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#1 Davey

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:53 AM

So is it like a secret society or something? I see they have a Facebook page but not much info. I also can't find a website and no one answers the phone at 815-895-5776.

Do I have to be a member to get in? How much do they charge? Hours? Do I just show up?

#2 Jeffrey

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:36 AM

I wish I could help you. I'm having the same problem with Oak Park Sportsmans club. I've sent a few emails but gotten zero replies. Here's to hoping that Ottowa is able to reopen. They respond to all emails.
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#3 TyGuy

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:40 AM

It is, and don't ask me for the secret handshake. I'll give the low down here, but bear with me it might take awhile. Someone please sticky this as I seem to share the information about the Sycamore Sportsmen Club (SSC) several times a year.


CONTACT:

Ok, first off there really is no way to contact the club other than going there in person. The phone is for 911 calls only and they NEVER, I repeat, NEVER answer it. Mail is also iffy, as I mailed correspondance one time and it took about 4 months to finally hear back. That was when I was still waiting to join.


PUBLIC HOURS:

Ok, the range is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30 - 4:00pm. Sometimes it is closed for special events, but the only way to know this is to go to the range and pick up a club newsletter located in the range shack.

They have a 50ft, 25yd, 50yd, and 100yd outdoor range that will accept anything up to and including (I think) 50BMG. There are also trap, skeet, and sporting clays. However I don't know if the shotgun sports are open to non-members or members only as I don't do much shotgunning.

Anyone can come during those open hours. You'll need a FOID card, or you can directly supervise a non-FOID person (i.e. you watch them shoot, you can't both shoot at the same time). It's also $10 a day. Some RSOs will let you pay $10 a lane, meaning several people can shoot on the same lane all for $10, but most require $10 a person. There doesn't seem to be specific guidance on this rule. I say try to save the money, or else spread out and shoot.

You can bring steel targets for 22lr only if you desire. There is also a pinking pit, but the grass hasn't fully grown there yet.


MEMBERSHIP:

The first you need to do is GO to the club. Then you can ask who the current membership board member is. Then you contact them. Then they put your name on a waiting list. The club has only a certain number of associate memberships available, so as associates move to full members new spots open up. It took me about 8 months of waiting to join as an associate. Associate membership is $80 and the only advantage it gets you is that you get the newsletter mailed to you (more on that later) and that you can shoot for discounted prices. IDK the prices for shotgun sports, but the regular range is only $2 a time instead of $10. To become a full member you first become an associate member, then you perform 16 hours of work for the club (they have two work weekends a year, and more on that later), there is an initiation fee ($100 I think), and you have to come to a few membership meetings to get voted on. the yearly dues for full members are also $80, with $2 a trip to shoot. The advantage there is again the discounted price, you can also bring guests for a discounted price, you have the chance to enter raffles for deer hunting on site, you can pay $10 a year to get camping privelleges, and you get a key to the gate. HOWEVER you CANNOT shoot whenever you want as a full member as the club requires a Range Safety Officer (RSO) be at the range whenever lead is flying.


RSO:

I am not certain how to become a RSO. I talked to the head RSO and I got the feeling that they don't want or need anymore RSOs. So, good luck there.


GRIPES:

Now that the facts are down I'll share some of my experience that lead me to no longer being a member. I still go there to shoot, but just as a visitor.

1) Cost - at $80 and $2 a time to shoot if you shoot 10 times it costs you $100.
$80 + 10 x $2 = $80 + $20 = $100
If you just go as a visitor 10 times it costs you $100
10 x $10 = $100.
So at about once a month you break even being a member or not. I can do my bread and butter pistol shooting elsewhere, and I don't need to shoot my rifle 10 times a year, so it just doesn't make economical sense for me. That combined with the reasons listed below resulted in me not persuing membership again this year.

2) RSO - I was (and still am) a NRA certified RSO and I was an associate member at the time that I talked to the chief RSO at SSC. He didn't seem interested in getting anymore help. So, even if I was a full member I couldn't shoot anytime I wanted. Perhaps they were fully staffed, but I am a firm believer that many hands make light work, so I don't know why they wouldn't want more help, especially from a member, already NRA RSO certified (what the club requires), a veteran, a local guy, etc....

3) Work hours - I worked one work weekend, 16 hours, for the club while on the waiting list. I hoped this would show how serious I was about joining and give more strength to my application. It wasn't until after I was accepted as an associate member that I was told those hours wouldn't count. No one told me that during the two days I spent away from my family. I would have been ok with doing some more work for the club (it is all volunteer afterall), say 4-8 hours, but to make me repeat another 16 hours seemed needless.

4) Newsletter- as an associate and full member you should receive the newsletter to tell you when the range is closed on weekend. I received about three of them and then they abruptly stopped coming in the middle of my membership year. I played phone tag with the membership coordinator, the newsletter board member, and even talked to some people in person but everyone passed the buck on why I wasn't receiving the newsletter. I finally gave up on it. Without the newsletter sometimes you can go to the club, or worse, invite friends that live an hour away to come to the club only to find it closed for the day for a special event. THAT really stinks!

5) Contact - piggybacking off of #4, it is really hard to get in touch with the right person or anyone in general. As I stated, the phone doesn't get answered, there is no website, no email, the mail takes months to get returned, and even when you do talk to someone in person you often are brushed off. It just doesn't feel that polished of an organization. My membership expired at the end of 2011 and no one ever contacted me about renewing it. I decided I didn't want to, but still to not be contacted at all just gives me the sense that things don't run that smoothly.


6) Rules- this isn't really a gripe, but I wanted to point them out. You can not rapid fire, draw from a holster, or do any movement while shooting. This is purely a target shooting club. Again, this is the club's choice, so it's not really a gripe, but you should know it if you are looking for IDPA style shooting, like I am.


7) Shooting when I want - as I stated, you NEED an RSO there to shoot whenever you want when you are a full member with a key, but as the chief RSO doesn't seem interested in having any more RSOs I don't know how you do this other. So, if I can't shoot whenever I am free then I might as well just go on the weekends.


8) Overall - I get the feeling that this is a club for old timers that just like to shoot. It's got GREAT facilities for spending a few hours at the range, but they are not interested in growing or bringing more events to the club, say like Aurora Sportsmen Club. The lack of contact, restrictive rules, and general feeling of "I don't care" lead me to think they aren't interested in growing or brining in new members. I could be wrong, but those are my feelings.


PRAISE:

1) Cost - you are NOT going to find anywhere in the Western burbs that let you shoot for 3 and a half hours for $10 period. Even if you just go for an hour you are saving money over many other ranges, but when I go I usually spend 4 hours there (12-4) and get my full money's worth. Four hours of fun for $10 is hard to find these days.

2) Facilities - the ranges themselves are beautiful. The 100 yd range is covered so the sun doesn't beat you up. There is some shade at the 50 ft range, and the range shack has a nice wood burning stove for winter shooting. The ranges themselves are clean and twice a year the wood is replaced. If you can go the weekend right after a work weekend has happened you are in for a real treat. The secluded location and tall trees make for great days. The gentle rustle of the trees swaying in the wind, the fall colors, the fresh air, it's just beautiful out there.

3) People - while the club has an air of exclusivity, and some of those in charge seem annoyed to speak with you, overall the people there are very friendly. This goes for the RSOs working (just don't break a safety rule if you don't want a Kiwi enema) to the other shooters. Everyone seems there to have fun and enjoy the shooting sports. I often will let my lane neighbor shoot my firearms that they are admiring and vice versa. I have lent and borrowed things to/from other shooters from magazines to staplers. People are happy to share and share alike so that everyone can have a good time.


4) Reloading - I'd say upwards of 50-60% of the people shooting at SSC do NOT reload. You know what that means! Free brass to use ground crawlers. Whether you're looking for a specific caliber, or you collect everything, like I do, in hope of trading it you can really clean up on a weekend there. There are also brass buckets that they ask you to put your brass into, so if people are nice you can usually just fish through there.


5) Family friendly - this could go under facilites or people, but the fact that it's outdoors and has friendly people means it's a great place to bring first time shooters and family members. It's not as loud as an indoor range, there's fresh air replacing the gun powder, and in general it is more welcoming than a dark indoor cave. I can't wait to take my son there. He's still too little though. Also, a few of the RSOs are instructors and will offer tips, sometimes unsolicited, for improving your shooting. Take this with a grain of salt. All the instruction in the world won't do a darn thing if you don't do these three things: practice, practice, practice!


6) Steel - I LOVE shooting steel. It gives immediate feedback and since you aren't looking to bullseye the target, just that ding, you get more into a mindset of shooting to hit instead of trying to line up the perfect shot. For defensive purposes this is good. If you can reliably hit a 4"x4" steel target at 50yds then you are on your way to being prepared for a self defense situation. You don't have to hit the center of a bullseye to stop an aggressor. I also think steel is great for new shooters as, again, it offers immediate feedback and they are more concerned with just hitting it rather then getting that perfect shot.



Well, that's about all I can think of for now. I still love going there, but it's not worth the hassle or cost for me anymore to be a member. I ended up joining a different club, but that's a story for another time. If you have more questions please post them, and I'll do my best to answer them, but realize that I don't know EVERYTHING about the club.

-TyGuy

Edited by TyGuy, 10 April 2012 - 09:42 AM.

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#4 Davey

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:54 AM

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately weekend only hours are not possible for me.

It also seems like it's a big pain in the butt to get range time over there. Are there any longer distance outdoor ranges around Elgin that are easier to get into? I know of the club in Aurora but that's about it.

#5 TyGuy

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:57 AM

I can't speak to your availability, but even when crowded I have always been able to find a spot at SSC. Umm, around Elgin, probably not. You could look into St Charles Sportsmen Club, it's in Elburn. They have a decent website. It's more a shotgunner's club, but they do have two rifle/pistol ranges.
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#6 Davey

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:08 AM

I can't speak to your availability, but even when crowded I have always been able to find a spot at SSC. Umm, around Elgin, probably not. You could look into St Charles Sportsmen Club, it's in Elburn. They have a decent website. It's more a shotgunner's club, but they do have two rifle/pistol ranges.


I looked into the St. Charles club and their hours won't work for me either. Thanks though.

#7 Jeffrey

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:19 AM

What about ASC? Its a great place with many options.
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#8 TyGuy

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:32 AM

ASC is nice, but it's a bit of a drive from Elgin. Probably an hour to 1:15? Better than nothing though, but I might look into that one near Racine.
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#9 Jeckler

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:25 PM


I can't speak to your availability, but even when crowded I have always been able to find a spot at SSC. Umm, around Elgin, probably not. You could look into St Charles Sportsmen Club, it's in Elburn. They have a decent website. It's more a shotgunner's club, but they do have two rifle/pistol ranges.


I looked into the St. Charles club and their hours won't work for me either. Thanks though.




As a "full" member, you have unlimited access at Saint Charles. You get a key to the gate and may come at any time. You are not limited to weekend hours. They even show you how to turn on the lights if you want to shoot some trap or skeet in the evenings. Pistol and Rifle is daytime only - no lights. Rifle range is limited to .22 at this time. Although they hold "high power" events periodically.

#10 TyGuy

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:33 PM

Yeah, I couldn't remember if the rifle range was 22 only or not.

BTW - if you are a shotgunner I would HIGHLY recommend the St. Charles Sportsmen Club. I've toured it, and I got to shoot there with a member once. They have many different levels of membership and their facilities for shotgun sports are top notch! The club house is really nice too. That club has the feeling of a well oiled machine. It's almost like a commercial venture. There's also a playground and fishing pond for full members I believe.
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#11 Davey

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:38 PM

Only 22 at St Charles? I don't have a 223 now but I'd like to eventually shoot them.

#12 Jeckler

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:12 PM

Saint Charles rifle range is 22 only. They have held some high power events in which 223, 7.62, and nearly anything else can be used.

The pistol range is basically any standard pistol caliber. No magnums, but the rest are fair game. 9mm, 45, 40, 357, etc...

Both pistol and rifle range are covered. Each has 8 or so shooting lanes.

Great Skeet Field
Very nice Sporting Clays Course 15 stations. Half are wooded. Half are more open/field
7 Trap Fields
Multiple Clubhouses
Archery Range with elevated shooting platform
Large fishing pond

If you'd like to see or get a tour, I'd be happy to guide. Send me a PM and we can coordinate.

www.scsconline.org

#13 TyGuy

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:24 PM

Yeah, the SCSC is a shotgunner's dream! If only the rifle range weren't 22 only I would have joined there. It's right down the road from my work.
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#14 Davey

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:43 AM

Are there any open air 100+ yard ranges that don't require memberships or work hours in IL?

#15 willxjcherokee

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:54 AM

Are there any open air 100+ yard ranges that don't require memberships or work hours in IL?

No.
Buffalo was the only one I am aware of...

#16 TyGuy

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:57 AM

I don't mind work hours, but not getting any credit for the ones I did upset me.

Is that one near Racine too far?
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#17 papa

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:10 AM

Are there any open air 100+ yard ranges that don't require memberships or work hours in IL?


I know of one . Might be a bit of a drive for you though. It is located about 4 miles West of McLeansboro .

#18 TyGuy

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:52 AM

What about Kenny's place?
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#19 Xwing

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:30 PM

TyGuy,
Thanks for pointing me to this thread. Sounds like a nice facility. But driving an hour in each direction without having any idea if they're open that day is :frantics:

Still, for that price, I might give it a try. I really need a chance to take my 50BMG out again, since Buffalo isn't allowing it anymore. :(

Saturday afternoons are usually all I find to go shooting. Are they usually crazy crowded on Sat afternoons? Or do you think I and a friend or 2 shouldn't have trouble shooting both Rifle (100 yrd) and Pistol (50 ft) at that time?

Yeah, the SCSC is a shotgunner's dream! If only the rifle range weren't 22 only I would have joined there. It's right down the road from my work.

One of my good friends is a member of SCSC. He says they are going to eventually allow decent rifles on their range, but didn't have any idea when. They've been talking about it for a couple of years so far...
If they ever allow all guns, I would join in an instant!
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#20 Bud

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:37 PM

One of my good friends is a member of SCSC. He says they are going to eventually allow decent rifles on their range, but didn't have any idea when. They've been talking about it for a couple of years so far...


Sounds like they are on "Illinois Legislative Savings Time" also
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#21 Jeffrey

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:37 PM

TyGuy,
Thanks for pointing me to this thread. Sounds like a nice facility. But driving an hour in each direction without having any idea if they're open that day is :frantics:

Still, for that price, I might give it a try. I really need a chance to take my 50BMG out again, since Buffalo isn't allowing it anymore. :(

Saturday afternoons are usually all I find to go shooting. Are they usually crazy crowded on Sat afternoons? Or do you think I and a friend or 2 shouldn't have trouble shooting both Rifle (100 yrd) and Pistol (50 ft) at that time?


Yeah, the SCSC is a shotgunner's dream! If only the rifle range weren't 22 only I would have joined there. It's right down the road from my work.

One of my good friends is a member of SCSC. He says they are going to eventually allow decent rifles on their range, but didn't have any idea when. They've been talking about it for a couple of years so far...
If they ever allow all guns, I would join in an instant!


+1 as this is the closest place to home for me. I've also heard they do not allow double taps. Can anyone confirm?
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#22 Jeckler

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:43 PM

I'm both a member and an RSO at the Saint Charles Club.

High Power rifle has been allowed on select days - special events. These are well monitored and controlled. It's only allowed during the special events.
It's my opinion that will change with time. As more people participate in the special days and do so safely, the restriction may loosen. Nothing is planned that I'm aware of.
Join for all of the other great ameninities and facilities. If/when high power becomes an option, think of it as a bonus.

http://www.scsconlin...Procedures.aspx
This will take you to the Operating Procedures for each of the ranges.
- aim each shot
- two seconds between shots

I extended the invite above, but will do so again. I'm happy to give a tour or bring a guest. If you're interested, send a PM.

#23 Xwing

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:17 AM

As a follow up: I drove up to Sycamore Sportsmans Club a few weeks ago.

-They do not allow 50 BMG :(
-Their rifle range is open to non-members every Sat and Sun in July and Aug (except Jul 15) from 12:30 - 4pm. It is not closed for any weekends through Aug.
-Their trap and skeet ranges are open at 12pm on Sundays and 6pm on Wednesdays.
-Their sporting clays range is open at 9am on Aug 11
-I confirmed they only charge $10 per person
-If you go with a friend w/o a FOID, they are very strict. Only one non-FOID holder is allowed to accompany each FOID-holder. They also must share 1 lane, and the FOID holder has to be standing right there any time the non-FOID holder shoots.

The two guys I spoke with (both range officers) were friendly and helpful. But they do seem quite strict on their rules.
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#24 TyGuy

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:21 AM

Sorry about the 50 BMG, I could have sworn they said that was ok before. Maybe that's a new rule.

Edited by TyGuy, 24 July 2012 - 08:21 AM.

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