I’m not a fan of the cold. Some days I just plain hate it and can barely stand to walk to my car let alone spend the day outside. Occasionally though it does have its advantages. That is especially the case on a weekend day at a popular public range. The range: Elk Neck State Park located in the northeast corner of Maryland near the borders of both Delaware and Pennsylvania. With temperatures below freezing and snow on the ground the range is empty. Unfortunately that’s about the only way I can tolerate this particular range and it’s especially important today because we have brought the kids. As a public range with a minimum of supervision you don’t always feel safe in regards to the practices of your fellow shooter’s around you. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have any public ranges at all available here in the People’s Republic of Maryland. Truly I am. It’s not a bad range either. Fairly well maintained with a 100 yard rifle range, a dedicated area to shoot skeet and a pistol range. I believe there is also an archery range but to be honest I don’t believe I have ever seen it. The cost to use the range is $10 per person for a daily pass and kids under 18 shoot free with a paying adult. The passes are purchased through an honor system at the nearby Ranger’s Office. One disadvantage of using Elk Neck is that you must provide your own free standing target stands and those stands must be of a certain height. In the case of Elk Neck the center of the target must be at least 54″ above the ground. On this particular day we used a homemade stand made of PVC tubes.
It was one of those snowy days that was absolutely calm and eerily silent. It would make the rifle retorts of the .22’s the kids were shooting seem like cannon fire. We brought a variety of rifles for the kids to shoot. I brought my Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 and my daughter’s Marlin 795. My brother-in-law brought a couple of other tube fed .22’s and a .17 HMR. We even broke out the Hi-Point 9mm carbine to give the kids the opportunity to shoot something with a little more kick. There is nothing more important in my mind than exposing children to firearms at the earliest appropriate age in order for them to learn to respect the danger involved and the safety measures necessary to handle them. I also feel strongly that if we hope to keep our 2nd Amendment rights in this country we better prepare our youth to continue to fight the battle we wage every day to maintain the rights granted by the founding father’s of this country.
The kids shot primarily at 50 and 100 yards. I think they all enjoyed the M&P 15-22 the most because of course, it looks cool and evil, and all of them took the opportunity to rapidly pepper the target as quickly as they could pull the trigger. I have to say they shot everything pretty well. Mainly shooting off the benches they were much more accurate that I would have expected. Even at 100 yards I was impressed by their ability to stay on the target.Everyone had the opportunity to shoot all of the rifles we brought. Giving them a chance to see how different one firearm is from the next. They even did some offhand shooting while standing with relatively good results.
All in all a very good day. We had a great time instructing and educating them and the kids had a blast. They learned how to handle the rifles we brought safely and effectively. As far as I am concerned they learned true life skills that will hopefully serve them well for years to come. We ended up shooting nearly until sunset. The temperature was dropping fast and the kids were beginning to lose focus. Time to go.
Categories: Day at the Range