You can travel many miles in our country before you come across a 1000 yard rifle range open to the public. I believe there are less than a dozen. Last month the Best of the West Shooting Range opened four miles west of the little community of Liberty Hill, Texas on Hwy. 29. Situated on four hundred acres of grazing land is a facility that is very well conceived and designed. Even though it is not fully completed, you can tell the owners are on the right track. Located within an hour drive of Austin and centrally located in the state; this range will surely draw shooters from all sorts of shooting disciplines. Being on flat land, there was a considerable amount of dirt work done. Over a quarter of a million yards were moved and formed into safety berms and shooting back stops.
This shooter was getting ready for an F Class competition.
The rifle range is of a stair step design, with back stops at 50, 100, 250, 500, 750 and 1000 yards. The cinderblock and solid concrete shooting benches are lined up under a steel roof and on a concrete pad. Because of the design of the range there are two tiers of benches in a row. The lower tier is for the closer ranges. The shooting line is regulated by an experienced range master. To shoot 1000 yards a person has to qualify under the watchful eye of the range master. All 1000 yard shooting is on steel targets provided by the range. There are also some steel targets at the other longer ranges. You can shoot prone or any F class position if you so desire. 50 caliber rifles are allowed but I assume special shooting provisions have to be followed. The management is very flexible and can arrange for different types of shooting competitions.
The longer range back stops
If pistol shooting is your desire, then you will love this place. In total they have six individual tactical bays all 50 yards wide and varying in length from 50 to 125 yards. Concealed carry classes are held regularly and they have their own range. IDPA, cowboy action, three gun and many other groups can and do use the ranges. The range folks are glad to help specialty shooting groups set up and hold contests. Most of the bays are finished but while I was there the bulldozer was doing some final touch up work.
The firing line
They did not forget the shotgun shooters. Close to the club house are two skeet and two trap ranges each equipped with a covered bench area. You run the machines yourself at your own pace. This will allow experienced shooters to instruct others about the shotgun sports. Skeet and trap have proven to be a big draw for the range so far with many private groups setting up their own shooting events. The fields are regulation which will allow official shoots to be held.
A down range look from the firing line
I can tell these folks have thought of the hunter when setting this place up. They even have an archery 3-D course set up for practice and competitions.
Working on a pistol bay
This is only the first phase of this range. A pro shop is in the plans for the near future. You will be able to purchase just about anything for your shooting and archery needs. RV hook ups and pads are going to be built; allowing shooters with RVís to come spend the weekend for shooting events. Lastly, they hope to build a restaurant where shooters can go eat, drink, relax and compare notes. The management really wants to make this facility family friendly. Shooters are invited to bring out their children and have them get involved.
Skeet and trap fields
This facility is open to the public and you can buy a membership. The membership allows you to shoot and use the facility at greatly reduced prices. I look forward to watching this range grow and to see the completed project. The Best of the West Range has the basis for being one of the best shooting facilities in the nation. If you were wondering if they were related to the TV show of the same name: the answer is yes and no. They have a marketing agreement together. Check them out at; www.texasshootingrange.com. Long range shooting is alive and thriving in Texas.
After twenty-five years with a major law enforcement agency, John Johnston retired to the hill country of central Texas. His law enforcement career was diverse with assignments with the tactical/motorcycle unit, patrol, and criminal investigation. After retiring, writing became his calling. He started with a newspaper column which, he still writes and then moved up to major magazines in the area of shooting and hunting. He is known for his unbiased product testing and evaluations. Having a full size range from 25-450 yards next to his home was his dream come true. 2010 marks his fiftieth anniversary in the hunting, shooting and reloading sports. You will notice his writing style is quite relaxed and he prefers to write like he is speaking to you around a camp fire. John welcomes questions and comments whether good or bad. You can reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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