5 Frequently Asked Questions About Shooting Ranges

Indoor Shooting Ranges
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5 Frequently Asked Questions About Shooting Ranges

There’s no such thing as a stupid question. And since you might not know what you don’t know, there's value in looking at questions other people ask — along with their answers.

You never know what you might learn, and that's especially true when it comes to topics surrounding firearms.

One area related to firearms that many people may have questions about is shooting ranges. Answering those questions can be important.

There's already so much to think about when it comes to firearms, and you don’t want to have issues when you're finally able to practice shooting yours. 

Check out these common FAQs about shooting ranges so you're more prepared during your next outing. 

How much does a typical outing at a shooting range cost?

The cost of a trip to the range can vary by a lot.

Every range has different price points, and the costs vary depending on your own actions and needs.

Despite this variation, you can still find ways to reasonably estimate the price based on certain known expenses.

By and large, the biggest factor is the price of ammunition. There are also other costs associated with going to the range, though. Those can include:

  • Fees the range charges for the privilege of shooting there
  • The cost of specific safety equipment
  • Fees for renting guns available at the range

Plus, you'll have to pay for the cost of transportation to and from the range.

And if you're traveling a bit to get to a range or planning to stay for a while during your shooting session, you may need to pay for food or beverages.

Some of the expenses associated with a shooting range are one-time costs, which softens the blow to your wallet.

For example, the price you pay for safety equipment is divided up over all the times you go to the range. More visits to the range equals a reduced cost overall for each visit.

Other items, such as certain fees or ammo cost, occur each time you go to the range. 

How many rounds should you shoot at the range?

Fantastic question! However, the answer varies depending on what your goal is when going to the range.

Are you trying to train for something specific? Or are you just going to blow off steam and have some fun?

If it’s the latter, that’s technically still training, but how much you shoot in this case is really just a matter of personal preference.

If you're training for a specific purpose, you may need to take that into account.

Chances are you can find a drill to help you get better at whatever skill you're working on.

Most drills have specific patterns of repetition, so how much you shoot will depend on how many shots each iteration of the drill takes.

You'll need to decide how many iterations of a drill you plan to do so you know how much ammo to shoot.

Do bullets ever bounce back at shooting ranges?

At the risk of sounding noncommittal, the answer is yes and no.

It’s impossible to say with 100 percent certainty that a bullet will never — ever —under any circumstance bounce back at you on a range.

Ricochets are a real thing, and depending on where the round strikes, what it strikes and even what kind of round it is, there is always a possibility it might find its way back to you.

If you’re shooting at an indoor range, for example, and you shoot high or low, things can happen.

If there are metal rafters there, if the targets are on metal hanging structures and you hit one or even if there is a lot of fired ammo at the other end of the range, ricochet can occur. 

This isn't a concern only at indoor ranges. Outdoor ranges have their own possibilities, especially if you’re shooting steel targets.

In that case, make sure you’re standing far enough away from the target. That steel ping is satisfying and great for training purposes, but it can also mean bullet bounce.

Plus, there’s also shooting barriers and even vehicles that might be present at an outdoor range and these can account for ricochets.

Having said all that, the chances of one of these ricochets happening to you are slim.

It’s a rare occurrence and one that can be greatly mitigated by practicing proper range etiquette and adhering to safety procedures.

If you’re using your gun properly, you greatly decrease the likelihood of a ricochet happening — much less the bullet finding its way back to you.

Can you bring whatever you want to a gun range?

It varies depending on the range. For example, we wouldn’t expect to shoot an RPG at an indoor range.

But the extremes aside, for the most part, the answer is yes. As long as you're legally able to own and shoot the firearm you intend to bring, you can do so at most ranges.

There are caveats, though.

Some ranges might have certain rules for larger weapons, some might limit how much you can shoot certain weapons and some might have staff that is opposed to certain items.

It's best to call ahead to your intended range and ask what their rules are; that way you know and there won’t be any issues on range day.

Also, keep in mind that just because you saw a guy on YouTube shoot through a windshield on a range doesn’t mean your range will let you bring a car to do that.

In fact, if they aren’t already set up that way, there’s a strong likelihood it won't be allowed. That doesn’t mean they’re trying to rain on your parade. Sometimes these things are a legal issue.

Again, ask in advance so you won’t be disappointed.

Why do shooting ranges ban steel ammo?

This one is an interesting question, and it requires a couple of clarifications up front.

First, this is in regard to steel core ammunition and not steel cased ammo. Although, you may encounter ranges that lump the two together.

Next, this is mainly an issue at indoor ranges, but you might find outdoor ranges that also prohibit steel core ammo.

There are actually a few reasons why your range might ban this particular ammo.

Let’s get the uncomfortable one out of the way first: Some range owners and operators misunderstand steel core ammo. There’s a common misconception that steel core ammunition is banned in the US, but this is not the case.

The reason for this is that it’s confused with armor piercing rounds because those rounds often use steel. However, just because a round has a steel core doesn’t mean it’s an armor piercing round.

The next reason steel ammo may be banned is one of practicality. Steel ammo does penetrate further because of the steel core.

This can be a problem for backstops and obviously is a bigger issue at an indoor range.

That consistent deeper penetration — possibly punching through the backstop altogether — can cause headaches for range upkeep and maintenance.

So rather than deal with that, the ranges will ban the ammunition.

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