Bullets are Blazin’ in Bullitt County, Kentucky

Wilson Living Magazine - Bullets Blazin'

Story and Photos By RICHIE BOUTON

A short drive from Wilson County is the Knob Creek Gun Range located near Fort Knox in West Point, Kentucky. It’s there they gather in the spring and fall for what is billed as the nation’s “largest machine gun shoot & military gun show.”

Wilson Living Magazine - Bullets Blazin'

Story and Photos By RICHIE BOUTON

A short drive from Wilson County is the Knob Creek Gun Range located near Fort Knox in West Point, Kentucky. It’s there they gather in the spring and fall for what is billed as the nation’s “largest machine gun shoot & military gun show.”

Affectionately called “The Creek” by the thousands who have attended the event over the years, the site is a former naval gun range that was used in days past to test munitions. Today, the range and gun shop are open year-round in addition to the twice-a-year machine gun shoot.

For a boys’ weekend getaway, there’s little more you can ask for: a huge gun show, a plethora of fully automatic weapons available to rent and shoot, piles of empty brass casings, explosions and towering balls of fire.

Notables who have visited The Creek include actor R. Lee Ermy who featured the shoot in an episode of his popular History Channel series Mail Call.

Sending lead down range is everything from canons and mortars, to the belt-fed Brownings and Maxims of World War I vintage, the modern electric Mini-gun and all kinds of weapons in between.

TWilson living Magazine - machine gun rentalhis event is known across the United States as one of the premier gatherings of its kind specifically for legally-owned, fullauto weapons. These weapons are called Class III Firearms and are not available in the sporting goods section.

Many of these weapons are past or present military issue and their ownership is strictly regulated by the federal government. With the proper paperwork and approval, you or your neighbor may legally own a machine gun, flamethrower, mortar or other so-called “Destructive Device.”

Lebanon’s Nick Holleman is one of the many who regularly attend the Knob Creek machine gun shoot. In the past 21 years, about the only thing that hindered his making the trip to Knob Creek was overseas military deployment. Holleman’s take on the shoot is, “If you enjoy shooting, firearms or military items, The Creek is the place to spend a day or weekend.”

Michael Robinson, also of Lebanon, is a veteran attendee and has been to 15 of the machine gun shoots since 1992, several of them with his pal Holleman.

Robinson looks at the bigger picture of the event. “It’s probably the only event in the Southeast that you can go to and fully exercise your Second Amendment right,” he says.

Two things stood out being a first time attendee this past fall. First was the amount of people in attendance. There are no fair weather fans as heavy rain and ankle deep mud couldn’t keep folks away. Even at oh-dark thirty (translated that means very, very early in the morning) and over two hours from the start of the day’s events, it was headlights as far as you could see down the road leading to the range and along Highway 44. Late arrivals were parking along the shoulder of the highway.

While vehicles staggered in over the course of the day, they all tried to leave at once specifically at the end of the ever-popular night shoot. Mud from heavy rain a day earlier made departing that much more of an adventure. Some folks didn’t even attempt an exit with the masses as out came the coolers and barbeque grills for a post-shoot tailgate-style cookout.

The second thing that left an impression is that it’s hard to imagine how much ammunition was fi red over the course of the weekend. There are those in the firearms community who say the only thing full-auto does is turn money into noise. That being said there is no way to estimate how many thousands of dollars worth of ammunition is fired in three days.

In conjunction with the machine gun shoot there is a military gun show. Hundreds of vendors have tables set up in tents, in the covered “pole barn” and elsewhere on the property.

Over the course of the weekend attendees can rent full-auto weapons at one of the ranges operated during the shoot. Depending on what is available, for a rental fee you can shoot a belt of ammunition through several crewserved weapons like the Browning M2 .50 caliber machine gun and an electric Mini Gun.

Rifles such as the M-16 and AK-47, submachine guns like the Uzi, full-auto shotguns and other firearms too numerous to list are available to rent. At previous shoots attendees could rent time on a flamethrower or hop a ride in a UH-1 Huey helicopter.

With all the explosions, balls of fire and ammunition being fired, the event is not without some inherent risks.

Safety is stressed as the Knob Creek Range employs security throughout the event. The range strongly recommends eye anWilson Living Magazine -Russian WW11-era submachine gund ear protection during the scheduled shoots.

The next shoot is April 9, 10 and 11, 2010. The best source for current information about the event is the range’s website at www.knobcreekrange.com. There you can find event information as well as listings for local hotel and camping accommodations, match registration and a user forum.

 

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