by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is a placeholder for one I promised earlier this week and forgot what it was. If you were looking for a particular report today and didn’t get it, please tell me what it is and I will reschedule it.

I was at the range yesterday, shooting off my rifle rest, when I discovered the rest was wobbling. That’s not good because one of the most important things a rest should be is stable. Normally, I would have been unable to fix the problem, which was loose bolts on the rest; but every tool I needed to make the repairs was in my range bag. So, I thought we could take a look at what I carry with me to the range. What you are about to read comes from years of shooting and thousands of hours on the range, where you sometimes need a tool.

Job No. 1
As things turned out, I needed special tools for 3 different jobs this day, and I had all of them in my range box. So let’s take a look. The first job was to tighten that rifle rest.

These three multi-tools and the small tool set have saved the day many times!

The rifle rest had bolts that were too hard for the pliers on my multi-tools to turn. But I also carry 2 small crescent wrenches, and one was the right size for the nuts on the end of the bolts. The bolt heads have large Allen wrench sockets, but I don’t carry an Allen wrench set with me. However, in a small tool set I do carry I found the exact size Allen wrench bit that was needed, so the bolts were tightened and the rest became rigid again.

crescent wrenches
I carry not 1 but 2 crescent wrenches because sometimes you need both. The duct tape has many uses and the plumber’s tape is for sealing pneumatics and CO2 guns. The shorter wrench is one I cut down years ago to carry on my bicycle.

Job No. 2
Then my shooting buddy, Otho, tried to sight-in his new Ruger .44 Magnum Deerslayer carbine. Turned out he needed a very tiny screwdriver bit for the rear sight’s elevation, and the small toolkit I carry happened to have exactly the right size! The ironic thing is that Otho gave me this set about a year ago!

We also had to drift (push sideways in a dovetail slot) the rear sight to get it aligned correctly, and one of my multi-tools has a small claw hammer that was perfect for the job. Otho had a brass drift punch, but the hammer he had was too small to move the sight. After getting the rifle sighted in, I put 8 out of 10 shots on a 6-inch bullseye at 100 yards, so the job was a complete success.

I always carry a wide variety of paper targets to the range because I never know exactly what I’ll need. I have 5-10 of each of these, plus targets not shown. The squares are great for 100 and 200 yards with powerful scopes!

You always need a stapler for the targets. And don’t forget to carry staples. I reload the stapler as soon as I hit the range and usually don’t need staples for the rest of the day.

Job No. 3
Then, we went to the 15-yard range, and Otho’s wife tried out a .32 S&W double-action revolver as a possible defense weapon. Otho had loaded the cartridges a long time ago, and they were very low power. So low, in fact, that they had ignition problems and one turned out to be a squib. The bullet was stuck in the barrel.

I always carry a .177-caliber cleaning rod to help extract rifle cartridges from guns with bad extractors. I’ve used it dozens of times just this year. But a .177 rod is too thin to drive a stuck lead bullet out of a barrel, so I also carry a military .30-caliber cleaning rod that’s broken down into many sections. One of them was perfect to drive the .32 bullet out the barrel so the gun could continue to shoot.

Cleaning rods
The .177 cleaning rod in the package has been used many times to push fired cartridges out of the chambers of rifles. The heavier .30-caliber jointed rod at the bottom is strong enough for many tougher jobs.

Then there are the supplies that I always need away from the house. For pneumatics, I carry a small jar of diver’s silicone grease to lubricate the o-rings on fill connections at the range. I also carry a couple CO2 cartridges in case I’m testing a CO2 gun and run out.

CO2 cartridges and diver's silicone
I carry diver’s silicone grease for pneumatics and CO2 cartridges just in case I run out. The gel pad was a Pyramyd Air giveaway several years back. I use it sometimes to rest my elbows when shooting off a rest.

Finally, there’s safety to consider. I always have several sets of disposable earplugs, and lately I’ve had to give them out. People go to a rifle range and forget to bring hearing protection. It’s such a common problem that they sell packages of a dozen plugs just for range bags. The binoculars are not in place of a spotting scope, but to augment one. If the caliber is large enough or the target is close enough, I don’t go to the trouble of setting up a spotting scope.

earplugs and binoculars
Earplugs are always with me, as are the binoculars. As cheap as optics are, today, I have several pairs in key locations. The yellow tool is a combination set of Allen wrenches and screwdriver bits. It isn’t that useful, but I have used it occasionally.

Other useful tools
That’s a quick look inside my range bag. I didn’t show some of the oils and solvents, but these are the big things I carry. What do you carry?