The Florida Range Experience is a new project here on my blog. I’m going to share my experience with the various shooting ranges I go to here in the state of Florida. Most of the experiences will be here in the Broward and Miami-Dade county areas. Some will be in the surrounding counties.
The need to sight in a couple of rifles led me to search for a range. I wanted a range that I could set up my shooting rest and tools without interference. There is an outdoor rifle range run by the county but the online reviews left me thinking I should go somewhere else. More on that range in another blog. During the online search I found Okeechobee Shooting Sports.
The range is two hours drive from home. After seeing the range’s website the distance didn’t matter, I wanted to go there to check it out. They have various ranges to suit anyone’s needs. The “Unlimited Rifle” range where a shooter can shoot in the “seated, prone, kneeling, standing” positions. The “Gallery” where pistol shooters can practice drawing from a holster and rifle shooters can rapid or automatic fire if they want. There are “Private” ranges that can be used in various ways. Cost for each range varies.
Shooters Cafe with shaded seating area
Then there is the “Pistol & Rifle” range. The pistol range has a usable distance from 5 – 50 yards. The rifle range has four marked distances, 25, 50, 100 and 200 yards. It cost $15.00 for the day. They also have an onsite gunsmith, a cafe, firearm rentals, memberships, and training. Range hours of operation for non-members is Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.
Pro Shop, Gunsmith and eating area(right)
Here’s my experience. After viewing the website I filled out and signed the required waiver online. That makes checking a quick process. Don’t forget to watch the safety video before you go. When I arrived I went to the Pro Shop, told the clerk my name and within a minute and a half I was paid up and ready for the range. Checking in was super easy.
The 24 lane rifle range was well run. George the RSO(Range Safety Officer) was the kind of range safety we all want watching over us. He’s not the overbearing mother hen type he’s an easy to get along with, very nice guy. He will make sure you know how the range is operated and hold you to it without all the fanfare. Hope he’s there the next time I go.
There are 15 minute shooting time blocks controlled by an automated system that announces when to stop firing and prepare for target changes. The RSO will insure all procedures are followed before allowing anyone down range. Once the target changes are made shooters are given the all clear and allowed to proceed with shooting. The procedures are more detailed that was the short version.
Each lane is equipped with a shooting rest, and two seats. The early bird gets to use the spotting scopes on a table in front of the RSO station. The target system is a pleasure to use. Targets are stapled onto a system where cardboard is attached to wood supports that are attached to a metal base. Staplers are provided. Target removal or set up is very easy. There are also concrete markers for each lane to help the shooter line it up with the shooting position.
There were maybe about ten other shooters on the rifle range. They seemed equally divided by task. Some were sighting or checking zero on hunting rifles, others were doing the same thing with AR15’s or similar. Something to note about the lanes. The divider between lanes is hardware fabric. It will keep others brass out of your shirt but will not protect you from muzzle break discharge.
Visible in the rifle lane photo on the right is the muzzle break that gave me a strong blast every time the shooter next to me fired. I’m not complaining, just making note so you’re not surprised. I enjoyed the blast it helped me focus more on the task at hand and was a welcome test of my ability to ignore things that don’t matter.
Things that matter to me is staff attitude, how the range it operated and cleanliness. All the staff were friendly. The range was operated well, range participants know what to expect and what is expected of them. The range was clean and well maintained. My first experience at Okeechobee Shooting Sports was good. I plan on going back to shoot on the other ranges in the future. If you get a chance to go check them out I think you’ll have a good time there. -13