Old Rifle Range

Concord, Massachusetts
The Old Rifle Range in Concord, Massachusetts is one of the most unique places to explore. A trail leads visitors to all the old remnants.
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About This Location

The Old Rifle Range in Concord, Massachusetts is one of the most unique places to explore. All the remains of the range can be seen along a public trail.

In 1908, the Massachusetts General Court sanctioned the establishment of rifle ranges for cities and towns with volunteer Militia. Concord, part of the First Brigade, 6th Infantry Regiment, Company I, was among the first to embrace this initiative. The rifle range, constructed for the training of Concord Company I, found its home adjacent to the original armory at 51 Walden Street, now a performing arts center.

On October 29, 1910, “The Enterprise,” the local newspaper, announced Company I’s inaugural shoot at the new rifle range, described as “a very complete range of the most modern construction.” While primarily intended for Company I, the range saw extensive use for training U.S. Army soldiers before their deployment in World War I.

After 1926, with weapons training for the Massachusetts State Guard consolidated elsewhere, the rifle range’s usage declined. By 1951, it was deemed unsuitable for modern weaponry. Subsequently, a long-range plan was developed in 1958, placing the site under the stewardship of The Town Forest Committee and The Recreation Commission.

Despite proposals to repurpose the site for refuse disposal, it was recognized as vital for passive recreation and as a buffer against potential developments. In 1964, an additional 7.5-acre parcel was acquired, enhancing the conservation efforts in the area.

The range featured targets positioned behind four abutments at distances of 200, 300, 600, and 1,000 yards. Each abutment had a primary firing point and two alternates, allowing for simultaneous shooting. Concrete walls filled with stone and earth formed protective berms behind which men raised and lowered targets. Today, only these berms and remnants of the target-raising equipment remain, with no trace of the range house.

Walking the Old Rifle Range invites reflection on its historical significance. Imagining the landscape without its dense forest cover reveals the once-clear firing positions stretching from Old Marlborough Road to the farthest target at 1,000 yards. As visitors explore this conservation land, respect for neighboring properties is essential, ensuring that the legacy of the Old Rifle Range is preserved for generations to come.

Location

Address: Old Marlboro Road, Concord, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.444556, -71.391833
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.444556, -71.391833
Parking Notes: Free parking can be found at the trailhead to the Old Rifle Range on the side of Old Marlboro Road in Concord, Massachusetts.

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