The Hancock County Gun Club was formed in 1950. It is located just north of Carthage on Rt. 94. We have an indoor pistol and small caliber rifle range, two trap houses, and a 300 yard outdoor range with target placements at 25, 50, 100, 200 and 300 yards. Archers are welcome, but you have to bring your own targets.
Several different shooting events are held throughout the year and are open to the public. The most popular are the Winter Pistol League, Summer Trap League, Spring and Fall .22 Rifle Leagues and the Rotten Egg Shoot. That last one is especially popular with the kids. Speaking of the kids, the club also hosts a once-a-month session to teach youth 7-17 years old how to shoot and do it sure and safe. Mom and Dad, if you are wanting to learn, too, stop in and we'll see what we can do for you.
A very popular family event is the Annual Meeting Dinner, the 3rd Wednesday of March, where you never know what game food will be available to try. One membership covers the whole family. Membership allows you access to the club 24-7-365. Member dues are $50.00 per year, Disabled Vets (must have proof) $25.00, Seniors, $35.00.
The club members are 100% NRA members and all new members must be NRA members. Membership is open to all U.S. citizens. The club requires that all applicants meet with the Board of Directors at one meeting prior to becoming members. There are also special members-only events held monthly prior to the board meeting. These events are held each 3rd Wednesday of every month except December starting at 6:00 PM, with the meeting starting at 8:00.
The club is also affiliated with the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the CMP. By being a CMP club, members can purchase surplus military guns and ammunition and other shooting supplies, books and clothing from the CMP. To purchase a gun or ammunition, participation in a shoot of more than 50 shots with a demonstration of safe gun handling is required. Any of our leagues and our Military Rifle Shoot qualifies.
We have also been pleased to host for the last several years the John Linebaugh Big Bore Conference. John Linebaugh, of Cody, Wyoming, is a world-wide famous gun maker and creator of two of the most powerful pistol cartridges around. John comes to Carthage to put on a three-day session of shooting, teaching and instruction on large bore handguns. The Big Bore Conference is typically held in the last half of May.
A growing successful program is our sponsoring of the Illini West Chargers Trap Team, The Bird Busters, under the Scholastic Shooting Trap Program, (Formerly the Scholastic Clays Target Program). The team is now going into its fifth year of teaching Trap to students and producing winning shooters for competitions.
Our mission is encouraging the safe handling of firearms, having fun shooting and teaching others to know the fun sport of shooting.
President: Tim Tomlinson, Vice-President: Roger Simpson,
Secretary: Jim Bloom, Treasurer: Jim Ritchey
Robert Emmert : Events Coordinator, Sharon Sloat: Executive Officer,
Bernie McPherson: Chief Instructor, Joe Matthews: Indoor Range Officer,
Clay Hinderliter: Outdoor Range Officer, Joe Vandemark: Trap Range Officer,
Ryan Settles: Building and Grounds Officer,
Directors are Dan Gannon, Doug Bartholomew,
Jerry Zimmerman, Harold Northup, Kam Miller and Keith Hartweg
For more information, please contact the following people:
Club phone number: Not manned 24/7 217-357-2434
If you are one of the many who are concerned about firearm ownership, one of the many who wants to buy a gun, but do not know where to start, coming to a public event of the club will get you information galore.
Many people who are new to guns think about buying a gun to protect the family. Some think it should be a big gun, like a shotgun. Others think pistols are the answer.
The real answer is to learn how to shoot a gun before you buy. Many times, people will buy guns based on the looks, or the recommendation of a salesman in a big box store who really does not know you, or how proficient you are with a gun. They wind up buying a gun that will either stay in a drawer or box and will not be used after the first time they shoot it. That is the wrong approach.
Any gun will protect your family, if you know how to use it, and when to use it. I'm not going to go into the legalities here. That depends on the state you are in.
What is universal from state to state is the gun and the caliber of the gun, or how big the bullet is in cross section.
If you are a beginner, you should probably stick with a .22 caliber gun, and make it a rifle. There are many reputable manufacturers of .22 rifles, including Marlin, Ruger, Remington, Savage, and others. Ask a gun club member what .22 rifle they like. The Hancock County gun club has a monthly training session for young shooters, but adults can come, too, to ask questions and learn to shoot.
Once you become familiar with gun safety and handling, you can move up to a pistol. Once again, a .22 is the good choice. This is because .22's have very little recoil, make relatively little noise, and are easier to shoot than bigger guns, like .38/.357 magnums and shotguns.
So if you are thinking about getting a first gun, check out the .22 shoots that we have listed above and make it a point to show up, meet the members, and ask questions. Come to the other shoots, too, if you already know your way around a gun. You might find that you will like the event and want to try it yourself.
Women, you are not left out on this, too. All the same information above applies to you, and we have a special Ladies Day shoot where you can learn without the hubby razzing you, and have a nice picnic lunch, too.
Guns are nothing to be afraid of. Ignorance is your enemy when it come to gun ownership. A gun never hurt anybody without somebody behind the trigger. Learn how not to be an accident statistic.
The Hancock County Gun Club and its members are always ready to extend a helping hand to anybody who has the question of what first gun should I get, and learning how to use it. Come and see.