The facilities at the Forks Rifle Club W. G. Coulter Rifle Range are for the use of members of the club in accordance with rules established by the Executive Committee acting in accordance with the Bylaws of the Forks Rifle Club, Inc.
The purpose of these rules is to ensure that all activities are conducted in a safe manner as to protect individuals and the organization, while promoting the shooting sports activities. To that end the facilities are available for the use of individual members whenever there are not scheduled activities such as matches, leagues, marksmanship training or hunter safety classes taking place. Outdoor shooting shall be restricted to daylight hours, unless the facility has lighting installed on the range. To the extent that it is practical multiple shooting activities will be accommodated. However, the scheduled activity will have priority.
To utilize the range facilities all individuals must be members of the Forks Rifle Club in good standing. Temporary 15-day memberships are available for individuals residing over 100 miles from the club. The sponsoring member must be present and is responsible for the conduct of the temporary member. Members under eighteen years of age must be accompanied and supervised by an adult member whenever on the range. Guests are welcome to accompany the member on the club facility but are not allowed to fire firearms unless participating in a scheduled match, organized league or sanctioned training activity which are open to nonmembers.
Membership cards are issued to all paid members upon the successful completion of the orientation. Members shall display their membership cards whenever utilizing the range facilities. Members over eighteen years of age are also provided the combination to the gate lock. The combination is not to be given to anyone else. If the number is forgotten, a member of the Executive Committee needs to be contacted to obtain the number. The gate is to be kept locked unless there is an organized shooting event or meeting is in progress. Then the gate will be chained open. Otherwise, always lock the gate behind you upon entering and leaving the range. Do not drive off the graveled roads or designated parking areas. The prairie trail along the target backstops on the west side of the range complex is graveled between the club house parking lot and the 500-meter silhouette firing point.
Upon entering the range first check the sighting-in-range and building for any activity. If there is someone else utilizing the sighting-in-range, confirm that they have checked for any down range activity. If there is no one utilizing the sighting-in-range, before setting up to shoot, ensure that there is no one down range from you. This includes ensuring that the chains are in place on the entrance to both range roads. If the yellow traffic light on the east outside wall of the sighting-in-building is on, it indicates that someone is present on the high power range on the east side of the north-south range road. If there are other individuals on the range facilities coordinate with them before starting to shoot.
All individuals will respect and abide by safe gun handling practice when on the range property. The muzzles of firearms will be controlled whenever on the range.
When the club is hosting certain club, state and regional championship matches the entire range may be closed to all other activities. Ranges may also be closed for construction and maintenance activities. Check the calendar on the club website for any activities which may limit the use of some or all club facilities.
Individuals on the sighting-in-range can shoot out to 200 yards utilizing the 25, 50, 100 and 200-yard backstops while there is activity on the high power range east of the north south range road. However, if there is any activity on the west side of the north/south range road, the sighting-in-range cannot be utilized. This includes when the silhouette range is active or there is maintenance activity taking place down range. The chain should be across the entrance to the sighting-in-range parking area, and the signs beside the doors to the sighting-in-building will indicate the range is closed.
If an individual on the sighting-in-range desires to shoot beyond the 200-yard backstop on the sighting-in-range utilizing the silhouette range backstops, there can be no one down range on either side of the north-south range road and the chains have to be in place across the entrances to the north-south range and the west range roads adjacent to the 600-yard high power firing line.
On the sighting-in-range, no one will go ahead of the firing line unless all firearms are unloaded and set down on the shooting bench or floor, holstered or cased. Only then when everyone, including anyone in the heated shooting room, has agreed that the line is safe will the red lights be turned on. No firearms will be handled when anyone is down range. Only after everyone’ including anyone who drove down range is back, and everyone agrees the line is hot will the red lights be turned off. Then individuals can handle their firearm, load and fire at targets. Whenever on the firing line, muzzles will be pointed up or down range.
During matches and league shooting, as soon as the firearm is uncased an empty chamber indicator will be inserted into the firearms chamber. It will be removed only when the individual is on the line firing. All members are encouraged to use empty chamber indicators anytime they are utilizing the range facilities. Firearms will be unloaded when not being fired.
Eye and ear protection is recommended for all personnel utilizing the range facilities while firing is taking place, but is required for anyone under the age of eighteen involved in organized shooting activities while on the firing line or in the pit. The use of both ear plugs and muffs is suggested when utilizing the firing points in the sighting-in-range building.
Promiscuous shooting is strictly prohibited. Only proper targets will be utilized. Shooting at glass bottles, concrete blocks, target frame work, number boards or any club equipment or structures is prohibited. Due to the issue of ricochets, firing at metal targets on the sighting-in-range is prohibited unless the targets have been installed by the club. This includes metal swinging or spinning reactive targets.
It is imperative that all projectiles fired be contained within the confines of the range. All rifles, handguns, and shotguns firing slugs must be fired downrange into an appropriate backstop. Care must be taken when setting up targets that they are aligned with an appropriate backstop. Shooting of shotshells on the sighting-in-range is prohibited. Individuals desiring to pattern their shotguns can utilize the 100-yard backstop on the carbine range but must provide their own target and frame.
Individuals shooting on the sighting-in-range will not utilize 5-foot high portable target frames from the 25-yard range on the 100-yard range, since the bullets will strike the ground before reaching the backstop. 8-foot target frame can be placed in pipes at 25-yards if you need to shoot at 25-yards while on the 100-yard range. Members are encouraged to use the 25-yard and 50-yard ranges on the north end of the sighting-in-range when shooting at shorter distances.
Shooters are expected to pick up their targets and cartridge cases when they are finished shooting. Since the club does not have a trash pick-up service, members are encouraged to take their trash with them. Trash containers are provided for use if it is not practical.
Shotguns can be fired at aerial clay targets from east of the 600-yard firing point on the high power range, when there is no activity on the high power range and the yellow light on the sighting-in-building is not on. A battery powered mechanized thrower at this location. Clay targets must be thrown in a southeasterly direction. Members need to provide their own clay targets and pick up empty hulls and boxes when finished.
Due to the energy involved, the shooting of .50 caliber Browning and similar high energy, large caliber firearms are prohibited unless the individual member has specific approval of the Executive Committee and is limited to the high power range. The firing of any firearm on fully automatic on Club property is prohibited. However, legal automatic firearms may be fired in the semiautomatic mode. Devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to fire at a rate similar to fully automatic firearms, including but not limited to bump stocks, trigger cranking devices, and binary triggers, are likewise prohibited from use on the range. Firing of tracer, incendiary, or explosive projectiles is prohibited. The detonation of explosive devises or exploding targets on the range property is prohibited.
Cartridges that cause damage to the steel targets will not be fired at those targets. Members are expected to provide their own targets unless participating in a organized league or match. The club will endeavor to provide appropriate frames on which to mount targets, but during times of high utilization the availability can not be guaranteed.
The Forks Rifle Club sponsors high power rifle, smallbore rifle, handgun and vintage military rifle matches throughout the year. In addition, a number of indoor and outdoor shooting leagues are also sponsored. Matches are open and membership is not required to participate. However, members participating in leagues must pay the appropriate league fee. Nonmembers may participate in league activities, if they pay the established per time fee. Targets are provided for individuals participating in organized matches and league activities. The cost of all material is factored into the league and match fees. A significant portion of the winter indoor league fees is allocated to the expense of heating the range.
The Forks Rifle Club sponsors a junior marksmanship program, which provides the opportunity for young people to get involved in competitive shooting. The club provides the equipment and supplies for the program. Juniors are charged only a nominal fee and may participate in any league activity at no additional cost. Individuals are considered juniors through the year of their 18th birthday. Individuals 18 through 22 years of age may also participate in any league activity at no additional cost.
Due to the number of organized shooting disciplines offered at the range, the opportunity for an individual member to shoot whenever they choose may at times be limited. Therefore, it is vital that shooters coordinate with other shooters on the line so everyone gets an equal chance to use the facilities. The sighting-in range was constructed in a manner so that individuals can be shooting from the benches out to 200 yards while the high power range is being used. Shooting at ranges beyond 200 yards from the benches on the sighting-in range is only permitted if there is no other activity anywhere else on the outdoor range and the chains are in place across the north-south and west range road entrances.
Indoor Range Rules: User fees support the indoor range. The use of the range is limited to paid-up adult members who have paid the appropriate indoor range fees and junior members under the direction of an instructor, range safety officer, or authorized adult member. In addition to basic firearm safety rules, the following rules will be followed by personnel utilizing the indoor range:
- When the range is in use it will be under control of a club appointed range officer.
- Firing will commence only on the authorization of the range officer in charge.
- Upon the command to “cease fire”, firing will immediately cease actions will be opened and firearms will be unloaded.
- For safety reasons the row of lights over the firing points will be on at all times when firing is taking place.
- The air exchange unit and re-circulating fans will be on as required when firing is taking place.
- Only firearms of .22 long rifle, short, or long calibers are allowed. (no hyper-velocity ammo is permitted)
- Muzzles will be controlled at all times. Keep muzzles pointed up while moving to and from the firing line.
- Except when in the act of firing actions will be kept open and firearms will be unloaded.
- Empty chamber indicators will be inserted in the chamber of firearms at all times, except when on the line firing.
- The trigger finger will remain out of the trigger guard until the muzzle is pointed down range at the backstop.
- All firearms will be unloaded, empty chamber indicators inserted, and grounded before anyone goes in front of the firing line.
- Should a firearm malfunction during the course of fire, the shooter will remain on the firing line with the muzzle pointed down range until the firearm is cleared.
- Only proper paper targets hung on the target stands are permitted.
- Individuals will clean the firing line and the target area upon the completion of firing.
- Fired brass will be placed in the brass bucket.
- Eye and ear protection is mandatory for individuals under eighteen years of age while on the range during firing, but is strongly recommended for all individuals.
- Non-firing personnel other than range officers, instructors, and coaches will remain behind the ready-line while firing is taking place.
- No roughhousing or fooling around is allowed on the range or in the classroom/meeting room.
The above rules are not all inclusive. Additional rules may be initiated by the range officer to ensure the range operates in a safe manner. Individuals will follow the directions of the range officer in charge unless it is unsafe to do so. All activities or practices contrary to law are prohibited. Anyone caught vandalizing club property will be prosecuted.
The use of alcohol and/or drugs that impair one's reflexes and/or judgment by anyone while utilizing the Forks Rifle Club facilities is prohibited. Anyone judged to be impaired regardless of cause will not be allowed to utilize the facilities.
All members of the Forks Rifle Club are expected to adhere to these rules and practice safe gun handling at all times when utilizing the facilities of the Forks Rifle Club W. G. Coulter Range. Exemption to any of these rules may only be granted by specific approval of the Executive Committee of the Forks Rifle Club. Individuals, who violate the range rules, commit unsafe acts, or damage club property, may lose their range privileges and may be expelled from the club in accordance with the Bylaws of the Forks Rifle Club.
Most importantly, remember that this is a member run club. Anything abused or neglected will have to be taken care of by other members. A little common courtesy goes a long way. There are always things that need to be done at the range facility. So, if you use the club facilities consider doing a little work to help maintain the areas you use.
Revised October 31, 2023