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Posted: 9/12/2004 10:06:13 AM EDT
Hey fellas , I'm retiring in 2 years and am going to begin the process of buying some land and begin building in the next 8-12 months.

I'm looking at moving in the area of York , Lancaster , Adams , Chester and Franklin Counties.

I'm interesting in knowing how the local Sheriffs are about signing CLEO Clas 3 letters , your overall opinion on ranges in these counties and any other info you may have.

Thx ,

Link Posted: 9/13/2004 5:27:08 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2004 5:27:22 AM EDT by PAEBR332]
Can't tell you much about local ranges, because I usualy shoot off my back porch. There is a state forest range ten minutes from here, but full-auto is not allowed there.

Cumberland County (just northwest of Franklin, north of Adams) sheriff will sign off on Class III weapons, as long as you do not try to do this too many times. Overall this part of the state is extremely gun friendly. I have lived here for over a dozen years and have not met one anti-gun advocate. YMMV.
Link Posted: 9/13/2004 7:07:33 PM EDT
STAY AWAY FROM CHESTER COUNTY!!!! and in general southern PA. Your best to stick with north cenral/west PA unless you are willing to join a private indoor club.
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 4:08:23 AM EDT
I would suggest the Fulton/Bedford/Somerset Co. areas. Very rural, close to whatever you might need and very gun friendly. Land can be had at a much more reasonable price than where you are talking about. My little brother went to school in York and was really not fond of the place.

If you want to feel like your really in the middle of no-where go to north central Pa (north of I-80). Winters suck, btu I think there are more bears up there than people.
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 6:22:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2004 6:26:57 AM EDT by billclo]
I live in York County, near Hanover. I am not aware of any public ranges around, not even in the State Forests. You end up joining a "Sportsmen Club", most of which are very anti-black gun. There is a range up near Harrisburg (West Shore Sportsmen Association) that is VERY black gun friendly, and they have frequent handgun and rifle competitions. IPSC, IDPA, the NTI, a house-clearing range, etc. Only troubls is that it's a little over an hour to get there, so I tend to make a day of it.

The only other range I know of that's worth a crap is Jefferson Sportsmen, which I belong to. When I first joined up, back in '97, black guns were not common, and the "hunters" gave me a bit of a hassle, but I pushed right back. But now, we have tons of MD transplants moving in, and I see more black guns than ever before. Of course, this prompted the club to mandate a 5-rd maximum in the mag rule

But it's otherwise a nice facility, with 300-yard rifle, etc. I just do my general practice and longer-range rifle work there, and go to West Shore for combat related stuff (and to test fully-loaded mags for reliability).

I don't know anything about sherrifs signing Class-3 letters, but they didn't give any trouble in signing CCW permits, which I have heard that some sherrifs drag their feet and make excuses to drag things out. Not so in York County. I hear Adams is alright too (aside from their heinous taxes).

Also, make sure you check out the local townships very carefully, with regard to taxes, as their rates vary WIDELY. Adams County is more expensive to live in, due to their insane "Occupational Tax" - wherein you pay a tax based upon what your profession is. It can get quite pricey. Plus the Gettysburg liberals love to spend, spend, spend.
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 12:50:24 PM EDT
Stay out of SE PA. I live in Delaware County and frequent family and friends in Chester County. Taxes are insane, and its urban sprawl land. Lancaster, Lebanon and York are a bit easier on taxes, but I cant see you getting any kind of decent land that isnt part of a housing development.

PA is a shall-issue state, so the rules are the same for all of the counties, it just depends on how long the local sherrif wants to make you wait.
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 2:37:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2004 2:47:37 PM EDT by ColtM4]
Thanks guys for the info . I'm not really worried about CCW because as a retired LEO I can carry anywhere now w/o a permit.

The info about taxes and stuff was VERY interesting and it sounds like Adams County is out as well as anything SE.

Anyone have any idea where I can get the best deal on land in that general area?

I'm also looking forward to getting some class 3 stuff , especially suppressors and SBR's. Thats why I asked if any knew the pro gun sheriffs in the area.

Thanks again,


P.S. When you guys say the taxes are insane in Adams and Chester counties could you give me an example of how much the property taxes are for the average home. Around my area property taxes average about 6,000-8,000 a year .
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 4:35:50 PM EDT
Sheriff Barry Jozwiak in Berks County is very Pro-gun. He's signed every ClassIII paper I've given him, and he's issued/signed my carry permit. Never once have I met him. Usually have the C3 paperwork mailed back to me within a week or two.

Cabelas, Maple Grove Dragstrip, Vanity Fair factory outlet, and Al's Diamond Caberet are also located in Berks County...

I'd say a nice quiet country retirement location would be somewhere in Northwestern Berks... Look for land around the Bethel/Mt.Joy area...Lots of cheap land out there, and close to Rt 78 interstate.

Just my two cents...
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 7:17:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2004 7:20:23 PM EDT by billclo]
I can't give you specific numbers about Adams County right now. I only found out what the various rates were by asking my realtor what the various township's rates were. I live in York County, but fairly near the Adams county line. I have a 3 br rancher, with basement. 1100 sq ft, with 1/2 acre land, and I pay about $1800/year for property/school tax. The house was worth about $103k in 1997, but is now worth about $140k. I'd bet that a similar home in Adams would be about the same (again, some townships are way high, some are reasonable). But, as an example, my wife is a pharmacist, and at the time, I was a blue collar factory worker type. Between us, the "occupational tax" would have been over $1000 a year more. We lived in Adams country briefly, but managed not to have to pay the tax, fortunately.

The further north you get from the MD border, the cheaper the land gets, up to a point. My property worked out to be about $20k an acre. I live 4 miles from the MD border. Land right on the border is easily $30k/acre (over into MD, it goes up very rapidly). 10 miles north of me (13-15 miles from the MD border), you might spend $15-20k/acre. I don't know what former farmland goes for, but probably a bit less.

In case you didn't know, PA does not tax pensions, so it's one reason that lots of retirees are coming here.

My area is developing fairly fast, but it's still possible to buy decent sized chunks of former farmland. Just down the road, the local farmer sold out. He had I think, 13-15 acres. Another one had 5, and a third had 20+. All old farmers who just couldn't do it anymore, and sold out to the developers. Another place is 9 acres of mostly woods. So, yes, it's still possible to get decent land.
Link Posted: 9/15/2004 1:36:01 AM EDT
Thank you very much ,I'll be going down there in two weeks to look around.

Link Posted: 9/15/2004 1:03:06 PM EDT
there are at least 2 local ranges in York county that I know of. One is on Graybill rd off of rt 616 that one is gameland and has a 3 round rule and the other is above dover on Rt 74 in the Wellsville\Washington township area. Agin gameland range w/3 round rule. A few other Club ranges around some are very nice and frienly

Good luck
Link Posted: 9/15/2004 5:45:46 PM EDT
Does anyone have any info on Broadheadsville? It looks like Jack and myself are on the same page as far as moving to PA. Thanks in advance. Jack, ill talk to you soon...........
Link Posted: 9/15/2004 6:42:21 PM EDT
The houses in So. York County went up at least 50K alone this year due to more Marylanders pushing up this way. The 5ac. minimum lot in Balto. Cty is doing it as new homes there start at $450K.
School taxes in this area are up to almost $3000. and probably will keep going up unless Slots really pays off in a couple of years. You can figure that in 5 more years there will be some more schools built, so the taxes will go up again too.
Prices in Lancaster area are just as bad.
Like Art said, Bethel area is nice country area to live in.
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