With some heartache we report that the iconic Oregon Thunder Ranch itself is on the market. Note that all booked classes are going to proceed as scheduled, and that Thunder Ranch (and Clint) will continue to train students – it’s just the physical Oregon ranch that’s on the market. Whether or not TR is moving out of “the Oregon Outback” is TBD.
Clint Smith, a living legend in the firearms training community, began formally instructing in 1983 when he founded International Training Consultants. In addition to serving his country in Vietnam, Mr. Smith worked in law enforcement, and also as H&K’s director of training. This culminated in the founding of Thunder Ranch in 1993, which eventually became one of the most reputed firearms training institutions in the country. In 2004, the Ranch was moved from Texas to its present location in Oregon. According to Clint, he picked Lakeview, Oregon as the location for the Ranch because of light pollution maps: Lakeview was one of the darkest and most sparsely populated areas in the country. Clint and his wife, Heidi, who has an equally impressive resume and has been a Thunder Ranch instructor since 1995, built this majestic new facility in the “tallest town in Oregon,” at the foot of the Warner Mountains.
I first met Clint and Heidi over two years ago, and we became fast friends – as we sit here today, practically family. I was amazed with my first trip to the ranch. Students enter via a secured and covered bridge, underneath a subtle but ominous iron “Thunder Ranch” sign. After a few twists and turns, the dirt road opens up to a clearing capped by a modern-day fortress: Clint and Heidi’s house. A couple hundred yards down the road are the classroom and gift shop, as well as Clint’s immaculate upper deck range, a berm-enclosed gravel-and-concrete 100 yard range with Clint’s two-story shoothouse (or as he calls it, the “thinkhouse”) situated at the rear. My favorite feature, “Thunderville” – a wall made up of unevenly placed arrowslits forcing a shooter to contort to get a solid shooting position and think to use cover wisely – forms the left border of the range.
Further on the road of this 800 acre facility are the 700+ yard Adam Brown rifle range, which includes the Punisher and the Jungle Run, two more courses that require students to shoot and think. For the more fit students, Thunder Ranch even has a small mountain overlooking the Brown range, and at the top, opportunities for high altitude long range shooting at targets on and around the rifle range below.
Clint and Heidi are going to continue to teach, and all classes booked for TR’s Oregon campus will proceed as planned. In the interim period before Thunder Ranch officially relocates, Clint and Heidi will be teaching in the Las Vegas area and hosting other regional courses.
This is bittersweet for me. I have a lot of good memories from that stronghold in Oregon; good training, great friends, and laughs shared around a fireplace over the best Franzia that the Lakeview Safeway has to offer. While I will miss the Oregon Ranch, this move may allow more people to experience Clint’s sought-after instruction and one of a kind personality – and that’s a good thing.
The listing is here: https://fsbo.com/listings/listings/show/id/525934/
We will continue to keep you all updated.