The Remington Gun Club is a prominent feature at the Lonoke facility, which produces Remington shotgun shells. With its excellent trap and skeet fields, Remington Gun Club has long hosted marquee tournaments. For years, it also hosted the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports championship tournament, which crowns the state high school and junior high champions in the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation’s acclaimed AYSSP program.
With its incorporation into Vista Outdoors, Inc. through an October 2020 acquisition, Remington is deepening its imprint into competitive target shooting with the new sporting clays courses, said Kris Carson, director of product affairs for Remington Arms Co.
“We partnered With MidwayUSA and got a grant through them from the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation to provide additional shooting opportunities, especially for youth shooting sports events,” Carson said. “Remington was bought by Vista in Oct. 2020. They are all in when it comes to using our products. They wanted a more vibrant and lively gun club, and more opportunities in addition to trap and skeet.”
Remington enlisted Brent Fleming of GP Trap to design the courses. They had to be far enough from the trap and skeet fields to provide an adequate safety buffer, and also far enough to give the sporting clays course an independent identity from the trap and skeet fields.
The first course is a simple loop containing 13 stations spread across about 25 acres. A total of 26 machines throw a variety of targets including one rabbit, two chandelles and two midis. You can shoot 50 or 100 targets.
The first half goes south through an oak and hickory woodland to an opening along an electrical powerline right-of-way. That’s the rabbit target’s initial location. It might streak unimpeded across the course, but it often hits a hump and jumps high in the air. The second target comes in high and drops in roughly at the same spot where the rabbit target enters the woods. The second target is hard to pick up against a backdrop of trees.
From there, the course heads north back toward the parking area.
“When you finish on Station thirteen, you’re relatively close to Station one,” Carson said.
“We found out it was doable,” Fleming said. “They’ve got as much money in roads and in the parking lot than in the equipment that takes to throw targets. Kris and the Remington guys did it right.”
I shot the course with Carson shortly after it opened in October 2021. Most stations are report pairs, but there are true pairs, as well. Some stations have four pair, and others have three pair.
Many presentations have obstacles that limit break points. Breaking those targets requires pre-selecting break points, but that can trick a shooter into aiming instead of leading. A four-inch lead is suitable to break most of the targets at Remington’s range. Carson said he led his targets about four inches most of the time, but some he led by a nose.
With a 12-gauge, a skeet choke tube is suitable for most shots. I used a skeet tube in my Remington V3 and did not feel limited except for a few presentations going away. An improved cylinder choke is more versatile for this course. Carson used a Remington Peerless over/under with improved cylinder and modified chokes.
Construction for the second course began in October 2021. It is a 12-station, 50-bird course that will be more suitable for lower level shooters and beginners.
Regular local shooters are Remington Gun Club’s backbone. They use the course frequently, but Carson said the course is ideal for corporate events, as well.
“Corporate entertainment is something a lot of clubs do,” Carson said. “In Little Rock, let’s say a Kawasaki dealer wants to take his employees on a customer appreciation shoot. That could be a head count of 20 or 80.”
Carson said he intends to attract mid-level tournaments beginning in 2022.
“We would have to start with a registered Arkansas state sporting clays shoot,” Carson said. “We’ll have to get the course certified, and we’ll sign up to host registered events where targets count toward your tally as a registered shooter.”
Carson said he intends to host the Arkansas State Sporting Clays championship, and later a regional event. An NSCA shoot involves 50-100 shooters, and a state shoot attracts 150-200 shooters, Carson said. A regional shoot brings in 400 shooters and a U.S. Open involves 1,000 or more shooters.
“The U.S. Open has been held at 25 clubs, and some clubs have hosted it three times,” Carson said. “There aren’t many clubs that are big enough to hold it.”
“It’s up to Remington to decide what level to take it,” Fleming said.
Carson said that he will also implement youth and women’s shooting programs, as required for the MidwayUSA and Game and Fish Foundation grants.
“We finished the first course in the fall (2020),” Carson said. “We wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing before we opened the flood gates and started bringing in corporate stuff and kids. When we have two courses running, we’ll feel comfortable that we offer the best opportunities for youth sporting clays.
“The level of difficulty can change to more beginner friendly,” Carson added. “There are a lot of advantages to having two courses. They give you the luxury to present it that way.”
Remington also uses the completed course for product development.
“We tested shotshell primers that we’re making with different models of guns to see how components will perform,” Carson said. “It’s more intuitive to use a product in the field the way end users are going to use them. Instead of shooting in air or at paper, we shoot clay targets.”
The Remington Gun Club clubhouse is a handsome ranch style facility. A wood-paneled interior and a stone fireplace convey the warmth of a traditional hunting lodge. A large great room is suitable for meetings. Guns are not available for sale. There is no snack bar. Caps and T-shirts are not sold, either.
Before shooting, visitors must check in at the clubhouse. The fees are $20 for 50 targets and $35 for 100 rounds. After paying the “green” fee, shooters will be issued an access card like those to access motel door locks. The card is necessary to activate the traps at each station and must be used at each station. The system keeps track of the number of targets thrown.
Walking the entire course covers about a half mile. The path consists of chunk rock that might be challenging to walk for shooters with creaky knees, hips or ankles. Carson said that shooters are welcome to bring their own side-by-sides, golf carts or four-wheelers, but motorized vehicles are not available for rent.
Bryan Hendricks, an avid shotgunner, is the Outdoors Editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, Arkansas. He also served eight years with Missouri Department of Conservation and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. He has credits in more than 1,000 articles in nearly 80 publications worldwide.