FAQs (frequently asked questions)

Answers straight from the top

Although we've tried to cover the most-asked questions, Firearms Registry is far more comprehesive (although dauntingly so) on the legal issues. Go here to get the full poop.

As a newbie, can I just come to the range and try out to see if I like it?

Yes, although the Law says we must have from you a completed Form P650 ("Declaration -- Person shooting on an approved range or undertaking a firearms safety training course"). If you can, get one here, fill it in and bring it along with you when you come. Don't worry if you don't manage to do that in time. We have some at the range and will help you with its completion. The benefit of doing it ahead of time is so you understand the implications of the six questions about your personal history that might disqualify you from shooting activities.

If I want shooting as a sport, are there matches of some sort every weekend?

At present, you would have to have an interest in both longarm-based disciplines and pistol-based disciplines to enjoy all scheduled shoots (see Timetable). If demand grows, thanks to your joining along with other enthusiasts, we could well have many weekends with morning and afternoon sessions to include both categories of firearm, possibly with a barbeque lunch in between.

I'm a female. Will I be out of place at the range?

Not at all. Some of the world's best shooters are women. We would love another potential Aussie female champ to be counted among our ranks.

I'm just a kid still. Can I come and shoot?

Even if you're only 12 you can, if you have written consent by a parent or guardian, compete in shooting sports at our range under supervision of one of our fully licensed trainers or instructors.

Can I have a six-shooter?

A pistol licence enables you to buy a revolver or semi-automatic (or an air-powered pistol for that matter). There are disciplines shot at Coolamatong for the first two. We have plans to include air-powered pistols (also rifles) as demand dictates.

When can I buy a rifle?

We have an instructor on hand at the club most weekends who is registered with the SSAA (Sporting Shooters Association of Australia) as one who can train you to pass the Safe Firearms Handling examination, which qualifies you to apply for a Category A and B licence. Upon gaining your licence, you may apply for a Permit to Acquire from Firearms Registry. Then you may buy your own choice of longarm from a licensed dealer.

I want to go hunting. Does joining Coolamatong Range help me with that?

If you want to book a hunt with the NSW Game Council to hunt in NSW state forests, you will need to qualify for an R-licence as a Conservationist/Hunter. We have an instructor to prepare you to sit the test and he will also conduct the test at the range. You also will need to have nominated "H" (for hunting) with the SSAA when submitting your membership application. It is a requirement that you shoot at a range or take part in a club-organised hunt twice a year to maintain your licence.

And if I only want to compete in target matches?

Target shooters (nominating "T" with their SSAA membership) must shoot four times a year at the range in a club-organised activity. You may, of course, nominate both "H" and "T".

When can I buy my own pistol?

After shooting at the range under a mentoring program for six months you will qualify to apply for a Permit to Acquire. In the meantime, the club will make available club pistols so that you can compete almost from the very first day. It's a bit like going through P-plates for a driver. You have to serve time as a probationary (a "probie") before you can own and shoot your own pistol.

I like being active. Sitting punching holes in paper targets sounds boring to me.

Then prepare for real challenges to your athletic abilities. Race against the clock. Shoot targets that move. Hustle from one shooting position to another, changing magazines as you go. Drop to your knee or on your belly. Crouch under barriers or have to shoot around them. Do that firing off as many as a hundred rounds in a day at around a shot a second (if you want to be competitive) and you'll think you've played five sets of tennis.

Can someone past playing active sports enjoy shooting sports?

Absolutely. We have wheelchair shooters in our sport who are crack shots at disciplines such as benchrest rimfire and centrefire. Even these are not lacking in excitement, with stages that impose time limitations, which can be a real challenge equally for disabled and able-bodied competitors, the old and the young, female and male.

You say it's not costly. How much?

Joining SSAA costs $73 and is required if you use the range for anything more than sighting in a rifle or training. Joining Coolamatong branch costs $50 (pensioner $30; extra family member $10). A day's shoot costs you $10 ($15 if you're not a Coolamatong member and note that visitors from other ranges are very welcome). Joining for pistol adds $150 in annual dues, which we are working at eliminating. Ammo costs extra, but we guarantee that if you start, you'll want to do your own reloading, not just to save big time, but also because it is a fun thing to do.

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