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Buffalo Target Shooters Association

       Calgary, AB

BTSA Range Rules

Quick Links:

General Range Rules

Range Designation and Usage

Firearms Safety Rules

Summary of Range Command Sequences

Flag Control at Bays

Firearms Handling and Control

Firing Line

The Four Rules of Firearms Safety

Rules for Targets

Steel Targets

General Range Rules:

      • Hours of Operation :
        • Discharge of firearms on BTSA property is only permitted between 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
        • These hours are due to CFO restriction on night shooting.  Night shooting on a range requires prior approval from CFO , e.g. supervised event like a night shoot, with specific lighting and safety procedures in place.
      • BTSA property and range bays have a safety monitoring system.
      • Only BTSA members who have received a range orientation may use the range bays unsupervised.
      • Exception to the orientation rules is if a member brings a guest. 
      • All participants must use the range sign-in sheet and have their membership cards available if requested to be seen.
      • Approved members may bring guests, provided they have purchase guest pass.
      • Members are responsible for ensuring that their guests follow the range rules.
      • Guests must be under the direct supervision of the member while they are shooting.
      • Children and pets must be under adult control at all times on the range.
      • The BTSA entrance gate must remain locked at all times unless there is a scheduled event or competition underway which will involve non-approved club members or other competitors.
      • All persons on the range must wear hearing and eye protection while shooting; it is strongly recommended that all shooters were eye and ear protection at all times, regardless of the state of the firing line.
      • Only civilian attire is acceptable on all Alberta Provincial Rifle Association (APRA) ranges.
      • Absolutely no para-military clothing or equipment is tolerated on any APRA range, as para-military organizations are not permitted on APRA ranges; only private citizens.
      • Members of the military are welcome to join as civilians; however, must train on military facilities should they wish to train with their specific equipment.
      • All shooters must be in compliance with Federal and Provincial Firearm laws and regulations with respect to safe storage, transportation, licensing, authorization, registration, and operation of all firearms.
      • Possession or use of any drugs or substance in any form which has the potential to alter a person’s state of mind and/or disrupts a person’s alertness (i.e. narcotics, cannabis, alcohol, sedatives, etc.) regardless of the intended reasons are considered an serious offence and they are strictly prohibited on BTSA property.
      • Any person on the BTSA range, who in the opinion of the EL, RO or BoD, visibly impaired or under the influence of any of the items described above will be disqualified from the event and may be asked to leave the range. 
      • Absolutely no horseplay, careless handling or distracting activities are allowed by shooters or spectators while shooting is occurring.
      • No shooting at anything that may cause dangerous debris or bullet ricochets.
      • No intentional shooting of target frames or other club equipment.
      • Targets must be set up so that bullets strike the berms and not the range floor or travel through the target and over the berm.
      • Review the Target section for more information.
      • Shooters are to remove their targets (take home for recycling), pick up their casings and clean up the area when done shooting.
      • Leave empty casings in the buckets on the range or take them with you.
      • The consumption of alcohol or any controlled substance before or while shooting is occurring by shooters or spectators is prohibited.
      • Shooters using the range are to note and report any signs of vandalism or damage, unsafe conditions, or instances of inappropriate or unsafe behaviour by other range users by completing an incident report (see Appendix A).
      • If an incident occurs and a member is written up, copies of the incident report form are kept with the BTSA Board of Directors in a secure location.
      • If the range is found in an unsafe condition upon arrival, no shooting will take place until the range is once again in a safe condition.
      • All motor vehicles, fuel and electric powered, including fuel and electric powered motorcycles, bicycles, and recreational vehicles, will be operated only on the BTSA designated roads (see range map) and shall be parked only in designated parking areas. Exception may be made with prior permission of the Board member or liaison, for special events or large competitions.
      • Additional range safety rules may be implemented to cover club sanctioned events and competitions (including IPSC, USPSA, IDPA, etc.) as the organizers see fit.
  • ** Failure to comply with the range rules may result in temporary or permanent suspension from APRA ranges and/or BTSA. **  

  • Range Designation and Usage:

    Members must check the BTSA Range Configuration to determine which range(s) are approved for the firearms and ammunition they intend to use and the distances they intend to shoot.
    Members are responsible to ensure each firearm is being used on a range designated for that firearm and at the distance it is designated for.

  • Firearm Safety Rules - Firing Line Control:

    A BTSA club events (i.e. Action Shooting League, Steel Challenge League, ISPSC/USPSA (club matches) will have an Event Lead (EL) and a Range Officer (RO) present and will be responsible overseeing range operations and all shooters must comply with the instructions of the EL.
    The EL will have absolute control of the firing line, authority on the range and their instructions are to be obeyed immediately without question.
    Anyone (shooters and observers) acting in an unsafe manner will receive a warning from the EL and may be requested to immediately leave the range. The EL will complete an incident report, which will be kept on file.
    In the absence of an EL an RO will be present and will step into the Acting EL position.
    In the absence of an EL or RO on the range for everyday target shooting practice, shooters are self-regulating and are responsible for ensuring the safety of themselves and all on the range.
    All shooters must shoot from the agreed firing line only.
    Everyone must be behind the firing line before shooting can commence.
    Positions and titles for the following approved organizations; International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA), or the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) will follow their existing roles, responsibilities or reporting structures as they will provide their own trained officials for their sanctioned events.

The following is a SUMMARY of Range Command SEQUENCES:
  • When the firing line is COLD 
          • Shooters may setup targets or move down range.
          • Shooters MAY NOT bring uncased or unholstered firearms to the firing line.
  • Once the RO or lead shooter confirms all shooters are behind established firing lines and calls out the command, RANGE IS GOING HOT, EYES AND EARS”.
  • All shooters put on eye and ear protection.

  • RO or lead shooter confirms by scanning that all shooters have appropriate eye and ear protection and calls out the command, RANGE IS HOT – COMMENCE FIRING”.

The RO or lead shooter or any shooter at any point in time may call out the command, “CEASEFIRE.

  • When the command has been issued, all shooters are to immediately stop firing, prove their firearm safe, open the action, and place their firearm down or in a holster and step back from the firing line.
When the firing line is “HOT”:
      • No one can be or go in front of the firing line
      • No one can go downrange while shooting is occurring or until a ceasefire has been called and is in effect with all shooters.
      • No firearm shall be loaded until the “Commence Firing” command has been given, or if an RO is supervising, until commanded by that RO.
When the RO or lead shooter has inspected that the firing line is safe, he/she may call out the command “RANGE IS COLD or RANGE IS CLEAR”.  
When the range is “COLD OR CLEAR”:
      • No one is to handle ANY firearms on the firing line.
      • Shooters may move forward of the firing line to check and change targets.
      • Shooters may remove ear protection; however, it is highly recommended eye and ear protection be worn at all times.

Flag Control at Bays:

All ranges contain flag poles that swivel with a red and green flag on each end.

  • The Red flag indicates that the range is IN USE.
  • The Green flag indicates that the range is NOT IN USE.
  • The last shooter to leave the range must set all flags to green.
  • Upon arrival at a range bay, if the red flag is not raised, range users should change the flag to red then inspect the range to ensure the range is clear of any other range users before setting up.
  • On the 100/200m rifle range (Bay 8), the range should be inspected to ensure there is no other users are present on the range (i.e. –behind the 100m or 200m berms) before setting up. 
    The red flag must be raised before any handling of firearms can occur.

Firearms Handling and Control:

Safe Handling Tables

A safe handling table MUST:
    • Have signage that says, SAFE AREA.
    • Be positioned behind any firing line.
    • Be positioned against a berm, so that no one may walk in front of it.  
On a safe handling table, a shooter may do the following, provided their firearms are pointed in a safe direction at all times:
    • Case and uncase
    • Remove any locking mechanisms
    • Disassemble / Clean / Reassemble
    • Cycle and dry fire
    • Holster a handgun 
    • Pick up a long gun to transfer to a:
      • Rack (if the line is cold)
      • Firing line (if the line is hot)
  •  At a safe handling table, shooters MUST NOT:

    • Handle ANY ammunition
    • This includes, but is not limited to; live ammunition, dummy or snap caps or spent shells
    • Load their firearm

Firing Line

Firearms may only be brought to the firing line when the range is hot.

When the range is hot, muzzles must always be pointed downrange.

When the range is cold, long gun muzzles must be pointed upwards while being moved to and from storage racks.

No firearm shall be loaded until it is in a horizontal position with the muzzle pointed downrange, after the Commence Firing command has been given.

No loaded firearm muzzle should be pointed above the berm.

Muzzle loading firearms must be loaded at the firing line only.

If a Ceasefire is called while they are loaded they must be uncapped (the percussion cap removed) or unprimed (remove priming powder) before being removed from the firing line.

Muzzle loading firearms can be capped or primed at the firing line only.

All firearms must be unloaded, with actions open and any magazines removed and properly racked or stored when not being used for shooting.

Remember the Four Rules of Firearms Safety:
1. Assume all firearms are always loaded.
2. Never let the firearm’s muzzle point at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger/out of the trigger guard until your sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is in front and behind it.
  • Rules for Targets:

    For general member use of the facility, the following rules with respect to targets MUST be adhered to:

      • Targets can be placed, changed or taken down only when the range bay is cold or a Ceasefire has been called and the firing line has been made safe or clear.
      • No one is to go forward of an established firing line when the line is hot for ANY reason.
      • Targets must be set up so that bullets strike the berms and not the range floor or travel through the target and over the berm.
      • Aerial targets (sporting clays) are prohibited.
      • Paper targets mounted on wooden frames are acceptable and are preferred targets.
      • Non-explosive, non-metallic soft targets that do not create excess waste debris are acceptable provided:
      • They are set up such that all rounds impact the berm and NOT the ground asphalt or wood rail ties.
      • Members to reasonably clean up target debris left behind.

    Examples of ACCEPTABLE targets:

      • Paper / cardboard targets
      • Target shooting specific, self-healing rubber targets – provided they are NOT placed on the asphalt or rail ties
      • Balloons – provided waste material is removed after use and balloons are positioned such that rounds impact the berm
      • Candy – lollipops, provided waste plastic wrapping and paper sticks are collected
      • Static, non-aerial sporting clays – provided members make a reasonable effort to clean up debris (i.e. pick up any pieces larger than 1″)

    Examples of PROHIBITED targets:

      • Unapproved hard metallic objects of any kind (these can create extremely dangerous ricochets)
      • Any scrap electronic device or appliance (these leave behind plastic and metallic debris as well as toxic chemicals that are difficult to remove and potentially hazardous to other range users)
      • Tannerite or any similar explosive binary target (these may severely damage the asphalt flooring and are a safety liability the association is NOT insured under)
      • Firebird or any similar flammable target (these are a fire hazard)
      • Any club fixture (i.e. – wire spools, tables, chairs, trailers, BBQ, target houses – these are for the enjoyment of club members in the operation of the range, please be considerate to your fellow club members)
      • Any member caught shooting at prohibited targets or any target in an unsafe fashion will be subject to disciplinary actions, including being charged to repair damage to club fixtures, suspension or expulsion from the club with temporary or permanent revocation of membership, or being reported to law enforcement.

    Steel Targets:

    Target shooting is a safe recreational activity; however, there are specific guidelines for shooting at steel targets that all shooters MUST adhere to. Non-compliance with these guidelines may create an unsafe situation or result in costly damage to club targets.

    Only steel and metal targets provided by BTSA or approved by the board of directors may be shot on these ranges.
    Prior to setting up steel targets, all shooters must visually inspect the targets to ensure they are in serviceable condition.

    The following critical guidelines must be adhered to by all individuals shooting steel targets:
      • Any steel target that has been dimpled or has holes in it must NOT be used.   Report any damage to (include Bay location, date and your name) so we can replace the steel.
      • Absolutely NO steel core, steel jacket or steel pellet ammunition of ANY kind is to be used against steel targets.
      • Minimum range for steel targets is 10m for pistol approved steels, 100m for rifle and shot gun slugs with approved steel targets.
      • Absolutely NO centre fire rifle, buckshot or slugs are to be used on steel targets approved for pistol shooting only.
      • Only shotgun number 4 and smaller (i.e. – 7.5, 10, etc.) lead birdshot may be fired on any steel targets. 

    Failure to comply with the above rules may result in temporary or permanent suspension from the Homestead range and/or the BTSA and APRA.

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    Buffalo Target Shooters Association
    PO Box 394
    300, 8120 Beddington Blvd NW
    Calgary Alberta T3K 2A8

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