I am considering, once again, relocating to the Nashville area. I've have lived most of my life in Oregon and have been living in the Puget Sound for the last 6 years (in addition to Idaho for a couple in between) and now planning on leaving the Puget Sound and the entire Northwest for good. There are many reasons I am bailing, but with the new extreme gun control/confiscation legislation, very high cost of living, taxes, traffic, etc I am now planning to make my exit for good. I've been planning this for a while, but didn't have the resources to be able to do it. I've been considering Nashville and a few other places to relocate and it looks desirable to me in many ways. I'm planning on making a visit to Tennessee in late March or April and if things look good I would look for a place to live.
There are several important factors and Nashville looks good in many ways, but I have been bumping into some issues with the Nashville area. The main problem I see is the lack of outdoor shooting ranges. I utterly hate shooting indoors and have had nothing but bad experiences. Maybe, growing up in the Northwest I just had so many options to shoot at decent outdoor ranges and the ranges here are pretty easy to join. The problem which I am seeing with Nashville and a problem with the Eastern seaboard in general, is the lack of outdoor shooting ranges. In fact, I am starting to wonder if it is possible to shoot rifles at all if you live in the Nashville area? Some people tell me the only people who can do rifle or outdoor shooting are people who grew up in the area and have friends who let them shoot on their farms or property. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but that seems to be the situation from many people I have talked to. I know the West Coast, in general, has the advantage of a lot more rural, unpopulated and public land. When I lived in Idaho, I could literally drive 15 minutes up a big hill and finding a place to shoot. I don't think that is possible anywhere in the East coast or Southeast, except maybe the rural Northeast.
The Strategic Edge range looks awesome and is not far from Nashville. However, I spoke with the owner at Strategic Edge range, in addition to having a 1 -2 year waiting list (he said maybe openings will come to sooner), they also seem to do a rigorous amount of checking about you and require long hours of training before you are even qualified to be considered for membership. Maybe, I also worry that this range, the members will be treated like criminals and the range officers will be over the top. It may not be like this, but I did join a range once where they treated members like garbage. Of course, it swings both ways and some ranges don't enforce any rules and members do stupid stuff. Was a member of a range like that as well. I guess I have been a bit spoiled living in the Northwest in that I can find an 800 yard range, pay my $100-200 , get a background check (many ranges here don't even do that, but I am ok with it) and be able to shoot. It seems like it will take a serious amount of effort and a bit of some prayer in order to be able to join a range like Strategic Edge or even many of the other rifle ranges I have seen in Tennessee, especially closer to the big metro areas. I also don't really know anyone in Tennessee and was told some ranges require character references and interviews. Once again, these are membership procedures I have never experienced in the Northwest. It would kind of suck, moving to Tennessee (a place with good outdoor shooting weather) and then being confined to pistol shooting at some crappy big city range where I am side by side with gangbangers and other people who are not safe, inhaling lead and being confined to tight space. Also, I can forget about draw-shooting or double-tapping, which is an important discipline for me as a conceal carry holder. This has been my experience when I use to go indoor ranges in Portland, Oregon (where I am from). Another example of why I hate indoor public ranges is Wade's Gun store in Bellevue, WA (next to Seattle), where a guy committed suicide and wounded the people next to him as the bullet passed through him into the next person. They also found that many of the employees of Wade's had unsafe levels of lead in their body and the state almost shut the range down. Also, most of these type of ranges force you to use their ammo , which usually cost 10-30% more of store cost. I'm not sure if there are any decent indoor ranges in Nashville and I guess an indoor range beats nothing at all.
Anyway, I guess this is the biggest strike I have about moving to the Nashville area is my concerns I will not able to do any shooting as long as I live there. I'm willing to drive about 1.5 hours out of the city, but travelling more than that would be just a pain and means I would only be able to shoot once a month or less. If anyone can give me any suggestions or knows any ranges in the Nashville area that are accepting new members and don't have insanely rigorous criteria for joining, I would be very eager to know. I don't really know anybody in Tennessee and have no means to find farms or people's property to shoot on and don't have any personal references or people who can help get me into a club. Can anyone give advice to someone who is interested in rifle and draw-pistol shooting who is new to Tennessee, like I will be, and wants to find a place they can shoot out to 300 or 400 yards and practice various disciplines, like draw-shoot? I don't really have time or money to join competitions, and, in fact, that is why I need to get myself back into shooting again and find a good range.
I appreciate the help anybody can give me.