Sahuarita Bombing & Gunnery Range
While out shooting my friend led me to an abandoned Word War Two artillery range. While out there we spend a few hours scouring the ground for pieces left from the range. Together my friend and I found about 130 .50 Caliber tracer and AP (Armor Piercing) rounds. We also found numerous .30 Caliber rounds, a couple casings, and about 15 .50 Caliber clips that held the bullets in their belt form as they were fed into a machine gun. I have been told that the range was mainly used for aircraft training fire. The range was closed shortly after the end of World War Two so all the bullets are from that era.
Here is some history about the range (from Wikipedia):
The Army Air Corp from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base first used this 27,046-acre (109.45 km2) range in April, 1942 for practice bombing runs. The Sahuarita Flight Strip was completed in 1943, with a 5,540-foot (1,690 m) paved runway, and the bombing runs ceased shortly thereafter. The site included 12 buildings in addition to the airstrip, and four observational towers. In 1950, bomber crews operating out of Carswell AFB, TX, restarted bombing runs on the range, which would last until 1962, with the airway strip remaining in use as an emergency landing strip thereafter. The Federal government soon released the land to the State of Arizona in 1978, who in turn leased the land to a cattle rancher. Presently, the former airstrip has been converted into a roadway that leads to “Sahuarita Park”, while the remaining land remains in use for cattle grazing. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing its longstanding efforts of identitifying remaining munitions, preventing environmental containmentation, and protecting several endangered species in the area, including jaguars, spotted owls, among others.
I also found a few pictures from various sites of the range and airstrip:
Circa March 1945 – Douglas Section Chart – http://www.airfields-freeman.com/AZ/Airfields_AZ_Tuscon_SE.html
Here are a few pictures of our finds:
All of my Findings (about 1/4 of what we found total)–
.50 Caliber AP Round–
.50 Caliber AP Tungsten Carbide Core–
.50 Caliber Tracer Round–
.30 Caliber Rounds–
.50 Caliber Clip–
Bombing Range Pictures:
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