You'll definitely need ear plugs if you visit the firing line at the Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center as multiple blasts from all manner of handguns and rifles will rattle your insides.
On a Friday visit to the Jay Henges range the overcast skies brought less than stifling weather, especially due to a light breeze that cooled the shooters as they practiced their marksmanship at the Missouri Department of Conservation facility.
Kim Bell, of South County, had the trap range all to himself for a portion of Friday afternoon and he displayed a fair amount of skill blasting the clay targets that were launched down range.
Bell said he is an occasional visitor to the range, but he was right on target with the orange clay targets, managing, by an informal count, to hit about half of the fast-moving targets during a couple of rounds of shooting.
The blasts from Bell's shotgun weren't ear-splitting on the open trap range, but it was a different story at the baffleed rifle/pistol range, which was much more crowded AND MUCH LOUDER.
A Patch reporter and photographer had been warned about the intensity of the commotion at the rifle/pistol range and were able to secure foam ear plugs that reduced the decibel level of the ear-splitting blasts significantly.
It was a diverse group of shooters at the firing range, from the experienced marksmen to the novice sharpshooters. All took aim at their hand-placed targets that were positioned anywhere from 7 yards away, for handgun practice, to a hundred yards, for those with scope-equipped rifles.
When it was time to take aim and fire, the racket was tremendous, with the brass from spent shell casings flying everywhere.
The Jay Henges Shooting Range places a premium on safety and those on the firing line were expected to follow the safety rules closely. The Department of Conservation doesn't run a loose ship at Jay Henges.
If you're looking for a professionally-run outdoor facility to practice shooting, The Jay Hanges Shooting Range may be the place for you.
The Jay Henges complex includes a 100-yard, baffled, rifle/pistol range with 20 covered booths with target placement at 7, 15, 25, 50, 75 or 100 yards. Additional facilities include three trap fields, a shotgun patterning range and a four-target static archery range.
Range hours are Wednesday: 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and 10a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
The range is crowded on the weekends, said resource assistent Jim McBride. "Ususally the best times to shoot at the range is Wednesday through Friday mornings, everyone is at work."
A variety of firearm, archery, hunting, and related programs are conducted for youths and adults throughout the year at Jay Henges, including a Missouri hunter education student course. These courses are offered at no cost and equipment is provided for some, free of charge.
People interested in a specific gun class should call the shooting range 30 days ahead of time, said Guy Vogt, one of the staffers at the facility.
There is a women's basic handgun class available, on Aug. 2 and 4, for women who prefer to take the class only with other women, Vogt said.
See the Jay Henges range website for more details at http://mdc.mo.gov/regions/st-louis/jay-henges-shooting-range or call 636-938-9548.