Shooting Sports – a part of our morning ranch adventures.
Shooting sports and our sporting clays at Marble Mountain Ranch are an opportunity to experience a sample of the Western Firearms tradition in a sporting non-kill venue. A visit to the range is included as part of our daily itinerary. Our predecessors considered firearms to be an essential tool for survival here, and in our remote setting, we still consider the firearm to be an equally necessary tool. Most of our guests find our sporting clays trap course and shooting range to be both an educational and a highly thrilling addition to their Western frontier vacation experience.
Many of our novice shooters compare the trap course to golf with a shotgun. There are some strict and technical differences between the games of skeet, American trap, and sporting clays, but we take an informal approach and try to run the course in a safe fashion that enables guests to break the most number of clay pigeons. Sporting clays is perhaps the non-kill shooting sport that most closely resembles the shots normally encountered by a wing shooter in hunting quail, duck, pheasant or other fowl.
Shotguns, Ammo, and Instruction – all included in your Dude Ranch Adventure.
Your sporting clays experience starts on the first visit to the course with an orientation on firearm safety and review of rules for the range. Ear protection and eye protection are required and are provided by us along with the shotguns, .22 rifles and ammunition. If you are an experienced shooter and desire to bring your own shotgun, you must inform us prior to your arrival and keep it secured in our gun safe during your participation in other ranch events.
The first day on the shooting range is focused on education and safety. At the end of a safety demonstration by a certified Nation Rifle Association range safety officer, shooters are presented with the opportunity to shoot both .22 caliber bolt action rifles and 20 gauge shotguns. The rifles are shot at stationary swivel targets on the ground at various distances.
As the week progresses .22 caliber single action “cowboy style” revolvers are added to the range as well as archery shooting and tomahawk throwing. Each new activity is accompanied by safety demonstrations and instruction from staff members.
More Shooting Information
The Sporting Clays course is composed of one station with clays thrown overhead from a variety of angles. They are outgoing, crossing, rising and falling. The birds (clay pigeons) can come as singles, following pairs, pairs on report, or true doubles. The thrill of sporting clays lies in part, in the closer approximation to real-life hunting situations. The flight patterns of the pigeons can be set to resemble ducks landing, geese in an over the shoulder flight pattern, a walking hunt (the fur and feather combo shot), and quick rising flights (the spring teal). Our sporting clays course can be shot with #8 and improved cylinder to light modified chokes unlike some competition clays that have longer targets requiring tighter chokes. For first time shooters, we usually focus on the easier shots to enable the chances of breaking the maximum number of pigeons. Yes! We want you to look good too!
We provide lighter shotguns (410 gauge and 20 gauge youth models) for smaller participants. The minimum age for participants is determined on a case by case basis (typically at 7-8 years minimum) with input from the guardian in attendance. Ultimately our trap-master makes the decision with safety as the prime directive, and with compliance with course rules absolutely required by the participant. If the trap course is deemed inappropriate for a particular youth, we offer an alternate introduction to shooting safety with bb guns or single shot .22 rim fire rifles. Again, safety is the prime directive at the California Guest Ranch with education as a secondary goal.
Many of our guests arrive from countries that do not allow the sportsmen to own and shoot firearms on a recreational basis. We take great pleasure in enabling the global public to experience the challenge and thrill of competition shooting sports. We also find it rewarding to watch our visiting guests gain an insight into the proper recreational use of firearms as they shed preconceived notions of what a firearm is. Our shooting adventures, along with our rafting and riding create the core of our daily schedule of activities that make up your American adventure holiday.
We are now also including black powder shooting and other authentic frontier sports at the end of our week programs. This is an exciting re-connect to our American firearms heritage and our Western frontier heritage. Our pioneer forefathers had quite a different shooting experience that we do with modern firearms! We hope you will enjoy learning how to load and shoot a period correct ball and cap rifle. Hint: it’s a slow process preparing to shoot just one round! Watch below as one of our guests, Mia, learns to throw a tomahawk.