June 04, 2012

Photo Essay: San Gabriel Valley Gun Club, Abandoned

The overflow parking area of the Fish Creek trailhead at Vulcan Materials was once home to the San Gabriel Valley Gun Club—which was closed in 2007 after over 60 years in operation, in hopes of turning the property (which is owned by Vulcan and which borders government land) into something with a greater purpose, more befitting of the surrounding community's reputation (bordered by historic Duarte and Azusa).

But now, five years later...

...the remnants of the Gun Club still stand, graffitied, disintegrating...


The SGVGC was once the largest shooting range in Southern California.

And now, it stands in shambles.

All of the numbered stands have been dismantled.

A building whose tile floor still remains, though peeling, has been razed.

The air still smells of ammunition.

The arrows on the ground now point to nothing.

Related Reading:
Bucket List: West Side Pistol Range
Azusa Has Gun Club In Its Sights - Los Angeles Times
Azusa Moves to Close Gun Range - Los Angeles Times


  1. The Gun Club was a great place to go shooting. Well regulated and operated by concerned range masters. As the homes were built closer and closer the new reidents complained about the gun club much like people the move into the neighborhood by LAX. It was here first and you should have thought about the noise before you bought your overpriced home.

    1. My sentiments exactly!! This was THE BEST place around , until it closed. They built all the newer homes up into the hills , and the club got squeezed out . ridiculous. Not the progress that's helpful .just greed

  2. It was where Sirhan Sirhan honed his skills to shoot Robert Kennedy! He also met his accomplisses there and they practiced together. Read the FBI files on the Merry Ferrell website.

  3. This used to be a really nice, well run range. We started shooting here in 1974. My high school buddies and I would go really early on a Saturday or Sunday morning and wake up the range master with our high power rifles. I shared time here the last time my Grandpa went shooting with me, He was a WW1 veteran and the noise really hurt his ears. A real shame the people in the new development near the canyon mouth whined their butts off to city hall until the council caved. Sixty years of safe shooting didn't mean a damn thing.

  4. I took an NRA hunter safety course there in 1956 in order to get my first hunting license. Then, believe this or don't. I took a bus from Pasadena to Long Beach with my Model 12 in a soft case and a box of shells in a brown paper bag; grabbed a Greyhound that dropped me off at my cousin's house on PCH in Sunset Beach where we hunted ducks on the tidelands that is now Huntington Harbor. Nobody on the bus even turned a head to look at the teen with the shotgun. Imagine how far you'd get today.

  5. I used to like to take kids down the protected side road at the rifle range, to the pits so they could hear the supersonic rounds flying overhead.

  6. These are nostalgic yet sad photos of a place I remember as well-maintained and very active. In the 1960s my dad did a lot of ballistics testing and wrote for gun magazines, and he often took me along to this range. I'd shoot my Remington single-shot .22 while he sighted in his hunting rifles. One day a pair of mule deer wandered onto the range and everyone ceased fire, then waited patiently until they slowly passed through.

  7. 1966 to 68 my father drove me to the Saturday small bore training program where I practiced at 50’ with my .22 cal Remington 513T Matchmaster. Still have the rifle. Great training in self control and confidence.

  8. 1966 to 68 my father drove me to the Saturday small bore training program where I practiced at 50’ with my .22 cal Remington 513T Matchmaster. Still have the rifle. Great training in self control and confidence.

  9. Greedy pigs win again. The SGVGC had a 100-year lease with Azusa Rock. It had 40 more years to go when they were forced to abandon the place.

  10. I used to shoot high powered rifles here in the ‘80’s. Great place to shoot and enjoy firearms. I’ve moved away from CA in the early 2000’s to Colorado, and it is sad to see what SGVGC has become.

  11. Was a member there in the 1960 . used to ride my bike from where i lived to do my Jr. NRA shooting. Fun place so sad it had to close

  12. Went here in 87' to sight in a Rem 700 in .280 that my dad bought me second hand from the Stockade in Westminster for hunting that same year. Still have the rifle and miss this place.

  13. Grew up here learning to shoot the 0.22 with my dad Terry Hicke, and moved onto to skeet and trap as I got older. Dad called it "Sunday Service". Those pics of the covered bleachers on the skeet range bring back good memories.

  14. Yes greAt memories!

  15. Fantastic place to spend a Saturday or a Sunday.
    Shot International Trap, Skeet, and Duck Tower. Shot the rifle silhouette and the black powder "Buffalo" match. Shot a few Bullseye pistol competitions, too! Fantastic bunch of fellas to shoot with.
    Shot there with my old Dad darn near every weekend from '83 to when he passed away in '94. I shot there til I left Kalifornia in '96.
    I lived in Torrance 40 odd miles away but always well worth the drive.
    Broke my heart when a friend told me 10 years later the it had been shut down permanently.
    The whole L.A. area and SoCal had such a flourishing gun culture in the '50s through the early '90s. Then, seemingly overnight, it just vanished. Sad.
    I never wanted to live anywhere else. Now I can't even stand to think about what it is now.

  16. Dad bought me an 870 pump and stood next to me on the trap line my first go round showing me the ropes at this wonderful cathedral. We'd finish up and buy our tickets for another round and head into the cafeteria (snack bar?) whatever they called it and listened to the old fellas tell hunting stories. Dad would always walk out of there saying that guy is full of sheeeit, and we'd laugh all day about it. Something has gone wrong in Kali and I am sorry to the young ones that they won't be able to experience this place. God Bless You All, you already know he has!!!