Friday, December 01, 2006

‘Brass on the grass’ surprisingly hot at Sciota Rifle Range, Unicoi’s best-kept secret

Best-kept secret? Well it was before this news article came out. It was nice to read about this range on public land, that is open to everyone, and appears to be well kept.

The article appeared in the Valley Beautiful Beacon, a paper serving Erwin, Flag Pond and Unicoi Tennessee.

Residents of Unicoi County may not know that within Cherokee National Forest is Unicoi’s best-kept secret, Sciota Rifle Range. Yes, muzzle meets mountain in a safe and beautiful, natural environment where use of the National Forest is not just limited to hiking, camping and fishing. Pistol, rifle, shotgun, and all kinds of gun enthusiasts may also enjoy the natural surroundings that the forest provides. And enjoy it they do . . .with a bang...

...The range is unsupervised and open during daylight hours only. There are 3 separate ranges, at 25, 50, and 100 yards, from which to shoot. It is advisable that you bring personal targets and silhouettes at which to fire, and throw away all trash that you accumulate, including shells and paper or plastic targets.

There is a fee to use the range, $2.00/day or $30.00/year, a very reasonable fee by any standards.

The article goes on to discuss firearm safety and range etiquette:

To fully benefit from the experience that the rifle range affords, one must know,
fully understand, and practice rifle range rules and etiquette.

First, always remember to put safety first and use range commands properly with care. Most importantly, never handle a gun as if it is unloaded, even if it is unloaded. Keep muzzles pointed downrange, keep fingers off the trigger until you are ready to fire, and only point the gun at your intended target.
They mention the necessity of bringing along eye and hearing protection, even for the non-shooters. This is very important. If you Sweetie is going with you to the range to watch you compete, she should have, at the minimum, hearing protection.

This suggestion got a smile out of me:

Thirdly, make sure that you have cleaned your weapons after each and every use. Showing up with a dirty firearm is not only a safety hazard but poses health hazards as well. A clean gun is ready for clean firing. Too, bring enough ammunition to the range.
I am not sure how a dirty firearm poses a health hazard, bu the suggestion that folks "bring enough ammunition" is priceless.

Thirdly, learn and use proper range language and body positions as you approach and participate in the firing line. A “hot” range is one in which gunfire is occurring or is expected to occur. Non-participants should stand behind the shooter and opposite the target during gunfire. During a “cold” range, no weapons should be handled, loaded, or chambered. A cold range allows shooters to check and/or change target settings. Only shooters should “go downrange” toward the target area.

Both hot and cold ranges are equally dangerous and require extreme care and caution. “Cease fire” means just that, stop firing. Finally, a range that is “clear” signifies that shooters may safely proceed toward their target.

Remember safety first.
In other words, during a cease fire, while folks are downrange checking/resetting targets, keep your mitts off of your firearms.

I hope you folks in this Tri-Cities area treasure what you have with this range. Ranges like this are few and far between.

1 comment:

Fits said...

Um, I guess that a dirty firearm can be a health hazard to those alergic to miniscule traces of lead and gunpowder. Kinda like the folks who keel over just at the sight of a peanut.