My Tour of One of the Best Air Gun Ranges in the USA
The Sills Air Range is one of the best ranges I've ever seen. Don't just take my word for it - check it out!
Technically I learned how to shoot here. But that was when it looked more like this:
Now this range is noteworthy for its high tech, clean look rather than for the uninsulated walls and outhouse (yes, really). I wrote about this range a while back when I detailed how to get into competitive air rifle shooting. After writing about the range's transformation, I wanted to see the changes in person. Thankfully the opportunity to see the range presented itself earlier this year.
At the Izaak Walton League in Centreville, Virginia I met up with coaches Tom Pike and Roger Thrasher. Both Tom and Roger were instrumental in elevating the range to what it is today. Thanks to a major fundraising effort, the range is state of the art.
The Megalink electronic target system allows shooters to see where their shots land within fractions of a millimeter just by looking at a computer monitor at each firing point. This is the same system used at many NCAA rifle facilities. Electronic targets take the mystery out of scoring targets, and in this case the targets reduce the cost of entry into the sport. Shooters no longer need a spotting scope to see where they are shooting. New shooters can borrow club equipment and start shooting right away.
This range is already seeing a ton of shooters each week thanks to several air rifle teams that call it their "home." Many teams in the Potomac High School Rifle League practice here, along with the Nova Sharpshooters program run by the Izaak Walton League. It makes me so proud to be a part of this program and to see how much it has grown since 2001.
Hopefully someday soon I will make it down there to shoot a match!
You can see a full tour of the facility in this video I made via Facebook Live. #Sorrynotsorry for the gun fire at the beginning of the video - gotta love it when people shoot on a beautiful day! More information on the facility, including how to get started shooting there, is available at the IWLA Sills Air Range website: http://afc-iwla-sillsairrange.org/