Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This one is for the shooters....

Caution... Shooters only!
Last Friday I was able to skip out of work early with the boss and head on over to Bull Run Shooting Center in Centerville, VA.  This shoting center is a state park run by Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) and is a great venue for trap, skeet and sporting clays.  The price per round (25 shots) is about $5.50 for trap, skeet and wobble trap.  Sporting clays are a bit more per round.  It is super close to Washington DC and about a 25 minute drive from the house.

The shooting center is very convenient to most of the Washington DC area (Photo courtesy of Google Maps).
On this particular day my boss and I decided to shoot wobble trap.  This is a relatively new offer at most ranges but is rapidly gaining popularity because it is a hell of a lot of fun (and challenging).  A wobble trap range consists of an elevated shooting platform with five stations, built sorta like a pyramid.  One to five shooters can play a round.  Essentially you get five shots at each station for a total of 25 shots which incorporates one round.  The first shot at each station is a single clay.  Then you get two doubles.  The clays shoot out in front of you and the clay shooter under the station oscillates (like a fan) so no two clay shots are similar.  This mimics what you would encounter when upland hunting and flushing birds.  There is an assigned shooter/ range safety officer so all you have to do is yell out "pull" when its your turn and the range officers engages the clay shooter via remote control.
Here is a side view of the wobble trap stand.  You can see the range safety officer in the top right.  The shooter is lined up on station one at the lower left.  After five shots he'll move to his right one spot to station two.
All in all the boss man and I had a great day. We shot a total of three rounds which took about 30 minutes (it goes by really fast when its just two of you).  He beat me all three rounds (beginners luck!).  If you decide to give it a try the park is open to everyone of every ability.  They are ADA compliant and have classes for people who have never seen or fired a firearm in their lives.  They also sell ammo and rent guns on site but if you want to save some money buy your ammo at a local sporting goods store.  You can use 7, 8 or 9 shot (most use 8).  Just make sure they are target loads - they should be labelled as such.  This will save your shoulder as there is less black powder in a target load.  Game loads need more killing power so there is twice as much punch.  If you have a shotgun any type is acceptable up to a point.  Pump, semi-auto, break action all work, the only stipulation is that it needs to be able to hold two rounds.  A single barrel break action won't work.  Also make sure you use either a 12 gauge, 20 gauge or 410 gauge.

It's not a bad idea to also bring some sort of shooting vest or belt.  You can prop the box of ammo on the ledge in front of you but believe me, there is a great chance of knocking it over in all the excitement which is a total party foul.  If this happens the range safety officer has to shutdown half of the range so you can walk in front and pick up your spilt shells.  I personally use an upland hunting vest from Cabelas which cost me about $50.00.  It has plenty of pockets for up to four boxes of shells and has a built in strap/ belt system that distributes the weight evenly on your shoulders and hips.  If that's not your thing head on over to Wallmart and get a hip bag - cost is around $10.00.

Here are some 8 shot target loads.  A game load would have much bigger brass where the gun powder is located.  The rest of the shell is wading and shot.  BOOYAH!
This is what a clay pigeon looks like.  It is made of a biodegradable clay material that dissolves very rapidly and breaks easily.  This is great for the environment but means that these bad boys can deteriorate quickly in humid weather which causes a lot of bad shots.
The boss eyeing up the field getting ready for clay pigeon slaughter.
Shooter 1 ready....."PULL!"
As you can see the field is covered in broken clay pigeons.  You can also see the spent shells around the station.  The center is closed Mondays and Tuesdays just so they can clean up the place (and recycle the spent shells).
Yours truly with his trusted Mossberg 550 shotgun, Cabelas shooting vest and a big sh*t eating grin!

1 comment:

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