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 magazines 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 our 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.