What's In Your Range Bag?

By Chuck Hawks

That is the exact question that I was recently asked, so I thought that I'd pass along the answer to other Guns and Shooting Online readers. Certainly, anyone who does even a minimal amount of shooting at his or her local gun range needs some sort of range bag to keep the necessities together. Items like hearing protection, shooting glasses, a spotting scope, etc.

This does not need to be anything fancy; one of the expensive, made for the purpose range bags is definitely not required, although it might be nice. Actually, for all the hours that I spend at the range testing guns, I have never owned a purpose-made range bag. I have always just adapted a sports bag or airline bag to my needs. At present a Cal-Pak athletic bag serves admirably as my range bag.

What's inside is more important than the range bag itself. Just get a reasonably durable bag with enough capacity to hold the stuff that you actually need at the range.

Here is a list of the items that I carry in my range bag, in alphabetical order.

  • Bushnell Bore-Sighter
  • Baseball cap
  • Glasses, shooting
  • Hearing protectors, earmuff type (for me)
  • Hearing protectors, disposable ear plugs (to give to friends that forget theirs)
  • Instruction manuals (for various scopes, mounts, and accessories to which I might want to refer)
  • Lens brush
  • Lens hoods for various scopes and optical sights
  • Masking tape (for putting up targets)
  • Notebook with trajectory data for all calibers and loads that I shoot
  • Past shooting glove
  • Push pins (for putting up targets)
  • Quarter and penny (for adjusting scopes)
  • Recoil pad, slip on (for guns supplied without a recoil pad)
  • Rifle cleaning rod (aluminum, 3-piece)
  • Sharpie marker pen (for marking targets)
  • Silicone gun cloth
  • Spotting scope and table top tripod
  • Stapler and package of extra staples (for putting up targets)
  • Targets (several kinds and sizes)
  • Tool kit, includes: screwdriver set with interchangeable bits, two jeweler's screwdrivers, small hammer, brass punch, aluminum punch, plastic punch, 16' tape measure, medium file, an assortment of useful Allan and torx wrenches that fit scope mounts and rings.
  • Winchester strap-on recoil pad (for my shoulder if I forget my shooting vest)

Note that ammunition is not mentioned. That is because my range bag is already too heavy, so I carry the ammunition for whatever guns I am taking to the range in a separate (smaller) bag.

Items too large to fit into my range bag that I carry separately to the range include whatever guns I intend to shoot, my Caldwell Lead Sled and two 25 pound bags of lead shot, a Caldwell "sand bag" rest, a cushion to sit on, and a Browning shooting vest. In my car I always have a couple bottles of water, bath towel, cold weather gloves, small general purpose took kit, and a spare coat, and occasionally these items also come in handy at the range.

I know that this is too much stuff, but it has all proven to be handy on occasion, if not always absolutely necessary. And I, along with the rest of the Guns and Shooting Online staff, probably spend a lot more time at the gun range than do most shooters. Pare the list down to what makes sense for you. Good shooting!

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Copyright 2006, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.