Do I Look Like Your Momma? The Personal Policy of Policing – Brass

Do I Look Like Your Momma? The Personal Policy of Policing - Brass

Do I Look Like Your Momma? The Personal Policy of Policing - Brass

I stepped into the firing lane at my favorite indoor range last week and the first task was to “police” the brass that had accumulated there from a previous shooter. Grabbing a broom and dustpan, I quickly accomplished the clean-up chore, the expended brass placed in the buckets that the range provides, and the cleaning utensils returned to their storage locations.

A young couple was in the lane next to me and between the two of them managed to put quite a few .223 and 9mm rounds downrange. Concentrating on my own lane of fire, I sent a couple of magazine full of .45 ACP rounds downrange myself, made my weapon safe, and stepped back to begin picking up the brass that I had expended. I do this for two reasons; if it is once-fired ammunition, I give the expended cases to my Son-in-Law for reloading and, secondly, I want a clean shooting area. When I stepped back outside of the firing booth, I noticed that my shooting “companions” had picked up and left the range area while leaving behind them close to a hundred expended casings of .223 and probably as many 9mm casings. They had also left the target that they were shooting at hanging downrange and several empty cartridge boxes littered the shooting bench.

Another couple entered the range area and walked over to where the previous shooters had been. Between the other fellow and me, we managed to collect all of the expended brass left behind by the previous shooters so that they could at least enter the firing booth. Afterward, we shook hands and both of us just shook are heads at the inconsideration of people simply to pack up, leave without cleaning up after themselves, and partially devalue a day of shooting for the next participants.

I have been to ranges where the range officer (if present) does not want you to pick up your expended brass while other ranges expect you to clean up after yourself. For myself, I tend to follow the range rules of etiquette such as…

Range Etiquette Rule #11: Clean up when you are finished.

Do not leave a trashy shooting station for the next shooter. Throw away any ammunition packages, old targets, and other trash that you have generated during your shooting session. Some ranges require you to grab a broom and dustpan and sweep up the used shell casings (commonly called brass) around your area. Some ranges provide a recycling bucket for the shell casings. Other ranges just want you to sweep the brass forward of the firing line so that it will not pose a slip and fall hazard to other shooters. Range personnel will collect the brass at the end of the day.

When everyone obeys the basic rules of range etiquette and common decency, shooting at the local community range is a lot more fun.

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  • Anonymous


  • Md82ndabnlost

    I fully agree with you about this, Although I always am happy when others leave there brass behind. since i will scavenge the brass. Keep any that i reload for, the rest i take to our local scrap yard for the value of brass by weight. Currently it is $0.48 a pound. That then becomes my new gun fund.

  • Derby

    The range where I practice does not allow picking up any brass other than my own — so I don’t.

  • Anonymous

    You get no complaint from me.  It seems that anymore we are surrounded by inconsiderate swine instead of human beings.  It’s EVERYWHERE you look;  And, when you try to clean up a little you’re looked at like you’re crazy.
    I know this isn’t a political forum but, it needs to be said:

    BO STINKS…Wash it away in 2012

    • I agree.  It’s not just at the gun range.  But, maybe that’s just the cynic in me.

  • This really is a no brainer. You should “clean up after yourself”. I golf (rather badly) and if my ball goes into a sand trap; I take the rake and smooth out the sand. That is what the rake is there for. It is also called golf etiquette. The same applies at the gun range unless other wise stated. Who can shoot comfortable with all that spent brass under foot and why should I have to waste valuable range time which I paid for cleaning up somebody else’s mess. You have golf etiquette and in the same manner you should also have gun range etiquette.

  • Everyone that shoots should clean up before they leave, the range I use, the range master sweeps up but asks the shooter if they want their casings before sweeping them down range. When I’m done shooting I’ll grab the broom myself, I always get a thank you. 

  • Anonymous

    The last time that I sold my brass for scrap I had about 95 lbs,  On that day it brought $2 per pound..  It took awhile to accumulate that much brass but it was worth the time to collect and sell it. 

    As far as leaving a range site clean, it’s the age old story.  Some people are considerate.  Some are not.  Why sweat the small stuff?

  • Anonymous

    Sounds line a good idea to clean up after yourself no matter where you are. Makes you wander how they were raised and if their momma was always asking them to pick up their clothes, etc.

  • Brasscatcher1962

    The range where I’m at you will find brass all over it is hazard and need to be careful where you walk. I make a brass catcher for my ar-15 it can hold around 200 rounds. On the back of my card I have a saying “Enjoy shooting without picking up” How true this is all you have to do is unzip the bottom and give it to someone who reloads or reload it yourself.

  • Jouthier

    I used to be a member of a range in Amarillo, TX that allowed 24 hr access with the expectation that you would police your own brass and trash. Besides making it more comfortable to shoot, it is just safer to have a clean envirenment that you are shooting in.

  • Jones2

    Most people I know leave it because they klnow that usually the range cleans it up and sells it.
    If the range wants my brass FOR FREE that aI had to WORK TO PAY FOR they are damned sure gonna have to do a little work for it.

    It takes every not of three minutes to sweep up a station after that shooter has left.  This is one of the reasons to have EMPLOYEES.  Sure, sitting on your ass watching and making sure the range is safe is their main job, but the job has fringe duties.

    What next, am I expected to have to change the A/C filter when I leave because I exhaled some  breathe into it?   Will they put a little arc welder there for me to patch up the bullet holes in the angle iron frame holding the target? 

    RANGE OFFICER:  I’m leaving the brass for your for FREE.  Quit whinning, or go buy it online by the pound.  You’ll find it is cheaper to invest two minutes with a broom that buy it.

    By the way, I always police up my brass.  It’s habit from the military.  But I’m not a “brass-snob” at those who choose to leave it.  At the range I’m a member of, the owner would actually rather you leave it than take it.  He makes a nice profit off it.

  • Michael

    My range has a rule of policing your brass before you leave. If you need to be reminded (three signs at eye level stating this) and you show an attitude, banded for life. The regulars will jump all over you if you don’t follow the rules. Most of us are military and/or law enforcement and know accidents happen, and you must do your best to avoid them. Policing your brass might be a small rule, but its a rule.