A Dozen Range-Kit Extra Essentials
April is just around the corner. Many shooters in the Northern latitudes are getting ready to start their shooting season. That means collecting all the gear they’ll need at the range. It’s easy to forget small, critical items, so we’ve provided a checklist of the small “extras” you should pack before you head out to the range. In addition to rifle, rests, ammo, targets, and cleaning gear, here are a dozen essentials you should include in your range bag.
• Shell-holder — Use the shell-holder to gauge if you are getting excessive case expansion from hot loads. If a fired case doesn’t slip into the shell-holder easily, your load is definitely TOO HOT.
• Extra earplugs — Always use ear protection when shooting. We bring a 35mm film canister with extra sets of foam earplugs.
• Hex wrench or screwdriver for action screws — Action screws can work loose with time. Always bring the appropriate hex wrench or screwdriver whenever you go to the range.
• Small wrench for scope rings — Check the tension of your scope base and ring fasteners before you go. Bring along a small Torx wrench for the ring screws (or other tool that fits your fasteners).
• Normal and under-sized jags — It is often wise to use one-caliber undersize jags when applying solvent with cotten patches. You should have a couple sizes in your range kit.
• Extra batteries — Bring extra batteries for all your electronic gear — which can include chronograph, windmeter, digital camera, GPS etc.
• Small notebook and pen or pencil — Use the notebook to record chron data, log group sizes, and make notes about wind and weather conditions.
• Adhesive dots — Bring a few sheets of adhesive dots (sold at office supply stores). Use small white or black dots as target pasters. Use larger red or orange dots as aiming points (target centers).
• Folding chair or camp stool — This comes in handy if you’re spotting for another shooter, or if you reload away from the firing line.
• Water bottle — You can’t shoot well if you’re dehydrated. Bring at least two quarts of water with you and keep a bottle at the bench.
• Surveyors’ Tape and wood stakes — You can make inexpensive wind indicators using surveyors’ tape attached to the top of wood stakes.
• Small plastic ruler — Use this to measure your group sizes. A transparent (see-through) ruler works best. Rulers are also useful for drawing lines on targets.
This list is not intended to be exclusive. There are many other items you may wish to include. We invite our readers to add other “essentials” to the list. The important thing is to plan ahead, packing your key items before you drive to the range.