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A few learnings from my trip to Taupo this weekend

I’ve always enjoyed shooting at the Taupo NZDA range. It’s accessible, cheap, and often on the way to a hunt or a holiday. Hey, it’s even worth just driving down there to spend the day if you’re from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, etc.

So, while I was enjoying some time away with my wife this weekend, I managed to take a couple guns down to the range to test out loads, etc. Here are a few things I learned…

The cost to shoot at Taupo has gone up

For someone used to paying $20 - $30 to shoot as a non-member at most ranges, $5 bucks is well worth it. Especially when you can see where the money goes around the range!
For someone used to paying $20 – $30 to shoot as a non-member at most ranges, five bucks is well worth it. Especially when you can see where the money goes around the range!

While you used to be able to shoot at the NZDA range for a couple bucks, you’ll now feel your wallet cry as you pull out $5 to shoot. As long as you want. On three ranges. With other casual shooters and locals. I take it back, it’s still cheap as chips!

You can see where they’ve spent the money too, with lots of new safety signage and other bits and pieces. This leads me on to the second and third things I learned…

Get there early and you can use the 200m range

While using the 100 metre and 50 metre ranges is great, having a chance to check your drops – or zero – at 200 metres is great.

With the other shooting positions forward of the 200, you’ll need to either be shooting while no one is around or with others who want to shoot a longer distance.

Arriving early has benefits and drawbacks.
Arriving early has benefits and drawbacks.

Pay absolute attention on ranges you are unfamiliar with

I read the signage, checked all the ranges, made sure the flag was raised and closed the gate to the 200 metre mound before I commenced firing. However, when I opened the gate up again, I noticed another flag that I should have raised but didn’t see.

Thankfully the closed gate makes it pretty clear, and the flag at the carpark shows the ranges are in use, but if shooters make mistakes, you can soon find yourself not welcome at a range – particularly if your foul ups are of a more serious nature.

Anticipate cold weather and wet ground

Heading to Taupo from Auckland for just a few days, I didn’t bother checking the weather, and to be honest it didn’t cross my mind that there may be some fairly heavy frosts (compared to north of the Bombays). First thing I did was rotate the shooting benches into the sun so I could sit somewhere dry when I moved up to the 100 metre mark later in the day.

The station wagon boot mat is a decent substitute for a shooting mat in a pinch.
The station wagon boot mat is a decent substitute for a shooting mat in a pinch.

But, on the grass mound of the 200 metre range, it’s pretty cold and wet if you don’t have a shooting mat. Well, it’s not the first time the carpet at the back of the station wagon got used as a shooting mat! So, my final lesson for the out-of-town shooter, always take a shooting mat and a towel if you can!

While you’re at it – a cap or sunnys is a good idea. I’ve never shot at Taupo when it hasn’t been bright sunshine coming straight down at you.

Geoff

Geoff

Geoff is a shooting and reloading enthusiast who would rather be at the range, but is content to write about it. He is a member of Howick Smallbore Sporting Rifle Club and Waiuku Pistol Club.

2 thoughts on “A few learnings from my trip to Taupo this weekend

  1. Hi there, I am looking for a shooting range that I can gain some knowledge about the sport before committing to it through club membership and gun purchase/licence.

    Could you please let me know if there are guns available to use for non members and when non members are able to enjoy your range?

    Thank-you

    1. Hi Victoria,

      Where do you live, and what kind of shooting are you thinking of trying?

      If you’re local to Taupo, you can go to this range just about any time (check the Taupo NZDA website) for a range fee of $5. However, I’m not sure when the club has organised shoots and if there are rifles available to visitors.

      Again, if Taupo NZDA is your nearest range, get in contact with them at the below page and they should be able to help you out or point you in the right direction.

      http://taupodeerstalkers.co.nz/contact.html

      Cheers,
      Geoff

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