There are a number of coin-op clubs in my area. None would ever even consider going back to the honor system, and none have taken more than a year or two to COMPLETELY recoup the cost of the equipment.
One club was getting paid for less than 1/2 of the targets thrown.
San Antonio Gun Club went to counters and then the card system. It supposedly has saved about 30% on targets. Alleged problems were new shooters wanting to see sample targets before each shot, folks who just wanted to take a few extra shots on problem targets and possibly a few older heads who may have felt entitled for all they did to support the club, etc. IMHO. Ron
They work OK if the traps are not breaking targets. It can be difficult if you are shooting by yourself. For example if it is programmed to give you 27 targets and you call for one to look at, then you only have one extra in case of a broken one or a bad pull (outside noise that set it off). But if you have a squad of 5 people you have 10 extra targets (one to look at and 9 for broken birds or bad pulls). It is even worse on a skeet field where you may look at 2 targets (a low and a high). Several times I have just said the heck with it and had one or two shells left over.
"They work OK if the traps are not breaking targets."
On the plus side, it incentivizes the club to keep the machines in good working order. And it incentivizes the squad/shooter to not just keep pressing the button over and over when the machine is breaking targets hoping it will fix itself.
"For example if it is programmed to give you 27 targets and you call for one to look at, then you only have one extra in case of a broken one or a bad pull (outside noise that set it off). But if you have a squad of 5 people you have 10 extra targets (one to look at and 9 for broken birds or bad pulls). It is even worse on a skeet field where you may look at 2 targets (a low and a high)."
True, but if you're shooting a few rounds, the extras add up pretty quickly, and you really don't NEED to see a high and a low to start every round (outside of setting up the field before the first round, when shooting practice, it is VERY rare that I'll call for a show target to start a round). I shoot by myself on coin-ops all the time, and usually 8-10 rounds in a session, and nearly always end up with spares on the machine when I'm done. It is VERY uncommon for me to end up with extra shells in my pouch at the end of the day.
"Some guy turned down a few targets and called for a look bird after the slow pulls."
He used more than his allotted spare targets, and basically stole from the rest of the squad (instead of stealing from the club). After he burned his spares, he should have stepped back and let the rest of the squad finish the round.
If it means the difference between solvency and insolvency for a club (which is exactly what it means for more than one club that put them in), I can't see a possible argument against it. The alternative is for the club to pad the round price to make up for the targets lost/stolen, so your price/round will likely be 2x what it is now.
San Antonio Gun Club is probably a bit different in that it is run with paid employees. The traps are well maintained and broken targets are not a major problem. If a machine has a problem, shooters report it as they will run out of targets if they don't. We have hundreds of members and I can count on one hand the number of chronic complainers that I am aware of. Ron
At our small club here in Texas, we use Longrange's key system. We went to this system as we were barely breaking even on targets and some animosity amongst the board members(rifle/pistol folks pointing fingers). We have one combo field and another skeet only field. Within six months, the system was paid for and the rifle shooters were the first to congratulate us on a smart choice.
We are an unmanned club and it wasn't so much people stealing as it was when a group of folks decide to take an extra target(you know, monkey see-monkey do) once a round. Before you know it, we lost 25 targets. We only sell prepaid keys with 27 targets per round. If someone has a problem, we usually give them the benefit of the doubt and credit them a few targets. It is not always convenient but most members have figured out to have extra rounds on their keys in case no one is their to load keys. Our equipment is well maintained and the only time we have target breakage is due to rough handling of birds by whoever loads a machine.
Longrange's support has been exemplary. We only have had to replace one key reader(which we decided to keep as a backup)and a few keys.
Those let me see one more target add up over the day. Or, shooting three rounds and paying for two.
I'm not aware of one club that did not see profits raise after installing a system. A lot of so called target breakage was in fact theft (intentional or not)....
A few clubs have told me that once they put in the system, several shooters stopped shooting at there club(s) and started shooting at clubs without a system. The shooters may have not liked the systems installed, but most think not!
They come with a learning curve for the shooters. On the trap, you'll need to point out that the voice release throws a target at the sound. Whether you shoot at it or not, it still cost the same.
On the skeet field, when the rest of the squad loses targets to the "give me that again" guy, they'll quit giving the extra targets. At our small club we'll throw in an extra token for the new shooters. But the same guys always seem to get "shorted"....It doesn't take long to see where the problems are. As others have stated, we've lost a few shooters due to the coin system. Good riddance.
"A few clubs have told me that once they put in the system, several shooters stopped shooting at there club(s) and started shooting at clubs without a system. The shooters may have not liked the systems installed, but most think not! "
Yep. Same thing happened to us. The ones we suspected of stealing (or knew were stealing but couldn't prove it) stopped coming.
Interestingly, Indiana Gun club has a different system. You just go out and shoot and then come into the clubhouse and tell them how many rounds you shot. That's not just for club members; the same for anybody just walking in off the street. They don't even ask for your name. Talk about trust.
I am part of the management at our club and all I can say is that it positive move as it stops target shrinkage and has turned the club around.We were quite surprised by how much was actually being lost.
To make it work all the machinery must be good order.
That's the same way it WAS at a local club that was experiencing over 50% "spoilage". Coin ops on the trap and skeet fields, and counters on the sporting clays courses solved that immediately.
It would be interesting to see what the target loss is @ Indiana Gun Club, if anyone is keeping track. If they're throwing any sort of real volume, and nobody has been keeping track thus far, the results of a closely watched inventory for a few months tend to be extremely eye opening.
Honor systems can work where there is honor but I have found there are some shooters who lack honor.
Tokens also get pilferage from unauthorized tokens being used and really are a pain.
Been using the Promatic card system for a few years in an all volunteer club and it works the best of all previous experienced systems. Reimbursement process where there is a poorly functioning trap breaking targets. Eliminated almost all broken targets with new Promatic trap machines. Provides good capabilities for the club in tracking targets thrown and targets purchased.
"Interestingly, Indiana Gun club has a different system. You just go out and shoot and then come into the clubhouse and tell them how many rounds you shot. That's not just for club members; the same for anybody just walking in of the street. They don't even ask for your name. Talk about trust." dickgtax
There are many here in the mid-west that operate the same way. Middletown is the same way. So is Eastern Hills Rod & Gun Club east of Cincinnati. In that same area, Milford Gun Club uses a card system where you buy a card and punch it after each round, in essence, using the honor system as well.
I know there are several clubs in Northern Kentucky that allow the shooter to shoot when ever they like, open the trap, shoot and record how many targets you use. The ultimate in trust if you will.
The cost for targets in this area is really reasonable, between $3.50 and $4.00. Shoot a hundred for fourteen to sixteen bucks. If a shooter needs to beat a club out of that small amount, well, what can I say.
It has been my experience at the local club that the largest amount of "shrink" is due to the age of us all. Half the time we cannot remember how many rounds we shot. As the saying goes, "We can remember twenty years ago, just not twenty minutes". It is hard to remember a week that has gone by when a shooter will come up to the counter and say "I forgot to pay for my targets last time."
The majority of us are a bunch of old goats. That being said, we all have something else in common. We were raised right. We have ethics and values. We would no more think of not paying for our targets then shoplift. We do not steal things!