Monday, October 8, 2012

Range Report: Shooters of Maumee

Up until recently people in the Toledo metropolitan area had two choices for an indoor pistol range: Cleland's Outdoor World and The Bullet Stop.  That is no longer the case.

I'm happy to report that gun owners have another choice.  Shooters of Maumee is open for business, and the place is excellent.  Keep reading for a curmudgeonly run down on the facts, features and vicious rumors.

Shooters of Maumee as Seen from the Street
Shooters of Maumee
507 West Sophia Street; Maumee, OH  43537
(419) 893-4867
Tuesday - Thursday 10-7
Friday and Saturday 10-8
Sunday 12-6
Closed Monday

The gun range is on Sophia Street, but unless you're a warehouse regular you probably won't know just where Sophia Street is or how to find it.  Sophia runs parallel to the Anthony Wayne Trail/US 24 between Conant and Ford.  You probably won't be able to see Shooters as you're driving by - I didn't - but since Sophia is only one block off the Anthony Wayne Trail and is just a few blocks long, once you're on Sophia just drive up and down the street a few times until you stumble into the parking lot.

Shooters of Maumee
I'm not surprised that a gun range has to be located in an out of the way place, and I suppose there are some benefits to that.  If you take your family shooting you won't have to deal with a dozen or so nosy reporters who want to know why you have the temerity to expose your children to big, black, scary military assault rifles, deadly handguns and other things that keep the Brady Bunch awake at night.  The political reality is that I could open a massage parlor in Westfield Franklin Park Mall and no one would raise an eyebrow, but let some self-important security guard find an empty .45 casing on the men's room floor and the whole place will go into lock down for 48 hours while the local SWAT team clears it an inch at a time.

Shooters of Maumee is what I would call a family oriented gun range.  The place is clean, including clean rest rooms (which may not matter to the men, but as any older man can tell you women have different ideas about rest rooms and will insist on a sterile environment to do whatever the hell it is they do in there - I don't know and don't want to know, I just accept the truth in this matter).  The place is well lit and the staff are numerous and friendly.

If this is your first visit to Shooters, you'll be required to watch a video about gun safety and range rules before you sign in.  The video is about ten minutes long and is professionally produced; it is not some homemade tape shot by your neighbor in bad lighting with worse sound qualities.  After the film you are free to go into the range and put some lead in the air.

There are two sides to the range; 50 foot and 75 foot with six lanes on each side.  Some more good news is that the range is set up for ballistic level 8, so if you'd care to shoot your AR-15 then by all means, have at it.  The area behind the firing line is comfortable.  It isn't large enough to encourage a lot of activity, and it isn't so narrow as to disturb the people at the firing line while you're walking around.  That's kind of a nice touch, as I'm generally adverse to someone standing behind me fooling around with a firearm.

The wall separating the range from the store has a series of large windows that allow patrons and staff to watch the shooters.  The latter are free to observe other shooters and so feel better about their own score, while the staff can watch and see if anyone is doing anything they shouldn't.  The first time Big Mike and I shot here the staff unobtrusively kept an eye on us to make sure we knew what we were doing.  I was shooting pretty well that day and cut the bull out of a target with my Ruger .22, and when I glanced over at the window I saw one of the staff giving me the high sign.  When we left, the man volunteered that he'd been watching us to see if we knew what we were doing, but when he saw me cut a hole in my target he decided we were okay.  I appreciate that kind of thing, because I'm not the one I'm worried about.  I'm not worried about Big Mike either.  What worries me is the shooter who is careless, and who the management doesn't do anything about.  That scenario won't play out at Shooters.

The Range at Shooters
Here you can see the firing line and the observation windows on the right.  The place has chairs and tables set up outside the windows, which encourages people to sit and watch rather than stand and obstruct the view from the counter.

The 50 Foot Range
Note that the backing cardboard for the targets is fresh and not ripped to ribbons, which is what I often find.

I could wish for better lighting.  It isn't that the place is dark or that the lighting is poor, because it isn't.  It's that my eyes are failing me as I get older, and I'll do a lot better with brighter light.

General Rules and Regulations
I think this is a nice touch.  The management at shooters has manged to find a kind of happy medium where safety is emphasized without being overbearing or imperious about enforcement.

Two other nice things about Shooters are the pricing and the rental guns.  Range time costs $20 per session, with no time limit.  That means that if you stay three or four hours it will only cost you twenty bucks.  I've never seen pricing like this, but it makes a lot of sense.  In the past I've found that I get charged for a half hour of time when I've exceeded the hour by five minutes, which isn't quite right.  Now I don't have to worry about watching the clock.

Shooters has the largest selection of rental guns I've ever seen.  I didn't do a count, but the inventory includes the odd stuff such as a .410 revolver and various pocket pistols.  If you are considering buying a pistol, this would be an excellent place to begin as you could shoot several and do a comparison.  The only requirement for gun rental is that you buy your ammunition from Shooters, which makes a lot of sense.  I once got hold of some red hot .44 magnum reloads courtesy of an erstwhile friend, and when I torched one off I thought I broke my wrist.

I've been to Shooters several times, and up until last Saturday I've always done pretty well.  I started off with my Ruger .22 and tried to warm up a little.

Ruger Mark II .22

Ruger Mark II .22 Results
I put ninety bullets down range, and as you can see the results are less than stellar.  I think this might be due to the lack of my good old morning snort, but maybe not.  All I can say is that I managed to keep everything on the paper, which Big Mike attributes to luck rather than skill.

Big Mike decided to practice with his infamous sock drawer gun, the FN Herstal in .380.  I've shot the little monster before but never was much good with it.  For one thing the pistol has infinitely tiny fixed sights that you can't see anyway, and for another the gun is light as a feather, and since there isn't any weight to soak up the recoil the .380 provides a nasty kick that will wear out your hand.

FN Herstal in .380

FN Herstal Results
None of this bothered Big Mike, who cut the center out of the target (again) with the .380, and did so without using sights.  He claims he just points and shoots.

My own sock drawer gun is the Smith and Wesson 686 revolver in .357.  I shot .38 ammo in it as I was not in the mood to endure the racket and the recoil from a .357, and particularly from the red hot stuff that Commander Cody sold me.  I vividly remember old Cody selling me a box of .357 ammo and saying,  "Here Jack, these have got some snort to 'em."  The first time I torched one off everyone on the range stopped shooting and I thought the gun blew up.  Anyway, shooting .38 didn't matter much to my score.

Smith and Wesson in .357
Smith and Wesson in .357 Results
Well, at least I kept everything in the black.  This was shot both single and double action at 21 feet, both one and two handed.

When we were about ready to leave a group of three young people came in and set up in the booth next to Big Mike.  As Mike was throwing away his targets one of the fellows caught sight of the results and commented "Holy crap - I'm not gonna rob your house!"

Whole-y indeed, but we've both been shooting far longer than this fellow has been breathing, and like anything else it takes practice.


Trilby said...

>women have different ideas about rest rooms and will insist on a sterile environment <
They may want a sterile environment, but, having cleaned gas station rest rooms as a young man, they end up less sterile then men's rooms.

Shooters of Maumee said...

Thanks for the great review Mad Jack! We will have a brighter bulb in lane 8 for you on your next visit!
-Shooters of Maumee

Mad Jack said...

Trilby - I, too, worked at a gas station in the bad old days. The very last job anyone wanted was cleaning the lady's room.

Mad Jack said...

Shooters: You're very welcome. I'm just happy that there's another alternative in town.