Boomershoot capacities

For the last two years I have been trying to increase target production and once I felt I had excess capacity I was going to get the cat (bulldozer) out there to expand the shooting line so I could handle more shooters.

This year we finished target production with more targets per unit time than ever before. And we had many targets left over after the event even though we had more shooting hours than usual. And I shut down target production at 1500 on Saturday. We finally have the target production up to a level where we could handle more shooting positions.

That was the plan. But it turns out there are other limits to our capacity that became (more) obvious this year.

  • Target placement. Even after doubling the space at the tree line we have room for about 500 targets there. That is just barely adequate. We had 350 targets on the hillside which was about right. I don’t think we can safely expand either target location without moving a lot of dirt.
  • The Saturday night dinner maxed out the Ponderosa last year with about 65 people. They claim they can handle 100 but with our setup for the raffle 65 was crowded. The VFW building had more space but we had 93 people sign up for dinner this year and we maxed them out too. There is one other place in town that has more space but they are already booked for the last weekend of April 2010. It might be that we can rent the high school cafeteria or some such place but I haven’t looked into that. I can also get the caterer to set up tents and tables and do it on-site for a fairly reasonable charge. But cringe at the thought of trying to do that in a 30 MPH wind with snow and hail coming down like we have had some years.
  • The caterer for the Sunday lunch asked if we could break the shooters into two groups, say positions 1 through 38 and 39 through 76 and send them to the roach coach about 30 minutes apart and take 90 minutes total for lunch. There are just too many people for them to handle in a timely manner.

After talking to Barb about it for a bit (she is the one that attempts to inject some pessimism/reality into my visions) I think expanding the shooting line capacity would be the wrong thing to do. I should improve the experience for the existing shooters instead. The most obvious thing to do in that regard is to make improvements to the shooters berm. It is too uneven and doesn’t have enough depth in places.

Another possibility is to make it easier to quickly put up more dingle berries. Many more…

Quote of the day–Milton Friedman

The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm, capitalism is that kind of a system.

Milton Friedman
[The socialist would disagree of course. But that is because they always imagine that “good people” will be in government. But that kind of concentration of money and power inevitably attracts “the worst people” with the predictable results of Stalin, Castro, etc. with them and their cronies satisfying their greedy desires not to mention the substandard lifestyle of their subjects and all the torture and executions of their political enemies. As in most cases the socialists only see the possible good in their world view and not the costs.

Once I demanded that an admitted communist give me the measurement of “fair” that he used just so we could be clear on what he was talking about. He refused. It boiled down to “he knew it when he saw it”. Apparently he wanted to be the ultimate judge of “fairness” because what he thought was “fair” was completely different than mine. That is how they gain power. They say vague things that most people can agree with such as “fairness”, “justice”, etc. I think it is fair that I keep my results of my work but they think it is fair that I share half of my income with them.

Ask them how they measure “fairness” or “justice”, if they can’t express it in numbers then it’s just unsubstantiated opinion.–Joe]

Boomershoot 2009 raffle proceeds

The following should be self-explanatory.


From: Joe Huffman
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 10:50 AM
To: ‘’
Cc: ‘Chuck Ziegenfuss’; ‘Barb Scott’; ‘Jason Scott’
Subject: Boomershoot 2009 raffle proceeds.


Boomershoot ( is an annual long range precision rifle event held in North Central Idaho. Each year soldiers from Fort Lewis attend and for two days prior to the main event help teach Boomershoot participants the science and art of accurate long range shooting. Some of those soldiers later went on to Iraq and Afghanistan and were injured and some were killed.


In October of 2007 my wife and I met Chuck Ziengenfuss at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno. He told us of his injuries and how Soldiers’ Angels helped him. It turns out that it was the second time my wife had met Chuck. She had also met at Walter Reed when she was visiting our nephew Jason Scott who was wounded in Iraq and also benefited from your help.


At Boomershoot this year we held a raffle with the intent that half of the proceeds would go to raffle participants and the other half going to Project Valour-IT. After the event someone quietly came up to me and gave me three $100 bills to give to you.


Below are the reference number and other information from my bank that is mailing you a check of the proceeds. If it does not arrive as expected please let me know.


Send On


Expected Delivery

Reference #






Soldiers’ Angels






Quote of the day–Ry Jones

So why not Owner? Owners don’t do NFA. Owners don’t do political organizing. Owners don’t buy 1200 feet of paracord to cause other owners to spends thousands of dollars on ammo they otherwise would not have spent. While I am certainly an owner, I am not an Owner.

Ry Jones
April 27, 2009
[Explaining why he doesn’t fit any of Tam’s categories of gun owners.

The 1200 feet of paracord probably needs some explain for those unfortunate people that did not attend Boomershoot last weekend.

It was Ry’s idea to satisfy a frequent request for moving reactive targets. He did this by suspending camo painted, Boomerite filled, targets from trees. The targets swung, bounced, and taunted the shooters. They loved them and, amazingly enough, nailed the 0.5 MOA (and smaller) targets. Mike, the guy in position 76, who doesn’t even use a spotter asked me “Are those four inch targets dangling on the ropes up there near the 700 yard line?” I told him that before lunch they were. After lunch they were replaced with three inch targets. “Okay,” he said, “There is one less of them now.”–Joe]

Quote of the day–Rebecca West

I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.

Rebecca West
[I remember having a similar conversation with Barbara either before we were married or shortly thereafter. I told her that as near as I could tell the way people defined “a lady” was in terms of the things she wasn’t allowed to do and “men” in the things he did.

But that isn’t why I posted West’s quote. I post it because it reminds me of what people call “reasonable regulation” of firearms. Their ideas of “reasonable regulation” appear to be based on the assumption that gun owners are, or should be, doormats.–Joe]

Match Hollowpoints – Interior, Exterior, and Terminal Ballistics

My wife reads a lot of “who dunnit” mystery novels.  The one she’s reading now addresses long-range marksmanship and the use of hollowpoint “match” bullets.  As a person normally 100% uninterested guns and shooting, she had a very good question for me; “Why do they use hollowpoints for accuracy”?  This lead to a very interesting discussion– one uninterested in guns was trying to understand something that few gun enthusiasts understand completely and rarely discuss in such detail.

I had to admit I was at something of a loss.  My best understanding is that the hollowpoint bullet jacket can be manufactured to higher standards of concentricity (the mass being better centered around the mechanical center so as to avoid wobble in flight) and consistency of mass and shape.  That is all true, but exactly why it is true I was at a loss to explain with certainty.  My best guesses are that it has to do with the process of forming the jacket’s shape, and with the insertion of the bullet’s lead core, but I don’t know the actual processes used in bullet manufacturing.

I also told her it was my opinion that since the hollowpoint jacket (having a closed copper base due to the way it’s constructed) allows none of the bullet’s lead base to melt away during the intense heat of firing, it is going to retain its mass, and therefore its consistency of mass from shot to shot, better than the open base of a standard full metal jacket bullet.  I’ve also read that the open-base FMJ can allow the jacket to partially separate from the core at the base under the pressure of firing.  If so, that would certainly alter its flight slightly and at random.

She explained that it was her understanding that hollowpoints were used to cause more trauma inside the target, and I told her that she was correct.  She was having a hard time understanding that there is no direct correlation between the objectives behind hollowpoint “match” bullet designs, and the hollowpoint bullets designed to expand and cause more damage.  This was getting too technical for a layperson, but her interest was piqued by the story she was reading.  I had to explain that hollowpoints designed specifically for expansion on impact have a wide range of designs, operating velocities and applications, and that match hollowpoints have nothing to do with any of that.  The match bullets are only designed for accuracy, with no regard to their effects on a target.

That being the case, one can nonetheless do a little experimentation.  Manufacturers of match rifle bullets usually make a point of telling the customer that they are NOT intended, and should not be used for, hunting.  There is one company, Burger Bullets, that touts their match VLD (Very Low Drag) hollowpoints as hunting bullets.  I’ve been loading Berger 7 mm bullets in 280 Remington for my son’s use at Boomershoot, and since he keeps his rifle zeroed for that load, he has also used the VLDs for hunting.  This particular bullet has a light (read weak) jacket, and while it is an awesome animal stopper, it explodes at high velocity inside the animal due to its light construction and causes major damage to any meat it comes near.  It also tears a large hole in the hide for those of us who keep the skins.  They make a tiny entry wound and a softball-sized exit wound.  That would be OK if the shot placement and angle were ideal because only the heart/lung cavity would be so effected (then too, we like to eat the heart if it’s intact).  Other match hollowpoints have heavier jackets that don’t behave much different, on impact, from a standard FMJ bullet.

Practicing for Boomershoot last week, we found one of our 30 caliber match bullet jackets behind a 2′ diameter rotten, wet log that it had penetrated.  Just the jacket, turned nearly inside-out, with no lead core.  The hollowpoint tip was almost perfectly intact, and so behaved radically different from a hollowpoint hunting or defense bullet.  The bullet had traveled 400 yards, entered and then yawed violently sideways inside the log.  The intense pressure of deceleration caused the heavier lead core to burst out the side of the jacket, separating completely.  The open-sided jacket followed through to drop on the ground just behind the log.  These match bullets were loaded in .308 Winchester cartridges made by Black Hills Ammunition.  We were using 168 and 175 grain, “red box” new loads.  I think the bullets they use in these loads are from Sierra, but don’t quote me on that.  You can call them and ask if you’re curious.

Quote of the day–Ry Jones

This type of situation happens every year. We know that you, the customer, are looking for mud in your hair; every year, we work around errors where people don’t get to participate at as a full level as they might like. The solution wasn’t optimal (taking explosives made for Sunday and using them Friday), but that is behind the scenes; as far as the customer knows, Mary Boomer Poppins delivered magical explosives when there were none.

Ry Jones
April 24, 2009
Calm down kthx
[Thank you Ry.–Joe]

My first boomer

One of the things that came up while I was telling Boomershoot stories yesterday was my first successful creation of a reactive target. I told them that I got very excited about it and there was a video. No one had seen the video. It’s here. More background is here.

I suppose I should put it on one of the video servers or something but its been at its current location since before YouTube had even been thought of.

The reason I was so excited was that I had been working on trying (off and on) to make my own rifle detonated targets for over two years. After working on something for two years with nothing but failures to show for it you get really excited when one of your experiments works.

Boomershooters get a little taste of that because I make the targets challenging enough that most of them cannot get a target in a single shot. They have to work at it for a while. When they do connect it is a bigger thrill than if they had plopped their gun down on the ground and got a first round hit 10 seconds after going prone. They have to earn their reward. They don’t get as excited as I did when I got my first one but then most people probably don’t have the patience to work on trying to get one to go off for two years either.

Another day another 500 explosions

We made and people detonated over 500 boomers today. Most of them were from about 20 yards away.

People seemed to have a good time. I just feel tired.

Alan made a lot of the explosives. Kevin Baker showed up around noon. Without having permission from the ATF I had him doing more mundane things like folding cardboard boxes into the proper shape and sweeping off the anti-static rug that goes inside the explosives magazine.

I was a bit concerned about Bonnie doing her first long range shooting at the Precision Rifle Clinic today. I saw her at lunch and asked. She reported things were going well and had only missed (steel targets, not boomers) three shots and that she was having a lot of fun. Great!

Derek is also a new boomer shooter and it’s pretty clear from the pictures and video that he is having a good time.

Boomershoot blogger day pictures

This was our fireball demo. Notice the milk jugs filled with gasoline on the left and the road flare to ignite the gas on the right.

Here we have the gas mixing with the air and the fireball just starting.

The gas air mixture is in flames now.

The fireball is rising and expanding.

Ry has the most awesome picture of a detonation of a simple boomer I have ever seen.

See also Snarky Bytes and Trigger Finger posts on our day.

Quote of the day–Alan Gura, Robert A. Levy, Clark M. Neilly

Cooley agreed, explaining that the Second Amendment “is significant as having been reserved by the people as a possible and necessary resort for the protection of self-government against usurpation, and against any attempt on the part of those who may for the time be in possession of State authority or resources to set aside the constitution and substitute their own rule for that of the people.” Thomas Cooley, The Abnegation of Self-Government, 12 PRINCETON REV. 209, 213-14 (1883). The individual use of Second-Amendment-protected arms to check despotism, “far from being revolutionary, would be in strict accord with popular right and duty.” Id.

The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed–where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

Alan Gura
Robert A. Levy
Clark M. Neily III
February 24, 2008
RESPONDENT’S BRIEF On Writ Of Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The District Of Columbia Circuit.
[In part, Boomershoot is about being prepared to exercise this part of the constitution.–Joe]

Boomershoot blogger day report

I’m sure someone else will give better reports than me. I’m way too tired. But lets just say the fire last Sunday didn’t scare me nearly as much as the one we had today. And we have a dozen people to fight this one.

Everyone seemed to have a good time and what surprised me most was that they seemed to enjoy me just standing around and telling stories as much as making explosives and blowing mud all over everyone.

And then there was the awesome picture Ry took. The target has HIGH SPEED flames shooting out of the sides just before it is reduced to it’s molecular components–and you can see the bullet hole in the target. I’m sure he will post it sometime. It’s just a question of him having bandwidth, both computer and personal, to do it.

Tomorrow we start cranking out targets while most of the gun blogger crew participates in the Precision Rifle Clinic.

Quote of the day–Chuck

My message to my troops is if you see any Jews on the streets of Berlin, we’ll put them on the ground, take their property away and then decide whether they have a right to it. Maybe I’ll end up with a protest of Rabbis. In the meantime, I’ve got serious orthodoxy with access to Talmuds. It’s irresponsible to send a message to them that if they just study it openly no one can bother them.

In the comments to Quote of the day–Ed Flynn
[Very nice twist to Ed’s words. It put Flynn’s words in the proper perspective for others to see it for what it was–using the force of law in a bigoted attack on gun owners.–Joe]

We Get it, Already

This is an open letter to all the talk show hosts, pundits, party hacks, cheaters, scumbags, sick twisted freaks (you know who you are) and pro-freedom bloggers.  We could spend the rest of our lives cataloging the outrageous behavior of nasty, America-hating, ignorant, self-loathing, cultist, freedom-hating, anti-human, leftist politicians including Progressive Republicans.  We know they’re bad, OK?  If there are three or four people who still don’t get it, that’s all right.

I’d rather try to figure out how we’re going to get some principled Americans nominated so we’re not always forced to choose between bad and worse– between more socialism slower, and more socialism faster.  This last national election was a real puker.  The Republican Party is, at the moment, just as lost, dumbfounded, selfish and clueless as ever.  They’re a herd of does, staring blankly into the headlights of an on-coming truck, and the worst part of it is; they don’t even suspect that they’re clueless.  They in the Republican leadership think they have some really clever answers, which amount to more of what got us into this mess.  I recently heard it described as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  That fits very well.  The Republicans have some really super great, super ultra smart ideas for rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  No really, listen…  (all the while we have this simple, proven model for success, and it’s being ignored.)

We need to change that.  You need to change it.  I need to change it.  There isn’t anyone else.  I suppose, since it’s up to us, it will have to be on the local level for most of us, being as we’re not billionaires.  That’s OK.  We can still do what we can do.  A lot of people are jazzed up right now.  They just need somewhere to start.  Well, pick a place, a local issue or a local politician that needs a hand (or a very public spanking) and get to it!

That there are clueless people is not the issue.  There will always be the clueless.  They’ll sit on the sidelines, worrying about who likes them and who doesn’t, trying to figure out where the “center” is so they can position themselves in it and claim superiority for having done so, while someone else does the lifting.  Are you a sitter or a lifter?

I have a bad feeling that things could come to blows before this government is brought under control, and I really don’t want that to happen.  Do you?  This country is far too important in the grand scheme of things.

And with that; I don’t have much more to say on here, other than to repeat myself or talk about the weather and what I did last weekend, unless it’s to tell you what I’m doing on the local level to influence politics.  Now I think I have some calls to make.

(Note that I placed this in nearly every one of Joe’s categories. It’s relevant to everything we do and every opportunity we want for our kids in the future)

Quote of the day–Ed Flynn

My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we’ll put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it. Maybe I’ll end up with a protest of cowboys. In the meantime, I’ve got serious offenders with access to handguns. It’s irresponsible to send a message to them that if they just carry it openly no one can bother them.

Ed Flynn
Milwaukee Police Chief
April 21, 2009
Milwaukee chief to officers: Ignore gun memo
[What if some police chief said something like this about black people walking the streets after dark? Or Christians wearing a cross in public? His remaining time on the job would, and rightly so, be measured in minutes. And so it should be in this case. It is his job to enforce the law, not enforce what he would like the law to be.

It’s a good thing I won’t be visiting Wisconsin anytime in the foreseeable future. My response to a police officer committing a felony such as this either against me or in my presence would be “messy” and probably involve compounds containing nitrogen. It would be better if you follow Sebastian’s recommendations.–Joe]

I noticed a chill

I went to Office Depot today to pick up some supplies for Boomershoot. I bought three pounds (it annoys me they are by the pound rather than the count) of #6 rubber bands, 200 clip on name badges, and a self-inking stamp. Everyone was nice until I told them what I wanted on the stamp. Then I noticed a distinct chill in their attitude.

I’m not sure what it could have been but it must have been one of the following lines:

Extreme Danger!!
Contains High Explosives
FlashTek, Cavendish ID 208-301-4254
Lot 2009-4-      Shift 1