Boomershoot 2014 apparel

I have created a Boomershoot 2014 section in my CafePress shop. I only did some of the apparel items because that seems to be the only thing that sells. If you want the image on something else let me know and I can make it happen.

The image used is this one:


I forget who it was that came up with the basics of this. I modified it some and applied it to the picture Peter Biddle took at Boomershoot 2007.

Update: The color of some of the text was changed for better visibility.

Boomershoot 2014 status

This last weekend Barb and I did some Boomershoot 2014 prep. We installed some new LED lights in the target production facility (Mecca). We cleaned up the benches and Barb swept the floor. We are close to ready for target production in about two and half weeks.

One of the critical chores was an inventory of the target stakes:


This was just a jumbled pile of stakes and we stacked them in a neat pile to aid in counting and distribution for this year.

We also checked on the status of the daffodils we transplanted last June. They seem to be doing okay:



I suspect many of the bulbs didn’t have enough mass to support blooms this year and will build up this spring and bloom next year. But some have already bloomed. Barb and I were encouraged by the results.

The ground was generally dry and even if Boomershoot were to have been last weekend there wouldn’t have been a problem with weather:


We did make a trip across a section of another field that is unrelated to Boomershoot and nearly got stuck. We left some deep ruts, we were bounced around quite a bit and muddied up the sides of my vehicle that remained even after some fairly heavy rain on Saturday evening:WP_20140414_002Web

Obamacare claimed another victim with one of the biggest supporters and promoters of Boomershoot canceling his trip to Idaho after his insurance premiums nearly doubled. He is now unable to afford attending Boomershoot. “Squirrel Hunter” and some of his crew will not be attending this year. This could be a good thing for you because this means there are now some premium positions open.

Boomershoot prep blogging

Linoge posts:

fuzzyKBP posts A journey of a thousand miles.

Phil posts about some of the guns he is bringing to Boomershoot.

There are still some positions open at Boomershoot 2014. Sign up here.

The long way back

As I mentioned yesterday I went to Idaho a couple weekends ago. Originally I was going to take my friend Elizabeth with me and drop her off in Pullman. Her daughter is going to school at Washington State University. Elizabeth would stay with her daughter then Saturday the tw0 of them and her daughter’s boyfriend would visit me on the farm for a Boomershoot private party. Due to conflicting schedules Barb was not going to be able to go with us.

A week or so before the trip I asked Elizabeth if she was still planning to go. I wanted to arrange for additional explosives handlers if the private party was still on. Elizabeth decided not to go because her daughter was coming home for spring break in just a week anyway. Fine. The weather wasn’t looking all that great anyway.

When I found that walking was the only viable way to get to Boomershoot Mecca to make the targets and that still another cross country walk with the targets and guns would be required I was pleased things turned out the way they did. What I didn’t realize was that the trip back on Sunday was even more reason to be grateful for the change in plans.

I worked on Boomershoot stuff Sunday until mid afternoon then stopped to visit daughter Kim on the way back and didn’t leave the Moscow area until much later than I usually leave. Much of the rest of story is contained in the texts I exchanged with Barb.

Continue reading

Boomershoot Mecca winter visit

Three weeks ago I made a trip to Idaho to work on some things for Boomershoot 2014. Contrary to the previous visit I was not able to drive in the 700+ yards to Mecca. There was a snow berm blocking the field road:


And had I shoveled it down to size the depth of the snow on the field road would have been problematic even with four-wheel drive and studded snow tires on all four. I walked in.


Things looked pretty good:


It was cold (16 F) and windy (with a wind chill factor of 5F) but that wasn’t a big issue except for the conditions in the portable toilet:


I did a bunch of work inside for several hours then I noticed my fingers and toes were getting cold. I wore gloves off and on and was able to keep the fingers at an acceptable temperature but the toes weren’t getting any better so I decided a trip back to the vehicle was in order.

As I was walking back I realized that if my visibility were to be sufficiently reduced by a blizzard or fog I could be in bad situation very rapidly. I was just walking across an open field. There was no road or trails to follow except for my foot prints from the trip out. A few minutes of drifting snow would fill those in. Cell phone reception is very flakey. I could easily get in a situation that I couldn’t even call for help. And if help did arrive at the road what could they do beyond blink lights and honk the horn? It wouldn’t be safe for them to try looking for me even if they thought they could find me. My phone GPS might or might not get a fix without the assistance of a data connection via cell.

Not too long after getting back to Seattle I purchased some radios that would allow me to connect with brother Doug on the frequencies he uses for the farm. They also work on the FRS frequencies we use for Boomershoot (Channel 13, Code 0). I have done the range tests but I expect they will have similar range to the portable radio he has which is many miles further than what I would need should I get into trouble at the Boomershoot site.

My concerns were without warrant and I made it back to my vehicle and did some Wi-Fi testing. I had installed a new antenna at Mecca on my previous visit but hadn’t tested it from the Boomershoot shooting line. I drove over to the intersection of driveway into the shooting area and Meridian Road. I had to buck through some snow drifts but they weren’t too bad:


The Wi-Fi signal was great! I could connect to Mecca with my laptop on Meridian Road without putting up another access point. My cell phone needed the extra AP though. With the extra AP I could connect just fine but I couldn’t get out. I found out, after I got back to Seattle, there was a little check box on the “Advanced” tab of the Nanostation 2 that needed to be unchecked. I made a big notation in my setup notes, “CLIENT ISOLATION MUST BE OFF!”

The driveway probably was passable but I walked out to the shooting line berm.


Barb and I have been anxiously awaiting for signs the transplanted daffodils (see also this blog post) survived the winter but today was not the day. Here is the downrange side of the shooting berm where we planted them:


Things were looking good for Boomershoot 2014. The snow was well within normal limits. I talked to brother Doug earlier this week and he said 90% of the snow has melted now but it is still early enough that it could snow up again.


I was buying the last of the chemicals needed for Boomershoot 2014 when the following occurred. This was in Bellevue Washington just across the lake from Seattle. This is in the belly of the anti-gun beast.

Lady in line at Walmart: Nice coat.
Joe: Thank you!
Lady: That’s a good organization, right? They teach how to use guns safely don’t they?
Joe: Yes they do. In fact, I’m a firearms instructor.

She apparently saw this patch on the sleeve of my jacket:


Barb likes Idaho sunsets

Barb arrived in Idaho late (as in nearly Midnight) on Christmas Day. The next day she helped me finish up the installation of the solar panels at Boomershoot Mecca. I had left one of the brackets at the hardware store in Orofino when I went into town to get the right type and size screws for mounting them to the side of the shipping container.

We did some more Wi-Fi experiments involving more cross-field snow hiking with a battery, fence post, and a Nanostation.



At the end of the day there was a nice sunset. Barb very impressed with it so we took a bunch of pictures from different locations as we drove back to my brother’s place for the night.


Boomershoot Mecca improvements

I arrived at Boomershoot Mecca at 9:00 AM on December 22nd to see this:


It was a little bit cold and very dark and dreary. I started the generator, turned on the lights and started work inside. I had a bunch of Wi-Fi experiments to do to see if I could get a connection to my brother’s house 1.65 miles away. This involved configuring several Nanostations and tromping across snow covered fields with a Nanostation, a battery, and fence post trying to get around the hills between the two sites with the fewest number of hops.

I also installed another inverter. I really need to organize all the wires better. I have the tie wraps. I just need to use them.


The new inverter is the box in the lower left corner of the picture. It can output 2500 Watts continuously. The batteries won’t last long at that rate (at over 230 Amps at 12 Volts I don’t expect much more than an hour) but it will allow me to run everything simultaneously if I really want to. This includes a new piece of surprise (for Boomershoot staff) equipment that consumes 1000 Watts all by itself but dramatically improves the speed of some operations during the production of Boomerite targets. Typically we run on generator power but for just building some test targets or testing production procedures the new inverter will let us do that without having a generator on site and without turning off the lights.

When I came back on the 24th it was literally dripping wet inside. This is a picture of the ceiling of the shipping container:


I need to spend some effort into deciding what to do about the condensation.

On Christmas Day the sun was bright and I observed the existing solar panel producing 121.5 Watts. The panel is rated at 130 Watts so I was a bit surprised that even with the low angle winter sun I was getting that much power out of it.

I installed some “windows” on the south side of the shipping container:


Not really. It’s two more solar panels. They are getting so cheap that I decided it was worth while to just install them vertical rather than spend the effort to mount them at the optimal angle.

I also drove the grounding rod another foot or so into the ground. I pound on it with a sledge hammer until my joints and muscle ache too much or I run out of time. I’ve made a lot of progress considering how hard and rocky the ground is there. It’s getting close to the proper depth. It’s an 8’ long galvanized rod and I think I now have only about 18” above ground.

Boomerite testing

This weekend Barb and I did some testing for a new Boomerite recipe. We ground up some Styrofoam peanuts in the blender. We blended the Ammonium Nitrate until it was a fine powder. Then we used the usual masses of the AN, Potassium Chlorate, and Ethylene Glycol. We added about a cup and a half of the ground Styrofoam and mixed it all together.

The result looked like this:


That is 300 grams of the mixture which nearly fills the 4”x4”x2” box. It takes 400 grams of conventional Boomerite for the same volume. The hope was that the finer particle size of the AN would result in a more rapid and complete chemical reaction. The AN is usually in prill form. When finely ground it does not detonate easily.

Our hypothesis is that the prills create air gaps and the supersonic shockwave from the bullet compresses the air which heats the chemicals to the required temperature for detonation.

The hypothesis being tested was that the Styrofoam would supply the “air gaps” and enable the detonation in the usual fashion.

As you might expect for the last day of November it was a bit on the cool side at Boomershoot Mecca. Barb’s clothing confirms that suspicion:


We took the test and control targets to the Boomershoot site and shot them with Stinger 22LR from 23 yards away. The two out of two conventional Boomerite targets detonated with a single hit. Zero out of six of the Styrofoam “enhanced” targets detonated. I then tried shooting them with 55 grain FMJ .223 American Eagle ammo from 23 yards away. Two out of ten detonated. Many of the others were “smokers”. They were close to detonating but weren’t quite over the threshold.

Barb finished off the four remaining conventional Boomerite targets with one shot each.

There are some other tests we could do along the same line. It could be we had too low a density. Packing the targets some might make a difference. We also have some hard polystyrene pellets (used for stuffing dolls, etc.) that might replace the prills. But I’m concerned they would not be consumed in the reaction and would be scattered all over the field. I expect the ground Styrofoam would just be fuel for the excess oxygen in our Boomerite mix and we wouldn’t have to worry about the potential for litter.

Quote of the day—Jeff Soyer

A drone from PETA? Think of it as another trap shooting opportunity.

Jeff Soyer
October 24, 2013
PETA Now Using Drones to Spy on Hunters
[I wonder what the legality of shooting down a drone is. Shooting it down over the owner of the drones property almost for certain is illegal. Shooting it down over public property probably is is illegal. But shooting it down over your own property or the property of someone who gave you permission? That might be legal.

To do this right I think you should do it in one of two ways, neither of which is that suggested by Jeff:

  1. Radio controlled fighter plane with working gun(s).
  2. Explosives filled clay pigeon. It launched as close as possible to the drone then shoot it to detonate it.

I’d give you bonus points if instead of the clay pigeon you launch a milk jug filled with gasoline in combination with the explosives such that the detonation of the explosives disperses the gasoline and ignites it. It would sort of be like using a tactical nuke to remove a stump in the back 40 or an artillery shell loaded with sarin gas to take out the wasp nest. It would be more expensive than necessary but with PETA “making a statement” and “sending a message” is probably more important than the loss of the drone.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Gerry Spence

The police, as in every police state, would simply level their charges and lead the defendant to his blind-folded stance before the firing squad. During Randy Weaver’s trial, an agony for him that he endured for nearly three months, I found the minions of the law—the special agents of the FBI—to be men who proved themselves not only fully capable, but also utterly willing to manufacture evidence, to conceal crucial evidence and even change the rules that governed life and death if, in the prosecution of the accused, it seemed expedient to do so.

Gerry Spence
From Freedom To Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America
First St Martin’s Griffin Edition: May 1996
[The 1990’s were exceedingly dark days for gun owners. The shooting of Randy Weaver’s son and wife by Federal agents and then the trial of Weaver and Harris could be considered the turning point. The egregious behavior and arrogance of the Feds enraged gun owners and inspired thousands, if not millions, of people who had never owned guns to purchase them. The Weaver shooting took place less than 20 miles from where I lived at the time and I was among those that became a gun owner shortly thereafter.

This blog, Boomershoot, and a great number of significant events in my life were the result of what happened at Ruby Ridge.

That was over 20 years ago and many of the freedom activists I know don’t remember the events or that it even occurred. And many that do probably don’t understand the significance of that event in today’s fight for freedom. The Federal government learned some important lessons as a result of that incident and the response of the American people. The “militia movement” was part of that response and it was a real wake up call to the Feds.

But I’m not sure it was the lesson we wanted the Feds to learn. My impression is they learned it was too risky to begin using naked force to subjugate the people. They did not reverse course.

They grudgingly accepted we have at least some narrowly defined right to keep and bear arms but attacked our economic base, our privacy, and regulate the minutia of nearly every activity. The “assault weapon” bans, TSA and Obamacare are just the most obvious infringements of our freedom.

There are probably 10s of thousands of regulations which by themselves would be laughable and easily dismissed if it weren’t for the fact they are each tiny links in huge and heavy chains that enslave us through the daily sapping of our time and money to avoid committing numerous crimes each day. Ultimately these laws can, and probably will, be used to create the police state Spence warns us of. And it will all occur with firing only the occasional, and almost entirely ignored, shots.—Joe]

Before and after

As I reported last February the shipping container at Boomershoot Mecca had a rust problem and was developing leaks. The sides were rusting too. And the color just didn’t match the surroundings very well. It needed to be repaired and painted.

Here you can see some of the evidence of decay:

IMG_2942IMG_2943 IMG_2945IMG_2949 IMG_2953

And how it doesn’t really fit in with the surroundings:

After several failed attempts on my part to get someone to fix the roof and paint the sides Barb L. (if you want something done drop her a hint and stand back) found someone. I sent them a partial payment a couple weeks ago and this morning I received a text message to my cell phone with this picture:


I haven’t inspected it yet but I’m pleased with what I see so far.

Update: Here are some more pictures that came in on the morning of September 3:

V__6600 V__F20E

New shooter report

Last weekend Barb L. and I went to Orofino Idaho for my high school reunion. Friday night I spent a lot of time talking to one of my best buddies in high school, Bruce C. He said he reads my blog and has long been interested in Boomershoot. I told him we could have a private party the next morning if he wanted.

As I reported last Sunday Bruce had a good time. Now it is time to tell you the rest of the story.

Bruce’s wife Cyndi was there with us and even helped fold boxes and weigh chemicals for the Boomerite. When it was time to shoot the reactive targets she and Barb just watched for a while:


Bruce posed for the camera with his rifle that he had brought with him. He hadn’t fired it in 20 years but he brought it and 200 rounds of ammo to our reunion. I can’t help but wonder if he hoped to get a chance to shoot some reactive targets.


Bruce shot a few targets and thought it was a real blast:




It turns out Cyndi had never fired a gun of any type. So, of course, now was the time to take her first shots. I gave her a quick lesson, discovered she was cross-eye dominate and had her shoot left handed. She got her boomer on her first EVER shot. I thought there was a chance the new shooter smile was going to be permanent (photos by Barb L.):









Bruce shot a bunch more boomers and two of them created “smoke” (mostly water vapor with some dust) rings:






The second “smoke” ring:



I shot a few targets, Barb shot the last one, and then we went back to Orofino to continue with the class reunion.

Ammonium nitrate targeted

Ry told me about this then I got an email from the Firearm Blog Editor about it as well:

(b) Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Agriculture shall develop a list of potential regulatory and legislative proposals to improve the safe and secure storage, handling, and sale of ammonium nitrate and identify ways in which ammonium nitrate safety and security can be enhanced under existing authorities.

AN is the main ingredient in both Boomerite and Tannerite. It seems unlikely that any regulation that does not make mining and construction use of AN, where most explosive grade AN is used, impractical will cause problems for Boomershoot. But it might for Tannerite. For example, if in order to purchase, possess, or store AN you were required to have a permit then it would make the use of Tannerite a big hassle for the individual.

But, as I can almost hear the regulators say, “And your point is?”

I fear that someday the point will have to be made with a 168 grain Sierra Match King.

CATs from Amazon

There have been some concerns that the tourniquets I linked to on Amazon in this post might have been counterfeit. I received the ones I ordered and I am pleased to announce they appear to be the genuine article. Here is a picture:


The way you can tell the real thing from a counterfeit, at least the ones we saw in class, was by the end. If it is stitched on the end instead of welded then it is counterfeit. See the little dots, slightly darker the rest of the material, in the red end? Those are the welds.

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.

Tactical First Aid learning points

As I mentioned the other day Ry and I took a “Tactical First Aid” class. His mention of it is here.

This is not your standard first aid class. This is a class for dealing with traumatic injury. Heart attacks, drowning, choking, and even head injuries were not specifically addressed. I took this class to address the potential for gunshot and explosive injury at Boomershoot. The lessons learned are also applicable to automobile and industrial accidents.

There were some very interesting points made in class. Here are the ones that stuck in my mind:

  • One sentence summary of the class, “This is how you properly apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding until expert help takes over.”
  • Poor tourniquets or ones applied incorrectly actually increase the bleeding.
  • Most bullet wounds are survivable. This includes some head and heart shots.
  • If you can survive most bullet wounds and keep fighting so can the bad guy.
  • Ballistic gelatin gives you a good idea how deep a bullet will penetrate a large muscle.
  • The tensile strength of Jell-O is not comparable to most tissues and hence the temporary stretch cavity observed in gelatin is meaningless when applied to the wounding of flesh.
  • If the victim will be in the hospital within two (and perhaps as long as six) hours the limb will not suffer permanent damage from the tourniquet.
  • Keep the victim very warm. Cold blood doesn’t clot well.
  • Don’t get hurt yourself. If someone has been deliberately injured (stabbed, shot, explosive injury, it doesn’t matter) you first job is to not get hurt yourself. Consider not giving aid or at least neutralizing the threat before giving aid and putting yourself at risk.
  • Direct pressure on an artery high on the limb can completely stop bleeding of an arm but not an adult leg.
  • Children are soft and squishy* and it is relatively easy to stop extremity bleeding.
  • Learn how carry and/or drag someone with and without help.
  • The Gabby Gifford shooting could have gone much worse due to misguided response by the police (details in private, not on the blog).
  • We got very, very lucky with the Boston Bombing (details available in private, not on the blog).
  • Use this tourniquet and this bandage after you get training.

*This was mentioned several times and I kept expecting to hear, “and tasty with ketchup.” I was disappointed but didn’t want to be known for contributing that to the conversation.