Range: Oak Tree Gun Club
Rank: 4.5 Stars
Address: 23121 Coltrane Ave, Newhall, CA 91321
As Californians, and more specifically Angelenos, our choices for outdoor gun ranges are about an hour away from the city. This is for the safety and noise consideration of LA's 10 million plus residents. So in an effort to save our fellow Angelenos some time, we thought we'd do a review of the outdoor and indoor gun ranges in our surrounding area.
First up is the well-known Oak Tree Gun Club. On a good traffic day, this large and well-equipped range is located about an hour northeast of the city.
Open to the public, Oak Tree Gun Club is located right off the 5 and 405 freeway. Consisting of many buildings, Oak Tree offers Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle and Archery ranges in addition to Trap and Skeet. Guests can take lessons from one of many friendly and knowledgeable instructors or they can pop into the well-stocked shop to pick up new goodies ranging from firearms to ammunition, sporting goods accessories, clothing and safes. Without membership, range fees are $20 for adult shooters with special discounts for Military or LEOs.
The pro shop. Photo courtesy of MeetUp.
There is no discernible check in system. With only two employees working on a busy weekend, getting the attention of a friendly (but busy!) employee is like trying to catch the eye of a bartender at LA's hottest bar. Despite the wait, the crowd was good-natured but restless. Don't want to wait? Come in on a weekday where it is considerably less crowded.
Tip: If you're coming in on a Sunday, avoid the hours between 9am -12pm when they are at their busiest. It dies down around 2pm and then picks back up again at 5pm.
The sign up process was a breeze with a one-page waiver but make sure to read the back for all the range rules. While some of us brought our own firearms, one in our party rented hers to try out some models as she was thinking about purchasing.
Per Oak Tree's policy, rental guns must use Oak Tree purchased ammunition. This doesn't mean it has to be reloads by Oak Tree but you must purchase ammo directly from Oak Tree for rental gun use. Their reasoning is so they can ensure the integrity of their gun and so that inferior ammo doesn't negatively affect their firearms. As a whole, we found the quality of the firearm rentals to be adequate to subpar. Some models had magazines that were either loose or did not slide in smoothly and required a good deal of force to push in. A few had misfires likely from lack of deep cleaning. Overall, they had a good selection and it's not a bad deal for $10 to try out as many guns as you'd like.
For Pistol, Oak Tree offers two ranges - steel and paper. We started out on steel which also includes two sets of speed plates, one of which was inoperable. The steel targets were fun and challenging but lacking some elements including a swinging tree. Oak Tree did have moving ducks and a host of fun steel plates. The Sunday crowd was a mix of gun owners and novices which made for an interesting shooting experience. The partitions of each stall are flush with the shooting bay. The means there are casings flying over from your neighbor to your left. We unfortunately had an overly enthusiastic shooter who insisted on standing right next to our partition and thus we were hit with hot casing constantly. The shooting bays themselves are quite generous, about four feet across so that two shooters can share if desired.
Photo courtesy of NRACertified1 on YouTube.
Tip: Ladies, wear high-neck clothing and long sleeve jerseys. We know many of us have made the novice mistake of having a hot casing fly down our shirt or get lodged in our bra. Despite the heat from outdoor nature of the range, it's not worth it to suffer burns. There are great shooting shirts made by Gaston or just slip on your favorite vented athletic pullover.
The Range Officers are friendly but always on point. Keeping a hawk eye on shooters is necessary at a popular range. We saw many individuals try to leave their stall with the gun in their hand or not leaving their barrel pointed down towards the range. Unlike the overly aggressive RSOs you may find at other range, the ones at Oak Tree are friendly, informative, and always willing to lend a hand.
The paper target range were just as fun. Oak Tree provides the frame and blank cardboard targets. All you have to have is your own bullseyes and a means of attaching them to the frame. Due the location of the pistol paper range, Tactical Bay 1 has direct sunlight on it for much of the day. If you want to use this bay, come early or come late to avoid heat stroke.
The rifle range goes out to 100 yards, not much for those of us originally from Missouri but we'll take what we can get in California. Oak Tree also offers stands with great views for Trap and Skeet. If you get hungry after a full day of shooting, there is a cafe on site. We heard the food is great but we didn't get a chance to try it as we were all so enthusiastic about getting in as much shooting time as possible.
Photo courtesy of SoCal Viper Club.
The friendly service, knowledgeable employees and great facilities make this a 4.5 star shooting experience. They cater to female shooters with a deep partnership with California Gun Girls. Oak Tree could improve by updating their POS systems so that check-in, selling and check-out are much faster. They should also add more features to their steel target range and make sure all features are operable. And finally, they should staff more employees during the weekends for more timely service but all in all, this is a fantastic range. We really enjoyed this family friendly, female friendly and shooter family range. We will be back.