Snow clues

As I posted earlier, on Saturday Kim and I installed most of the hardware for a permanent Internet access point and weather station at the Boomershoot shooting line. I went back on Sunday to fix the wiring that jostled loose and verify the solar panel was charging the battery.

The path we had made was compact enough that I didn’t have to use snowshoes. I broke through maybe a half dozen times, but it was pretty easy walking considering the conditions. I have some more pictures which give some clues as to above average snow accumulation we have this year:

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I did have to run back to the car just as I had almost arrived at the solar panel. A large pickup with a very large trailer filled with hay came down the road and couldn’t get past the narrow spot in the road my car had created. I backed down the hill to the driveway for the first house and got off the road far enough that the pickup could get by.

I found it interesting all the frost that had formed in the previous 17 hours:

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The weather station was almost cartoon like with all the frost.

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Both wind speed and direction sensors were non-functional because of all the frost.

This was the first time in many years when I went to Idaho and didn’t visit Mecca. Check out the bank of snow behind my car (Mecca is in the background).

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Here is a close up of Mecca taken with my 300 mm lens then cropped to the interesting part. In the lower right corner is a picnic table.

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This was the view from niece Lisa’s bedroom window.

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Notice the depth of snow on the roof and on the deck?

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The roads weren’t too bad, but before next winter I’m going to get some new tires for the snow. My current set has seen three winters now and they were having difficulty in the soft snow in the driveway to Doug and Julie’s place.

Boomershoot weather station

There used to be a home weather station about a mile from the Boomershoot site that was available on the Internet via Weather Underground. I would check the weather and know it was a very good representation of what was going on at my property. My phone app, Field Ballistics, automatically looks up the closest weather station to your shooting location and can feed that information, including the direction you are shooting, into your shooting solution, Having temperature, air pressure, and wind for when I was doing some shooting on site without getting out my thermometer, wind gauge, and air pressure meter was very cool.

A couple years ago the family with the weather station moved away and took the weather station with them. Brother Doug has a weather station about two miles away but he hasn’t connected it to the Internet and isn’t interested in doing that. I contemplated putting one up at Boomershoot Mecca but with all the trees around it the wind measurement would be wrong. I finally decided that I would put one at the Boomershoot shooting line. I needed to put in solar power and a permanent Internet connection there, but I decided it was worth it.

Yesterday Kim and I did most of the work. I accidently left a critical part in Bellevue so it is not online yet but it’s close enough that it will be a short job the next time I visit. This is the pictorial story of putting up the weather station.

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Ammonium nitrate supplier

As I reported a few months ago Amazon was selling ammonium nitrate. I ordered some and last weekend I finally got around to testing it in reactive targets. I didn’t do any low velocity tests but it worked fine from 30 yards away with .223 ammunition.

What is a little more interesting is the sheet of paper I found in the box:AmmoniumNitrateForSale

I don’t know what the “new regulations” or if they have gone into effect or not. But Amazon is still selling AN at a price people wanting to make their own reactive targets can afford. And if Amazon stops selling it there is still Ammonium Nitrate For Sale which also has exploding target mix.

Quote of the day—Tracie

Did I get it?

Tracie
November 26, 2016
This was after her first shot with a rifle. Which was at two pounds of explosives from 30 yards away.

[I’ve blogged about Tracie and Kurt before (see also here). A few months ago they were new shooters. On Saturday they came to Idaho for a Boomershoot Private Party and shot boomers. In the dark.

My answer to Tracie was, “I think so. Do you want to try again?”—Joe]

Too obscure?

While chatting with Brett at work today we stumbled across something that we both found incredibly funny. But Brett has degree in chemistry and I know enough about it to be a danger to myself and others. I’m not sure enough other people would get the joke to actually use it but I’m thinking of putting the following phrase on Boomershoot t-shirts for next year:

Free the nitrogen!

Is that too obscure?

If you don’t understand see below the fold for the explanation. And if you do understand and want to participate sign up for Boomershoot 2017 here.

Continue reading

Black Guns Matter at Boomershoot 2017

From Stephanie:BGM2017

Why Black Guns Matter? Because the 2nd Amendment is color blind.

BGM educates people in urban communities on their 2nd Amendment rights and responsibilities through firearms training and education. @blkgunsmattr

From the battlefields of North Philly in battleground state of Pennsylvania, Maj Toure started BGM in hopes that conflicts won’t end with someone getting killed. You see, gun education brings peace.

BGM’s currently fundraising for a 13 city tour to continue informing urban communities – especially youth – about safe and legal firearms knowledge, conflict resolution, and the 2nd Amendment. Next stop on tour: Chicago.

(Ah, Chicago. The city I once called home. The city where, despite hefty gun bans, I dodged bullets from inner-city shooters. Go, Maj!)

>>>>>Right now, go here to donate to Toure’s rightous cause.<<<<<

Shoot alongside Maj and several other BGM members at Boomershoot 2017 by signing up here.

BGM Chicago training is this Saturday, October 8. Share this message to citizens of Chicago and surrounding communities:

ChicagoBGM

Boomershoot berm restoration

Last Friday Barb and I were in Idaho doing some preparation for Boomershoot 2017 (sign up here). The impact berm at the 375 yard tree line eroded away over the years. We fixed that and added probably another 40 or 50 feet of berm width so that we can handle more targets.

Update: Here are some more pictures I found.

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This is of the left most area of the impact berm at the tree line with Barb seeding grass.

IMG_7672AdjustedI filled in the gap where the old explosives magazine used to be.

Boomershoot 2017

Via Stephanie:

PlayWithFireApril23

The direct link to sign up is http://entry.boomershoot/. There are still over half the shooting positions available. And it’s not all long range shooting. Friday and Saturday evenings are the High Intensity events which are from about 20 yards away. This is a rapid fire, chest pounding, event that lasts less than five minutes and results in the detonation of hundreds of targets. See the videos here.

Dueling song birds

I am visiting daughter Xenia this weekend and she was telling stories of the different birds that come to her backyard and eat at the bird feeder. Then we went to Lowe’s and brought home a birdbath:

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I told her of the birds I frequently listen to when I camp out at Boomershoot Mecca and that I had recorded them a few times. She wanted to hear them so here is one of the more interesting recordings. It is a dove and a meadow lark sing back and forth to each other. Crank your volume up because the sound level is a little low.

Ammonium Nitrate for sale

Interesting.

Amazon now sells Ammonium Nitrate:

It’s 1.50 per pound delivered. When I last bought it, nearly two years ago, in a 5000 pound batch, it cost me $1.13 per pound delivered. Plus, I took off a day from work so that I could accept delivery in Idaho.

Also, people are mixing it with Aluminum powder, also available from Amazon, to make their own reactive targets.

Sign up for Boomershoot 2017!

Boomershoot 2017 will be April 21st-April 23rd.

Registration will be opening soon. The exact date for you depends upon whether you are staff and whether you participated in Boomershoot 2016.

  • Registration opens for staff 8/17/2016 5:00:00 PM Pacific Time.
  • Registration opens for previous year participants 8/20/2016 9:00:00 AM Pacific Time.
  • Registration opens for everyone 8/27/2016 9:00:00 AM Pacific Time.

Entry is all done online at http://entry.boomershoot.org/

If you have questions or problems with the website send me an email at entries@boomershoot.org.

Stephanie Sailor

I met Stephanie Sailor at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Washington D.C. in 2000. We were both speakers at the event. I was incredibly impressed with what she had done for gun rights in Chicago. But being shy and intimidated by beautiful women I never would have approached her even if I had thought of something important to say to her.

But it turned out she approached me about being a member of the Microsoft Gun Club (now called “Gun Club at Microsoft”). We talked and Boomershoot soon came up. She, being a marketing person, realized more than I did the potential it had for positive media coverage and the implications for gun rights. She was a big reason for the success of Boomershoot (see page 86 of the March 2013 issue of Western Shooting Journal).

After I met Stephanie she ran for U.S. Congress a couple times on the Libertarian ticket, attended a few Boomershoots, and then somewhat mysteriously disappeared from public view. We occasionally had contact via email and phone but she was extremely concerned about remaining hidden. She briefly came out of hiding with an alias and made an appearance at Boomershoot 2012 before going into hiding again. I maintained contact with her for a few months but things were difficult between us and there hasn’t been any contact since then.

Until today. She send me a brief email and a link to her blog and the one post on it. She is using her real name again.

Her blog post is titled Warning: White Bill Cosby Preys at Libertarian Conventions. I knew some of the stuff she wrote about in the post but not all. It’s some really heavy stuff.

She says, “Today I’m in a place of no longer living in fear. This article is cathartic.” That’s really good to hear. I knew things were very difficult for her but I didn’t really understand where the problems were coming from, how to help her, or if she even could be helped. What I see is very good news for her well-being and I hope she continues to improve. Both for her sake and for us. She was a tremendous ally in our fight for gun rights and I hope she is someday able to reenter the fight.

Boomershoot 2016 is almost complete

This morning I completed the last major (two people still haven’t paid for their last minute changes, but this is relatively minor) work item for Boomershoot 2016.

Before:

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Barb and I named one of of the blobs of mud on the hood as we drove home after Boomershoot. I was almost getting attached to them. But the droppings in the garage were not nearly as endearing.

After:

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The difference on the inside was comparable.

The guy at the car wash said, “I’ll bet you are here for the coffee, right?”

Nice try but not really. I don’t drink coffee.

Boomershoot mud

Last Thursday, as we were doing preliminary setup, the weather was great. Blue skies and comfortable temperatures. Friday it was cloudy with occasional showers so it was pleasant enough that I couldn’t really complain about the weather. But Saturday it rained. We had mud. It turned the farm fields and some of the dirt roads we used for movement around Boomershoot into greasy mud. That morning Barron got his pickup stuck attempting to get to Mecca  and help make targets:

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I was able to pull him out with my vehicle without much effort.

I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to get my vehicle, pulling a trailer with about 900 pounds of targets from Mecca to the Taj. David offered to bring his 4-wheel drive pickup with mud tires over to help if needed. I agreed and he made it past the place where Barron got stuck but then we got his pickup stuck a before we reached my vehicle. I should have tried getting out before putting him at risk. And I could have had him park in a safer place rather than guiding him to a spot that was potentially unsafe. It was really greasy.

I, with some difficulty, was able to claw my way away from Mecca and get the trailer to a safe spot, unhook it, and connect up to David’s pickup. I was unable to move him.

Brother Gary brought another 4-wheel drive pickup and couldn’t even get up the hill to get into position to perhaps help. I came up with a way using a hoist and a long tow-strap/chain/cable and a tree and Brother Doug brought the tools for that endeavor over and helped until he had to leave to meet a mechanic who came to help fix a broken tractor.

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David and his pickup. Cable visible in higher resolution pictures.

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Brother Doug with cable, hoist, tow strap, and tree.

I lost about 2.5 hours getting David unstuck when the original plan was that he was going to help me. Ahhh… the irony.

I was able to get the trailer to the Taj, unload it, unhook it, and get into Orofino for the dinner on time. Thanks to Barron running the Saturday High Intensity event while I was delayed!

Here is what my vehicle looked like after I made it to Orofino:

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These are my coveralls and shoes (I deliberately rotated my feet outward to show the mud on the insides of my legs):

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Six o’clock the next morning, in preparation for the Sunday long range event, Barb and I connected my SUV to the trailer at the Taj then loaded the trailer with over 1000 pounds of targets and slid down the greasy chute from the Taj to the Boomershoot tree line. There was some sideways sliding toward a small tree but we made it out without serious problems.

We delivered the targets to the tree line and hillside right on time at 7:00 AM when Jacob showed up to help place the targets on the stakes.

Boomershooter takes an ambulance ride

About 11:45 on Boomershoot Sunday I heard Barron call out over the radio, “Bill Waites, are you on the radio?” I knew that Bill had left for the day and answered back telling Barron that Bill wasn’t there. Barron answered back that they could use my help in his camping trailer. I told him I would be right there. I was in the car with Barb and  had just finished eating lunch. As I was opening the door I started to express my wonderment at what was going on when things clicked into place. Bill is a physicians assistant. Barron must be dealing with a medical situation. I told Barb Bill’s day job so she could put it together too and ran to the trailer. My first thought was Barron’s father-in-law who has had problems with his heart over the years and has a tendency to overexert himself despite the objections of his family and doctor. But as I approached the trailer door the FIL was standing outside the door with a concerned look on his face but in no apparent distress. I opened the door and stuck my head inside.

One of the Boomershoot participants was standing there and reported that a bullet had fragmented in the compensator (muzzle brake) and a fragment came back and hit him in the leg and it was under the skin. I said, “Let’s call 911 and get you out of here then.” He insisted it wasn’t that big of a deal and didn’t really want an ambulance. I said okay, but we have an EMT (actually an emergency room nurse, but my mind couldn’t find the proper words right then) on site with their emergency kit and I would get him. I ran to get Peter. Peter ran to his car to get his kit and then to Barron’s trailer.

I couldn’t think of anything more for me to do and I went back to the car to sit with Barb and update her. A minute or two later Barron radioed me again, “Get an aid car.” I called 911 at 11:53 and told them what I knew. Someone, I didn’t know his name, had a bullet fragment in his leg from a bullet coming apart in the compensator (as the patient had described it) and coming backward and penetrating his leg. I had an EMT with him and they had requested an ambulance. The dispatcher didn’t understand all the subtleties and concluded someone had been shot. And she wanted to know if he was breathing. I corrected her saying it was a bullet fragment from an accident and that the patient was standing, talking to me, and insisting they didn’t need an ambulance a few minutes earlier and I had not heard any updates other than the EMT (as my addled brain struggled and failed to remember Peter’s job title) other than they now wanted an ambulance. I thought it was the patient shooting his own gun and told them this, but I found out later the patient was actually the spotter. The dispatcher wanted to know the caliber and all I knew was that it was a rifle. The dispatcher said it probably would be about 30 minutes before they made it to our site.

I updated Barron with the ETA on the radio and gave Barb a few more details. Barron, at some point, asked for a couple of the 18” surveyors stakes we used for mounting targets on. They wanted to use a couple for a splint. I ran a full bundle of 25 over to the trailer.

Then at 12:00 noon I called the noon cease fire for everyone. I told my staff what was going on and directed them to do the usual target inspection and resets while I waited at the end of the driveway for the ambulance to arrive so I could direct them to the trailer. Brother Doug called and said he heard we had a medical emergency and that the sheriff deputies were unsure about what they were getting into. He said I should call them and clarify the situation for them. I called the sheriff’s office directly. I told the woman who answered I understood there were some questions about what was going on. She said yes and I explained that the patient hadn’t really been shot. It was clearly an accident and that it wasn’t a direct gunshot wound it was a bullet fragment that came back from the muzzle brake (I started using muzzle brake rather than “compensator” in the hope it would sink into them what happened). She seemed to understand and asked about the EMT on site. What was their name? Was it someone from Clearwater County? I told her it Peter V., an emergency room nurse who used to work at Gritman in Moscow. But that I thought he is now working someplace in or near Spokane. With those things clarified she said she would update the deputies.

Here is the view I had while waiting:

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Barron’s white trailer is about 275 yards away at the top edge of the picture about three fourths of the way from the left side of the picture.

A sheriff’s vehicle arrived about 12:20 with two deputies and I directed them to the trailer. They confirmed with me it was an accident not an intentional shooting, and again I, erroneously, told them I thought it was the patient’s own gun.

The ambulance arrived about 12:30, I directed them to the trailer, then I walked back to the shooting area to wait for word on the status of the patient. The deputies left a few minutes later and probably after 10 minutes the patient was loaded up and the ambulance took him to the hospital in Orofino. Barron, Peter, and Jennifer B. came out of the trailer and were talking so I approached and listened for a while. It became clear that Jennifer, new to Boomershoot but not new to long range shooting, had medical training and her medical kit with her as well and had helped patch up the patient.

Peter caught on that I wanted to say something and interrupted the conversation to give me a chance. I told them that I actually wanted to listen, but I wanted to hear what exactly happened and what the status was. The patient was spotting for the shooter and sitting a little to one side when there was a bullet strike on the muzzle brake of the gun. A fragment came back and struck the patient on the anterior thigh about midway between the knee and hip. There was some bleeding but nothing to indicate significant concern in regards to blood loss at the moment. Neurologically everything looked fine. They were concerned because they didn’t know where the fragment(s) were. Bullet fragments are sharp and if one was next to an artery physical movement could cause a nick and a life threatening situation where seconds mattered. The patient needed an X-Ray and probably a surgeon. They immobilized the leg to prevent movement and shipped him to the hospital for appropriate evaluation and care. Probably he would be fine, but, “You just don’t know for sure.”

That evening Barb and I talked to Brother Doug. He asked, “How many deputies showed up?” He was out dog training for search and rescue when one of the other trainers heard the radio chatter on the sheriff’s band about the incident. The report the sheriff’s department got was unclear as to what was happening and the deputies concluded they had better take backup. Doug then ran back to the house to call me, find out what was happening, and to let me know I should get things straightened out before we were surrounded by deputies with the wrong impression.

I talked to the patient today and he was near Boise (I think he lives in the Seattle area) doing some more shooting. He has a bruise about four inches long and bullet fragments which are about 1.25” to 1.5” inches under the skin. I don’t know the size of any of them. The doctor decided to leave them in his leg. They tried to remove one closer to the surface via irrigation but were unsuccessful. Everything is going to be fine.

Lessons learned

I’m glad I have been giving Peter a free shooting position every year for the last eight or ten years. That was a very good suggestion by my ex-wife who was a co-worker of Peter’s at Gritman.

Barb said that when Peter checked in this year he was expressed some guilt that he shoots for free every year and has never done anything in return. He earned it this year. I told Jennifer she can shoot for free next year if she brings her medical kit. Bill Waites is part of the Precision Rifle Clinic staff and already shoots for free. More medical staff could come in handy in various situations.

I usually announce at the shooters meeting that we have medical staff onsite. I didn’t do that this time. I’ve added it to my shooters meetings notes. The patient, or someone close by, should have told a nearby range officer to radio for help rather than walking probably 175 yards to get help.

Medical staff should have had a radio. It probably took an extra two or three minutes from the time Barron got my attention until Peter was with the patient. Had Peter been in radio communication he could have cut that time at least in half if not a third.

Quote of the day—LRRPF52

It is one of the most fun and enjoyable shooting events you can attend in the world.

LRRPF52
Message posted on AR15.com on March 2, 2016.
[He was referring to Boomershoot. I haven’t attended enough different types of shooting events to confirm this but I’m willing to entertain the hypothesis. You should attend next year to test this hypothesis for yourself.—Joe]

Boomershoot 2016 in progress

The first official day of Boomershoot 2016 went well. There was a little bit of rain at the very end of the High Intensity and during the Private Fireballs (we had four this year). But all the fireballs worked well. And the detonation rates were very good. For the Precision Rifle Clinic and Field Fire event we had over 95% of them detonate.

We had a minor glitch with the private fireballs. The road flares wouldn’t burn for more than a few seconds. I think they had gotten damp. Brian and I made a run back to the Taj Mahal and grabbed another box which worked well.

Below is one of the four fireballs. You can see from the top of the fireball moving to the left that we had some moderate winds:

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Here are some pictures from the High Intensity event. 224 targets:

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Some of the shooters as viewed from the targets:

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I bought some more Boomershoot direction signs this year and we have all the appropriate intersections marked.

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Tim got a flat tire on Thursday and we were short handed for setup but we got it all done anyway.

Kim got a flat tire on Friday and missed out on most of the target production. Barb took over most of the management of the production for the morning with Cindy and Bill doing the mixing for the first time. Barb and I credited the good detonation rate to their mixing and Tom doing the boxing.

It must be the year for flat tires and Boomershoot. Kevin Baker also got a flat tire Friday on his way to Boomershoot.

I overheard Brian giving Karen an overview of his speech for tonight’s dinner. It sounds really good!

Quote of the day—Barb L.

Yay! We love pounding stakes.

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Barb L.
April 21, 2016
While putting stakes in the hillside for Boomershoot 2016.
[There may have been a note of sarcasm in her statement.

Okay. There was a note of sarcasm in her statement.

Well, actually, there were many notes of sarcasm.

Yeah, I think we heard a whole symphony of notes of sarcasm then.

We usually have about six or seven people. Today we had four, then Tim got a flat tire and went to Orofino to get it fixed. It was just Terry, Barb, and I to pound 284 stakes in the ground on the hillside (this was just in the 575 to 700 yard area, we will put hundreds more at the 375 yard line on Saturday evening or Sunday morning). We also put a rubber band on each of them and put some steel targets up.

We got it done but it took a lot longer than usual.—Joe]

Quote of the day—LRRPF52

When you put your crosshairs on a small little target 400-700yds away, break the shot, and feel the earth shudder under you, your pants start to get kinda tight…

LRRPF52
Message posted on AR15.com March 7, 2016
[That’s probably not the reason most people find Boomershoot rewarding but if that is the way it works for some people I’m okay with that.—Joe]