A Trip To Cold Mountain

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission runs a number of shooting ranges that are open to the public. The one closest to me is the Wayne E. Smith/Cold Mountain Shooting Range. It is in the shadow of Cold Mountain in the Pisgah National Forest. The range first opened in 2008.

When I first went to the Cold Mountain Shooting Range, it was an unmanned 100-yard range with a gravel parking lot. The only improvements were the berm, the covered shooting line, and concrete walkways to the 25, 50, and 100 yard lines. There was no range safety officer, no toilets, and no pistol only range.

This is what it looked like looking towards the shooting line.

Fast forward to yesterday. There are now dedicated rifle and pistol ranges. The rifle range has a series of steel strike baffles going out to 50 yards. Each of the five rifle stations is universally accessible and have sound suppression baffles.

More importantly, there is a range safety officer hired by the NCWRC there at all times. All first time users must go through a safety briefing. Everyone gets a shooting range pass which can be used at any of the ranges run by the commission. The RSO assigns shooting lanes, maintains control of the range, calls cease fire, etc. In other words, the often unsafe practices of the unmanned range are gone.

There is a range office and a pair of PortaJons.

There are now 10 Wildlife Resources Commission managed ranges, another one is under construction, and two more are proposed.

I think the Wildlife Resources Commission should be applauded for how they have continually upgraded this range as well as the other ones. It takes money and it appears they have spent it wisely. Given most of these ranges are free, that money has come from licenses and Pittman-Robertson monies.

4 thoughts on “A Trip To Cold Mountain”

  1. I’ve never shot at a range with pizza ovens on the end of the bench. Not sure I’d care for it too much. How do you like it? Are you allowed to shoot offhand, sitting or prone? Or must the muzzle always be in the container?

    1. I would assume they want you to use “the pizza ovens”. There really isn’t any place to sit, stand, or lie prone the way the benches are set up. Before they made changes, there were two shooting spots where you could have done that.

  2. I’m good with the RSO and the safety briefings. Question is do they over-regulate by prohibiting normal defensive drills like working from the holster, multiple shots, silhouette targets, etc. If so the only thing the range is good for is sighting in. I have been driven to unregulated places, which make me nervous re safety, by the need to do my drills. A potential solution is a two-level range safety protocol. Everyone gets the safety briefing but there is a second level where the shooter needs to demonstrate whatever it is they wish to do. Shooter specific drills (i.e. no need for a rifle shooter to demonstrate holster proficiency) would be the norm. Some will undoubtedly consider this to be over-regulation but if the realistic choice is outright prohibition, it seems reasonable to me.

    1. No ban on silhouette targets or double taps. The RSO specifically said while rapid fire was discouraged that double taps were OK. I don’t think you can draw from a holster but I could be wrong on that.

      Your idea about a two-level range safety protocol is a good one.

      I wish they had steel on the pistol range but they don’t. Some WRC ranges seems to have it. I think that if you wanted to donate it to them, they probably would not turn it down.

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