What to take to the range
by B.B. Pelletier
This report was inspired by Scott298, who asked me to discuss what a shooter should have available in the field and at home when shooting. I will concentrate on the field.
My shooting kit has been assembled over the years from shooting competitive field target and from having to travel many miles to get to a range. Whenever I needed something I didn’t have, it probably made its way into the kit.
Let’s start with safety and comfort. I always carry extra shooting glasses and disposable foam earplugs. Even if I know I’ll be wearing electronic muffs at the firearm range (ALWAYS!), I never know where I’ll be when I’m NOT at the firearm range. Sometimes it’s just nice to have hearing and eye protection to pass around.
I always carry OFF Deep Woods insect repellant, and to this day, I still carry a can in my kit. The insects are not always bothersome, but they can be on the odd day when the wind doesn’t blow. In cold weather, chemical hand warmers are a real blessing to have. They last for many hours and will get you by when the weather takes a nasty turn.
When shooting PCPs and bulk CO2 guns, I always carry spare fill adapters, because you never know when an adapter will blow an O-ring. I also carry a roll of Teflon tape and two crescent wrenches in case I need to fix any connections. I’ve never used these on my own equipment, but I have fixed a number of other shooters’ fill devices this way. I also carry a jar of silicone grease and a small bottle of Crosman Pellgunoil. Because I once ran out of CO2 cartridges 27 miles from home, I carry three spares in my kit all the time.
Fill devices, continued
I also take a hand pump rated to fill whatever guns I’m shooting, because a scuba tank eventually drops in pressure. I have a Hill pump for when the gun needs more than 3,000 psi (the new AirForce hand pump, which I don’t have yet, goes all the way up to 3,600 psi). I used to carry an 80 cubic-foot scuba tank, but my wife took pity on me and let me get an 88-cubic foot carbon fiber air tank. It weighs half as much as a scuba tank and carries MUCH more air, so even when testing big bores I have all the air I need.
Sometimes, I shoot with open sights and instead of walking 50 yards downrange to see the target, I carry a small pair of 8×21 binoculars. I started carrying them when I shot field target.
Can’t have enough tools when you need them, and the range is a bad place to need them and not have them. I take all my Allen wrenches (for scopes, mostly), a B-Square tool kit, and several cleaning rods for clearing the bore. More than once I have been stymied when a pellet got stuck in the bore a long way from home.
Targets and target holders
I always inventory my range box to make certain I’m carrying enough targets when I head to the range. I’ve been caught short so many times that I even carry a couple universal targets in my truck all the time. A 50′ slow-fire pistol target can substitute for many things in a pinch, including a 100-yard rifle target. For target holders on the informal ranges I visit, I use cardboard boxes. The targets are taped to the boxes and if there is wind, I put rocks inside to keep them steady. I always carry at least one box in my truck at all times. A roll of Scotch tape is always in my kit, and when I go to the firearms range where they have rubber target hangers to attach targets to, a heavy-duty stapler and extra staples go along. I also have an Air Arms folding target frame that is always with me. If I need to sight in, I can put this frame on the ground 10′ away with a 10-meter pistol target in it. It’s perfect for sighting in a scope.
I’ve used an MTM range box for the past 10 years and it’s perfect for holding everything except the cleaning rods. It’s about the same size as a large tackle box. It’s similar to this small Plano case. Although it has room in the top for pistols, I usually carry them separately, because the box is always loaded with so much other stuff, including ammunition.
Besides all that, I carry pellets, chronographs and a digital camera.