in my car trunk when I go shooting. Its not much; a few maxi pads, latex gloves, and an ace bandage, but Ifigure it will give me something to do besides watch someone bleed out in front of me. (If you see me with Kotex Maxi pads, now you know why, so don't laugh).
 
Well guys- At the last shootzenfest at boggy head I was ask to be the range nazi. I had quite a difficult time getting people to not point their firearms down range when the range was cold. There was also lots of handling of firearms when the range was cold. There were closed bolts with loaded magazines pointed down range. There were loaded firearms behind the firring line.
I believe we need to establish some safety rules before the next shoot. We need to post those rules here for everyone to approve and then have everyone sign these rules at the range. The shoots are getting more and more populated and some ground rules need to be established. You can never be to safe.
 

Dave29461

Active Member
We do need to be careful out there. We also need to minimize liability for the group. Individual acknowledgement of the safety rules should help remind us all of the need for safe gun handling. I agree with LG.
 

Nagao

New Member
I had an incident at Twin Ponds early one morning a little while back. We had the range about half full and had called cold collectively. Only one person had started down range, to the right of the sidewalk. An older gentleman in a group of three on the right side of the range (believe it or not) fired a single shot. There was a lot of yelling until he confusedly put down the rifle. While it is, ultimately, his responsibility to be safe I was also very saddened to see his friends/family not paying attention either.

While this topic is fresh on people's minds I'd like to get some opinions on the safety page of the C&Rsenal site. Let me know if there is anything we missed! If we agree to a consistent set of rules I'd be willing to fund/build a dedicated website that just displays a page about public range safety to just post the rules on. Anyone willing to chip in to print stickers to post everywhere? Awareness campaign?

http://candrsenal.com/safety/
 

Clicker

Member
I think posting a basic set of rules about range safety for the next ShootzenFest is a great idea. But remember some folks attend as guests with members and may not read the forum hence missing the rules post. If possible two or three large banners or sign boards hung from the rafters would be helpful.

I think it should be mandatory that clearing a weapon is required when the line is cold. This means unloaded, mag removed and open breech. Loading mags and handling AR uppers WITHOUT a lower involved/attached seems OK in my book.

We tend to do some configuration changes while cold and this may need some thought also. For instance is it OK to breakdown a HK MP5 type gun and swap trigger pack parts around with another HK gun at this time? This type of thing my violate the cold range etiquette we're trying to establish. So what say you?
 

fordnut

Active Member
This kind of sets me to thinking...I was wondering if maybe we couldn't have a form to fill out for everyone at Shootzenfest....That would give us a great mailing list and also we could print saftey rules up and hand them out to a person when they sign up...

That would also help to put names and faces together...

Maybe I could have a name tag so I can remember my name....

Steve
 
Clicker said:
I think posting a basic set of rules about range safety for the next ShootzenFest is a great idea. But remember some folks attend as guests with members and may not read the forum hence missing the rules post. If possible two or three large banners or sign boards hung from the rafters would be helpful.

I think it should be mandatory that clearing a weapon is required when the line is cold. This means unloaded, mag removed and open breech. Loading mags and handling AR uppers WITHOUT a lower involved/attached seems OK in my book.

We tend to do some configuration changes while cold and this may need some thought also. For instance is it OK to breakdown a HK MP5 type gun and swap trigger pack parts around with another HK gun at this time? This type of thing my violate the cold range etiquette we're trying to establish. So what say you?
I agree. And changeing configeration was not what I was talking about. People were loading mags into guns during cold range. Long guns were being loaded and chambered.
 

Nagao

New Member
I'm onboard with the displays idea. Does anyone know a printer?

I'm really thinking the group of us can setup a simple, straightforward set of rules for public range usage. We can get them into one clear format and publish it online at a simple address and reference it in any listings for Shootzenfest, refer new shooters to it when we meet them, etc...

I've met a lot of new shooters and had to explain the basics over and over, I'd kinda like a prep sheet ready to go. That way the mandatory safety lesson on the range is a review.

All right I'll start it off with generic headers. Add what you guys think works. We can expand each header later:

RANGE SAFETY

Personal Safety:
Eyes
Ears
Appropriate Clothing
Lead and chemical risks (ie, wash hands, don't sleep in shooting clothes)

Public Safety:
Basic Gun Handling (clearing, sweeping, trigger discipline, muzzle downrange, shooting in your corridor)
Communication (being alert, talking to people around you, being aware of emergency services in the area, who to report abuse to)
Hot/Cold Range (never be in front of the firing line, never have a weapon loaded when people are down range, always go cold the moment you hear the word)

Contact Section:
We should get the nearest EMS, police, and park services contacts put on the fliers and have them available to lookup on the site.
We could also include contact information to find out how you can help with cleanup days etc...
 

The General

New Member
As a Chief Range Safety Officer (big deal...) I can tell you that the best way to ensure a safe range is 1) Have a dedicated person acting as Range Officer, 2) Post the rules, 3) Make sure everyone that shows up has a copy of the rules, and 4) Remind everyone that they can enforce the rules.

With that said, the best way to handle the line is: 1) 'Safe' means: Open bolt, slides back and locked, yellow chamber flag inserted such that a round can not enter the chamber, and magazines out (or empty for internal mags); 2) One person calls the line. Same is responsible for checking that all guns on the line have been made safe. 3) Range Officer monitors the guns on the line while people are down range. No one is allowed to handle a weapon while people are down range. No exceptions.

Now, we all know that there are far more many guns at the events as compared to shooting benches and folks need to get the gun on and off the line. But we can handle that by: Yellow chamber flags for all guns behind the lines. No magazines inserted until on the line. Muzzle must always point skyward when moving to/from the line. When laying gun down, rotate the muzzle in such a direction that it points at no one. (Designate a safe direction and create a person-free zone with yellow ribbon. All muzzle to remain pointed at that ribbon. Once a gun has been cased, you can move it around any way you like, including moving it to/from the line. Just don't let anyone see that its loaded when it comes out!!

We've all cringed when we go to the ranges. We've all also just 'gone with it' to avoid being a jerk. But basically, we're all aware that we're dancing with fire.

It's our event - We can make the rules.

-Mike
 

Tigerstripe

Active Member
ok here are 2 points i see in all this.

1 if the rules say no handling weapons while the range is cold, then thats what it means.
oh it looks like clicker is changing his uppers so i can too, bang.

2 having everyone sign something opens up a can of worms if someone gets hurt. dont have a sue me list. not everyone there is a part of the forum are they?
they wont sign. they could even be the problem. AD

its a gun range. the rules posted by DNR seem to be good enough for them. dont complicate that.
as for a range officer, thats great. a breifing, thats good also. a safe area to take your weapon to change uppers
would work as long as everyone knows what safe means. aahh no ammo?
 

fordnut

Active Member
WHOOOOO....Lets back up here...I never said anything about people signing something....read it again.


What I said was to have people sign in so we would build a mailing list. Then I said we could hand out a copy of the safty rules.

This needs to be cleared up right now...I am not suggesting that anyone signs anything////just give mailing or email address of peole who are there. How someone can read this as signing a "SAFTEY FORM" is way past me...


Steve
 
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