Forest service may ban exploding targets

Via email from Chet (and I think someone else Tweeted about it but I can’t remember who) we have this story:

Federal authorities on Monday cracked down on the use of exploding targets popular in the shooting community but blamed for seven recent wildfires in the Rocky Mountain region.

U.S. Attorney John Walsh and Forest Service regional forester Dan Jiron issued a prohibition on unpermitted explosives in 22 million acres of forest and grassland in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Violators face fines of $5,000 and up to six months in prison.

The Forest Service likely will impose a nationwide ban within a year. Meanwhile, other regional foresters are expected to issue similar prohibitions.

My experience is that it’s tough to ignite things with an exploding target. But these guys were able to do it and have the video to prove it. Ry and I worked on and off for over a year trying to ignite gasoline. It it was only by putting Titanium or Magnesium shavings in Boomerite were we able to get fairly frequent ignition. The type of targets these guys were using is different than Boomerite. These targets are made with flash powder and rapidly burn more than detonate.

About one out of every two or three thousand Boomerite targets will ignite rather than detonate. We don’t know why this is. We think it might happen when there is an edge hit. In any case we schedule Boomershoot to be sometime other than fire season because of the risk of fire. Even then we have had numerous fires.

The bottom line is that I understand the concern about exploding targets in the forests during fire season. It’s not very wise to take that sort of risk.

Chet asked if this change in regulation would impact Boomershoot. The answer is, “It might.” But probably not in the way most people might think it would.

Boomershoot is held on private property, not public lands, so prohibitions against exploding targets on public lands isn’t going to be a problem for us. The way it might change things is if it more people attend Boomershoot to get their “fix” of shooting exploding targets that they previously satisfied by buying their own targets and shooting them on public lands.

6 thoughts on “Forest service may ban exploding targets

  1. They’re going after a “cause of forest fires” that’s likely at the very bottom of the complete list of causes. It won’t make a scrap of difference, but because it involves the gun culture they’ll go after it.

    As for video proof, there was the TV network that “proved” a headlight could ignite a gas tank in a collision, and they used pyrotechnic tricks to make it happen because they couldn’t make it happen any other way. I’ve also seen video of Peter Pan flying through the air by the power of magic pixie dust, but that doesn’t mean it really happens with any regularity.

    Could flash powder start a fire? Probably. Next well have to see if black powder firearms can start fires. For every first step there’s a second step. You ban something gun related because of “fire danger” and you’ll do it again, and again. My Remington pistol has set fire to a towel, but don’t tell anyone. Shall we discuss steel targets and steel jacketed bullets? It’s interesting they didn’t start with tracer bullets. I guess those are next, once we’ve accepted that shooting related things can be banned to save the Forests.

    You know half of the state of Idaho is federal land, right?

    I’ll give them a slogan for the next wave of bans. “Only Congress can prevent forest fires– Take the fire out of firearms!” Or “Give the trees what they desire! Stop the guns and stop the fire!”

    A clever, Chicago style communist would get himself a gun, go out and start a fire, then blame it on the gun in his official statement, with a side note saying how he regretted ever buying that damn gun, and if only there were more restrictions… That could get him appointed to a position in the Department of the Interior, the BLM, the BATFE or the National Forest Service.

  2. I can already see the headlines;
    Gun-Caused Fires Ravage Nation’s Wild Lands. Pregnant Women Gays and Minorities Hardest Hit

  3. Add, “and the Department of Fish and Wildlife just asked the Federal agency to study whether the use of firearms in Federal Forests is having an impact on endangered Bull Trout.”

  4. Pingback: SayUncle » US Forest Service to ban exploding targets

  5. Our gun club had a fire start from shooting the steel gongs on the 300 yard line. The story goes it was a comm-block steel round. I’m betting a nice hot piece of lead doesn’t actually require a spark to get some grass burning. Anyway, I’ve always treated shooting the same way I treat campfires, you have to be aware and prepared that bad things might happen and you are responsible.

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