Range News update from 2007 and 2008...
Gas is going up... Ammo prices are going down...
When I first started running this facility as a commercial shooting range, I stocked the office with the ammo most shooters need when they get here. It was priced at on 10% over what I paid for it. I had ammo here more as a service to the shooters than as a profit maker for the business. Membership and range fees were what carried the business. Several years later, during a lull in the shooting season, we needed more money for operations and I raised the ammo prices to match our competitors. The 40% margin was an industry standard and it still sold here because it was still in the ballpark with the big guys.
As part of a pretty bold strategy, I have rolled the ammo margin back to 10%. It now is the least expensive ammo in the area. If you show up here with ammo you bought from Walmart or Academy, you are going to be mad at youself for not getting it here. Call the range, 205-744-2600, if you want to know a current price on anything. Our goal is to make shooting more affordable and draw shooters back to the range. We are able to do this because the income from the Public Range use fees is going to offset the loss of income from ammo. The nonmembers who shoot here just made the ammo cheaper for all of us.
The prices for ammo has doubled in the last year. Taking the kids to the range to shoot a few hours is now a pretty expensive proposition. Most families drop about $100 before leaving. Our new pricing will reduce that to $70. It is a substantial difference. We will maintain this strategy as long as we can pay our bills here.
Public Range Use fees...
The second part of this strategy is an increase in the daily rate for Public Range use. I have not changed the fees since we first opened the range to the Public back in 2002. The fees were only $10 during the week and $15 on weekends. The new rate is $15 weekdays and $20 weekends. It is a 41% increase (a minute with the calculator told me so) that will allow us to change the ammo prices for everyone. Members benefit the most. Nonmembers can join now and take advantage of the membership sale prices we are running. Nonmembers still save money today compared with what the ammo prices were. Sure they pay $5 more to get in but buy two boxes of just about any ammo, and they will have spent less than before. The more you shoot, the more you save. Tell anyone you know about the ammo prices here.
I now its been a while since I sat down and tried to put some range news into words here. An accurate description of the "State of the Range" would have to be "Better than Ever"! We are near capacity, often filling up two sign in sheets a day. The Public Range often sees more than 40 shooters a day. This place is hopping on the weekends. I promised when I began this business that I would take steps to ensure that crowding would not be a problem here. To control crowding, you have to limit the number of users the range has. We currently have about 850 members. I set the ceiling at 900 and will start a waiting list for memberships at that point. The better ranges around the country use this system. If you are thinking of joining the range to secure a safe place to enjoy your firearms, now is the time. When we hit 900, your'll have to take a number and hope someone fails to renew, creating a place for a new face here.
We just finished pouring concrete on ranges 5 and 6. The concrete turned out great and really makes a difference in the appearance of the range. Looks nice down the hill now. Sweeping up your brass when done is easy and will make keeping this range clean easier.
I have to tell everyone, I'm disappointed to think that there are members who are intentionally destroying parts of this facility. I have found bullet holes in everything from the posts that support the coverings on the ranges, the chairs I provide on the ranges, garbage cans, IPSC props used in the matches, items used for law enforcement training scenarios, barricades, line marking cones, barrels, plate stands, steel plates, and target stands. There are holes in just about everything. Each of these things cost me money to provide for the range's use and will cost money to repair or replace. I just don't understand why anyone would shoot anything other than targets here. This is a target range. We shoot targets here. I provide members with the finest sport shooting facility in Alabama. There is none better. Target stands are provided for punching holes in paper. Forget to bring a stapler, no problem. We'll loan you one. Reactive steel targets are provided for members shooting pleasure. These are made of the best materials available and maintained in like new condition. The plate racks at $1200 each, are very expensive to repair or replace. The Stationary Steel Plates on ranges 1 and 2 are also made of good steel, AR400, and ain't cheap to replace. The IPSC props were built by Dixie Shooters members who volunteered their time and materials so they would have really fun matches. Members can use the props to set up a practical shooting environment for self defense tactics practicing. All I have asked is that they put up what they use when done, leaving the range as clean as you found it. I spent the day today cleaning the range and fixing things that were intentionally damaged by our members. I and not in a good mood. I grabbed my cameral and took pictures of some of the damage to illustrate what I am talking about.
I'll start on Range 3, the big range behind my house. This range is primarily used as a training and qualification range for law enforcement and security personnel. The IPSC club uses this range to set up two stages for their match. Several of the props needed for both purposes are stored on this range.
This is a 12 gauge slug hole through the header that supports the roof on the covered area on Range 3. Actually it is two 12 gauge slug holes. Someone wanted to see if it would shoot through it I guess. It will be a huge pain in the ass to repair and repaint.
This is a 4 by 4 upright that supports the roof of the covered area on Range 3. Again a 12 gauge slug hole. Same moron. Same pain in the ass to replace... only this post is set 2 feet deep in concrete in a hole that I dug when I built it. Yes, big pain in the ass to fix.
Two .223 caliber hole through another roof support post. This will eventually rot and I will have to replace it. Thanks.
These are a few of the barrels stored on Range 3. We use them during law enforcement and security qualification as barricades. An item specified by APOSTC (Alabama Police Officer Standards in Training Commission) in their course of fire all law enforcement officers have to shoot semi-annually. No. The cops didn't shoot them. My members did. Holes going in aren't too bad. Its the exit holes in the other side that pose a hazard. The edges are sharp and have cut officers who got their hands on the barrels while shooting.
This is a cone used to designate a position for the APOSTC course. It ain't a target but look at it. I have 8 of them needed for running a qualification course. All of them are shot to hell. No, the police don't shoot them.
This is a target stand used by the IPSC club. It is stored along with about 100 more like it on Range 3. They are necessary for the IPSC match. When one is hit like this one, it is ruined. You can't get an upright, a 1x2 leg the target is stapled to, back in the stand. You can't get the old one out. You have to cut it apart with a torch and weld in a new one. I have about 20 in this condition, shot intentionally with multiple hits around the leg support to ensure proper damage. Thanks.
These are steel plates and steel plate stands that are used by the IPSC club in their matches. These were drug out by members using Range 3 and not put back where they belong. There is more....
These are the plates you see on the ground in the picture above. They are ruined. Some moron thought it would be cool to shoot these plates with their rifle. Yes, rifle ammo will make cool holes through 1/2" T1 steel. These plates are much harder than mild steel and would have lasted us a lifetime if only shot with handgun ammo. Welding the holes destroys the temper of the steel, making it soft. Soft steel dimples when hit by handgun bullets. This is why all the steel we use here is hardened, not mild. They are now unsafe to use and non-repairable. Thanks.
This is a barricade used in the IPSC matches. It was built by club members who volunteered their time and materials so the club has good props for the matches. It has about $30 in materials and about 2 hours of time constructing it. Another moron mistook it for a target stand and stapled a target to it and shot it full of holes. Never mind the 6 target stands I had permanently installed at the berm on this range for this purpose. They must not have been good enough.
Another IPSC prop, now unsafe to use due to the sharp edges of the exit holes in this barrel.
These are two steel plate stands damaged by rifle fire on Range 3. They are IPSC props and are for handgun use only. The divots on the surface of the stand is now a cool place for a handgun projectile to make a nice u-turn an come back at the shooter. Yes, they are unsafe in this condition and have been removed from use. To fix them, I'll have to cut them off with a torch and reweld the top on the stand.
Range 4 is what we have historically referred to as the "Tactical Range". This range is used when police agencies need a place to train officers in a more realistic setting. This range has a 270 degree field of fire available, enabling scenarios with engagements left and right as well as downrange to be utilized. Most recently, the Pleasant Grove Police Dept. conducted an "active school shooter" training exercise. We constructed a hallway mockup with class rooms on the left and right. You can't get this training with live ammunition anywhere else in Birmingham. Props for this training as well as for the IPSC matches that are held here are stored on this range. Guess what. Shot up.
This is one of the stationary steel targets on Ranges 1 and 2. I made these from steel I bought from Oneal Steel several years ago. I went extra heavy so they would last longer, 5/8" AR400. Rings like a bell when you hit it. Will last a lifetime with handgun ammo. Guess what I found....
Shot with .223 from an AR-15. This is the reason I don't allow any rifles on the pistol ranges. Yes, there is a nice sign on the fence next to the entrance to Ranges 1 and 2 that says "NO RIFLES OR SHOTGUNS ALLOWED ON THIS RANGE". I guess folks can't read. When a plate is hit by a rifle, at the minimum a huge divot is made by the bullet on the surface of the plate. This divot will create an opportunity for a handgun round to make a u-turn and come back uprange at the shooter. Its unsafe and non-repairable. I spent about $1900 and 2 days making them. Glad I chose the 5/8" plate. I was able to turn the plates around and use the other side.
This is an IPSC prop. It also is used for the steel plate matches. Yep. It ain't a target neither but its got bullet holes in it.
Remember the range rule, always pick up and dispose of your brass when finished shooting? Its ankle deep on Ranges 5 and 6. Range 4 is covered with it. How do I get it up? Same way you do, bend over and get it one piece at a time. Their isn't a brass fairy that comes in the night to take the brass to never never land. There ain't a brass magnet either. Brass picking sucks. I know. I pick up brass for hours at a time. Brass members left on the ground for me to pick up.
These are roof supports on Range 5, with holes from being shot. Notice the beautiful brass and aluminum cases piled deep on this range. It doesn't go away. Someone has to pick it up.
This is a big barrel I provided for members to use on Range 6 to set ammo and stuff on while shooting at the plates or targets here. I had a nice sign posted between Ranges 5 and 6 that was the same as the one still posted on Ranges 1 and 2... "NO RIFLES OR SHOTGUNS ALLOWED ON THIS RANGE". Seems a member needed something other than the target stands I provide to staple paper to and shoot holes in. Yep, found it on Range 5 looking like Swiss Cheese. I paid $45 to have it made by Commander Board Signs in Fairfield. Why do I try. Nobody reads anyway. This barrel was blasted repeatedly with a shotgun. Nice pistol holes for accents. Today, while I was sweeping brass up on Range 7, I heard the distinct sound from a high powered rifle being shot on Range 6, a 10 yard deep pistol range with $2500 worth of steel plate racks on it. Guy was shooting a .308 caliber M14... at paper. He got off 20 rounds before I could get to him. The steel is safe for another day...
This is one of the plates on the plate rack on Range 6. They are made of AR550 by Action Target and sell for about $35 each. This stuff is as good as it gets. Notice the cracks at the bottom of this plate. Its gonna break off soon and have to be replaced. Remember the range rule that says "no magnums on any of the steel targets on the pistol ranges"? This steel is hard enough to not dimple when hit by magnums but they take a toll on the mounting hardware. Every member here has had the range safety orientation and had this explained to them. Shoot magnums on paper or the steel plates on the rifle ranges.
This is a rifle steel plate. The plate is 1" thick AR550, the equivalent to armor plate. Most rifle ammo just knocks the paint off it. They will last for years here. This is what you shoot your magnum handguns at. They are 100 yards away which does make it more of a real challenge to get hits on with a handgun. The loud ding you hear when you hit one is really rewarding. The weak link with these rifle plates is the stand. Its mild steel. I fix them up about every 2 weeks or so... so you will have something cool to hit with your rifles.
This is one of the target stands on the member's rifle range, Range 7. Its been out here a while and is holding up pretty good. However, notice the hole at the left edge. It is from a group of shots taken at the left leg of the target frame. The frame is 3/4" rebar, welded together by yours truly, taking about half and hour to construct with about $15 in materials. Rifle ammo is hot enough to blast the rebar in two. This stand is still hanging in there. I have a pile next to my shop that were shot apart by rifle shooters, intentionally. One shot at the edge, OK. Could be a miss but unlikely seeing how most rifles shoot to within an inch of what they are aimed at. A cluster of shots at the edge of a target is an intentional destruction of range equipment. Why? Just to see if you can??? Trust me. Rifles have a tremendous amount of energy that that bullet has to get rid of somehow. The best way is to hit the dirt berm after going through the center of your target. Blasting target stands ain't cool.
This is the concrete surface on the member's rifle range, Range 7. I poured concrete here so sweeping up your brass is easy. It cost me about $1000 to do this for you, my members, so the rifle range would stay clean. I don't want to get into what this did to my back getting it down and troweled out by hand. The tables wouldn't let us use a screed to get it smooth. Anyway, I found this range covered with brass as well. It was everywhere. I spent an hour sweeping it up. The brass I got up from here filled a 5 gallon bucket. Most of it was junk, the steel cased .223 and 7.62x39. Shotgun hulls also littered this range.
I'm sorry to have
gone on and on with this illustration but I don't think most people get it.
This is a whoop ass range. There ain't another like it anywhere. Its
nice because people like me work hard to keep it this way. I am sure that
most of the range members are responsible, safe, mature gun owner who appreciate
what we have here. There is no good explanation for why our range is being
abused this way. I do have one more pet peeve...
What is wrong with this picture?
Update!! April 2,2007
Took my regular ride up the range road to pick up garbage and look what I picked up....
Eight bags of some lowlife's yard waste, a couple of drink bottles and a chip bag thrown out a window. I can't win.
While doing my bi-weekily garbage run, I found holes in the
right hand plate rack on range 5. They were used Sunday afternoon,
05-13-07, and were fine when the match was over. The damage appears to be
a few days old. The divots make the target system unsafe to use. The
next round that hits the hole or dent can make a U-turn and be directed back
uprange towards the shooters. Its absolutely dangerous in its current
condition and I have to do something about it. All the steel target
systems at the range are regularly maintained. Any damage is repaired as
soon as it is discovered. If you see damage like this, report it to the
range staff immediately.
The holes are 30 caliber. I bet it was 7.62x39 steel core ammo.
These plate racks are made by MGM and cost about $1550 each to replace.
The plates are the best money can buy but the rest of the rack is still mild steel.
This is why I have to restrict the plate ranges use to handguns only.
Who ever lit up the plate rack with their rifle walked past this sign to get to the firing line on range 5.
How do you fix it? I used my front end loader to haul the rack to my shop. I heated the front plate with a torch and beat it flat. I then ground the high spots flat. Then I welded the holes and deep gouges up and again ground the surface flat.
A fresh coat of paint, haul it back down to range 5 and tadaaa. Back in business. Only took about 3 hours of my time to fix. To the SOB who though it would be cool to shoot up our plate rack, thanks for blowing a big chunk of my off day.
How do we prevent this from happening in the future? More signs? Yes. More frequent checks on members while they are using the range? Yes. More accountability on the part of each member using the range? Absolutley. Now when any member uses the range, he will be assigned a range to shoot on and be given a pass for that range. If the member wants to use another range, he must go to the range office, turn in his first range pass and get one for the second range he wants to use. If a member is caught shooting on a part of the facility he does not have a pass for, range staff will end his day at the range. He will be required to pack his stuff and leave. He can come back tomorrow but he is done for the day. Range staff will be checking the facility frequently to assure compliance with this new procedure for range use. It is for the best. It does not restrict range use at all but it does provide accountability for any damage done. We know who used it last and when it was checked last. This system is in use at hunting clubs everywhere so it should not be foreign to most of you. I enjoy shooting steel as much as everyone else. Good steel targets cost good money. Some of the target systems we have here are over 10 years old. They are in good shape because we take care of them, pulling maintenance on them regularly. A few morons are messing up what we have here and I'm fed up with it. If I knew who did this to our plate rack, I'd get a credit card number for a new plate rack and help them load the rack they tore up into their truck. Its part of the membership agreement. If you tear it up, you are responsible for the damage. If you want to keep your range use priveleges, you pay pay for it. If payment is refused, I'll see you in small claims court. That is the way it has to be.
This is the left hand plate rack on range 6. It was fine last week. Now its got a plate broken off. This is why we have a range rule that says, "No rifle, shotguns, or heavy magnum handguns allowed on the steel plates". It seems simple to most of us. Big guns have lots of energy. Lots of energy can cause lots of damage if it is deposited on something not designed for receiving the lots of energy... like the plate racks on the pistol ranges. This plate was ripped right off by a magnum. I have instructed the range staff to drop what they are doing if they hear magnum ammunition being fired from any pistol range and investigate. These plates are $49 each. I have a few spares on hand for when this happens. If you want to shoot magnums at this facility, do so on one of the ranges that can handle them, the public range, range 3 (the 50 yard pistol range), and range 7 (the rifle range). Each has rifle grade steel plates and target stands for shooting paper. Help us take care of what we have. Shoot only mild loads on the plate racks. Absolutely no rifles of any caliber and no shotguns may be shot on any of the pistol steel plate target systems. Each member has had a range safety briefing that included guidelines on what can and cannot be shot here.
Another example of irresponsible behavior. These are not targets. They did not have holes in them the last time I was on Range 6 but they have holes in them now. I paid Commander Board Signs $12 each to make these signs for me. They cost money. They will cost money to replace. Leaving them as they are will attract others to act irresponsibly. Please report anyone you see damaging any of the range property. I'll gladly give you a free lifetime membership as a reward. You will never pay dues here again. Neither will the one turned in for damaging our stuff. The can shoot somewhere else. They won't be allowed to return here.
The range's online gunstore is the busiest web portal to the Davidson's Gallery of Guns in the country. Seems if you search for "online gun store" our site comes up and tons of guys are shopping there. We deliver 3 - 4 guns a week on average to shooters in our area. Take a look at the online store the next time you are thinking about buying a new gun. Buying guns from the website is easy and fast. Pick out what you want, pay 25% down, its shipped here next day air. Pay the remainder at the range, do the background check for the ATF, take your new gun out to one of the ranges and enjoy. Its almost too easy.
Last week, Lee and I spent a day working on the member's rifle
range. The hunting season took its toll and it needed some
attention. I used my loader and dressed up the berms, fixed the pond at
the 50 yard line, straightened up the railroad ties, hung new target stands and
pulled maintenance on the steel plate. Its clean and ready.
The Steel Plate matches are starting back up. We'll run the Steel Challenge format match on ranges 1 and 2 on the second Saturday of each month. The four target arrays are set up for this match on these two ranges. Members are encouraged to practice on the plates. You can check a shot timer out of the range office to you can see how fast you are shooting. Please don't move the plates. They are where they need to be for the match. The match fee is only $5 per run. See the competition events page on this site for more info.
The range has a Dillon Precision distributorship. This means you can order anything you need from Dillon through us and get 10% off what they sell it for in their catalog. You still have to pay for shipping and sales tax (6%). We are pretty well stocked for handgun reloading with several common powders, primers and bullets in stock. Need brass? Take a look at ranges 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. There is plenty for the picking. As for bullets, I'll do my best to keep a good quantity on hand. Rifle reloaders are a diverse bunch. I tried to stock an inventory for reloading rifles. Moved slower than molasses. Couldn't make anybody happy. Wanted different styles of the same bullet from 6 different manufacturers. I gave up on them. I will be happy to special order anything you need.
If you notice that you are seeing less and less of me here, I've taken on some real estate and become a landlord. I have a few houses and am fixing up some more. The great hired help I have here at the range has allowed me to spend time on my real estate ventures. They should be able to help you with anything you need. I'm still around if you need anything they can't do for you.
My appoligies for the size of this page but what was said had to be said. You may be a party to the damage I illustrated above and did not realize. I posted this because it does concern me and the guys who work here. The task of keeping this facility presentable will be much easier with your help. If you see it on the ground, pick it up. If you broke it, help me fix it. If you see anyone else damaging our range, tell us.
I appreciate your support and am glad to be your