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Central Oregon: China Hat Rd.

Discussion in 'Outdoor Shooting Areas' started by tradja, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. tradja

    tradja Central Oregon New Member

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    Just outside the southern end of Bend, China Hat Road heads about 6 miles east into USFS land. About a mile after the signed Horse Butte turnoff, there is another unmarked red-cinder road to the left, with a green metal gate and a sign prohibiting unauthorized cinder removal. This road leads a few hundred yards back to a moderately-sized cinder pit with a high back wall.

    If you were the only party there, you could set up some ~120yd shots.

    PROS: Close to Bend. Anything goes.
    CONS: Frequent ATV use (in the pit, while you're reloading :eek: ). Trashy. Anything goes. If you'd like to be repeatedly muzzle swept and see other unsafe gun handling, go on a weekend. Also, although the space can accommodate 4-5 parties, one party set up wrong can block all safe shooting angles for anyone that shows up later.

    EDITORIAL: I'm getting tired of this place. My wife (wisely) refuses to even go there anymore, after the last few groups we've seen there.
     
  2. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    I was out there last year with some friends. We left before we even got all our gear unpacked. There are crazy po-dunk-hick antics that go on out there. We actually ended up in the middle of the barrens and had a good time of it. Even scored a rabbit for dinner.
     
  3. Dutchy556

    Dutchy556 Bend, OR Member

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    Cabin Butte (this pit) used to be better. In recent years it's gotten sketchier and sketchier...

    Weirdos scoping you out as you shoot, morons with no gun handling skills, off roaders that will take off into the pit or up the hill not just while you're reloading or whatever, but while you're actively shooting, etc.

    Same goes for Coyote Butte just a couple miles (if that..?) down the road... decent place to shoot, but frequented by morons.


    I still go out to the cinder pits frequently enough though when I'm back in Bend in the hopes that noone else is out there at the time, as it's a fairly convenient location, but I find that frequently enough I end up turning right back around or packing up early.
     
  4. Bend

    Bend Central OR Member

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    The above is why I like COSSA. If you can not afford the membership fee, the un-managed public range 1/4 mile past the COSSA gate has covered benches and target stands at 25, 50 75 and 100 yards. Its well worth the trip.

    COSSA newsletter.
     
  5. tradja

    tradja Central Oregon New Member

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    Yes, I need to get around to joining COSSA. To be honest, in my limited interaction with COSSA I have found some of them to be somewhat unwelcoming.

    Glad to hear other perspectives on the pits. I like the public COSSA/BLM range, but I wish the first target stand wasn't 25 yds out. The pit yahoos never seem to show up out there.
     
  6. tradja

    tradja Central Oregon New Member

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    Good observations. I like Coyote Butte as well, but it can get really windy up there. I'm glad you confirmed that the pits continue to get sketchier -- it's not just me getting older.
     
  7. Bend

    Bend Central OR Member

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    Just got back from the COSSA rifle 200 yard range (with gongs to 500 yards). Besides the wife and dog, I was the only one there. Where were you guys?
     
  8. tradja

    tradja Central Oregon New Member

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    :D
    Work. :sleep:
     
  9. doug

    doug Tacoma Member

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    Hello Central Oregon Forum Members,
    I am vacationing in Redmond, OR next week and would really appreciate some local knowledge of where me and my two youngsters can safely shoot outdoors. We will be plinking .22 rifles and small caliber handguns, preferring to hit metal reactive targets. At my hometown range we can only shoot paper targets under a really controlled enviroment. It would be nice to be in nature in a safe enviroment. I will look into COSSA but don't mind driving and hour in any direction of Redmond/Bend for the perfect spot. We always pick up trash and put safety first. Your suggestions are very much appreciated.
     
  10. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    If you pick up an atlas you can see the BLM land borders. If you stay in those areas you can pretty much shoot where-ever. Well, as long as you don't shoot towards a road, over a road, or from a road and are at least 150ft from a road.
     
  11. tradja

    tradja Central Oregon New Member

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    doug, do you have your own metal targets? If so, then I would recommend the public pit just east of Redmond.

    If not, then I would recommend the rifle and pistol range at the Redmond Rod and Gun Club.

    The public pit and the R&G Club are actually on the same road, just a few miles apart.

    Directions to the Redmond pit: continue east past the R&G Club on Hwy 126 towards Prineville. You will cross a canal (probably dry) and ascend a slight rise. Shortly after, the road will broaden into 4 lanes and you will see a long white ranch fence on your RIGHT. A few hundred yards down the fence, you will see a green Adopt-a-Highway sign on the LEFT side of the road. The turnoff for the pit is a dirt road on the LEFT side of the road about 10 yards past the Adopt-a-Highway sign. Drive back 75 yards on this dirt road and you are at the pit.


    In the map below, the distinctive "eye-of-a-needle"-road north of the highway is the pit itself. Zoom out to see Redmond to the west.
    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=k&ll=44.255904,-121.081975&spn=0.002958,0.006062&z=17

    If you go, consider bringing a few heavy-duty trash bags to haul out some junk. I do. Have a great weekend with your kids!
     
  12. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    I know of alot of places out by Fossil, Spray, John Day area, but havent really spent any time shooting around Redmond/Bend area. The best suggestion I could give would be up out of Prineville in the Ochocos. There are some good rock pits up there with good backdrops. It's a bit of a drive from Redmond, but not bad. There are, probably, places alot closer to Redmond than that though. I would try the atlas suggestion for BLM land also.
     
  13. tradja

    tradja Central Oregon New Member

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    Some of those rock pits on 26 just west of Ochoco Summit are pretty nice. I had the mile marker for one written down in my Gazetteer, but it is at home. Pretty obvious from the road, though, especially eastbound.

    I hate driving but yes, those Ochoco pits seem like a long drive from Redmond.
     
  14. doug

    doug Tacoma Member

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    You guys are great :) So many good suggestions so quickly. I am going to research them all. I don't mind driving a little further especially if it is East since I don't go there often and I enjoy the landscape.
    Thanks!
     
  15. doug

    doug Tacoma Member

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    I am back from my vacation in Central Oregon. I first went to the public area east of the Redmond Gun Club that Tradja suggested. I didn't feel comfortable there because it was as far from the road as I wanted (didn't want a State Trooper to pull in and question me). So I meandered a 1/2 mile deeper into the desert and found a suitable place.
    The next place was COSSA and the public range area. It was a nice 22 mile drive from Bend. I wondered why I was driving so far, but I like the scenic countryside. It was real cold and windy, the snow started and by the time I got to COSSA it didn't make sense to unload the kids and shoot, they would have hated it. So I observed a few shooters for a few minutes, and drove back toward Bend. It looked like a nice range for long distance, but the BLM areas that are closer in to town worked best for my .22 plinking and pistol practice. I never did make it to the Redmond Gun Club because their open hours didnt match mine. All in all, it was great to have the access to shoot, unlike the urban sprawl of the Puget Sound area.