I arrived at the range and paid my $20 (plus tax) range fee. I used to have an annual pass (cost $650 for both the wife and I) but we let it expire during 2020 because the COVID shutdown made it silly to pay for a range pass we weren’t using. Once they reopened, we didn’t renew it because ammo had gotten so expensive that we couldn’t go shooting enough to make it worthwhile.

Why? At $20 an hour per shooting lane, we need to go to the range at least three times per month to make it worthwhile to have a membership. Even if the wife and I each took a lane, that still means a range visit every three weeks. Ammo has gotten to be so expensive that we just couldn’t pull that off.

In January of 2020, I bought a 1,000 round case of 9mm for $150. So 15 cents a round for 9mm. Then the ammo supply dried up. When I finally DID get a ‘good’ deal on 9mm, it cost me $150 for 500 rounds of 9mm. That’s right- 30 cents per round, for this stuff:

I took it to the range this morning. That was a disaster. After firing one magazine of it, the RSO came over and told me that I couldn’t shoot steel case ammo, because they were unable to sell the casings to their scrap dealer. He invited me to buy some ammo in the store to continue shooting. Here is a cross section of what they were selling:

Norma .22LR for $10 a box?

Remington .38 Special for $1 a round.

Winchester 9mm for 50 cents a round. I can get the same stuff from 2A warehouse for 37 cents a round.

This means that shooting 2 boxes of ammo at this range using their ammo is going to cost me:

  • A $10 annual “membership fee”
  • $20 for the range fee
  • $13 in extra ammo costs.

Over the course of a year, a monthly trip to the range using their ammo will cost me $406 in range fees and extra ammo costs. Also, I don’t reload, but if I did, this would bug me: They won’t let you take your brass with you.

So I will make sure that I have brass cased ammo next time.

Categories: economicsGuns


Max Barrage · January 11, 2022 at 2:45 pm

what a bunch of BS. I would never set foot in there again.

Big Ruckus D · January 11, 2022 at 2:47 pm

Screw their scrap guy. Tell him to get a magnet and sift out the steel, since he has a monopoly on getting the brass they won’t let you reclaim for reloading. What a fuck job. As usual, it’s about the money. Just peep that markup on the in house ammo. Not as bad as $15 ballpark beers, but the same principal is in play with having a captive customer. I’d likely find a different range. Or get tight with someone in the sticks who has enough acreage to setup a private range and go practice there.

Therefore · January 11, 2022 at 2:49 pm

The nearly local gun range I use also sells brass as part of their profit model.

When I went weekly they knew me and I had a chance to pickup my brass. Normally I’d recover somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of my brass. What this meant was I was buying 100 rounds of factory ammo per month.

But they have gotten pretty pushy about picking up brass now. The range officer will sweep all the brass out into the lanes at almost any instance. In the time it takes me to send two msgs down range he’s already swept up all the brass that isn’t in my shooting booth.

Now I get around 25% recovery. That plus the cost of ammo makes it hard to afford.

Glypto Dropem · January 11, 2022 at 3:54 pm

If you are shooting a revolver, do they make you dump the cylinder onto the floor? Fuck that! The empty brass IS MY PROPERTY! I would promptly leave and Yelp them into closing down.

Castor Vulgaris · January 11, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Dry fire, my friend. Yeah, yeah, dry fire is like dry humping. Hate to sound like a commercial, but MantisX makes it suck less and WILL make you suck less. The X2 is $99 (no live fire, dry only, $170 to have live fire – I’ve never used mine for live fire -save yourself $70) and the Laser Academy “portable” w\laser in one chambering is $99. Don’t need to buy the “standard” for $150. Buy a cheap tripod and download\print 8 1\2 x 11 size targets from the website.

I never did dry fire even though everyone I shot IDPA and High Power w\said I should. The ammopocalypse got me doing it and my MantisX gave me the feedback to make it useful.

They have a kydex holster for Glock that will fit one of their sensors on the rail for $80 or a piece of pic-rail that goes on your mag floor plate for $25. I just cut an old piece of rail and superglued it to a bad mag floor plate that I tore the guts out of. With a gutted mag and laser in the chamber there is almost zero chance of chambering a round and having an ND. You will get better with it. The only downsides are no recoil mgmt and no double taps. Not bad for less than $250 though. And the “range” never closes, gets too full, or has some clown w\ a 7″ AR pistol w\ an aggressive brake and poor muzzle discipline. Good luck.

    Divemedic · January 11, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    I have a Mantis, and love to dry fire. 100 dry shots a week. That is how I maintain proficiency with the now reduced amount of shooting I get to do. It’s amazing what it does for your trigger control. Still, nothing replaces live fire, and dry fire isn’t as fun.
    The range? The next closest range is ten minutes further away and run by a real dickhead. The next closest to that is another 20 minutes away, and is an outdoor range that has membership requirements.
    This is why so many gun stores love that you need to be an FFL to sell guns.

T Town · January 11, 2022 at 4:14 pm

I would find another range if possible. In my area, the local range started implementing a bunch of stupid rules, so I quit going and started driving about a half hour to a public range operated by the state wildlife management department. Then, I was fortunate to get a call from a local gun club, after being on the wait list for 2 years. After the initial membership buy in, it is only costing me $100/yr in dues. Yes, it is outdoors, but it is so under-utilized by the members, that over half the time I go, I am the only one there.

James · January 11, 2022 at 6:14 pm

Until 2020 I was loading 9mm for matches at 0.118/per round with pick up brass so I could shoot IDPA matches for 10.00match fee + 12.00ammo = 22.00. I shot EVERY month. Now replacement costs for ammo is 40.00 at minimum so it’s 50.00 per match, or way higher. no thanks

Jonathan · January 11, 2022 at 7:14 pm

Ugh, how long until they require customers to buy all ammo there?
Many indoor ranges are losing customers over stupidity like this… The last time I shot indoor was almost a decade ago and they wouldn’t let me shoot half the guns I brought along, even though the calibers weren’t on their prohibited list.

I’m glad to be in an area with lots of free places to shoot and nobody that complains about it.

Jonathan · January 11, 2022 at 7:16 pm

Where I used to live, an indoor range went to requiring TMJ or lead free ammo, 15 years ago when it was really rare… I found another place to shoot.

Steve · January 11, 2022 at 8:06 pm

Wow. That’s pricy. I have my own range at home, and am tickled pink just to be able to collect the lead, though a few of my neighbors leave their brass, too. I usually sell it back to them. Less than they would pay anywhere else, but still enough that I don’ t mind dipping into my stock of powder and primers.

Tom in NC · January 12, 2022 at 12:18 am

I work as an RSO and instructor at a local gun range/gun store. It’s a nice place, but to get that nice place the owners and investors have incurred huge costs associated with the initial construction (multiple millions of dollars – hell, the air handling system alone cost a million dollars) and running of the place, also a large monthly bill for utilities, payroll, supplies and inventory. Yes, we don’t let people shoot aluminum or steel cased ammo since it really does interfere with the recycling of the brass, but shooters are welcome to pick up their own brass – if they tell the RSOs they want to do that, we’ll push their brass and usually a little extra into their lane for them. The only time we insist people buy ammo from us is when they rent our guns – we need to know where the ammo came from to ensure guns go bang but not BOOM, especially a $40K machine gun someone is renting. We also allow for people who qualify with us to draw from an OWB holster, and we have no limits on speed of firing. Overall, I think we do a pretty damn good job of balancing a good customer experience with safety and good business practices. And like any business, our customers are welcome to go elsewhere if they find a place that better meets their needs – Yay capitalism!!

    Therefore · January 12, 2022 at 7:22 am

    I have zero issues with my nLGR collecting brass and selling it. They don’t care of you use steel cased it not.

    They spend the time with a magnet to remove steel cases from brass ..at the end of the day.

    I don’t like paying $1.00 per round for .45acp for a rented gun but I do understand. Besides wanting to make sure that they guns don’t go boom with somebody’s reloads, they want to make sure that there is enough pew to keep the gun from running away.

    It is the feeling of “You don’t get to pickup your brass” that helps to make it unpleasant. So we are looking for other options.

    Bad Dancer · January 12, 2022 at 7:30 am

    At least they didn’t say you couldn’t shoot steel or aluminum cased ammo because it would damage the backplate.

    And geeze it is sign of the times when I respect someone for admitting its due to scrap selling the brass to lazy sorters/reloaders than lying.

Jay Dee · January 13, 2022 at 11:47 am

USA Forged cases use standard boxer primers and can be reloaded.

TRX · January 13, 2022 at 4:24 pm

> this would bug me: They won’t let you take your brass with you.

That was a hard “no” from me at a couple of (now defunct) local ranges. I shoot a bit of 9mm Para and .45 ACP, but each and every .44 Auto Mag, .460 Rowland, and .45 Super case is expensive, and I’m not going to give them away so some bozo can melt them down for scrap.

The outdoor ranges have their own problems; infestations of “brass rats” who scrabble for every empty when it hits the ground. Sharp words were had with a few when I was shooting a semiauto. With the bolt action, I was slowly opening the bolt, removing each carefully fireformed wildcat case and putting it on the bench. One of the rats leaned in front of me grabbing at them. Apparently he was a friend of one of the range officers; when I threatened to remove his teeth with the butt of my rifle, I was asked to leave and not come back.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one; that range didn’t last long either.

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