Ultimate Reloader Moves to the Country

Anyone that lives in the city can tell you just how difficult, limiting, and expensive shooting can be when you don’t have access to the country. I once joined a shooting range with the understanding that I’d be able to shoot photos and videos for this website, only to find out that they would later decide that wouldn’t be allowed (legal and PR fears running rampant). I’ve shot at ranges that only allowed a single round to be loaded into rifle magazines at a time. I’ve shot at ranges that don’t allow concealed or open carry. I’ve shot at ranges where only members could get dedicated lanes. I’ve paid nearly $20. to shoot for an hour. I’ve driven long distances to shoot. This all gets to you after a while! In-city gun ranges can be great, but for me it was time for a change.

A New Phase for Ultimate Reloader

This year my wife and I decided to fulfill a life-long dream of mine- to buy a cabin in the woods. On my 40th birthday I stood on my own land – 31 acres of it in Central Washington. Tucked up away in the hills this property afforts 360-degree privacy, great views, and is located on a country road behind a locked gate. Now I can shoot pistol, rifle, and shotgun and be my own rangemaster! This is country where packing a 44 Magnum is relevant… Now I can setup a reloading shack next to where I shoot and be able to test loads as they come off the press. In short- this changes everything. While we will still live in the city, we’ll be spending a LOT of time in the country and I’m really looking forward to incorporating this new venue into the content that I publish here on ultimatereloader.com. It’s going to be FUN!

Evening campfires at the property are a great way to take in the surroundings
Evening campfires at the property are a great way to take in the surroundings

New Friends and Shooting Buddies

After buying our place in the country it didn’t take long to meet people in the area, and it’s been great to make new friends, learn about the area, talk reloading, and to shoot together! Imagine being able to shoot pistol, shotgun, and rifle any time at ranges up to 1000 yards! Shooting for me has never been this enjoyable or relaxing. While on a recent work trip at the cabin, I had the opportunity to go shooting with friends Jim the Plumber, Kyle, and neighbor Ron the carpenter. Jim is particularly keen on long distance shooting, and after a hike up the hill with our rifles he got us all setup to shoot at 600 yard steel targets with his amazing custom rifles in 6.5x47mm and 338 Lapua. The 8-ounce triggers cleanly break without disturbing point of aim. AMAZING!

Jim the Plumber (rear) coaches Kyle (middle) on the 6.5x47 wile Ron (front) sights with his 300 Win Mag
Jim the Plumber (rear) coaches Kyle (middle) on the 6.5×47 wile Ron (front) spots with his 300 Win Mag
Seth (11 years old, far) gets ready to shoot the 338 Lapua while Jim (near) spots with his scope
Seth (11 years old, far) gets ready to shoot the 338 Lapua while Jim (near) spots with his scope

I had the opportunity to shoot both the 6.5×47 and the 338 Lapua rifles at 600 yards, and both proved to be deadly once Jim dialed in the “dope”. I can tell that I’ll be needing to put up steel all over my property, that’s for sure! This kind of shooting can be totally addicting…

My friend Kyle brought an AR-15 that he built from scratch, so we got to break in his rifle as well. It was great to do some red-dot shooting while standing in my meadow. No one to tell us what to do,  just some good shooting and good times.

Kyle with his newly built AR-15
Kyle with his newly built AR-15

This meadow makes a great close-range rifle or pistol range, and I’m looking forward to putting up some reactive targets so that we can practice run-and-gun shooting. I could do that all day long!

Kyle firing his newly-built AR-15 at one of the many shooting spots on the property
Kyle firing his newly-built AR-15 at one of the many shooting spots on the property

Lions Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

One of the most exciting aspects of having a place in the country is all of the wildlife that you encounter. Along our canyon one will run into deer, elk, black bear, wolf, cougar, wild turkey, grouse, quail, owls, eagles, hawks, rattlesnakes, coyote, and marmot (to name a few :)). Recently, while pushing a wheelbarrow of firewood through the darkness towards my fire pit I heard a rattlesnake rattle right by me (~3′ away). I was wearing sandals and shorts, so I was feeling particularly vulnerable. Here’s a picture of that fellow:

One of two rattlesnakes that Kyle and I ran into over the weekend
One of two rattlesnakes that Kyle and I ran into over the weekend

Time to load up some 44 Magnum shot loads for these guys! (I’ve seen 6 of them in the last couple months).

One of the reasons that I’m excited about this new location is all of the awesome shooting and reloading stories that I’ll incorporate right here on Ultimate Reloader. Have ideas for “in the field” reloading stories? Please leave a comment! You might even see me reloading progressive pistol ammo outside, who knows! I think it’s time to start thinking about some “reloading 50 BMG” content! Please stay tuned as the story unfolds…





25 thoughts on “Ultimate Reloader Moves to the Country”

    1. congratulations the country life is the way to live I have 5 acres it’s not much but it sure beats any of the in town living .

  1. Good for you. Having a get away is the next best thing to living there permanently and if your work is in the city that’s what it takes.

    I’ve lived and worked in both the city and rural areas and understand completely. We left North Carolina for California to be near our grandchildren and although San Diego is beautiful for a city, it certainly is too confining. I’ve never been to an indoor range I would choose over an outdoor range even though automated lanes are more convenient than mandated pauses.

    Our grandkids are all teenagers now so we made our getaway to the Las Vegas Valley and I am enjoying the Clark County Shooting Park. Thousands of acres, still affordable with the raise to $9 all day with trap & skeet stations, a new state of the art sporting clays course, pistol, rifle, shotgun and archery ranges plus classrooms and league competitions make this a good compromise.

    Enjoy, stay safe and good shooting. I suggest you plan and invest in a safe room/bunker where you can safely store what you don’t want to haul back and forth and can be safe from two and four leg predators, just in case.

    Dale Swanson
    North Las Vegas

  2. Yeah…even though I live very near (!!) BLM land….and lots of it. Many square miles of BLM land at that….I walk out my door less tan 100 feet to my 100 yard range…I’m gonna set up for two hundred yards next year….but I’m getting people together to go out and get into the 600+ yard shooting…..guess I’m spoiled.

    It does cost enough to do this shooting gig let alone having to drive long distances and/or pay large fees to practice. Jesus…I have deer coming up to my back door and pressing thier noses up against the glass and touching noses with my cats….yeah….I’m spoiled.

    Hope you do not have to fight a lot of snow however…here it is snow and cold…sometimes -40 cold! Though we do not get a lot of snow per say…it just sticks around for a while.

      1. The deer have to be fenced off of my trees….the have killed far too many til I understood that young trees and deer do not mix…so up goes the wire around the trees.

        I’m not up to date on the wildlife numbers there in Washington and I have not spent much time there in your state and it has been a very long time since my last venture thru Washington. Here…the elk numbers were allowed to die off during a hard winter kill back in the winter of 2007-2008 and there another hard winter two years later. So the elk numbers are less than half than beofore that dreaded winter of 2007-08. ;ess than 2 miles from my house…the elk would gather into the thousands….guessing3 to 4 thousand at that.These winters now we may have 60 to 70 head that migrate to this area. The DOW will not fully cop to the fact this was allowed to take place…but the dept finally copped to the exaggerated deer/elk/antelope numbers after the hunting season of 2008-2009…greatly exaggerated. It is very hard to get an antelope tag…buck or doe….on public land during the regular rifle season. More so for bucks of course and I’m sitting on 11 perference points for a buck. Some people I know of finally got a buck tag for rifle season on buck antelope after accumulation of 15+ perfernece points..which means putting in for a tag a lot of years before you get drawn. So….I just have fun with practice and accurate rifles…and a lot of reloading.

        For perspective…elk number were taken down to 50% of the hgh numbers we had nd allowed to die with no intervention for wildlife personel…..we lost 80% in deer and we think we lost 70% of the antelope in one winter……made us all just want to puke. The deer have made some progress and have the antelope…the elk? low numbers but stable and that;s the way the numbers will be allowed to stay.

        So the nearest house is approximately 900 feet. No one conplains about my shooting sessions and it takes me juat a few minutes ro enter BLM land. As stated in prior post….I want out of the house over to my shooting bench for 100 yards. I’m considering building a shooting shed for the 200 yards…enclosed with heat. I understand I’m previledged with my setup…plus we’re gonna build a course…hopefully next year as well.

        Though I don’t know you….I could invite you and family/friend down for a shooting vacation. Lots of places to set up and practice.

        Today I got home and there were close to 12 antelope here and nearly two dozen deer….a fawn was up on my front porch. Yesterday afternoon there was a fairly decent 4 x 4 buck deer just passing thru. I watxhed him for about 15 minutes…him and the buck antelope with his girls. I do keep water out for the wildlife..but it is against the law to feed wildlife and we do not place any food out….Jesus…theres enough grass/vegetaion…and my trees!!!…that keep the deer/antelope happy and healthy.

        If you live far from a grocery store…..as I have a notion you know that you have to by in bulk and have a full pantry/freezer. I’m six miles out of town and we just willnot spend the gas money to go buy a soda….everything is a planned event and in particular…during winter with icey road or snow period. Keep good tires on the vehicles and keep the fuel tanks happy as well.

        I guess there isn’t a way to post pictures on this site…if I could I’d post up the bunches of deer that congregate around the house here.

        Enjoy the low/no noise environment where you live now…..from your pictures you posted….looks like a grreat place. Lots of snow thereor it sortof comes and goes?

        Anyways…I should go see about any tags left over ifnay tomorrow….I di receive today 4,000 claybuster wads and loaded a box of buckshot…and shot these up…costme 25 cents per round to load…..God I love it!!

        Have fun!

  3. Gavin, great post and I had a blast watching you guys shoot the rifles. I’ll bring my Barrett 50BMG the next trip. No where near the accuracy but a ‘ blast’ to shoot.

    1. Now we’re talking! I have some 50 BMG reloading equipment that I’d love to use on the blog. Would be great to shoot it with your BMG’s (I don’t have one :()

  4. Congrats on the new digs. I grew up in Quincy, Wa. and still hunt alot in the area although we live
    by Yelm, Wa. If you are up for some coyote hunting sometime, let me know and we can set up
    a time and date. If not I’m sure you will find plenty where you live.

  5. My wife and I went to Washington this summer to visit our son who is in the army and loved it. We have been looking for land there since.

  6. Glad to hear it, Gavin! I think you used to live only about three or four blocks from my brother in Bothell (he has a gold/white ’68 Chevy pickup parked in front)… nice to get out of the rat race and away from Blightwater, no doubt.

  7. Before you buy a .50BMG checkout the .408 Cheyenne Tactical! I looked at reloading costs of .408 CheyTac & .50BMG and diceided .338 is the biggest I’d ever want to go.

    1. My 50BMG ammo is cheaper to reload than my 338L.
      If I’m loading 750 A-Max, then the 50 wins the experience prize!
      for fun medium range shooting, I use the API’s over surplus powder and Tula primers.
      This load runs me about 95 cents each including barrel wear.
      The 338L cost about $1.25- $1.55 depending on bullet and including barrel wear at a rate of 40 cents per shot.

        1. OOPs, I was trying to be wordy, the 750 A-Max load is quite a bit more expensive, with bullets ~ $2.00 ea plus powder, primer, etc.
          I have a small stock pile of bullets I find at discounted prices as I travel around the internet and gun shows.

  8. Congratulations Gavin. And though it’s not good to do,say, or be of someone, of which I rarely am, I do envy you.

    Happy Shooting!

  9. I know what its like Gavin. At my place in Arizona I get on my quad, drive 1/4 mile and am able to shoot without a problem. Enjoy

  10. Way to go, I to live in the country & shoot practice, test load developments, Still wish I had more time, Anyway congratulation to your setup and beautiful place it appears you live

  11. I wonder when the leftists will pass a law saying you need to have 100 acres minimum to be able to shoot on your property. They pull crap like that. Keep an eye on adjacent properties that go up for sale . It’s likely only a matter of time. Stay safe out there.

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