Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Press photo by Nick HromiakGerard Stezelberger stands by the almost completed and new ventilation system he is installing at the renovated Firing Line in Egypt. Press photo by Nick HromiakGerard Stezelberger stands by the almost completed and new ventilation system he is installing at the renovated Firing Line in Egypt.

Outdoors: check out reborn Firing Line shooting range

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by nick hromiak Special to the Press in Sports

If you were a former member or used the Firing Line indoor shooting range on Roosevelt Street on the border of Whitehall and North Whitehall townships that closed a few years ago upon the passing of its owner, you owe it to yourself to check out the new Firing Line.

The Firing Line has been reborn and has transformed into a first class indoor shooting facility that sports a vastly improved and state-of-the-art air filtration system, exceptional sound proofing, classrooms, lounge area and retail shop in the enlarged former building.

This redesign was planned and implemented by Gerard Stezelberger, a Lehigh Township resident, who has been the owner of Relic Hunter Firearms and Military equipment shop on MacArthur Road. Stezelberger will be moving this small shop that’s stocked with a myriad new and used firearms and military clothing and accessories to the Firing Line building by the end of September. His shop probably has as many if not more small arms choices than many big box stores like Cabela’s in Hamburg.

Upon moving into the former Firing Line, Stezelberger gutted what was the former office, reception/rental area and range itself. The latter was in bad shape. Said Stezelberger, “It cost around $20,000 just to have it cleaned. We tore out everything including the lighting, ceiling and antiquated and ill-inducing ventilation system, some of which was comprised of tiny office fans at each shooting bench that was intended to blow gun smoke from the shooter. The floors also received an acid etching and the range will have a rubber backstop wherein the bullets penetrate and stay in the rubber with no backsplash from ricocheting bullets hitting spent bullets.

In the renovation, Stezelberger has built an ultramodern ventilation system over each shooting table that draws smoke and fumes from the area and filters it. At the same time, fresh air, that is categorized as negative pressure and is 99.72 percent clean, is being introduced from behind and above the shooting stalls. This system received statewide approval from EPA and OSHA and is unique in this area. Along with this filtration system, new a new heating and air conditioning system was installed making for 365-day use.

The only thing that was kept from the former range were the motorized target hangers that take targets forward and backward to the shooter. “They were in good shape and we can still get parts for the motors, so we kept them,” said Stezelberger.

In addition, new and unique sound proofing was installed and mimics that in recording studios. “The 2x3 foot sheets of poly type synthetic dense foam costs $75 a sheet. And we installed it throughout the range to alleviate noise going into the rental, retail, lounge and classroom areas,” Stezelberger explained.

Stezelberger went on to say that he wants to make the new facility a membership club. And to promote that, he’s offering an introductory price of $29.95 a month or $299 yearly if signing up before the September 30, 2017 opening date.

And for the first 150 paid yearly Charter Memberships (which is about half sold as of Friday, Aug. 25), you’ll get a 10 percent discount for life.

The basic range membership of $29.95 month or $299 yearly, offers 10 percent off training classes, rentals, accessories, 25 percent off gun cleaning and unlimited range time.

A Basic Range Couples/Family membership is $44.95 monthly or $445 yearly; a Platinum Level Membership is $49.95/month or $499 yearly and that includes 10 percent off training, accessories, ammo, 25 percent off firearm rentals, unlimited range time, five free gun cleanings, first priority on available lanes Mon-Fri, and you may bring free guests, make range reservations and get first notice on exclusive events. There’s also a Platinum Family Membership for $64.95/month or $649 yearly.

The store also purchased a sonic firearms cleaner for those who don’t like cleaning their guns.

Aside from the range itself, Stezelberger said there will be free seminars for folks who don’t know anything about firearms, and in addition, the classroom will feature NRA firearms safety/handling/shooting classes for beginners to advanced shooters.

The lounge area will feature a continuous safety video that shooters have to attend before going into the range.

When asked how he started in the gun business three years ago at his current location, Stezelberger said he sold antique military equipment for 20 years to museums and collectors worldwide including countries like Normandy, France and Belgium. “I figured firearms was a natural need and people may need firearms as the world is not like it used to be and police can’t be everywhere to protect you, especially folks living in rural areas.”

So, if you were a patron of the former Firing Line, you’ll be amazed at the complete modernization of the new one.

For more information, call Relic at 610-451-1064.