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Report from Darrington

gmerkt

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What with holidays and medical appointments, I've had to put off any shooting for a few weeks. My bags have been packed. I looked out the window when I got up, saw wet on the rhododendrons. But I looked in the newspaper at the weather, said 10% chance of rain and I thought maybe we've already had that this morning. I looked at the 10 day weather forecast online for Darrington, today was forecast for clear, but starting tomorrow it's supposed to rain for days. So I decided to go out anyway.

The gravel pit west of Darrington is on a hillside, sometimes is in the clouds anyway this time of year. Actually, it's difficult to tell where ground fog begins and cloud ends. I got some sprinkles going through Arlington but at the pit it was dry but completely overcast the entire time I was there.

The pit there has two sections, an upper and a lower. When I arrived, I saw some guys in the upper, so I went a little further and there were some guys in the lower as well so I just decided to drop anchor there. Turns out, the upper area was the "adults" and the lower was, well, let's just say "young adults." They were all nice folk; I went around to see if anyone was NWFA but no. I know there is at least one guy in Arlington who goes out there who is NWFA. Or was, anyway.

The young guys were real blasters. I didn't like they way they were shooting into a berm that is perpendicular to the upper area. Meaning, even though there was a big bank in the way, basically they were shooting toward where other shooters were apt to be. One time, from my vantage point I could see a couple of the guys on the upper area walking by to set their targets. During which time the young guys down on the lower side were still shooting in that direction (but into the bank) so I had to point this fact out. Oh, and I had to move my car and change position. One of the three young guys got out a steel plate disc mounted to a 4x4 on a stand. He was shooting at it from about 10 feet away. I heard a couple of zings go off somewhere, I've heard those before and don't like them.

The young guys weren't reloaders, they gave me all their 5.56mm and 9mm brass.

I fired one of my M1A's to the tune of 100 rounds, also an AR in about the same amount. I fired my .40 cal. Glock a bit, and Ruger SR1911 in 10mm a little. For rifle, I had one of those simulated targets. You set it at 25 meters, and it has target sizes printed on it that simulate ranges of 100, 150, 250, and 300 meters. It was interesting. After about 10 rounds from each rifle, my marksmanship improved. That's why we practice. I will never be called to the field of battle again, I'm too old but I like to be able to still use the skills I was trained in.

When I go to this place, I take the back entrance which is what DNR wants people to do. There used to be a kind of front entrance, but that crossed private land before the DNR property starts. They gated it off, locals complained. I've looked online at the Snohomish Co. tax parcels in this area. I won't cross private land knowingly. There is some way to get around the gate in a 4x4 but I don't have one and wouldn't do it anyway. One time when I was out there, a state ranger came by. We talked for a while. He has a big territory to cover but they do get around. You're supposed to have a state parks Discovery Pass to use this property. If the ranger finds you there without the pass, I believe the fine is $100.
 

EPS

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What with holidays and medical appointments, I've had to put off any shooting for a few weeks. My bags have been packed. I looked out the window when I got up, saw wet on the rhododendrons. But I looked in the newspaper at the weather, said 10% chance of rain and I thought maybe we've already had that this morning. I looked at the 10 day weather forecast online for Darrington, today was forecast for clear, but starting tomorrow it's supposed to rain for days. So I decided to go out anyway.

The gravel pit west of Darrington is on a hillside, sometimes is in the clouds anyway this time of year. Actually, it's difficult to tell where ground fog begins and cloud ends. I got some sprinkles going through Arlington but at the pit it was dry but completely overcast the entire time I was there.

The pit there has two sections, an upper and a lower. When I arrived, I saw some guys in the upper, so I went a little further and there were some guys in the lower as well so I just decided to drop anchor there. Turns out, the upper area was the "adults" and the lower was, well, let's just say "young adults." They were all nice folk; I went around to see if anyone was NWFA but no. I know there is at least one guy in Arlington who goes out there who is NWFA. Or was, anyway.

The young guys were real blasters. I didn't like they way they were shooting into a berm that is perpendicular to the upper area. Meaning, even though there was a big bank in the way, basically they were shooting toward where other shooters were apt to be. One time, from my vantage point I could see a couple of the guys on the upper area walking by to set their targets. During which time the young guys down on the lower side were still shooting in that direction (but into the bank) so I had to point this fact out. Oh, and I had to move my car and change position. One of the three young guys got out a steel plate disc mounted to a 4x4 on a stand. He was shooting at it from about 10 feet away. I heard a couple of zings go off somewhere, I've heard those before and don't like them.

The young guys weren't reloaders, they gave me all their 5.56mm and 9mm brass.

I fired one of my M1A's to the tune of 100 rounds, also an AR in about the same amount. I fired my .40 cal. Glock a bit, and Ruger SR1911 in 10mm a little. For rifle, I had one of those simulated targets. You set it at 25 meters, and it has target sizes printed on it that simulate ranges of 100, 150, 250, and 300 meters. It was interesting. After about 10 rounds from each rifle, my marksmanship improved. That's why we practice. I will never be called to the field of battle again, I'm too old but I like to be able to still use the skills I was trained in.

When I go to this place, I take the back entrance which is what DNR wants people to do. There used to be a kind of front entrance, but that crossed private land before the DNR property starts. They gated it off, locals complained. I've looked online at the Snohomish Co. tax parcels in this area. I won't cross private land knowingly. There is some way to get around the gate in a 4x4 but I don't have one and wouldn't do it anyway. One time when I was out there, a state ranger came by. We talked for a while. He has a big territory to cover but they do get around. You're supposed to have a state parks Discovery Pass to use this property. If the ranger finds you there without the pass, I believe the fine is $100.
I or we go there me and @Melmelhunter .
And @HighlandLofts .
But we have not been there
Sense September.
I think.
And the sheriff came by and talked to us for little bit .
We talked about the garbage.
That people have been shooting.
And the lower gate.
He said he keeps it closed because of the trash.
And if it gets any worse he would close the pit.
 

EPS

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The way you get around the gate is down the creek bed but don't do it.
The Sheriff told us if you get caught going around that way it's thousand dollar fine.
So you have to take the long way up the mountain and back down.
 

EPS

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@HighlandLofts is there all the time with his grandson.
He lives in Arlington.
He's the guy who told me about it.
 

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An onXmaps app could help with that. I love it because I know what property I'm on, where the trails are and who's property is near by. Excellent info for shooters.

This is a quick one so I could see the layout and where the state land is West of Darrington. Looks like there's good distance to nearby residents, unless that pit is close to one of them.

Could be helpful to get the app. I have it on my PC and Android (I don't have a GPS and I hear guys prefer the app on their phone instead.

Darrington, WA.jpg
 
OP
gmerkt

gmerkt

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The way you get around the gate is down the creek bed but don't do it.
The Sheriff told us if you get caught going around that way it's thousand dollar fine.
So you have to take the long way up the mountain and back down.
Well, that's a thousand good reasons to go the long way around. I don't think the sheriff cares about the Discovery Past but the DNR ranger will issue a ticket if you don't have one.

This is a quick one so I could see the layout and where the state land is West of Darrington. Looks like there's good distance to nearby residents, unless that pit is close to one of them.
That looks like a very useful app. I did it the hard way, looked it up on the assessors maps, took notes. The area we are talking about is north and west of there. North of the power lines.

And if it gets any worse he would close the pit.
Yes, littering knuckleheads will ruin it for the rest. It's happened before.

is there all the time with his grandson.
I've taken my grandson there several times. He can spend hours just walking around and plinking.
 

EPS

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It's a nice pit to shoot at we come from Anacortes .
So we make it a all day thing.
Bring stuff to eat and drink .
And lots of guns and ammo.
So far we haven't had any bad people around us .
But @HighlandLofts .
Has told us that he had a few bad days with people.
The lower pit is good if you have a lot of people and everyone is vigilant about witch way they shoot the upper pit is small but if you are there by yourself.
And nobody down below it's 100 yards or little more from one end to the other.
 

HighlandLofts

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When the weather gets better I will be takjng my grandson every weekend until snow comes again next winter.
I bought a few more guns to shoot and have two more to pick up.
I,m sure there will be more trash to pick up.
I finely got the last three gallons of brass we picked up seperated and deprimed so I can start wet tumbleing it.
I have been doing some reloading and have lots more to do.
It is time to pick up a Hornday Progressive Press,
Once I start taking Mason out shooting it takes to much time on the single-stage press.

I like shooting in the upper pit, the bottom pit is to big and you get crowded out. I only like shooting next to friends, people I know and trust.

If you go towards Rockport there are two other pits to shoot at. You can get close to two hundred ysrds at the bigger 2nd pit.
I prefer the smaller 1st pit, less encrouchment.


I always pick.up trash while Mason shoots.

20190120_152614_001.jpg


20190714_180521.jpg
 

EPS

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When the weather gets better I will be takjng my grandson every weekend until snow comes again next winter.
I bought a few more guns to shoot and have two more to pick up.
I,m sure there will be more trash to pick up.
I finely got the last three gallons of brass we picked up seperated and deprimed so I can start wet tumbleing it.
I have been doing some reloading and have lots more to do.
It is time to pick up a Hornday Progressive Press,
Once I start taking Mason out shooting it takes to much time on the single-stage press.

I like shooting in the upper pit, the bottom pit is to big and you get crowded out. I only like shooting next to friends, people I know and trust.

If you go towards Rockport there are two other pits to shoot at. You can get close to two hundred ysrds at the bigger 2nd pit.
I prefer the smaller 1st pit, less encrouchment.


I always pick.up trash while Mason shoots.

View attachment 660233


View attachment 660234
Have you been up to the pit.
Lately.
 

HighlandLofts

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It's been a while, not since last fall.
I will let you know when I have a free Saturday to go if the weather ever gets dry.
I was thinking of taking a ride one of these weekends to check out the pits.
I have your holster in the glove box in the truck and I need ti get that jig back to you.
I am working on a house in Anacortes; Deane Drive. If you are still off on Tuesday & Wed. I can meet you and give them back to you. I go into town occasionally for lunch.
 
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EPS

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Cool yep I'm off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Let me know next week .if you going to be here I will pm address.
Or you can call me.
I don't live far from the MacDonald's
 
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gmerkt

gmerkt

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I like shooting in the upper pit, the bottom pit is to big and you get crowded out. I only like shooting next to friends, people I know and trust.
Yeah, you're the guy that I've kinda expected to run into out there. I agree with the comment above, my OP reflects why. But not always possible.

I'm going to take my grandson out for some shooting this coming Monday, the President's Day holiday. He's off from school. But I won't be going to Darrington. I think I'll go farther, up to the North Fork pit. Even though farther, the approach is easier. The right rear axle bearing in my Mercury is hammered and needs replacement. Which I've been putting off because I don't like working on differentials on the ground, you have to pull the back cover off this one and release the axles from the carrier internally. Anyway, I will drive my Ford Crown Victoria which I prize more highly than the Mercury. But I won't drive the Ford down that mountainside to get into Darrington.
 

HighlandLofts

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Was there any snow on the long way in to the Darrington Pit.
My little Ford Ranger doesn't do good on snow and a couple of spots are steep. Then that turn off the 18 road that takes you down to the pit is steep as well with that left turn.

One of these day I,ll go up to the North Fork Pit.
I have been to the Lyman/Hamilton Pit a few times. I have a shooting friend that lives in Sedro-Wooley.

Make sure you take some pictures of your grandson and post them. Pictures encourage other people to take their young ones out.
 
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