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Shooting in CA BLM Land: Rules & Maps

So you've heard about free target shooting on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land? We'll go over how to find a place to shoot, rules & regulations, and optimum targets.
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    You’ve heard about BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land for shooting…right?

    Maybe you haven’t, but now you have. We’ll go over how to find a place to shoot as well as rules & regulations.

    BLM Target Shooting
    BLM Target Shooting

    What is BLM Land?

    First off, BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management which is an agency that deals with a lot of the random public land.  This currently amounts to almost 250 million acres of land, or about one-eighth of the entire United States.

    Most of these lands are in the more western states such as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

    Rules of Shooting on BLM Land

    Most land managed by BLM allows target shooting as long as you follow federal, state, and local laws.

    This means all your guns, ammo, magazines, etc have to be legal.  It’s possible that BLM officers or other law enforcement will come to check up on you during a range session.

    Each BLM area has its own branch which may have additional rules.  But a lot of it boils down to common sense.  Here are some of the suggestions we’ve seen:

    • Access BLM areas only through public roads
    • Follow the Firearm Safety Rules — especially with knowing what’s beyond your target.  Try to select a safe backdrop such as a berm/hill/mountain.
    • Don’t shoot too close to man-made objects such as power poles, buildings, campsites, etc.
    • Leave no trace — take your brass, trash, & target remains with you.  BLM land is public and we want everyone to be able to enjoy it.
    • Don’t shoot things that leave behind dangerous debris such as electronics or glass objects
    • Don’t destroy plants or natural formations
    • If you’re with a group, assign someone to be the range officer and follow his commands like at a real shooting range

    What to Shoot

    We usually shoot a combination of paper targets on stands, AR500 metal targets, and fruit.  The metal and fruit targets are extra fun since you always know when you hit them!  You also don’t need to reset metal and the fruit is decomposable.

    We suggest a simple stand such as this Jammit Target Stand which holds cardboard.  You can then add on a variety of paper shooting targets.

    18
    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

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    Or if you go the metal route, we suggest with heavy-duty AR500 steel targets.  These will take any pistol caliber at close range and rifle calibers should yield no damage if shot further than 100 yards.  Choose the 1/2″ variety if you will shoot with rifle calibers.

    AR500 Gong
    AR500 Gong

    However, you’ll need sturdier mounts that you can build or just go with this Caldwell Magnum Rifle Gong.

    120
    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Don’t want to miss anything else?  Check out our guide on essentials for any shooting trip.

    Where to Shoot on BLM Land

    The two best resources are the BLM website and state-specific firearms forums.

    BLM Site

    On the BLM website, scroll down and you should see a map that says “State Offices.”  Click your state and you should go to another map with more breakdowns.  An example below is for California.

    CA BLM Map
    CA BLM Map

    Here is where it gets annoying since each office has the shooting info in a different location.  So just know which area is closest to you and go to Google to type in “______ BLM shooting”.  The first hit should be it.

    *UPDATE*: Use this interactive map to see BLM areas.  Be sure to click BLM on the left side and “Land Status” on the bottom right.  Example of around Barstow, CA.

    Be sure to verify that you can shoot thereby calling the local field office.

    BLM Around Barstow, publiclands.org
    BLM Around Barstow, publiclands.org

    Online Forums

    You can always do a search to see if any members say where they go to shoot on BLM land.  However, be aware that for many, it is a closely guarded secret since they don’t want to share their special area.  As for me…I’ll never tell either!

    BLM Precision Shooting
    BLM Precision Shooting

    Don’t Forget…

    BLM land is your land.  Public land is your land.  And mine.  And every American’s.  It’s our job to take care of it and to act like responsible firearms enthusiasts.

    So…

    …Don’t screw it up.  Paint cans aren’t targets, old tube TVs aren’t either.  Leaving their destroyed remains isn’t taking care of our land and directly leads to shooting areas being shut down.

    Do the right thing, keep our land as beautiful as it should be.

    New to shooting ranges? Know what to expect on your First Day at the Shooting Range

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    27 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      88 Tactical

      To those who share a passion for firearms and want to learn more about shooting on BLM land, your essay is an excellent resource. The fact that you included details regarding safety procedures, local laws, and ecological factors shows that you care about spreading awareness and encouraging responsible shooting. Your post is helpful in that it informs readers of the regulations and restrictions that apply to shooting on public lands.

      July 1, 2023 1:06 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Alex Acosta

      Where in San Luis Obispo county

      June 17, 2023 10:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ivan Kovalchuk

      I live in Whittier ca. where is the closes free shooting area near me?

      June 11, 2023 11:38 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Daryl Switzer

      I live in Hemet CA. where is the closest BLM shooting area near me because Bee canyon is always closed

      June 10, 2023 2:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Russ

      I used to shoot near Lake Mathews, (SoCal) but the DMV turned it into a driving trail.
      Where did everyone else go to shoot in the area?
      *I'm a responsible recreational shooter.

      May 8, 2023 3:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John Matheson

      Anything around Omaha Nebraska?

      March 23, 2023 6:12 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Richard Martin

      where to shoot I Merced I am new to the area

      October 25, 2022 3:16 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Gary

        Hogan Dam is a good spot, it's close to you also.

        April 21, 2023 11:10 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Don Forill

      Where to go in san diego. Don't see anything on the blm maps

      June 16, 2022 8:23 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        A

        Spit mountain Ocatillo wells.

        August 23, 2022 8:52 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Quiet professional

      Any maps for California available? I am a Disabled Vet and have been dry firing and at a local outdoor ranch where I am a member however I need to practice moving skills etc.

      June 15, 2022 3:38 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      nicholas

      why cant i see the article? not sure if this is just a joke

      March 21, 2022 12:10 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Brian

      not sure if googling "BLM shooting" is going to give you the results you're looking for...

      September 12, 2021 10:54 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Clark

      I called BLM here in California today to ask where I can go in Northern Ca. to target shoot. I live in Livermore Ca. and they told me there wasn't a place closer than a 3 hour drive from Livermore other than the usual local gun ranges which isn't what I'm looking for. I just retired and was looking forward to breaking out my old guns and relive a little of my early childhood days where you could carry a gun in the rifle rack of your truck, drive to high school with it there in the rack, shoot at one of the many ranges set up for free on one of the back roads where everyone would go to shoot before all the new homes went in and caused all the make sift ranges to disappeared, or you could go to one of the many local orchards in town and just ask the farmer/rancher for permission to shoot on their land with a promising, "sure kid, enjoy yourself!" Still looking for a place where a 65 year old little boy can go to live out his John Wayne and Roy Rodgers dream.

      February 1, 2019 7:15 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Fellow shooter

        If you're still looking, check out Panoche Hills, near Mercy Hot Springs. It's probably about an hour and a half from you. Just down the 5, a little past Los Banos.

        The BLM website has all the info (open/closed, restrictions if any for target shooting/fires, etc.)

        June 21, 2021 10:36 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Kelly

      This was really helpful.. thanks!

      August 3, 2018 2:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David Hohnstein

      Are there any good places around Eugene, Oregon to go shoot 500 to 1000 years?

      May 14, 2018 4:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Danny Yao

      Great web site to open my eye and my mind. Thank you your great work.

      March 10, 2018 8:18 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric Hung

        Thanks, Danny!

        March 12, 2018 10:27 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Gregory C Cruz

          My name is Greg and the date today is 9/23/2019. Has any 2nd. Amendment patriots put together a California BLM Shooting map.
          Thanks!

          September 23, 2019 7:14 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            Walt Hue

            Greg. Did you ever get a map or have access to one? Southern Cal map that is

            November 24, 2021 5:16 pm
            • Commenter Avatar
              GB

              I am also looking for land in So. Cal to shoot. Used to be able to shoot out past Palmdale area, however heard police are now stopping people. Any good tips or maps out there? Thanks!

              February 2, 2022 12:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Brandon Koehler

      Sure wish Wisconsin had BLM :( only thing I can find is islands on rivers that have available camping from 1 to 3 nights. Good article, well written compared to most everything written nowadays.

      December 31, 2017 6:40 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Rigert

        Sure wish CA had Wisconsin's gun laws.
        :-)

        October 4, 2019 11:31 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jack

      This is very helpful info, Mr. Hung, thank you!

      July 19, 2017 12:04 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric Hung

        You're so welcome Jack!

        July 19, 2017 3:29 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      brian

      thanks for the info. I appreciate the time and effort.

      April 7, 2017 11:58 pm
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