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Well, it looks like it may actually happen. The cabin I've been to a few times (and even posted pictures of on these forums) may end up owned (well, half of it anyway) by SC!!

The offer was made, and accepted, and now financing is being arranged. This is coming a bit faster than I ever hoped, and it does open a lot of possibilities.

It borders FS land, and is surrounded by private property. The shooting areas are long and mixed open/trees.

The idea is to have 3-6 marksmanship schools a year. (as well as the SC BBQ). The cabin is secluded and in some very nice country. The initial classes will be for 6-8 students and run 3 days (2 nights). Cost is planned to be $550 which includes cot sleeping in the cabin (or tents outside if desired) and a breakfast and lunch (sack). These classes will focus on the fundementals of long range marksmanship with an emphesis on unknown distance shooting of 600-800 meters. Shooting will run from 100-1000+ meters with the potential for a specialized course in extreme range shooting (1000-1600+ meters). Targets for unknown distance will be steel plates of various sizes. Shorter known distance targets will be paper.

What I would like to hear back from everyone (BEFORE I fully commit and pay the money) is your opinion on:

1) Cabin Rules - No shoes inside, No Alcohol, and if you break anything... you pay for it.
2) Thoughts on staying in a cabin and shooting at a personal type range in the woods instead of a formal "shooting complex"
2)Distance to Range(s) - About a 15 - 20 minute walk to the range(s). Once there, generally stay there until shooting concludes for the day. Is this too far to expect one to walk? Perhaps nice drag bags with should straps provided by the school.
3) 40-80 rounds per day. This is less than most, but what I feel is adequit when mixed with proper instruction, and challenging shooting. There will be daily classroom work.
4) Interest in attending the first class in august/september

I'd appreciate any and all comments. This is a huge committment that honestly scares me to some extent. I want to know as much as I can about the potential for success. Oh, and yes, this is the place we are scheduled to have the SC BBQ at in July.

MEL
 

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re

Sounds very promising Mel, good luck with the idea.

I don't see any issue with shooting in the woods instead of on a range, but maybe a few improvised additions such as a flag for wind etc would be called for...

The only (mild) concern I see, is what if you get some complete nutters going for it? Do you plan to have a brief screening process, be it just an e-mail asking a few questions, before taking people on?
I do fully support your idea, don't get me wrong, but it would be -awful- publicity if one of your 3 day students went and shot Bush.
 

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Sounds like a very good thing Mel......

I feel bad for the lawyer who gets to write up your disclaimer/waiver forms. Just make sure you cover your butt good buddy.
 

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All that sounds awesome! I would like to attend several of these classes and don't think that the walk is too much. We can dub it a "poor excuse of a 'poser' stalk exercise" :lol:

Only thing I thought of is since every member that potentially attends will posses a different level of skill, how will this work out. 6-8 students could pose a very wide range of skill showing up to each class all at once. Of course it would be hard to pre-screen students but perhaps the classes can be divided into tiers of skill and students, at first can choose accordingly.

What do you think Mel?
 

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How long will these classes take? Once again, for us lazy Canadian folk (me), Rifles are provided, or will it cost extra for cleaning + ammo? Why can't I break anything I want?

As for shooting in the woods, it's more of a challenge, so why not?
 

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I think the woods would be a great setting, Mel...More at ease and hands on (individual I mean) work can happen there in a much more relaxed setting than at a formal range...and a 15 minute walk wouldn't be too bad. Advise people that there will be walking, that they should bring a drag bag or a comfortable sling if they can and all should go well.

Not to mention tromping around in the woods adds a kind of fun "military" or "sniper" feel to it, in a way :D

Best of luck, and it seems a good idea! As far as the liabilities go, I am sure as long as Mel conforms to "industry standards" of shooting ranges, all will be fine. Specifically list hazards in the waiver, etc. But what they would look at if something happens is the waiver, and what exactly Mel's safety precautions are compared to existing ranges. Would be hard for the dude to come up looking un-prudent.

Respect for his property should be common sense, but it is a good idea that you mention the "break it, buy it" policy as well. And people can live without booze for 3 days, I would think.

Good luck, Mel!
 

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I think the idea is GREAT!!! Branching out in new directions with a company can be scary but I do believe everything will work out. I would definitly go ahead with it.

I definitly plan on attending just need to figure out when I will have some time off.

Go for it!!! :D
 

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sounds like fun mel.....i'd come if i were older--maybe i could come after a few years (after i get our of high school maybe) great ideas man!


~dom~
 

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Mel

You know I'm in. We talked earleir about what I think a long range school should be, and this is darn near perfect.

I like the daily round count - high enough to make a difference, but low enough to not make me numb or sore and loose focus.

No shoes in the cabin? Dude I'd rather sweep the dirt off the floor than smell the feet of my fellow students - no offense guys.

15-20 minute walk to the range - should not pose a problem unless the 15-20 is at a forced march pace. You may consider a gear storage locker or bin at the range so some of the stuff will not need to be humped every day to the range - then again I can see the desire to limit gear to what you can readily carry in a ruck.

My interest in attending in Aug / Sept is high, but I'm new to my job and lowest on the tottem pole for getting to choose vacation. I can guarantee attendance for next year.

Mixed shooter skill levels does not bother me, and should not put any new shooters off from attending. The best way to learn long-range shooting is to shoot at long ranges. Besides, the new shooters will have the opportunity to ask lots of questions and get tons of tips to speed their learning curve.

JeffVN
 

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Oh yeah I forgt to talk about my progressive learning ideas of shooting. I like the idea of each skill level building on the others and then you have a "tiny" test at the end of the school to see what you've been able to put together during the session.

I also think a skills test at the beginning of the school is appropriate to test the shooters when they first show up. I believe the skills test and the final exam should resemble each other (at least in skills necessary to be sucessful) so you can actually tell whether you've learned something during your brief stay at Mel's "Shooting Star" Ranch - lots of shooting and looking at the stars.

JeffVN
 

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No shoes in the cabin? Dude I'd rather sweep the dirt off the floor than smell the feet of my fellow students - no offense guys.
Wow. Who can generate such an amazing stink? In reality, if our feet stink that much, we would all have to be sweating something fierce. The place would smell like a locker fairly quickly, so I wouldn't think twice about it. Also socks.

Also; I forgot to add onto my earlier post, that if rifles were provided, I would be effectively completely 100% up for the course, baring an inability to get time off, which is impossible to do for long.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for the input everyone, I really appreciate it.
Let me address a few things that were brought up:

Recoil: Yes, feel free to IM me. As for additional visiting information. Butte is about 35 minutes from deerlodge. Missoula is about 70 minutes. Glacier national park is about 3.5 hours. Yellowstone is about 2 hours. Spokane WA, is about 4.5 hours. Helena (state capitol) is probably 45 minutes. There really is amazing country all around. Tons of hiking and fishing. In fact, there is a Jack Nicolas signature course about 20 minutes from deerlodge. It is one of the 10 best public courses in the USA, and about the best deal around with $35 covering 18. (for you golfers out there)

Skill Levels: Yes, there will be different skill levels, but as was mentioned, there is some value to that. We do plan to offer an advance school at some point if the basic school is a success. I'd like to offer 3 basics 1 advanced and maybe 1 extreme range school each year as a start.

Shoes in the cabin: Yes, indoor shoes are fine. Slippers, sandles, etc. But dirty & muddy combat boots are a negative. We'll provide indoor slippers if needed.

Sleeping quarters: The cabin has one bedroom, a loft and the living room area for sleeping. It'll be tight with 8 students. The bedroom I figure could be used for the female students if any. There is plenty of area for camping, or even cots on the deck. The cots will be provided. A early morning shuttle can be provided for anyone who wants to stay in a hotel room in Deerlodge. Rates are very reasonable and accomidations acceptable. (don't expect 4 star hotels)

The ATV ride for health concerned students is a good idea, but might be a year or two out, as we'll need to purchase an older suburban to shuttle students to the cabin from deerlodge. It requires a Truck/SUV to get there. (doesn't need to be 4x4, but needs ground clearance)

Rifles: I have thought of having several SC rifles that can be used by students for the school. (especially for foriegn visitors). I'd either let them be used free of charge or charge a small rental fee ($25 or so). May also have ammo on hand for sell for the same reasons. On the same note, I plan to offer, probably on the last day, a 1-2 hour block on other rifle familiarization. Where the students will have the opportunity to fire many different tactical rifles just for familiarization. Initially it'll be no problem to have SC1's, SC2's SC3's, SC4's (.338 Lapua), AR10, AR15, Tac-Ops rifle, 700P, Tikka Tactical and a few others. I would like to expand this to Robar, H&K, Patriot Arms, AI, Sako, Blaser, etc. but those high dollar rifles will take time to aquire.

You have all made me feel more comfortable doing this. Please continue to comment.

MEL
 

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Mel,

I love this idea, and if I can save up enough by next summer I will be in for sure. Lots of ideas I would like to comment on but not enough time right now. Also......

Initially it'll be no problem to have SC1's, SC2's SC3's, SC4's (.338 Lapua), AR10, AR15, Tac-Ops rifle, 700P, Tikka Tactical and a few others. I would like to expand this to Robar, H&K, Patriot Arms, AI, Sako, Blaser, etc.
:shock: .....let me say again...... :shock:

I'm in!!!!!!! where do I sign to donate my first born?
 

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Damn Mel, are you flirting with me? :wink: This sounds better and better... now I just need to swim across the Atlantic.

I would prefer to use my own rifle. But I guess it's virtually impossible to bring it into the US for a vacation these days? :?

Everything sounds great - including the no-shoe policy. After long days outdoors you need to get your feet out of those boots, anyway... and it's less messy.

As for walking the 20min. Granted some gear could be stored at the range.. but carrying your rifle, rucksack, and most of your typical outdoors gear to and from the cabin would just be healthy to virtually everyone. A bit of workout has never killed anyone...
 

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I really like the idea of being shuttled back and forth from town: it would be cool to show up a day early and get in a round of golf. :) But really, I like the idea of a hotel because it means I can shower frequently (i.e. once a day), something which I don't know is possible at your cabin as I have yet to hear anything mentioned regarding showers.

Mel, what are the odds you're going to have the first one in August as opposed to September, and if you have it in September, will it be over the course of the weekend (Fri/Sat/Sun)? Also, what is the cost of getting from the nearest airport to Deer Lodge?

Scatch Maroo
 

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Sounds like some good plans there mel. One queston /suggestion is what about doing some weak hand shooting to show where your bullets impact and your skills/limitations weak hand?
 

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120-240 Rounds per person, assuming it's all .308, will be falling at about... 180-200 USD? Another 25 USD for the guns, brings it up to be about... 775 USD per person.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
In terms of nearest airport. Butte Montana. Its about 35 minute drive. I'm not sure if there would be a shuttle or cab that would take you. If you flew into missoula, we may be able to arrange a shuttle over from your hotel there, as I would have to travel anyway. Just a possible thought. Though it would require coming a day early, etc.

Showers, well, there is a shower in the cabin, we are budgeting an extra 10k to get the plumbing resetup to working conditions. There is propane in the cabin for the refridge and stove, but will have to see about hot water.

The motel is a good option, there is some good food in town. The shuttle will run down to town nightly to take people back to motel and also to allow everyone else time to get dinner. (remember, price of school includes breakfast and lunch.... no dinner).

Off hand shooting could be part of the instruction. Though it might get cut as I finalize the course.

MEL
 

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Figures scatch would be the pansy and worry about stupid **** like hygene.

It sounds really good mel, and as long as you dirty bastards are willing to wipe the seat (direct quote from my g/f's mouth) my g/f says shes down too.

Im sort of in jeff's situation, i'm the low man on the totem pole and getting vacation days is going to be rough, but im all in for this.

I gotta meet the butthead who gets to play with all the free toys I get sent out.
 
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