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.
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.
Art S. sent me a link to this. It is a Boomershoot photo which tied for third place in a photo contest for the inaugural December Shooting Sports USA cover.
This is the same picture of Anette that was in the June 2012 issue of Western Shooting Journal.
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.
A drone from PETA? Think of it as another trap shooting opportunity.
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:
- Radio controlled fighter plane with working gun(s).
- 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]
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.
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]
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:
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:
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.
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.
August 10, 2013
After detonating his first Boomer (and he stopped laughing).
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]
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.
I understand the joys of playing with things that go boom. But don’t be stupid. Especially felony stupid:
the Utah beauty queen was arrested over the weekend and charged with assembling homemade bombs and throwing them from a car, many of them at people, authorities said.
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.
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.
Barb L. was spending the day with her kids doing a bunch of fun stuff so I could have just stayed in the clock tower and cleaned my guns or washed laundry. But no. I convinced Ry we should get up way too early on a Sunday morning and do something more interesting. We went to a part of town that I had only been to a couple of times. I’m not sure Ry had ever been there. And every time I had been there I heard gunfire. Are you getting the picture?
The morning was interesting but uneventful. Then late in the afternoon things got cranked up several notches as the gunfire became more frequent.
I was rather busy when things got exciting and didn’t have time to take any pictures until afterward. Still, they should give you a clue:
One of the more interesting things to me is that all that color is in the contact lens, not my eye. Here is what the contact lens looked like after I put them in the cleaning case:
My eyes look entirely normal after taking out the lens. I guess that is a good thing. Except those were brand new contacts this morning. They were supposed to last for a month and it looks like even after an hour in a hydrogen peroxide solution the color is staying.
I don’t remember how many tourniquets were applied to my arm but I do know that when Laurie put hers on the bleeding didn’t stop and she kept tightening it. I think the buckle tipped over and as she was cranking on it my skin got pinched. I now have a several bruises that are going to last for a week or more.
Another thing that was rather interesting to me is that out of 13 students in the class there were three women. The prettiest one chose me as her partner* to do “blood sweeps” on each other of the entire extremities.
We started at 8:00 AM and except for lunch I didn’t leave the West Coast Armory property until about 6:00 PM. Then as soon as I got back to the clock tower had lots of clothes to wash and I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to wash all the fake blood off of my skin. I still have lot of red on my left arm and I suspect my face still has a red tinge to it.
I’m sure I didn’t have as much fun as Barb and the kids did but I think it was worth it. I just hope I never have to put my new skills to a real live test.
*This seems to be a pattern in my life ever since Terri R. (a cheerleader in high school who I had never talked to) chose me as her lab partner in chemistry. I don’t think there were any other girls in that chemistry class and of all the guys in class she chose me. I’m not complaining, but I do think it is odd.
From the ATF website:
However, because of the potential misuse of explosive materials, ATF’s role plays a vital role in regulating and educating the explosives industry and in protecting the public from inadequate storage and security.
The ATF role plays a vital role?
I sometimes mock the ATF but my interaction with them, on the whole, has been pleasant enough. I do want the storage of Boomershoot reactive targets to be theft and bullet resistant and their contribution to making that a reality was significant. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was “vital” but it certainly was more than role playing.
I have just laid down in my sleeping bag near Boomershoot Mecca. No tent. Just the sleeping bag, pads, pillow, and a blanket.
I was going to fire up my computer and make a quote of the day post to go live at 6:00 AM but it is totally quiet except for an occasional dog barking a half mile or more away and the sky is moonless and clear. I can easily see the Milky Way. The QOTD blog post can wait. Tonight I’m going to watch the stars instead.
Posted from WordPress for Windows Phone
Via a Tweet from Ry we have still more info on the security issues with Android (emphasis in the original):
The Bluebox Security research team – Bluebox Labs – recently discovered a vulnerability in Android’s security model that allows a hacker to modify APK code without breaking an application’s cryptographic signature, to turn any legitimate application into a malicious Trojan, completely unnoticed by the app store, the phone, or the end user. The implications are huge! This vulnerability, around at least since the release of Android 1.6 (codename: “Donut” ), could affect any Android phone released in the last 4 years1 – or nearly 900 million devices2– and depending on the type of application, a hacker can exploit the vulnerability for anything from data theft to creation of a mobile botnet.
While the risk to the individual and the enterprise is great (a malicious app can access individual data, or gain entry into an enterprise), this risk is compounded when you consider applications developed by the device manufacturers (e.g. HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG) or third-parties that work in cooperation with the device manufacturer (e.g. Cisco with AnyConnect VPN) – that are granted special elevated privileges within Android – specifically System UID access.
Installation of a Trojan application from the device manufacturer can grant the application full access to Android system and all applications (and their data) currently installed. The application then not only has the ability to read arbitrary application data on the device (email, SMS messages, documents, etc.), retrieve all stored account & service passwords, it can essentially take over the normal functioning of the phone and control any function thereof (make arbitrary phone calls, send arbitrary SMS messages, turn on the camera, and record calls). Finally, and most unsettling, is the potential for a hacker to take advantage of the always-on, always-connected, and always-moving (therefore hard-to-detect) nature of these “zombie” mobile devices to create a botnet.
I’ve known there were lots of security issues with Android but this is much bigger than I imagined. If you were concerned about various three letter agencies sucking up data about you (or even your snail mail) then you should be even more concerned that just about anyone that is technologically competent can take complete control of your Android phone.
A little over two years ago I purchased a Android phone with thought of developing apps for it. I never got around to it and after releasing Field Ballistics for Windows Phone I gave it further consideration. I decided not do pursue Android as an alternate platform. I’m glad I made that decision. Would you want everyone and their brother looking at the map on your phone showing your location and the location of your next target? At Boomershoot that would be an invitation to have “your” target poached.
Last Saturday Barb L. and I were at the Boomershoot site to “go on a daffodil rescue mission”. As I mentioned a few weeks ago there are some daffodils near the shooting line that get abused pretty badly by the fireballs.
We figured it would only take an hour or two of our time and we’d be done with the project. We dug up about a half dozen clumps of the wilted daffodils and got a five gallon bucket full of bulbs.
To get so many bulbs from so few flowers was surprising to us. Then we started digging holes in the front of the shooting berm. After we had dug about 10 holes we knew this was going to take a LOT longer than an hour or two. After about three hours we started on “Plan B” which was to just dig a ditch in front of the shooting berm to dump the bulbs into so they survive another year and we could move them again when we feel up to it. We made the length of the ditch match the width of the berm we put daffodils in. This was about 60 feet which is only about one third of the width of the berm.
After about 4.5 hours we had all the bulbs back in the ground, fertilized, and watered.
We then went to look at some luxury accommodations my brother Doug offered us for the night:
We declined this time. It was too upscale for our tastes.
We went back to Boomershoot Mecca and made our bed under the stars and the super moon without a tent so we could see the sky better:
To the northwest we could see a beautiful sunset (at 9:38 PM) (see also this sunset picture taken a few minutes earlier from a different location):
To the southeast we could see the super moon:
The glowing sphere in the field is just a friendly UFO* which was visiting.
I got better pictures of the super moon earlier in the evening when we visited the Big Eddy Marina on Dworshak Lake:
The next morning what I believe to be a Western Meadow Lark sang several songs to us. I recorded some of them and will probably make a post about that someday.
*Actually it was an internal reflection in the camera lens.
When Ry visited the Boomershoot site last weekend he was going to do some shooting. The only shooting he ended up doing was with his Nikon. There were some moose there and he didn’t want to disturb them: