A few months ago I got the chance to go shooting on a Saturday with some friends. I love going shooting, so I was really looking forward to it. It was OK, but not as much fun as usual. The high price of ammo weighed heavily on my mind. I did get to shoot an AR15 (not mine) chambered in 450 Bushmaster, so at least it wasn’t a total bust. I also went shooting the next day, Sunday. Different group of friends, different place, a little better experience. Since then, ammo has gotten even harder to find and even more expensive. Based on that, I’ve made some personal rules for target shooting. More like suggestions I guess, because they’re just to help make target shooting more enjoyable for me. Maybe they’ll work for you too…
My personal rules for target shooting
I know, rules… part of the reason I go shooting is to get AWAY from all the rules we have to put up with every day. So wtf??? Like I said, these are personal rules that I’ve decided to follow to make my own shooting more enjoyable. Well, at least more affordable… The days when I can just go out and blast in the desert are gone – for a few reasons. If you watch the news at all, you can probably guess at some of those reasons. Others are more localized, like an extremely dry climate with lots of dead grass in the desert and high winds every afternoon. Add to that the places I go shooting are getting more crowded all the time it seems, so I’m thinking I need to make some changes to my shooting routine.
Rule 1 – don’t go alone
Of all the rules, I hate this one the most. For me, a lot of times going shooting is a way to get away from everything. Sometimes I don’t even shoot – I just walk around and take in the scenery. Or envision new training scenarios. Or just hunt for brass that others have left behind. In today’s world, going alone might not be such a great idea.
The area where I live has seen a huge influx of urban people moving to the suburbs and rural areas. Unfortunately, a lot of them bring their city attitudes with them. They’ll set up right next to where you’re shooting, their gun handling sucks (as in unsafe), and a lot of them have gang-style tats. A lot of them act like “respect” is something owed solely to them, and you’d better not “dis” them.
Around the time I went shooting with my friends, three men in Florida were beaten, shot, and murdered in Florida while they were fishing. In my neck of the desert, I stumbled across a group of John Brown Gun Club members out “practicing.” (If you don’t know why that’s concerning, try Googling JBGC or Redneck Revolt)
Rule 2 – make your shots count
I love plinking. Blasting dirt clods and plastic jugs is one of my favorite things to do. Heck, I even like doing mag dumps once in awhile. Not now though – ammo is too expensive and too hard to find. I pretty much always took targets with me before. Now I always do, and also I plan the kind of shooting I’m going to do.
Rule 3 – Pick up your brass
Even if you don’t reload, it’s a good idea to pick up your brass. Who knows, maybe some day you’ll start reloading. Even if you don’t, you can give it to a friend that does or recycle it and use the money to buy more ammo.
Rule 4 – Shoot something different
Before the current ammo shortage, I shot mostly 9mm and 5.56, with a little 308 thrown in the mix. Not any more – can’t afford it. I used to only shoot 22 long rifle for small game, but now it’s about all I shoot. It’s overpriced right now (about the same as I was paying for 9mm and 5.56 six months ago), but at least I can afford to shoot it. To keep my training as realistic as possible, I bought a 22 LR conversion kit for my AR-15 and a Glock 44 (same size as my G19). I’ve also rekindles my love affair with revolvers and bolt action rifles.
Rule 5 – Be ready to buy
Even today, you can occasionally find decently priced ammo (and reloading components) but you have to be ready to buy fast. A couple weeks ago, I found small rifle primers for sale. Just when I was getting ready to order, my wife asked me to look at something in the other room. When I got back to the PC a few minutes later, they were already sold out. Same thing happened the other day with a case of 5.56 ammo.
Rule 6 – Practice dry firing
If you’re into training, you can do a lot with dry firing. I know… when I was a kid we were taught that dry firing was harmful to the gun. That’s still true for 22’s, but most modern centerfire guns (both rifle and pistol) are perfectly safe to dryfire, with no risk to the gun. You can also do it in your house (double and triple check to make SURE it’s empty), so you also save on gas since you’re not driving to your shooting range.
Rule 7 – Don’t go shooting
This was a hard pill for me to swallow, but it is doable. I’ve taken up other outdoor hobbies. I found some nice walking routes around my house that mostly keep me out of the urban sprawl (that’s a whole nother post…). I bought a predador call and I’m learning how to call in coyotes. We have racoons in the area so I bought some traps. I’m in the process of cleaning and dying them. I also bought some snares that I’ve been trying to catch rabbits with (so far unsuccessfully).