- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - “This deck has a commanding view of the canyon range,” Rex Rees said during an outing at the Laramie Rifle Range on June 28.

“It’s also got a commanding wind,” said his son, Owen Rees, 13.

“If you’re going to hunt in Wyoming, there’s going to be wind,” Rex Rees told Owen. “Especially in southern Wyoming; deal with it.”

Owen selected a set of iron targets, hundreds of yards in distance, and asked his father’s advice on the proper adjustments to his point of aim - factoring in the distance and steadily roaring crosswind.

He steadied his .243 for the shot and squeezed the trigger.

Rex Rees called out a “hit.” Seconds later, the sound of the bullet smacking iron - delayed by the distance - traveled back.

The Reeses were testing their skills with high-powered rifles on the “canyon range” at the Laramie Rifle Range. Earlier, they had taken shots at closer targets with a Winchester Model 94 .30-30 carbine from an elevated berm. Stumps and logs on the berm let shooters use rests similar to what they might find while hunting.

The canyon range offers stations from which shooters can zero in on hanging iron targets at various long ranges.

“The deck,” from which Owen reached out with his .243, is a favorite with many shooters. Set on a hillside, it was built out of old railroad ties and other materials by Rex Rees - who is an instructor at WyoTech - and some of his students. Rees and his students also installed or maintain other features on the canyon range and elsewhere at the Rifle Range, north of Laramie.

The newest feature is a walk-through rimfire range. Also set up by Rex Rees and some of his students, it opened about a month ago.

Located east of and uphill from the rifle range’s main complex, it’s a course that he said was designed to mimic small-game hunting situations. Ten shooting stations are situated on a steep hillside. Small, ground-based iron targets are across a draw, in intentionally difficult-to-spot positions.

“(Targets) vary in range from about 30 to about 80 yards,” Rex Rees said. “Most of them are in that typical 40-50 yard range you would encounter while hunting with a .22.”

There are no benches or rests at any of the rimfire shooting stations. Instead, the course challenges shooters to adapt the lay of the land, exactly as they would while out hunting.

“The whole point of this course is that it makes you do things differently,” he said. “In some places you’ll need to sit in order to shoot. In others you may need to go prone. It’s set up that way because, in the field, you never know what position you may have to shoot from.”

While most firearms are allowed on the canyon range, the rimfire range is strictly for rifles or handguns chambered for .22 short, .22 long or .22 long rifle cartridges, Rex Rees said. Other rimfire calibers - such as .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, or .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire - are not allowed there.

The Laramie Rifle Range still features standard shooting opportunities, such as rifle ranges with stationary benches, he said. Shooting from a solid rest off a bench at paper targets is the best way to zero a rifle in. However, Rex Rees - the current vice president and a board member at the rifle range - recommends the canyon and rimfire ranges for shooters wanting to practically prepare for hunting season.

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Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com

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