Santa Brought Austin a Brand New Shooting Range for Christmas!

50 yrd

by Alan Brooks

Christmas just got a little merrier for those of us in central Texas with the grand opening of a new outdoor range just south of Austin. The Shooting Ranch welcomed its first customers the day after Christmas with an apparently spectacular machine gun shoot on their demolitions range. I couldn’t make it to see the machine guns, but I drove out the next day to take a look at the facility and to meet with James Stinson, the owner. James is a serial entrepreneur with a unique vision for the 150 acre plot of former cattle pasture that The Shooting Ranch is built on . . .

“I want this to be the Schlitterbahn of shooting,” James said, referring to the famous Texas waterpark. The current four ranges (a 300 yard rifle range, a 50 yard pistol/rifle range, a 150 yard full-auto/demolitions/steel target range, and a .22 cal kids’ range) take up about a tenth of the property and James says that he plans to expand over the next year-and-a-half to include a 3D archery course, a 50 yard pop-up steel target pistol course, and an 18-stop sporting clays area.

All that plus a stocked catfish pond so mom and the kids can go fishing while dad puts a few rounds downrange. Although mom may not mind shooting so much anymore. One of the big differences you’ll notice at The Shooting Ranch is that the staff is almost entirely female. James said that he wanted to get away from the stereotype of the grumpy old men that staff some ranges.

IMG_4926

James says he wants people to feel comfortable at his range, particularly women and new shooters.

 300 yrd rifle

I for one am thrilled at the prospect of having a place to test handloads that’s only 20 minutes away and I’m sure that many other central Texans are just happy to have a place to shoot that isn’t Red’s Indoor Range.

comments

  1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I sure wish those partition walls between shooting lanes were made of poured concrete or 1/2 inch thick steel.

    Sorry to nitpick.

    1. avatar Kyle in CT says:

      I was thinking that too. OSB isn’t much of a barrier. Though I have a preference for Lexan so I can see if my next-door neighbor is doing something stupid, as they sometimes do. That being said, it’s fairly typical of an outdoor range. Putting expensive materials outside and exposed to the weather isn’t great for a business.

      1. avatar Oddux says:

        Bulletproof barriers are unnecessary. A good range officer with an eye for muzzle control will do the trick. Two partial walls of concrete will only help against stupid people pointing in those two directions. Muzzle control and proper gun handling are the only real routes to safety.

    2. Agreed we could have made thicker walls, but I think safety all starts with the people shooting and the communicated expectations of them. Our focus instead of partitions was on the berms, the different attractions and the location. I will surely consider that as we expand.

      1. avatar LKB says:

        James:
        Saw from your website that you’re temporarily shut down, apparently due to issues with your neighbors. What happened and when will you be reopened?
        LKB

  2. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Well that’s cool. There is a range very much like this in Mt Pleasant MI where they shoot idpa. Any plans for that in the future?

  3. avatar Robert L says:

    Can you shoot FMJ on the rifle range? The super grumpy range to the NW of Austin insists that you can’t shoot FMJ on their rifle range, and when asked says that Texas law prohibits FMJ on ranges that are <1000 acres in size. (I've asked that question multiple times to different grumpy range officers, and they always give the same answer.) I can't find a law like that anywhere, but I'm no expert.

    1. avatar Robert L says:

      Well, I should have read the FAQ first. Looks like they do!

  4. avatar G says:

    I like the idea of a kid-friendly .22 cal only range. More ranges should be kid friendly! That’s how we can insure the gun community continues onward.

    1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

      I’m a big fan of that as well. It would be great to take kids to the range without ending up next to the concussive blast of a heavy rifle with a muzzle brake.

  5. avatar Reyberto Colon says:

    Well, considering how dissapointing my gifts were this year, this might just be what I needed. Thanks for posting about this place. Looks wonderful.

  6. avatar Todd S says:

    Congrats, Austin. It looks like Santa was REAL good to you this year!

  7. avatar George says:

    Just having staff that isn’t the Grumpy Old Men is a breath of fresh air!

    I’m soooo tired of trying to instruct new shooters with some grumpy old guy coaching (no, I didn’t ask for the help) and telling me about the Spanish-American War.

    Shooting will continue to gain acceptance as the numbers of shooters grows. I wish the Grumpy Old Men would welcome new shooters rather than scaring them off…….

    1. avatar MW says:

      Spanish-American War… +1

    2. avatar Jonathan -- Houston says:

      Last time at the range, a woman was competently instructing her daughter in handgun use. You could tell it wasn’t either one’s first time at the range; but that the daughter was still in need of ongoing instruction. That’s fine, as the mother was ably supplying it. This went on for maybe thirty or so safe, successful and mutually enjoyable minutes, as far as I could tell from the next lane over. Then the Grumpy Old Man range safety Nazi began his unsolicited coaching routine….

      He hounded this woman and her adult daughter repeatedly with tips and suggestions and even cautions about potential departures from safe practices, which neither had taken. He’d come up behind them without warning and spring these nuggets on them. It got so bad that eventually the daughter became distracted and took a poor grip, resulting in a slide bite that actually broke the skin. Well, now Mr. Grumpy Old Man range safety Nazi could leap into action like a hero with a whole production of retrieving first aid supplies and treating the injury which he precipitated.

      After that, the two packed up and left; sullen and sour. Hopefully, they’ll find a better range, but I doubt it. They’ll probably taper off their gun range visits altogether. Most ranges are lame affairs only interested in herding people in to dump their money and be hurried out, all the while being subjected to humiliating treatment by self appointed know-it-all’s. I hope this new Austin range breaks the mold; but I doubt that, too. After all, this indoor range I’ve been talking about also employs the “all friendly, bubbly, inviting young women front desk staff” gimmick, too. Yet, there’s always a Grumpy Old Man lurking in the shadows, waiting to dip his catheter in your Cheerios.

      1. avatar rlc2 says:

        Heh. That is a good observation and a definite must have in a business plan: Pleasant, attractive and non-intrusive RSOs.

        Theres an indoor/outoor range in San Diego that has attractive young ladies manning the counters and they seem to do good business.

        The place is safety conscious with a detailed briefing on front end, and timed breaks to allow people to pull targets on the 100 yd long indoor range, etc.

        No old grumpy men RSOs last time I went.

      2. avatar Reyberto Colon says:

        Formula 1 and range time might not have much in common. But I find one of Kimi Raikkonnen’s quotes quite appropiate for this unsolicited advice from Grumpy Old Man- Leave me alone. I know what I’m doing.

      3. avatar Ted says:

        Not all Grumpy Old Men are Grumpy. When I started shooting with my Remington 700, a nearby retired Marine saw me struggle with sighting in my scope.

        He came over and removed the bolt, looked down the barrel and held the rifle on target while I looked through the scope and made my adjustments.

        Two shots later the scope was zeroed.

        We spent the next two hours ringing his steel target. One of my first memories at the range was a good one.

        Hopefully I can pay it forward some day.

  8. avatar Jim R says:

    I wish we had something like that here…

  9. avatar tfunk says:

    Hopefully the females there are friendlier than the ladies who work at the NRA range in Fairfax, VA

    1. avatar Dave says:

      I have yet to visit the NRA range.

      1. avatar tfunk says:

        It’s really nice for an indoor range. And for NRA members significantly cheaper than other ranges in the area. But it seems recently the people working there are less and less friendly. One guy is really nice, one woman is nice…a couple other guys are stand-offish and the other two ladies ain’t so cool. A shame, I used to be good friends with some of the people who have worked there over the years. Still, one of the better places in NOVA to shoot due to the facility. I’m going to check out Silver Eagle in Ashburn, though. Much closer to me.

        And no, I’m not a prissy little beeotch. 🙂 Others have made similar remarks about the range staff as well to me.

  10. avatar Jamin says:

    Copied from FAQ

    5.Do you have handguns for rent? Yes we do. At this time we are offering a very limitied number of handguns for rent. We also have a very limited assortment of assault rifles for rent. $10 per session for handguns, and $15 for long guns. You must use range ammo.

  11. avatar Dracon1201 says:

    With that staff, I’d shoot there everyday!

  12. avatar paultmccain says:

    Nice! Always good to have multiple shooting options and ranges.

    Competition is good for everyone.

    The FUDD factor can get pretty intolerable at gun clubs that have leadership that still acts as if it is 1968 and they only have 150 members coming out to shoot their shotguns.

  13. avatar Mark says:

    Merry Christmas indeed – waiting for an annual membership option – which Lone Star gun range in Lockhart, TX has (pretty cheap too)
    This place is 15 miles closer to my house!

    The 22 range (with reactive targets) will be a fun place to enjoy my Sig 522 rifle!

    1. avatar Reyberto Colon says:

      +1 on the Lone Star comment. They are wonderful and welcoming too.

  14. avatar PPGMD says:

    Another typical shooting range, just what Austin needed.

  15. avatar IdahoPete says:

    OMG OMG!! I bet the Austin liberal establishment types are having panty-wetting hissy fits over this one.

    1. avatar NotoriousAPP says:

      Don’t let rumors and perception guide your opinion about Austin. Yes, Austin has more uninformed liberal jerk offs than the rest of Texas but this is still Texas and the gun culture is strong.

      Here’s a story I posted about a counter full of gun lovers at the Whole Foods in south Austin, the lasst place you would expect such a thing: http://walkingtofreedom.com/forum/index.php?topic=542.msg3235#msg3235

      …Another example I’ll give you is that I’m playing poker tonight with a group of about 6 guys, we’re playing in an affluent area of downtown Austin where there is a higher concentration of anti gun douchiness, but even there the four of us own several firearms….one guy owns a full auto M60. One of the guys is a NY relo and he’s looking for his first handgun now.

      Represent.

      1. avatar IdahoPete says:

        Yeah, I was thinking more of the university faculty types and the local media. I was stationed at Ft Hood with the 1st Cav many years ago, and all of the Texans I met were great people.

  16. avatar NotoriousAPP says:

    Looks awesome. Not sure how I missed hearing about this place, thanks TTAG. It’s about time they opened another range in South Austin. I’m curious if you can draw from the holster and rapid fire on the pistol line\ and I really hope they have IDPA shoots there, driving from southwest Austin to The Austin Rifle Club sucks.

    This looks much better than The County Line Shooting Center which is also just south of Austin and is scheduled to open soon. Unfortunately The County Line Shooting Center does not allow holster work on the firing line, does not allow rifles on the pistol range (so we can shot IDPA like distances), no rapid fire on either the rifle or pistol ranges….in other words no fun and not too practical for self defense or IDPA practice; they won’t be getting my business. I really hope the Shooting Ranch is the opposite of the County Line Shooting Center.

  17. avatar Kathy says:

    I’ve shot at Red’s Indoor range in South Austin a couple of times recently. No more “Grumpy Old Men”
    Now the guys there, including ROs are in theirs 30s, a couple of young ladies, mid-20’s work the counter.
    Hold a Ladies day on Mondays, reduced fee for the gals. I’ve seen young women there with guy friends being tutored by thier friends. What a change from a few years ago when my sister-in-law went there!

    Like outdoor ranges whole lot better but can deal with hot weather but not the cold!

    1. avatar NotoriousAPP says:

      Good idea. Red’s south is packed full of women on Monday’s, some pretty damn good looking ones too.

  18. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Wow. Plus archery, plus a fishing pond.
    Way cool. Seems like a place to take the whole family and make a picnic day out of it.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    It’s like Hooters, but with guns.

    1. avatar LarryArnold says:

      And high necklines. Hot brass HUNTS for cleavage.

  20. avatar Skyler says:

    Finally!!!

  21. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    This is good. I had trouble finding a range when I was in Central Texas. When I return there someday I will have to check it out.

  22. avatar CGinTX says:

    Thanks for posting this! I had heard of County Line, but hadn’t heard about this place opening up. Shame, I just moved about 15 minutes further away from The Shooting Ranch, but it’s still plenty closer than my other options down south of Austin! Definitely heading there to check it out. Thanks TTAG!

  23. avatar MOG says:

    Guns!! In Austin!!

  24. avatar TheBear says:

    Very cool…

    Unfortunately I never go to south Austin, much less south of Austin.

    I-35 sucks.

  25. avatar Luis says:

    Yeah Red’s is like a monopoly. I was hoping when I moved to central Texas from NorCal there would be more outdoor ranges than there are. Sad to see that there were more ranges of all types in NorCal. I’ll have to check this place out.

  26. avatar Dan says:

    Are you hiring? I promise not to call semi-automatic rifles “Assault Rifles” like in your rental description. :rolleyes:

    1. Sorry about that Dan. I have never considered the word “assault rifles” a bad word. I grew up in a hunting family and we described rifles as “hunting” or “assault”. I have embraced the words and I welcome the public liberals here in Austin to come out and put their hands on a black tactical stock sks, and then an all original norinco sks. When they shoot them both the word “assault” seems to make them smile a little more.

      1. avatar Dan says:

        Haha man I was completely screwing with you. I thought a rolleyes smiley face icon would work. Keep up the fight against shitty Politicians and my brother and I will have to come out and check you guys out.

  27. avatar NotoriousAPP says:

    Just found out that all the following are permitted at this range:

    -Draw from the holster on the pistol line.
    -Shoot rifles in the pistol bays.
    -Rapid fire pistols and rifles in the pistol bays.
    -Shoot off hand on the rifle range.

    ….they will also be building a 3-gun range soon.

    Awesome, finally a range (other than Lone Star in Lockhart) that gets it.

    1. avatar BDub says:

      That sounds great! But the off-hand and holster draw allowance is all the more reason for concrete bays. Hopefully those will be forthcoming as the range develops.

  28. avatar BDub says:

    Best news all year. I wish them the best and will head down that way after the New Year.

  29. avatar CGinTX says:

    Looks like it isn’t going all smooth and happy for The Shooting Ranch in Buda. They’ve been closed/opened a couple of times now. From today’s front page of their website, though:

    > The City of Creedmoor has obtained a Temporary Restraining
    > Order that will be heard in District Court on Jan 23rd. We will
    > reopen soon, but until the hearing we will be closed to follow
    > court orders.

  30. avatar Jim Williams says:

    Bullets through windows and into walls on neighboring properties. Great idea Stinson. Dirt doesn’t do the job. Get it right or get it out. Freedom to shoot doesn’t translate to irresponsible shooting.

    1. The bullets coincidentally landed in a city council members house. He is the biggest opponent of the range, and at the very least due to trajectory impossible for those rounds to make it there. And yes 12 foot thick by 20 foot tall clay berms do stop all bullets that strike the wall. We test fired over twenty 50 BMG rounds and the most penetration we got was six inches, and zero ricochettes. Safety is very important to me personally, and I hate that you painted me in such a way by your comment.

  31. avatar CGinTX says:

    The lastest word in the Austin newspaper is that the Temporary Restraining Order has been upheld, and the range will need to remain shut down until a hearing/trial in October – so, about 9 months. Bummer! No link as the Statesman is behind a paywall these days.

  32. avatar JEP In Driftwood says:

    Does anyone know the latest on this place? Gone for good? or opening again soon?

    1. avatar CGinTX says:

      From news stories at the time (and a recent Google search not turning up anything to the contrary) it looks like the temporary injunction was upheld, and they are to remain closed down (pending any add’l appeal) until a hearing in October (October 27 2014 according to KXAN news).

      http://kxan.com/2014/01/24/1404/

  33. avatar Dunromin says:

    This sounds like a great idea for families to visit and keep the culture fresh.
    Politicians – they come and they go – anybody know when this fellow is up for election?

  34. avatar CGinTX says:

    I’ve been keeping a loose and occasional internet eye out, and noticed that their web site has gone dark. Well, dimly lit, anyway – it brings up a very generic domain parking page. I guess I’ll check the local news feeds after October to see if anything comes of that, but their web site going away (and no activity on their Facebook page) doesn’t give any positive indication.

  35. avatar NotoriousAPP says:

    Hey TTAG, how about a follow up article about the status of the range and city case. My understanding us that the city of Creedmore pulled some serious hijinx in this matter.

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