Rifle range seeks cleanup volunteers
An old marksman sits on a wooden shooting bench at the Carson City rifle range on Flint Drive early Wednesday afternoon behind a high-powered .308 on a bipod.
He checks his sights, turns a few clicks, and checks again. His patience, limitless and methodical, is that of a man solving a complex math problem. His face is resolute. He squints. Once again, he checks the sight. For a moment it is unearthly silent.
When he finally pulls the trigger, the .308 is so loud it sounds like a lightning strike – a single point of pure deadening noise spreads out and slowly reverberates through the parched hills as the thunderous echo rushes in to fill the bullet’s path.
Rapid gunfire comes from the adjacent handgun range, small, almost gentle “pops” in comparison.
“I’ve seen people bring all kinds of stuff out here – TVs, computers, propane tanks,” said Evan Jones of Dayton, shooting handguns at a silhouette target with his friend Curtis Aycock of Carson City.
Jones grips his Luger and fires off a few rounds. The bullets smash through the target and kick up dust in the distant berm.
Spent casings fly from the handgun and hit the ground.
The ground is littered with reds, yellows and brass-colored casings of every caliber. Seemingly hundreds of thousands of them. Like seashells washed up on a beach, except of course, these are bullets, and this is the desert.
“We try to clean up the place once or twice a year,” says cleanup coordinator Arlin Detke. “This year’s not so bad, so we’re only doing it once.”
That’s right – the gun range is shutting down. But just for a day.
“Shell casings are actually a really small amount of the total stuff we clean up,” says Detke. “We’ve got a lot of thistles out there that we’d like to get thinned out. A lot of plastic and glass, too.”
The cleanup effort, sponsored by the Carson Rifle and Pistol Club, was Detke’s idea. “So I’m the one who gets stuck making it happen every year,” he jokes.
Volunteers are encouraged to come out on Saturday at 8 a.m. armed with only rakes, shovels and gloves to help out with the cleanup.
“We rely on the people who use the range to keep it clean,” Detke said.
YOU CAN HELP:
What: Rifle range cleanup
When: 8 a.m. Saturday
Where: Carson City Rifle Range, Flint Drive
Contact reporter Peter Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1215.