This started because I saw the picture on the cover of the April 1963 American Rifleman magazine. It showed a group of shooters on the line at Camp Perry. They are upright, with their right arms out in what is now known as the chicken wing. I decided I wanted to read the article and went looking for the magazine. One magazine was sort of pricey, but there was an Ebay auction for eleven magazines, all from 1963, and I won the bid.
For ten dollars, sixteen with shipping, I have eleven editions, each one a time capsule to an America that no one remembers. I could start anywhere. So get ready, as the United States works to sell it's birthright in 2018, I am going to put up a series of posts about America as it was in 1963. John Kennedy was President, Vietnam was the answer to the bonus question on a geography quiz, and you could buy a gun out of a magazine and have it mailed to you.
Let's start in August. The article is titled "The County Builds a Range -- Tax Dollars Build a Municipal Safety Range as Part of a Recreation Complex near San Francisco". No, really, that's the title. They built a range on a point of land in San Francisco Bay.
The article has the details of how they built an overhead sand filled baffle system to ensure that no rounds could leave the range at any angle. Safety was crucial to the success of the project. It was designed to be used by law enforcement and the public, handling everything from rimfire pistols to hunting rifles. The one concession that the design required was that shooting could only be done from fixed stations to ensure that the safety barriers overhead would catch any errant rounds.
It was an immediate success. They were open six days a week, had 5600 shooters in the first 3 months. Shooting, hunter safety classes, law enforcement training.
The range was one part of a larger park and it will come as no surprise that the place has been under ever increasing pressure to close over the decades. I found a newspaper article from 1996 citing safety concerns about people transporting firearms to the park, noise issues. Center fire pistols were banned in 1992. The public use times were curtailed, reduced to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings.
But it's still there. Only open 9 hours a week to the public, and currently closed while undergoing a renovation that will create an indoor facility, to my surprise, Coyote Point Rifle and Pistol Club still exists.