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June 26, 2008

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The Flood of ‘08, Shooting and the Price of Gas

I planned to spend Father’s Day filling sandbags. Fortunately the Iowa River floodwaters crested earlier and lower than anticipated and the city told volunteers to take the day off. This was great news for my sore back and even better news for Iowa City. Barring more rain, we’ve seen the high water mark of the Flood of ’08. As the waters recede, it will be time to clean up and calculate the cost of the flood, which may run to billions.

What does this have to do with shotguns? Well, because my house sits high and dry on a hill, the main cost of the Flood of ’08 to me is this:  due to the road closures and detours between home and the club where I shoot skeet, the 70 mile round trip is now 150 miles one way. Even if gasoline were free I wouldn’t want to make the drive very often. At $4 a gallon it’s not happening. I’ll wait for the water to go down.

Having to re-think my drive to the gun club reminds me that I’ve often wondered how far other people regularly travel to shoot. I don’t have any idea what the average distance is, but I do know that convenient access to a ranges is very important to recruiting and retaining shooters. So I’d like to take a poll: how far do you have to drive to the gun club, and will $4 gas mean fewer trips to the range for you this summer? 


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Tony C.

I have a 100-yard rifle range behind my house (it doubles as a sendero for shooting does in season), but I have to make a 100-mile round trip drive if I want to shoot 200. I won't be making it many times this summer.


I have a 30 mile round trip to shoot skeet and trap, 90 mile round trip to the rifle and pistol range...I won't be going there much this year,...my hunt lease is 90 mile round trip so I'll do my practice there.

Kurt W.

I'm really fortunate. My gun club, where I can shoot all disciplines, is only five miles away. Gas prices won't have an effect on my shooting. I'm in southern California, where gas is over $4.50 per gallon!

Jim in Mo.

I commented to a friend just last night about another cost of flooding. Down the river from you we're having deer/car casualties at a much higher rate than normal since they're seeking higher ground on the highways. Does and they're fawns are especially suseptable to cars/drowning/starvation.


Two clubs close to my home. One is only 3 miles, the other is about 12. Gas not an issue.


Just announced: Heller affirmed.
US Constitution guarantees an INDIVIDUAl right to a firearm.


Hey boys, we just won a big one! SCOTUS came down on our side!

Dan in PA



My range is a 30 mile round trip. I just bought a new car that's getting around 35 mpg, so I won't limit my trips too much.

BTW, the Supreme Court ruling is wonderful, but....now the fight will turn to weapon capacity, lead bans, microstamping and trying to get rid of ranges because of noise pollution and lead contamination.

The fight to keep our guns looks better, the fight to use them may have just begun!



I live in North Jersey (7 miles from NYC)

I have to drive about 40 miles one way to the north in New York to shoot at a really nice 100 yard indoor range with electronic target controls. Can’t shoot pistol there because NY does not allow NJ residents to posses a pistol unless it is a sanctioned competition and you can prove it.

I have a skeet range about 25 miles away. I shoot 20 weeks a year there for the DU league, which we all car pool now….

I have reduced my days at the range, but while I am there I spend more time and money…..


I have a 6 mile drive to my range which is located on the farm my wife owns. And no, this is not the reason I married her. Didn't hurt tho....


I'm driving about 40 miles, round trip, to shoot at the range. I pay a daily fee of about $15 to shoot there. It has good, but often crowded rifle facilities and a skeet/trap range that is open most of the time if one of the range volunteers is available to man it.

I don't go there so much anymore. Between the cost of fuel, the range fee, and the fact that I have to shoot in fifteen minute firing periods with target checks and changes only during the breaks... well, it's just too restrictive. It's a good place to go zero in, it sucks for field practice.

I drive about three hours, each way, to shoot on BLM property where I can set up my own targets at my own ranges and configurations. With diesel at over $5/gallon around here, I don't drive out there at all unless I'm going to hunt.

I sure miss living back in NC, where I could take all my guns out behind the barn and shoot to my heart's content.


The trap and skeet range I shoot at is 24 miles round trip, so gas really isn't a big deal. We have a 100 yard rifle range where I deer hunt, so that's not a big deal either. I don't need anything longer than 100 yards since it would be impossible to find a shot over 150 yards anywhere I hunt.

SD Bob

The skeet range I hit is maybe five miles off but untill yesterday the only place I had to shoot rifles was 85. My new home for targeting is 36 miles so I'll go more but not much more.

Ralph the Rifleman

The nearest public shooting range to me is approx.14 miles away. It is a clay shooting open range(no trap or skeet stations)bring your thrower/clays, pay $6, and shoot all day if you like!
For rifles, there is an indoor 50 yard range less then 6 miles away that will allow up to the .300 magnum caliber.
My outdoor rifle range is about 40 miles away in a public game hunting unit that has a recently renovated rifle and trap-skeet range at a cost of $15, not a bad deal since I live 2 miles from the border of populated Detroit.


SCOTUS in Heller:

n a concluding paragraph to the his 64-page opinion, Scalia said the justices in the majority "are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country" and believe the Constitution "leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns."

Anyone who thinks we 'won' is sadly mistaken. So the court affirmed the Second Amendment as an individual right but in the same breath left a lot of room for what we call infringement.

Feinstein has already weighed in stating her feeling that people are less safe because of this ruling. Sarah Brady et al can't be far behind in rhetoric.

We shall have to see where BHO and McCain come in. What scares me is that we gun owners will go complacent; we can not do that.

Duck Creek Dick

The Supremes affirmed what we knew all along. A great day! The Brady Bunch are trying to put on a brave face but there is no doubt they got drubbed. Time to give NRA-ILA a few bucks, I think.

Mike Diehl

About 50 miles round trip to the range where I am a member. In my Toyota Echo, that is about 1.3 gallons, and in my Ford Ranger about 2 gallons, so gasoline prices could double again and it would not impact my target shooting at all.

Brian T

No effect at all. I belong to a club with a full-featured range facility some 20 minutes out in the country from my place.


We are extremely blessed. If my kids and/or I want to shoot clay birds or line in a rifle at 100 yards, we go five minutes down the road to a field of ours and burn powder to our hearts' content. If we simply want to make noise with a pistol, we step out the back door. Again, truly blessed and we know it.


The nearest rifle range is 80 miles round trip, but I can shoot archery and trap/skeet on Camp Lejeune. Gas doesn't really affect my decision because I get so little time to shoot anways I always take what I can get. The distance to the rifle range more than anything else has pushed me to archery because I can shoot for free on base 24/7. Why spend my precious weekend time driving when I could be out scouting or fishing?

Del in KS

This just in the SCOTUS has just ruled in our favor on gun rights!

Del in KS

OOPS, guess I was a little late.

Anyhow there are 3 trap and skeet ranges within 1 hour of home. The nearest is 15 min drive for Trap, Skeet, Sporting clays and Fivestand. My rifle club has a range complex (thanks to Bruce Hodgdon) that would make some Army bases green with envy. It's only 18 minutes away. Not a problem for my Tundra.

Robert Parker

Kind of depends on what I want to shoot. The public range I go to for rifle and pistol is about 35 miles away, but I don't go real often. That's because I've sold my cartridge guns to buy a nice bow. I still drive about 30 miles to shoot my bow at a friend's place though. However, there's a really nice gun club about 5 miles away that I could shoot anything if I wanted to; I just don't have time or money right now because of school. The cost of gas doesn't factor in. If I still lived in Tennessee, it'd be a "drive" of about 20 yards from the house to the range on my parents' property (would really like to move back there).

Mike Reeder

While it's true that Scalia's majority opinion left the door open to certain regulations, it is not true that gun owners were not big winners today. Just imagine what a contrary opinion on the issue of individual right vs. collective right under a militia might have led to. No right is absolute; otherwise, it would be license. The majority did not go into a statute-by-statute determination of what is constitutional and what is not, other than to list certain areas subject to restriction. Any and all of those restrictions could become fodder for challenges based on today's ruling. Two words should jump out from the ruling: Roberts and Alito. Had it been a Pres. Kerry or a Pres. Gore making those appointments there would be very little to celebrate indeed. Obama's declaration that he too believes in an individual right to own guns is simply insulting. He sponsored legislation that would have shut down every gun store in Illinois, and as director of the Joyce Foundation in Chicago he steered millions of dollars to "The Violence Policy Center" which describes itself as "the most aggressive group in the gun control movement.” The same group published a study in 2000 entitled “Unsafe in Any Hands: Why America Needs to Ban Handguns.” Before the Potomac Primary Obama declared his support for the DC gun ban and said it did not violate the Constitution. He also fully supports the Chicago gun ban, which the NRA is now targeting.
Changing gears to the original subject of the day, I have cut back driving on all fronts. My closest gun range is 20-miles away so my backyard pellet gun shooting and den dry-firing will have to substitute for range shooting a bit more than usual. A bit of an inconvenience, but hardly Grapes of Wrath stuff.

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