4 Creative Ways to Reuse Spent Ammunition

This article originally appeared in Texas Wildlife magazine. Click here to subscribe to this publication and learn more about how Texas Wildlife Association is conserving wildlife!

For those of you who love to hunt and shoot, you may have wondered what to do with used cartridges of ammunition. Some people reload them but here are some options that are a little more out-of-the-box. These are easy to do and can commemorate a memorable hunt or a successful day at the gun range.

1. Bullet Wreath

What You Need

  • Straw wreath base (found at most craft stores)
  • Gold spray paint
  • Hot glue gun
  • Spent rifle and pistol cartridges

Spray the wreath base gold and allow to dry. Using a hot glue gun, adhere the spent cartridges to the wreath in a random pattern, starting with the largest ammunition and working down to the smallest.

For more detailed instructions, click here. 

2. Shotgun Shell Magnets

What You Need

  • Small circular magnets (<1/2” in diameter)
  • Spent shotgun shells
  • Gas stove or lighter
  • Hand held pruning shears or heavy duty scissors
  • Hot glue gun

Remove the plastic from the shotgun shell using shears. Using tongs, carefully hold the end of the spent shotgun shell over a gas stove or lighter to melt the remaining plastic from inside the base. Adhere the magnet to the shotgun shell with hot glue. Optional: add a rhinestone at the center of the shotgun shell.

3. Bullet Votives

What You Need

  • 3 small glass candle votives
  • Hot glue gun and super glue such as E6000
  • Spent rifle and pistol cartridges

Using hot glue and E6000, adhere the spent bullet cartridges to the glass in a random pattern, starting with the largest cartridges and working down to the smallest. Leave some space in between for the candle light to shine through.

5. Bullet Letter

What You Need

  • Wooden Letter
  • 1 can spray paint (glitter spray paint pictured)
  • Hot glue

Spray the wooden letter with the color of your choice and allow to dry. Hot glue the ammunition on the letter in your desired pattern. Then spray the surface of the ammunition with spray paint and allow to dry.

Armed with spray paint and a hot glue gun, the world is your oyster! Happy shooting (and decorating)!

Field Fashion Friday: Fur Fingerless Gloves

I’m kind of obsessed with these fingerless gloves by Wild Rose Apparel! I loved shooting in them last weekend at my Ladies’ Skeet Shoot.

Perfect for a cold day of shooting or hunting, and can be worn in the city. I personally love the fingerless style for warm Texas. Our winters don’t always call for big gloves, to say the least.

It is nice to have gloves every now and then when you’re shooting, because sometimes the gun can rub your hands and create callouses. (Depending on the gun and how much shooting you do.)

Happy shooting!

Texas Girls Gone Shooting!

So often I hear that golf is a life skill everyone should have, that will serve a person well in business and in building relationships. I will avow that is true. However, one skill I have found to be completely underrated is the ability to shoot!

Skeet shoots are often corporate mixers, political fund raisers, or something you’ll get invited to do with friends. (Hi, welcome to life in Texas.) And just like with golf, having some level of skill or understanding can open doors and provide an “in”.  Not to mention, blowing clay targets out of the sky is a heck of a lot of fun!

One of the reasons I started this blog was to empower women through the outdoors, and nothing is more empowering than mastery of a shotgun on a sporting clay field.

That’s why this past weekend I took ten ladies shooting at Capital City Clays, a local Austin gun club. This is the second shoot I’ve hosted.

To hear about future events, subscribe to my e-newsletter.

Renee Blaine of Austin Hot Shots joined us to give everyone a lesson in shooting sports. She gave everyone the chance to shoot four different gauge guns, and went over the ins and outs of the game. She is a great local instructor and was a hoot.

Sometimes a gun range can feel like a man’s world, but it shouldn’t be that way. Have you heard the stories of Texas women back in frontier days? They handled far more than clay targets. They paved the way for us to have grit, don’t you think?

After going over details, we lined up at the stands to take a turn shooting.

The first three girls in a row blew their targets to smithereens! I was so impressed.

When a man hits a target, they call him a marksman. When I hit a target, they call it a trick. Never did like that much.

— Annie Oakley

My friend Lindsey Gates, creator of the women’s outdoor apparel line Wild Rose Apparel brought her UPF 50 tops and sun-protective buffs for everyone to wear.

That is the look of someone who’s having a good time. 🙂

And I love her special patented Wild Rose camo.

It was such a fun afternoon and I think nearly everyone left with a desire to get back out on the gun range.

 

Last but not least, party favors: gourmet s’more kits with Ghiradelli squares and chocolate marshmallows. Essential for any outdoorswoman to try.

Thanks to all the ladies who joined me for this afternoon of shooting, I hope to see you all on the gun range.

Cheers to new life skills.

Learn to Shoot

How to Make a Bullet Monogram

I used to feel slightly guilty each time I threw away spent ammunition, it seemed so wasteful. I wasn’t interested in reloading it–that’s a huge undertaking. But since I’m always looking for something to spray with glitter paint, I thought “Hey…wait a minute.” And tried these letters.

These letters are fun to put on bedroom doors, bookshelves, or use as decoration in a hunting lodge. Super easy too.

What You’ll Need

  • Wooden cut out letter
  • A handful of spent ammunition (can be acquired at a local shooting range; just tell them you’re doing an arts and crafts project)
  • Hot glue
  • Spray paint

Instructions

Spray the wooden letter with your desired spray paint. Do a few layers until the coat looks even.

Allow to dry.

Using hot glue, adhere the spent ammunition to the letters.

I recommend going from largest to smallest ammunition. You can do this orderly or random, it is your letter!

Next, spray the surface of the ammunition.

Make sure you get in all the cracks and crevasses.

Allow to dry for 24 hours.

I love the look of the finished product. So fun!

How to Make a Bullet Wreath

This is a fun way to put your spent ammunition to use and commemorate a good hunt or day at the shooting range!

And it’s really easy.

What You’ll Need

  • Straw Wreath
  • Gold spray paint, 18 karat recommended
  • A few handfuls of spent ammunition
  • Optional: rubber gloves

You can acquire spent ammunition at a local shooting range, just say you’ll be using it for an arts and crafts project.

Instructions

This should be done outdoors, and I recommend putting newspaper down.

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Remove the plastic wrapping from the straw wreath and spray paint the wreath gold.

Fact of life: everything is better painted gold.

Let it air dry.

Using hot glue, adhere the empty cartridges to the golden wreath.

There are two secrets to making it look good:

  1. Go in a COMPLETELY random pattern with the bullets
  2. Start with the largest bullets and once all of those are adhered randomly, move down to the smaller bullets

Optional: spray paint surface gold (I opted not to here.) Voila!

A heart shaped wreath is a fun to do as well.

It’s pretty heavy at this point so make sure you have a good nail to hang it on! Mine’s hanging in the house but it looks great on the front door too.

Where to Go Skeet Shooting in Texas & Across the US

In keeping with the skeet shooting theme this week on the blog, today I’m sharing popular gun clubs in Texas and around the US. I’ve based this off of the areas where most of my readers live. Enjoy!

A more comprehensive list of gun clubs can be found at the National Shotgun Sports Foundation website: www.wheretoshoot.org

Before you go, a few tips

  • Gun ranges are hot! Bring water, sunscreen, etc
  • Call ahead or check the website to ensure there isn’t a tournament or event
  • Allow about 2 hours for this activity

San Antonio

San Antonio Gun Club – www.sagunclub.com (where I learned to shoot!)

National Shooting Sports Complex – www.nationalshootingcomplex.com (very nice and impressive)

Austin

Capitol City Trap & Skeet Club – www.capitolclays.com

Dallas

Elm Fork Shotgun Sports (5-star rating by National Shooting Sports Foundation) – www.elmfork.com

Fort Worth

Alpine Range – www.alpinerange.com

Houston

Greater Houston Gun Club – www.greaterhoustongunclub.com

College Station

Gunsmoke Shooting Range – www.gunsmokeshootingrange.com

New York

Thunder Mountain Trap & Skeet – www.thundermt.com

Mid Hudson Sporting Clays – www.midhudsonsportingclays.com

Chicago

Frankfort Sportsman Club – www.frankfortsportsmanclub.com

Maywood Sportsman’s Club – www.maywoodsc.org

San Francisco

Richmond Rod & Gun Club – www.richmondrodandgun.com

Los Angeles

Triple B Clays – www.triplebclays.com

Boston

Scituate Rod & Gun Club – www.scituaterg.com

Minute Man Sportsman’s Club – www.minutemansportsmen.com

Denver

Golden Gun Club – www.goldengunclubtrapandskeet.com

Colorado Clays Shooting Park – www.coloradoclays.com

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Happy shooting ladies!

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Three Types of Shotgun Sports You Should Know

If there is one thing I have observed over the years, it is that many women secretly want to learn to shoot a shotgun — and when they do finally get the chance, they love it. If you’ve never shot but are curious about it, tune in this week, because I’m giving all of the details on this fun sport.

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Yesterday I shared 5 Reasons You’ll Love Skeet Shooting, so today I want to talk about skeet shooting’s siblings–trap and sporting clays. You will need to know the difference if you are ever invited to shoot. Trap and sporting clays fall under the same umbrella as skeet, but are a little different.

A Few Basic Concepts about Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays

  • All use the same target: a circular domed orange and black disc about the size of a teacup saucer. It is made of clay (hence sometimes called a “clay”) and is biodegradable.

disc

  • A shotgun is the type of gun you use for these sports, because the shots have a much broader spread compared to a pistol or rifle
  • All of these sports can be done at a trap & skeet club or can be done with a simple handheld thrower in the middle of the country
  • The term “club” when used in “trap and skeet club” is not synonymous with “country club”. You do not have to be a member to shoot at most clubs and most clubs are not as fancy as a country club!
  • When the shooter is ready, she shouts “Pull!” and the person accompanying her punches a button to let the target fly out of the machine
  • Skeet and trap are Olympic sports!

Skeet Shooting

In skeet shooting, two small houses flank either end of a skeet field. The house on the left side of the field is called the “High House” because it shoots targets out from a greater height than the house on the right side, which is called the “Low House”. The skeet field is shaped like a fan, with seven stations radiating out from a center station. If the field were a bottom half of a clock, the high house would be at 9 o’clock, the low house at 3 o’clock, and the stations at every hour in between, with the 8th station in the center of the dial.

skeet shooting diagram

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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High house pictured above
shooting skeet, skeet shooting, austin gun club, capitol clays, mcbrides skeet range, where to shoot skeet in austin, where to shoot shotguns in austin, what to wear skeet shooting
Low House
  • One round = 25 targets
  • One shooter at a time at the station, and once every shooter has a turn you move on to the next station
  • Shoot one house at a time
  • On stations 1, 2, 6, and 7 doubles are shot. “Doubles” is when both targets come out of the house at the same time and you shoot them one at a time without stopping in between.
  • Typically no more than five people participate per round

Trap

In trap, the orange discs fly directly out in front of you from the center of the field, as opposed to flying from side to side in skeet shooting. In this sport, there are only five stations from which you shoot (as opposed to skeet, which has eight.)

  • One round = 25 targets
  • 5 shots per shooter
  • 5 stations, numbered from left to right
  • After your 5 shots are taken at station 1, move down to station 2, and so on

This YouTube video is a good example of trap shooting:

Sporting Clays

This is a lot of fun and perhaps my favorite of the shooting sports! Sporting clays courses are usually spread out through the countryside, and there is a path connecting the different stations. Like in skeet and trap, one person pushes the button to signal the machines to send the clays out into the air, and the other person shoots.

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Sporting clays course at Casa de Campo resort, 2015
  • At each station, load your gun and be ready to shoot, but don’t hold your gun up to your cheek until you see the clay
  • Typically you will go through 50-100 shotgun shells per person
  • Take your shotgun shells and some water with you

The idea of sporting clays is to simulate bird or small game hunting, so if you’re not a hunter but want to experience that challenge in an animal-free way this may be a fun sport for you. Some of the clays go straight up in the air, some straight out in front of you, some bounce along the ground, and every station is different. Most gun clubs switch up the angles of their machines every now and then, so even that changes!

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Granted, this sport is a tad more difficult but I like to think that because it’s more difficult, there’s less pressure to perform. Just have fun with it!

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I hope you enjoy giving these sports a try! If you don’t own a gun, I recommend calling the gun club and asking for private instruction, and it’s possible the instructors will have guns to lend.

Next I will be sharing local gun clubs in your area. Until then, enjoy the following posts from the archives:

 

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Top 5 Reasons to Love Skeet Shooting

As some of you may recall, last March I hosted a ladies’ day at the gun range with my skeet instructor and about twenty women. Everyone learned to shoot and we had so much fun! (You can see the pics and story here.) But one of the most memorable parts of the day was when my friend Jill picked up a gun for the very first time.

Knowing how much Jill disliked guns, I hadn’t expected her to even consider joining us, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw her walking towards me. Every time a shot rang out, she jumped. It was as if every cell in her body wanted to turn around and head home. Minutes earlier, she had just posted to Facebook, “Exiting my comfort zone — at Capital City Trap & Skeet Club”.

When my skeet instructor asked who wanted to go first, surprisingly it was Jill who volunteered. She hit her first two shots, and by the next time I checked on her, she was grinning ear to ear, radiant with a sense of accomplishment. As were all of the ladies who had shot that day. They were hooked on the thrill of skeet shooting!

What thrill? you may be asking. What could possibly be entertaining about shooting a gun at a clay disk?

So, to inspire you to hopefully try this sport one day, here are my top reasons why you should try skeet shooting.

1. It’s a social activity.

Whether you’re with your mother, brother, or significant other, everyone can join in. Yes, I have celebrated Mother’s day at the gun range…that’s how we roll in Texas.

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Just a few occasions I deem skeet shooting to be perfect for:

  • Date or double date
  • Bachelorette party
  • Group hang
  • Christmas holiday entertainment
  • 4th of July entertainment
  • Political fundraiser
  • Nonprofit fundraiser
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Client appreciation

It’s kind of like golf–just the right amount of physical exercise, entertainment, and out-of-the-office fun.

Mothers Day at Gun Club
Mothers Day 2013

2. It’s thrilling.

It’s completely thrilling to be able to blow a clay disk to smithereens. The thrill comes in part from it being a completely out of the box activity that you don’t do every day, part from the loud “Pop!” of the gun, and part from the satisfaction of hitting the moving target.

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And it is possible to actually hit one! As the ladies proved at our shooting day.

3. It’s affordable.

One round usually costs $10-15, plus $8 for a box of shells…and that will last you at least 30 minutes. Conceivably, you could get out of the gun club for under $50 and have had a fun day!

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Go Jill!

4. It can be done inside the city limits.

So many outdoor activities are at least an hour’s drive away, but skeet ranges are often within city limits. In San Antonio, I can see Whole Foods from the skeet range!

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Dreaming of a smoothie

5. Only takes an hour or two!

You completely set the pace. Life is so fast-paced these days, it’s nice to have an activity that fits in to the pandemonium.

I hope I have piqued your curiosity about this sport and tempted you to try it! If you’re like the many other women I have shared it with, such as Jill, you will likely find you love it too.

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More info on this sport to come. For now, enjoy these previous posts on Whit’s Wilderness:

A point about safety

While Jill may have overcome some of her fear of guns that day, she still has quite a reverence for them. And that is what I encourage each of you to have…a healthy respect for the need to handle them safely. We like to say, “treat every gun as if it’s loaded.” Be sure your gun is unloaded when you’re not on a station and never point your gun in the direction of people or buildings.

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Field Fashion Inspired by the Duchess’ Hike to Tiger’s Nest

Once again, Kate has done it: looked fabulous while living her sporty, jet setting life. I love that she and the Prince continually take time to get outdoors, and use their platform to promote causes such as Scouts and wildlife conservation. Lately she has been touring India, where she bottle fed baby elephants, tried an ancient form of archery, and hiked up the hills of Bhutan to Tiger’s Nest Monastery. She and Prince William looked like they were having so much fun. Today, in honor of Kate, and in honor of her sporty life, I’ve picked an outfit inspired by what she wore on the hike to Tiger’s Nest.

The Inspiration

will kate 1

Photo Credit: Samir Hussein

will kate press pool getty images

Photo Credit: UK Press Pool/Getty Images

samir hussein

Photo Credit: UK Press Pool/Getty Images

The Outfit

This outfit is fitting for light hiking, a day at the ranch, riding, shooting, and simply channeling your inner Kate. Honestly, I would wear this just about anywhere.

Orvis Velino Vest

Velino Travel Vest, Orvis.com, $89 (on sale!)

Alternatively, I LOVE this linen one. So much more practical for Texas heat.

Caslon vest

Caslon Linen Utility Vest, Nordstrom.com, $78

GameGaurd

Ladies White MicroFiber Shirt, GameGaurd.com, $57

I love this brand and have their tops in camo.

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Brenna Pants, prAna.com, $89

prAna is one of my favorite outdoor brands and the material of these pants is perfect. I own a pair in a different cut. It dries quickly, is stretchy, but more sturdy than athletic pants. Love love love it!!

Kate wore grey pants but I love these in Dark Olive: prAna Brenna Pants in Dark Olive.

Merrell Boots

Merrell Captiva Boot, 6pm.com, $88

For the boot, you’ll want something with traction and a good sole if you’re hiking or doing other outdoor activities, so I recommend choosing a boot like this from Merrell. This is a sporty take on the traditional riding boot.

scarf

Caslon Linen Scarf, Nordstrom.com, $32

Et voila. Enjoy channeling your inner Kate! But I must say, the best thing she wears is her smile so don’t forget that.

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Where to Learn About Guns: A Texas Girl’s Gun Shop!

Today I am featuring woman-owned and operated gun shop, A Texas Girl’s Guns near Austin and hosting a giveaway for those of you subscribed to my e-newsletter! Sign up by midnight tonight (4/11) for daily and weekly updates to qualify! http://eepurl.com/bRkkkj

I love target shooting, and while I know several women who are into the sport, it’s still an activity dominated by men. There are a number of reasons we lady folk don’t readily try shooting, from the intimidating feeling of walking into a gun shop to lack of someone to teach us properly. Even though I’ve been shooting for the majority of my life, I’ve been asked at gun stores, “Is this your husband’s gun, sweetheart?” if not completely ignored. It takes self control to keep from saying, “Well, why don’t we go out to the gun range, and you will find out exactly who’s gun it is mister!” (Actually, I think I may have said that once…)

So, you can imagine I was thrilled when I discovered A Texas Girl’s Guns in Liberty Hill, just north of my hood in Austin. A Texas Girl’s Guns is owned and operated by Texan and self-taught gun expert, Judith Baker. I had a positive experience there and would recommend that any woman looking to learn about or purchase guns to see Judith. I’m a “long gun” shooter, meaning I shoot rifles and shotguns, but after visiting her store I felt more knowledgeable about the process for becoming a pistol shooter and where to turn if I ever needed help with my guns.

And she never once smirked at my questions.

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All of the guns I own have been selected for me by someone else. My grandfather picked out my hunting rifle, my skeet coach picked out my shotgun, and so on. And they have all been great guns. But the next time I get a gun, it will be my first time ever to pick it out, and I want to feel like I’m making an educated decision. Thanks to my experience with Judith, I feel far more ready to do that.

Although when I saw the gun below I was ready to base my purchase entirely on appearance. 🙂 Oops.

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“I started my shop to teach people. We are teachers first; a gun shop second,” Judith told me during my visit. In fact, when she started her business, the majority of her store was a classroom. Judith teaches classes about pistol marksmanship, hunter education, how to clean firearms, as well as a Concealed Handgun License class. She will even take you out to the range so you can try out different guns.

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I liked learning that Judith didn’t grow up shooting. “I didn’t learn to shoot until I was in my adult age, which is proof anyone can become a shooter!” she shared. See, ladies, it can happen to anyone.

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The first class she recommends taking is her Pistol Marksmanship course. She wrote the curriculum and likes to keep things humorous and fun. “Plenty of people in my class have never shot a pistol before,” she said. They come to learn about calibers, what to look for when purchasing a gun, how to carry a gun on your person for home defense and self defense, and of course, the fun part–to do some shooting.

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What’s her one golden nugget of advice? “Firearms aren’t cheap. Get proper training before you purchase one.” The idea that you could pick out a handgun that is comfortable to you, fits your hand, and that you like more than others was a new concept for me. I didn’t know there was that much of a difference among pistols. “It’s like shoes…what works for you may not work for me,” Judith explained. Ah! Now it is all clear.

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She said the concealed handgun license course offered at other stores only teaches you what you need to know to get a license. Hence the need for her Pistol Marksmanship class if you really want to know how to operate a gun.

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In classic female fashion, Judith has an eye for good quality. She’s less a shop keeper, more like a curator of guns and gun-things.  All of her items are hand picked and she can speak to each one–what it’s for, how to use it, if you need it–so you make an educated decision.

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Even when it comes to your lace thigh high holster.

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I don’t know, do I really need this?

She has some fun accessories you wouldn’t find at a normal gun shop. How about these beautiful deerskin gloves? I can see myself on a gun range with these, holding an antique pistol…or horseback at Paws Up in Montana. I love the tan ones too.

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Or this cuff?

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While I was there, a new customer ogled at her selection of ammo and promised to return with his wife. Another customer told me, “I don’t shop anywhere else. Judith has the best stuff.”

By the way, I asked one of these gentlemen to take our picture. “Um, sir? You don’t mind doing a little photo shoot of Judith and I at the gun counter, do you?” That is something he probably has never been asked at a gun shop, if I had to bet.

The highlight of her high end products, other than the guns, was the line of concealed carry purses with zippered pockets designed to conceal firearms.

“Every woman who carries a purse should have a concealed carry purse,” Judith said. Once I spotted this orange faux croc-skin bag, I was easily convinced. How pretty is this!

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Imagine a scarf tied around the handle. I don’t even have a handgun, but I NEED this purse.

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Any guess as to where the guns go?

Thanks to Judith, I think I may have a budding handgun interest, but it’s too early to tell. I have to take her Pistol Marksmanship class first. Who wants to take it with me? I hope I see you there and that you feel empowered to try your hand at shooting.

Ps. Judith’s 40th wedding anniversary is TODAY! Happy Anniversary Judith!

Plan Your Visit

  • Website: www.ATexasGirlsGuns.com
  • Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 12-6; Saturday and Sunday 10-6. Judith is in Tuesday to Thursday and teaches on Saturdays.
  • Classes: on the website here.
  • Location: 13740 West Hwy 29, Suite 6, Liberty Hill, TX 76842
  • Phone: 512-778-6677