Range etiquette

Hi all. My question is about shooting other people’s firearms and letting them shoot yours. Do you consider the cost of ammo, and do those you shoot with reciprocate?

Why I ask…

I frequently let others shoot my firearms but rarely do they reciprocate and they rarely offer to pay for or swap for the ammo (they usually have plenty of that type of ammo with them for their firearms). I’m not talking about a few rounds of .22lr, but a mag or two of 9mm, .380 or 22WMR, for instance.

No matter, it is only a few dollars, but it just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do.

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In the two times I have let non family members shoot my firearms it was pre-arranged. I told my friend this is what 9mm ammo I normally use go get some.

And the other time was a friend flying in for work and did not want to deal with transporting his firearms and I told him we could either stop and get some ammo or this is my average price I pay for 250 rounds and he paid double that and said it was since I would have to clean all of the firearms because of him.

Sounds to me like you just need to set clear expectations or hand them the firearm and an unloaded magazine; unless it is a firearm that is very picky about ammo.


I only allow people I know and am comfortable with handle my weapon(s), and I never ask to handle/shoot someone elses; I wait until they offer. I also always offer to pay for or replace their ammo I have used, all of which seems to lead to more people offering to let me try their gun.

That being said, our very informal Sunday morning club tends to be very generous in this regard. Probably because we have earned a measure of mutual respect amongst ourselves.

A kind word need not cost much; the price of praise can be cheap. With half a loaf and an emptied cup I have found myself a friend.


Are these people you know well or just someone at the range who asks to shoot your firearm?

You could always hand them the empty magazine with a sure you can shoot my gun, to make the best use of range time, why don’t you load the magazine while I shoot for a few more minutes? That way, you don’t lose your range time and they have to use their ammo.

If you don’t set the expectation that they’re going to pay for the ammo, then they won’t necessarily think to offer.

If these are people you know well, @David38’s situation could be a goal to work toward: a group with mutual respect sharing their firearms and ammo so it all averages out.

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On the rare occasion I’ve “swapped” guns. It was made clear. You can shoot a mag thru mine I’ll shoot a mag thru yours. But I understand the freeloaders getting frustrating. Just gotta be as tactful as possible.

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Thanks for the replies, folks. Generally these are people that I know, and I’m happy to let them shoot mine. It just seems odd that folks don’t usually reciprocate.

I really like the idea of telling them what ammo options and quantities to bring if they want to shoot mine.

I’m going to get to shoot my own Marlin one day…


Yes, only if I invite somebody to the range with me and they want to shot mine. Otherwise, I only allow my immediate family (wife, son, daughter). When I get offered, I politely refuse to shoot theirs.

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If I’m taking a friend to the range, I tell them “first time’s on me” and pay the range fee and ammo… and most of them argue… “no, I’ll get it!”
But, first time’s on me. Typically after that, if they want to shoot, they can buy ammo, and I’ve pre-set the expectation already. If I’m getting a new shooter started, I might carry the ticket a couple times.

If it’s just someone random at the range ogling our guns (and who wouldn’t be… we have awesome guns :laughing: ) and if they’re drooling or making puppy eyes, we usually offer to let them try. A mag or half a mag or one round in a mag like a new student… depending on how we’re feeling about their competence.

After that, if they give me puppy eyes the next time I usually just go with “yeah, it is a pretty sweet gun.” If they offer up a trade, cool, but otherwise we don’t usually let them borrow for free after that first time.

The exception is if it’s a guy trying to teach his wife or girlfriend and I can see it going south, I’ll just offer to help her and let her shoot with me, on my guns and ammo, to salvage the situation. I’ve seen too many women walk away from the range never wanting to go back, and if i can intercept that and turn it around. its worth as many boxes of ammo as it takes.


Brad, you spelled Henry incorrectly. You spelled it with a marlin. Just joking. Years ago one of my favorite shooters was my 45-70 Marlin 336.

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Marlin 336? Is that the model in the '70s for a 45-70? I don’t remember, and I don’t want to say something stupid. It’s been a long time. I did have a Marlin 30-30 336 I bought in 1971 I believe.

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Bugleboy. It is really both! I picked up a Henry .22Magnum w/octagon barrel and a Marlin 60 this season. Both very inexpensive to buy and shoot…right up my alley!

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Depends on if we are dating or just friends. :slight_smile:

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If it’s the Beowulf @ 1.50+ a round then it’s NO.

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I’ll be going with some coworkers on Saturday to shoot the Marlin and some others. I’ve let folks know to bring their own ammo. :slight_smile:


Well I’d say don’t offer if you’re not more than willing to eat the cost of the ammo.

Most people won’t consider the cost when they accept your offer to shoot your firearms.

I’ve always been happy to let someone try one of mine for a few rounds but if they want to go beyond that I’ll suggest they go grab a box of appropriate ammo.

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I’m thinking that was probably a model 1895. The .336’s as far as I know have always been made in smaller, lower powered calibers like 30-30.

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Where I tend to get into trouble is when I go to a range to shoot rifles.

I have a very interesting collection of customs from 6.5LRM to 375 Ruger with several .300 Rum’s in the mix as well.

There is no factory ammo for the 6.5LRM and with it being an especially noticable custom it always gets lots of attention from others and inevitably people want to take a shot or two with it because they can’t believe the ridiculously small groups I shoot with it.

Being a wildcat I have to buy brass for the 7mm LRM or .375 Ruger and step it down, move the shoulder, change the shoulder angle and lengthen the neck to get to 6.5mm then I feed it a heaping dose of powder and load it with a custom bullet.

It shoots in the .2’s and .3’s pushing a 140gr bullet at 3,400fps running a fairly mild load of RL19. I figure it probably costs me around 5.00 per round and many, many hours of careful work at the loading bench.

The .300’s and .375’s run around 3.00 per shot with factory ammo and probably 2.50 with hand loads.

Being a nice guy I don’t mind letting folks shoot a round or two through them but that’s my limit.

With handguns I don’t worry about it as all of them are cheap to shoot.

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