No matter how diverse and separated the firearms community is from muzzle loading to action 3 Gun, NFA to concealed carry, I think one thing that every single one of us can agree on is that happiness is a belt fed machine gun. This year at Knob Creek, it was hard to conceal the enthusiasm that filled the range and gun show, with crowds not becoming smaller and smaller every year, but instead just growing and growing. I went to the show on Saturday, and would personally advise anyone planning on attending, if you can only make one day, or even a couple of hours, make it Saturday evening. I’ve noticed that on Friday, the show is really just starting, warming up, similarly with Sunday being the opposite, everyone is starting to break down, and the crowds are moving towards going back to work on Monday. But Saturday is certainly the most packed day of events, especially with the crowning night shoot (there were two this year).
If you really want a good vantage point, the stands or right next to the firing line fence is the best place to go. However, you’ll probably have to post up at least ten to twenty minutes prior to a round of shooting because these spots fill up very quickly.
Down at the rental range, two new shooters were introduced to machine guns the best way possible, through shooting them! The guy on the M240B had his first time ever handling a firearm with a belt fed. The girl on the Thompson had some experience beforehand with handguns and semiautomatic rifles, but nothing like a fully automatic NFA Class III item. Rental prices had risen from previous years, with pretty much nothing under $40 at the booth. In addition I think there are less rental services, beforehand I seem to remember at least three or four rental stations, but this year there was only the one, and the private range where you could bring a personal firearm to shoot.
The Jungle Walk Uzi stand is still alive and thriving. This year they could only take 60 pre signed up slots throughout the day. You had to sign up in the morning which was somewhat of a nuisance, but it was a on first come first serve basis. In all actuality it is a better deal than renting a magazine at the rental front next door. It is $40 for a 30 round magazine, while $40 gets you two 30 round magazines on the Jungle Walk.
The Vietnam era Huey was in the air, wherein if you paid around $150 you became a member of a Huey helicopter association, in addition to the ride. One year I remember the helicopter had a mounted M60 with spade grips, flew over the firing line, and unloaded at the targets downrange.
Subgun matches were being held in their traditional spot, in between the main line, and the rental ranges on the forest walkway. There are numerous competitions going on at Knob Creek, but I wasn’t able to observe them. During the subgun matches that I did observe, the competitors were having some really rough times with malfunctions while competing.
The guy behind the counter with the green cut off shirt is Kenny Sumners, the owner of the range. His father started the shoot back in the 1980s as an informal family and friends get together and it has grown ever since. Kenny is usually found behind the counter, helping customers, pretty informal and interesting gentleman.
This year there were two night shoots, although I might be not remembering correctly and there might have only been two night shoots every time I’ve been to Knob Creek. Anyways, the first Night Shoot didn’t seem as planned as the second one, the ROs left the firing line lights on and called a verbal command to commence fire. In the past, the command to commence fire was the physical turning off of the lights on the line, just igniting the entire night with balls of fire, and tracers of every describable color and streak. This was the case on the second Night Shoot and it turned out to be Knob Creek in all its downrange glory.
The ROs turned the lights on after maybe ten minutes of firing without them off. All the orange shirts in the picture are Knob Creek ROs. The range hires upwards of 300 extra people to work during the MG shoot.
After the last cease fire is called, the main line exhibitors and deals begin the long process of packing up for the night. Most of them leave their equipment on the line, covered up, while range security patrols the line during the night.