by Brad Fitzpatrick

Shooting is an equipment-intensive activity, which means you’ll have a lot of gear that needs to move to and from the range. To help simplify the chore of organizing and transporting your shooting gear, it’s a good idea to have a bag that contains all the items you’ll need for a typical day on the range. These “range bags” make a shooter’s life much easier. Here’s how to put together your own range bag so you can save time and eliminate headaches when what you really want to be doing is sighting in your rifle or shotgun for hunting season.

1. Select a Proper Bag: You can store your range items in anything from an old suitcase to a plastic garbage bag, but a dedicated range bag with organized pockets and dividers and a secure zipper is the best choice. Champion’s Shotgunner’s Gear Bag, for example, is designed specifically for carrying the accessories you’ll need when shooting trap or skeet or when heading to the field for a day of upland bird or waterfowl hunting. It has pouches for choke tubes and empty shells, and the tough nylon exterior protects items from the elements. 

2. Safety Gear: Every range bag needs to have safety equipment, specifically hearing and eye protection. Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to pack a spare pair of safety glasses and ear muffs because your shooting companion may have forgotten their equipment. I also like to pack items like sunscreen and bug spray in my bag as well.

3. Gun Care Kit: It’s important to carry along a compact cleaning kit when you’re at the range. Items like Hoppe’s 1.2.3.Done! Kit provide the basic materials you need to clean your gun at the range before the carbon, lead, copper and powder corrode the metal. It’s also a good idea to have gun oil, a rag, and lubricant, and I always pack a three-piece metal rod to swab the barrel. On a bird hunt in South Dakota I accidently dropped my gun in the mud and clogged the barrel, and without the cleaning rod my hunt would have been over. I also include basic tools like Torx and hex wrenches, a screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench in my bag.

4. Spare Ammunition: Carrying boxes of ammo can be a pain, so leave enough room in your bag to carry ammo. Also, when you’re finished at the range a bag with a shell pouch allows you to pick up and transport all of your empty brass hells.

5. Targets and Stapler: I keep a variety of targets in my range bag, and I also try to pack a few stickers to cover bullet holes so that I can reuse my targets. Additionally, I always carry a staple gun with a few hundred extra staples so that I can quickly mount targets on target boards.