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Range Time

During my early years in Ontario regular target practice wasn’t a priority, in the neighbourhoods I roamed it was mostly iron sights and short shots, 100 yards was a doozy. We were big woods hunters and the 30-30 was king, it wasn’t until much later that the .308 and 30-06 started creeping into camps with scopes on top. It was a time and place where a box of shells would last a person a decade or so.

Building up a heavier load in the smoke pole for spring black bear.

Picking a sunny fall morning before moose and deer season the guys would gather in a local gravel pit and fire away at targets, mostly off hand at 50 yards, if you leaned over the hood of a pick-up you were probably a little more serious than the rest. Hell, I remember testing the sights on my slug gun after rolling the old three-wheeler by leaning against a porch post and plugging a couple shots into a dead tree 75 yards away on the island in front of our cabin. All we were looking for was minute of deer accuracy and as a group we probably missed more due to excitement than inaccurate firearms.

A few years back I finally broke down and joined a range. Living in the west now, it wasn’t difficult to find places to set up a few targets and plink away but the variable reducing set up of a decent gun range goes a long way to consistent, safe shooting. Dialling in a new scope or rifle, checking sights after a gun has been knocked around or regular practice, it is damn hard to beat a good bench at known ranges.

I’m not a shooting die hard, with a limited supply of guns in my safe I like to stay familiar at the ranges I hunt out too. Depending on the time of year I could be up there a couple times a week, a couple times a month or absent for the fall season unless there is a reason, like the rings on my muzzleloader coming loose. The most important thing days at the range do is build my confidence and keep my shooting ethics strong for days in the field, it’s the least we can do.

See you on the water or the mountain.

-Matthew Mallory


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