From Baron Caleb Reynolds:
Hello fellow thrown weapons marshals, MITs, and people who might be thinking about thrown weapons.
I wish to take a few moments to explain a quick and easy way to measure a thrown weapons range. Now, most marshals have little issue with the safety aspect of the range (one entrance, clear 45s, etc) but I keep seeing my fellow marshals mark off the distances in the most convoluted ways possible. This is my method:
You will need some equipment.
1) Ground marking paint. This is spray paint that is designed to be applied while the can is upside down. I buy mine at Ollie’s and it costs about $4 a can. Two cans are good for weekly practices all season long.
2) A paint marking wand. I got mine on Amazon for under $20. If you have a bad back, it is worth it. Even if you don’t have a bad back, it is worth it. It allows you to spray one, continuous line as fast as you can walk.
3) A tent peg or a big nail.
4) A 50 or 100ft tape measure. I buy mine from Harbor Freight. They are cheap and I don’t care if I get paint on the tape. I keep a tent peg attached to the tape so that I never have to hunt one down. The tent peg lets you mark out the range all by yourself.
When you figure out where your range will be, and where your entrance will be, mark out your zero line. This is where the butts will be. Put the peg in the ground and stretch the tape out; make sure that it is taut and long enough for all of your stands.
For the Hael’s practice range, I marked out lines for eight stands, even though we only set up four stands. This allows us to shift the stands over a few feet every other week so that the grass can be mowed and so that we don’t wear big holes in the yard.
Now, my paint wand sprays in-line with the wheel. Most do. So if you run the wheel on your measuring tape, you will just paint over your tape. So, run the wheel right next to the tape. Your line will be off by a couple of inches, just keep this in mind. Set up your stands such that the center of the butts line up with your zero line.
Move the tape perpendicular to your zero line and stick the peg into the center of the zero line at one end of the line. Like so:
Push the peg firmly into the ground and keep the ring of the measuring tape on the ground. Stretch the tape out and mark off the 10′ and 20′ marks.
Repeat on the other end of the zero line. If your zero line is really long, you can also mark 10 and 20 feet from the middle of the zero line. Then move the measuring tape to one of your 10′ marks and stretch the tape to the other mark. Remember, to keep from spraying over your tape, we have to run the wheel next to the tape. So, plant your peg a wheel’s distance away from the tape.
Remember to plant the peg about 2″ away from the mark you made and stretch the tape so that it is about 2″ away from your mark, as well. This is important, make sure that the line you draw lines up with the 10′ marks you made.
Repeat this process at the 20′ line. And your 30′ line, if you want one.
This might sound like a lot of work, but it took me less than 15 minutes to set up the range you see depicted, and that includes the time I spent taking about 50 pictures. If you have a helper to move the other end of the tape, you can mark out a range in five or six minutes.
But, Caleb, I hear you say, wouldn’t just be easier to plop the stands down, measure out 10 and 20 feet and put a short line in front of each target? Or stick a driveway marker at the 10′ and 20′ spot? You could do this. But, I prefer a long line that runs the length of the range. There are advantages to this. First, if you have to move the stand because of a hole, you won’t have to re-measure your distances. Two, it’s easier to see the line if the spot in front of one target gets scuffed out, or covered up with mud: the entire line won’t be scuffed out and it will be easier to fix on the fly. Three, you ensure that all targets are lined up evenly. Four, if you want to add an additional target, all of the work is already done. Five, sticks, driveway markers, tent pegs and other items can be stepped on, or kicked over. And then accidentally pushed into the wrong spot, inches away from the intended spot.
A little bit of work, in the morning, will save you a lot of extra work later in the day. And the less time you spend setting up the range and fixing issues, the more time you will have to throw.