Although I have been attending 300m shoots at the Minneapolis Rifle Club for the last 6-8 months, I have not actually been a member of the club. The people in charge have been very kind to let me shoot and not take any money off me (beyond the immediate competition fees of course). At long last however I have been made an honest man.
The reason for the relaxed way I have been treated is because to become a member you have to attend a range orientation, which only happens twice a year. The Fall (Autumn) orientation is scheduled to happen on a work day to allow safe access to the ranges during the day without the need for ear defenders, and it just happened.
Minneapolis Rifle Club actually operates on land run by Minnetonka Game and Fish. Membership of one gives access to all ranges however, and I discovered there are significant advantages in being a target rifle shooter when it comes to getting a foot in the door. This is because Minnetonka Game and Fish have a limit on the number of members they can have, and as a result there is a long waiting list. Many of the people who attended the orientation with me won’t get a chance at membership for at least a year. Minneapolis Rifle Club however, with its target rifle focus has fewer applicants, and so I didn’t have to wait. To prevent people using Minneapolis Rifle Club to get around the waiting list, people applying have to prove that their interests lie primarily in target shooting. Luckily for me, arriving with a rare and exotic (for the USA) target rifle such as a Swing is all the proof a serious shooter needs to provide.
The orientation took most of the day and was quite thorough, covering each range in turn with it’s specific rules and limitations. A reassuring amount of time was given over to safety information for the complex as a whole and for each range in particular. The orientation was lead by members of both Minnetonka Game & Fish and Minneapolis Rifle Club, who appear to have a close and efficient relationship.
The range complex is quite complex. There are facilities for clay pigeons, handguns, silhouette rifle, archery, small-bore and full-bore target rifle, as well as several multi purpose ranges. I won’t describe them all in detail, you can visit the websites here & here.
So now I have a membership card and a swish gate access card to get in whenever I want to. I am officially a member of my fourth shooting club: hopefully it will bring as many good memories and new experiences as the last three.