The first group of five shooters (one of the shooters is outside frame) standby to wait their turn at the Al Hoop gun range July 7. During each set or “flights,” club members who are on deck shoot five clay targets each, for a total of 25 targets per flight, before the next group of five replace them to take their position in the competition.

Westwood Rifle & Pistol Club is open to everyone

John Cox, Westwood Rifle & Pistol Club trap shoot range master, sits inside the “trap house” to reload the orange clay disc targets, also known as “pigeons,” into the clay launcher during a break in the shooting competition.

Looking for a new hobby, or just an opportunity to meet new friends?

The Westwood Rifle & Pistol Club is open to everyone in any county, not just Westwood residents.

Target shooters are always welcome to participate with club members at the Al Hoop Gun Range outside of Westwood in Plumas County to partake in friendly competition during scheduled events, without necessarily having to join the club.

Recognizing its 54th year, gun club members take part in weekly shotgun, rifle and pistol target shooting events.

Since shooters don’t have to be club members to participate, they can arrive with their own shells and shotgun or other firearms plus ammunition. All ammo must be gun club-approved and legal; no armor piercing or incendiary rounds are permitted at the range.

In addition to finding a sense of camaraderie while enjoying a day outdoors in the sunshine, target practice is excellent eye-hand coordination training to tune up for hunting season — but members are quick to point out that many people who don’t want to hunt could still have loads of fun just shooting for sport.

Although club members are scored on their hits and misses, scoring doesn’t really mean that much. According to club organizers, it’s more of an opportunity to get involved and have a blast, as well as striving to attain your personal best.

However, each division does sponsor some competitions during the year that include cash prizes to tournament winners.

Club members are more than happy to be of assistance to new members, offering tips and answering questions. Organizers also emphasize the importance of wearing proper eye and ear protection when visiting the range.

Parents with kids 10 and older who want them to have the opportunity to practice firing a gun, can contact the club for information on bringing children to the range. The club provides an ideal setting for kids to learn the sport and safe use of firearms.

Trap shoot range master John Cox, a club member since 1979, is the club’s coordinator for trap shooting. He and a group of shotgun enthusiasts met at the range July 7 for one of their regularly scheduled events.

Westwood Rifle & Pistol Club members gather July 7 at the Al Hoop Gun Range to engage in some trap shooting during one of the club’s scheduled events. Photos by Stacy Fisher

Cox said the members are a great bunch of guys and gals, and enjoy the opportunity to target shoot at the gun range, the closet official firearm range in the wider region,

“People should come out and feel free to participate,” he said, especially encouraging younger people. “It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re in the club, although we certainly invite anyone who wants to join.”

Boasting over a hundred members, Cox said most WRPC members and non-club participants agree that shooting is a fantastic way to spend part of the day having fun with like-minded people.

He said they’re reaching out to the community to promote the club, and wanted everybody to know the organization operates the shooting events in a manner that is designed to be a safe activity for all involved.

Organized events provide opportunities to not only learn gun safety, Cox continued, but for experienced members to teach shooting sports to novices.

To become a member, the annual membership fee is $20 for individuals; a fee of $40 covers all family members, including children 19 and under, starting the first of May. Interested parties may sign up at anytime, however, but the sooner the better to get the best value with your membership. Prorated fees may be available later in the membership year.

Check out the website for costs you can expect to pay to shoot targets and sporting clays provided by the club. Club members receive discounts on targets.

The website, alhooprange.org, has more detailed information on the Westwood Rifle & Pistol Club, a schedule of events, and also includes a link to an online membership application that can be printed out, filled in and mailed to WRPC, P.O. Box 2021, Chester, CA 96020.

Trap shoot range master John Cox (seated) keeps score as John Christie “launches” clay targets or “pigeons” with the push of a button whenever a shooter yells, “Pull!”

Cox can be reached at 256-2119. Rifle range master Marty Diehl can be contacted at 256-2138. Pistol class range master is Ron Damsen, who can be reached at 596-3017. Chris Morgenroth is the sporting clays range master at 258-3295.

Anyone who would like to help with setting up sporting clay equipment specifically, and other tasks such as cleaning up after a shooting event, can contact Phyllis Orloff at 596-4116. You will receive a free day of shooting for each day you volunteer.

The Al Hoop Gun Range is located at the end of a dirt road about a mile drive off Highway 36. The entrance to the range is just inside the Lassen County line approximately 10 miles east of Chester, directly across the highway from the Lassen Emigrant Trail marker. Look for 1613 painted on a tree where the dirt road begins.

For additional information on club activities, call Karen Damsen at 596-3017.

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