Boomershoot steel target testing

Phil repaired the Boomershoot target steel someone (not a Boomershooter, it’s a long story) damaged with steel core bullets. This last weekend I tested the “target dog” he built for me. It was also the first time I had shot at the steel myself from further than about 75 yards.

Except for a single shot with a .40 S&W from about 20 yards all the shots were from 375 yards.


The target is 3/4” AR500 so they are not your standard pistol targets. They were intended to stand up to .300 Win Mag from 375 yards and beyond. The white splotches on the target above were almost all from 55 grain .223 FMJ bullets at 375 yards. They barely took the paint off and as near as I could tell did not rock the target backward. The spring, as Phil noted, is way too stiff for that. And I suspect that with a .223 and that massive of a target it’s physically impossible to select a spring such that a bullet strike would knock it backward such that a mild breeze wouldn’t also do that. The .40 S&W didn’t move the target either.


Notice the white stuff at the base of the target? That is lead spray from the bullet strikes on the target.

I was trying to zero my .300 Win Mag, without a spotter, from 375 yards and only got two hits as I probed different hold overs and unders. And the bullet splash on the steel was so small I couldn’t see it even with the 14 power scope at that distance. Here you see the impact from a 190 grain Sierra Match King bullet hitting the steel at about 2475 fps:


There is just the tiniest of craters there.

A hit on the edge of the steel is another matter:


The two .300 Win Mag hits weren’t particularly good to judge the knockdown potential of the configuration but as near as I could tell there was, again, no movement.

I’m extremely pleased with the crater repair Phil did. The targets look awesome! But we need to crunch some numbers to see if it is possible to choose a spring or maybe redesign the target dog such that it will be self resetting for a .30 caliber bullet at Boomershoot distances.

Quote of the day—Ben

Why don’t you do this every day?

June 21, 2014
[This was after shooting a dozen or so boomers at a surprise private Boomershoot party. It was for his birthday.

Ben and three others drove from the Seattle area to the Boomershoot site. There they helped Barb and I make about 60 reactive targets and clean up Mecca. We then went to the tree-line and while Barb mounted the targets on stakes I gave them some safety and shooting instructions.

They were all essentially new shooters. I positioned them about 30 yards away and with an AR equipped with a low powered scope shot from a bench. The seven inch targets were easy pickings. There were almost zero misses.

Only one of them had ever fired an AR style rifle. Occasionally I had to remind them of one of the safety rules but they did well. And of course that new shooter smile was made all the bigger with his first shot detonating a boomer..


Update: More pictures.

Cleaning up Mecca while Barb shrink-wraps the rest of the targets.

Cleaning up the mixing equipment.

I think we are done here

I made a Facebook friend request to someone I have known for over 30 years. I hadn’t had any contact with her for probably four years but it sounds like a mutual friend from our past lost their son and I wondered if she knew something about it.

In response to my friend request I got this:

Hi Joe, I am chair of the Veterans For Peace Environmental Cost of War and Militarism Working Group. Because you have chosen to become a militant enemy of your local environment by exploding bombs on it, I do not want to be your Facebook friend.

Killing everything in that spot of Mother Earth that you choose to desecrate for fun and leaving behind the heavy metals to poison the water of future generations is appalling to me.

I’m not just picking on you personally. I’m against bombs, bombing ranges, chemical and depleted uranium weapons, mining where the people of the land are forced off of their property, and many other things involved with the military-industrial-1% complex.

If you could put some of your intelligence into figuring out how to bring down global capitalism and war profiteering, encourage farming and local food buying, conversion from fossil fuels and endless consumption to conservation and cleaner energy, stopping fracking, nuclear power, and the war against the indigenous, I’d love to hear your ideas.


I knew she was of significantly different political persuasion than me even when we were close. But wow! Bring down “global capitalism”?

I think we are done here.

Quote of the day—Lyle

For me it’s become a moment of detached concentration. Load, safety off, aim, fire, boom, aim, fire, boom, aim, fire, time of flight is perceptible even at near Mach three at close range, aim, fire, hit too low and the target jumped into the air (sight over bore offset– gotta aim a tad high), aim, fire, boom, and so on. Maybe I’m hogging the targets.  Is that rude, like taking most of the oysters at the buffet? The explosions register the hits. Maybe that torn target still has some Boomerite in the bottom. Shoot lower. That’s it. I sense the excitement in others, and the rushing of shots around me, resulting in misses, stirring up the dirt like the surface of a soup pot in a rapid boil…

I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. Quietness. The concussions provide a gentle massage while dining on fine, close targets, but mainly they’re confirmations of hits. The reports of all the shooting, blending into a steady roar, provide the background music, and the peppery smell of burning nitro the potpourri. Ambience. Candle light from the muzzle of the 30 Carbine pistol to my left…

A fine establishment. I highly recommend it. Five stars.

June 7, 2014
Comment to Boomershoot 2014 High Intensity
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

A new Internet connection

Off and on for a couple years and then starting in during the week between last Christmas and New Years I have spent a LOT of time trying to get a good Internet connection to my brother Doug. I have a good connection at Boomershoot Mecca but Doug and his family are blocked by the woods behind their house from Teakean Butte which is the source of my connection. They have a satellite connection that cost a lot of money, is unreliable, has HORRIBLE ping times, and poor transfer rates.

Mecca is 1.6 miles from our Dad’s house and is blocked by a small hill. Doug’s house is about 75 yards further still. And Dad’s house, a machine shed, and the hill block their view of the Boomershoot site. So we had to find a way around the hill just get it to Dad’s place. From Dad’s place it is a pretty easy hop around the machine shed. But first we needed to get to Dad’s place.

The obvious answer is to put a repeater on the hill between Mecca and Dad’s place. But we don’t own the hill. The nickname we have for the owner is “Wicked Witch of the Boomershoot”. So you can imagine how well such a request might be greeted with. I wouldn’t be surprised if she complained about us transmitting electromagnetic waves over her property—if she knew about it.

Anyway the best we could come up with was putting a repeater on a hill I own 1.7 miles from Dad’s house. Yup. We go further way to get a better signal to Dad’s place.

The ordinary Nanostation2s should work for several miles under ideal conditions. But this isn’t an ideal situation. We are probably actually just out of line of sight. In December I couldn’t get things to quite work unless I chose a different hill which belongs to cousin Alan. We probably could have gotten permission from him but at that location we needed to have two Nanostation2s, one pointed toward Mecca and the other toward Dad’s house.

I ordered a parabolic reflector hi-gain external antenna and came back the end of February. And found to my delight that I had good signal strength with just the Nanostation2s, completely different results that when I had done my tests in December. I still wasn’t able to get a high bandwidth connection but I was pretty sure it was a configuration issue on my part. Doug purchased the equipment he would need to get solar power on my hill to power the Nanostation2 and I planned to come back in a few weeks and do my part with the configuration of the Nanostation2s.

I went back in April and again tried to get a connection. Now the Nanostation2s alone didn’t work. The signal strength was back to what I had in December which was too low to be usable. What is going on? I suspect some differences in the ground conductivity or something. I just don’t know for certain. Again I gave up for the moment.

This weekend with the help of daughter Kim, Jacob, and Jeff I did some Boomershoot cleanup, mounted more solar panels on Boomershoot Mecca, and took down a solar panel that Doug was going to use for the repeater. I then proceeded to do some more signal strength testing.

I put up a twelve dBi antenna (a Nanostation2 has a 10 dBi internal antenna) on my hill attached to a Ubiquiti BulletM2 (the same one I used at Boomershoot with great success) and with the parabolic (24 dBi) antenna on a Nanostation2 at Dad’s place was able to get good signal strength. But for some reason the bandwidth sucked. Probably a configuration issue I guessed.

Doug wanted to avoid mounting anything on the outside of Dad’s house so I moved the parabolic antenna to the BulletM2 on my hill and used the internal 10 dBi antenna on a Nanostation2 at Dad’s place. It should only be a 2 dB loss compared to the 12 dBi antenna we were testing with before.

Signal strength was good but the bandwidth was in the toilet. I’m talking throughput to the Internet on the order of 60 kbs download and 10 kbs upload. It has to be a configuration issue. I spent hours trying all kinds of things with no success.

I finally decided the BulletM2 on my hill had to be the problem. So Monday afternoon I put in a Nanostation2 in place of the BulletM2 driving the parabolic antenna:


It worked. Just this minute I have 2.11 Mbps download and 0.68 Mbps upload from my computer through a WiFi access point in their house, a switch, five Nanostations (remember I needed to hop around the machine shed), the router at Mecca (two miles away via the Nanostation path), and to the outside world.

Tomorrow I bring my Verizon Network Extender to test out in their house. I’ll finally have them connected to the rest of the world in a civilized manner.

Update: Early (6:19) in the morning the connection to the rest of the world was less busy and I got this result:


Yeah. I’m all thrilled about something that is considered poor service by anybody in a major city but this is out in an area where it’s tough to even get cell service. Only Verizon and Inland Cellular even have a hint of service here. And then it is very spotting and intermittent. You have to travel at 20 miles, as the crow flies, to get service from AT&T or T-Mobile.

Their satellite ISP has an advertised (but never realized) download rate of 1.5 Mbs and upload of 256 kps plus a download data limit of 17 Gbytes per month. Ping times are in the 1.25 second range. If you watch a few movies and do a bit of web browsing you exceed that data limit. This is so much better and they will have a solid Verizon connection in their house in a few hours.

I’ve been sick

I was late in posting QOTD yesterday and today. I’ve been very sick. It wasn’t until today that the doctors figured out what was going on. It was a “perfect storm” of an undetected cavity in a tooth in proximity to a wisdom tooth fragment left behind after the extraction. A soft-tissue infection developed and even after the antibiotics kicked in enough for the visible infection to go away I still felt terrible. I have seen three doctors so far and will see five before everything is taken care of. I’m somewhat functional now but only with the help of drugs.

It’s amazing the effect something going on in a length of gum tissue less than an inch in length can have. Late morning on Wednesday was the worst. I was shivering uncontrollably. I was in bed with a down comforter and four blankets, doubled over, on top of me. It was 70 degrees in the room and still I was shivering and for inexplicable reasons, because I didn’t have significant pain at the time, had streams of tears rolling down my face. Barb turned on a space heater and heated the room up to I don’t know what temperature before I finally was able to stop shivering.

I’m so glad this didn’t happen during Boomershoot.

Supressor observation

For those of you that saw the .45 ACP carbine being fired briefly at Boomershoot and thought it was awesomely quiet, like a heavy-duty staple gun, please note the can was being fired dry. It’s a “wet” suppressor, and being fired with some water in it to evaporate and cool the expanding gasses it would be significantly quieter.

According to the website, on a 1911 the difference is 132.5 dB vs. 123 dB. Yo, doggies!

Always fun to see what sort of toys folks bring. Everyone should have at least one, I’m thinking.


Boomershoot private fireballs

This year we had some people sign up for the private fireballs on Friday evening. Here is the result via Dave Barry:

Here is the video I took:

Update: David has a collection of videos and stills as well. Check out the great still picture of the smoke ring. Daughter Kim saw it from over 3/4 of a mile away over the top of the hill in front of us.

Update 2: Daughter Kim sent me this picture she took from 3/4 of a mile away on South Road:


Quote of the day—Ry Jones

Is this far enough?

Ry Jones
Asking me about the distance of his fireball creation from the spectators.
May 4, 2014
[This what the setup looked like:



It was about 30 yards from the shooting berm where all the spectators were. I said it should be fine. I had never seen any of our fireballs large enough to make that distance be an issue. And this configuration was such that it should make a “wall” of fire rather than a column or ball of fire. Even though it was nearly twice as much fuel as I we had ever used I just couldn’t see it being a problem.

I didn’t think it through.

I was doing the evaluation in regards to the spectators. I didn’t take into account that Ry had parked his pickup, lengthwise, between the spectators and the fireball. They were on the berm and could easily see over it. Ry didn’t move it as he usually did. He had Monte shoot the target probably another 30 feet from the end of the pickup closest to the fireball. This was the approximate distance Ry had set up his video camera and was hovering over when the fireball went off. This was his viewpoint:

From the viewpoint of Art to his right we see this:

Did you see that big blast of fire jetting to the left? That was directly toward Ry and Monte.

I was on the other side and this is my video:

You can see the muzzle of the gun in the video above as the fireball goes up. It disappears as the fireball grows. As the camera pans you can see Ry face down on the ground and Monte still retreating.

I think what happened was that the fuel ignited at the most distant location from the spectators. The expanding gases and increased pressure pushed the unburned fuel toward Monte and Ry. The unburned fuel then ignited as the fuel/air ratio became such that it supported combustion. This burst into the lower pressure air toward Ry and Monte.

I was correct in that it was far enough away from the spectators. But once I made that determination I did not reevaluate for the consideration of the status of Ry and Monte who were MUCH closer.

No one was hurt but it certainly was a lot more intense for them than anyone anticipated.

Here is the email thread between Ry, Monte, and I yesterday morning:

From: Monte
‎5/‎4/‎2014 8:12 PM
To: Bill W.; Joe
Subject: fireball

Any pics/video of the fireball / singed wookie event from this morning? ;)

On 05/05/2014 05:58 AM, Joe Huffman wrote:

From Ry's Twitter feed:

@RyJones: Boomershoot 2014 fireball. from way too close.

@RyJones: Boomershoot 2014 fireball different angle: that big lobe going left got close

I'll have more after I get home and have some time.

On May 5, 2014, at 6:35 AM, Monte wrote:

The first one looks kinda like my POV... but with less chunks of smoking debris inbound ;)
Good times.

From: Ry Jones
Sent: Monday, May 5, 2014 7:33 AM
To: Monte
Cc: Joe Huffman; Bill W.
Subject: Re: fireball

The guys down at RNS had some video that shows both of us deciding to get down out of the impending trip to the burn ward. Hopefully they post it.

After the fireball went up I went to check on Oleg who was about 50 yards the other side of the fireball from me. The first thing he told me was, “I seriously underestimated the size of that with my camera. I got an incredible video though.”

Everyone is okay. I don’t think there were even any actual singed hairs, peeled paint, or scorched canopies.—Joe]

Update: Barron put up a video also:

Boomershoot medical emergency

If you were following my Twitter feed on Thursday you know we had a medical emergency onsite at Boomershoot. This was the worst event we have had in the 18 events we have put on. As usual it had nothing to do with the use of guns or explosives.

Scott K. was walking up the hillside to help pound stakes into the ground, went to his knees and then face first into the ground. From his perspective, as I heard him explain to the medic in the ambulance, he got dizzy then woke up with people standing around him.

From the perspective of Art, Brandon, Rebecca, and Tim Scott was unconscious for a couple minutes, taking only one breath every 30 seconds or so, with a weak and thready pulse that occasionally stopped or couldn’t be found. Then he took a couple large breathes, his pulse became normal, and he woke up.

I wasn’t there at the time. I had just arrived at Boomershoot Mecca when Art S. radioed me and said we had a medical emergency. Scott had collapsed and wasn’t responding. They didn’t have cell phone coverage at their location but since I was at Mecca with the Verizon Network Extender I did. I called 911 and told them what I knew. They dispatched an ambulance. I was at Mecca for a few minutes to make sure if they tried to call back for directions or something I would be able to receive the call.

After the first vehicle with a siren went by and appeared to find the location I headed back. By the time I arrived the scene looked like this:


A sheriff’s deputy had arrived and was asking questions and handling communication with the ambulance. Scott was conscious and talking and said he felt fine.

A few minutes later an ambulance and another sheriff’s deputy arrived:


Not too long after that a full size ambulance arrived. The medic from the first ambulance then said they would transport Scott by ground and they could sent the inbound helicopter back.

Yeah. It must have been a slow week in Clearwater County for the emergency response team and they wanted something to do.

All kidding aside, Clearwater County did a great job getting to our somewhat remote site and taking care of Scott. From the time I started my 911 call to the time the first responder arrived was about 15 minutes.

The hospital did all kinds of tests and couldn’t find anything wrong. The high blood sugar reported by the onsite medic apparently was in error. Scott came back the next day and worked as if nothing had happened.

Quote of the day—Barb L.

You will be delicately chilled.

Barb L.
May 3, 2014
[This was as we were leaving my Dad’s house to go to the Boomershoot site in the morning. I had left my coats (three of them) and sweatshirt at Boomershoot Mecca. I was just wearing a t-shirt and Barb was bundled up.

I had often thought Ry was king of clever descriptions. But Barb is a close contender. She makes me laugh multiple times a day with the clever and funny things she says.

But I wondered as we drove away, if there is such a thing as “delicately chilled” then that surely must mean there is such a thing as “harshly chilled” or “roughly chilled”. What would those be?—Joe]

Quote of the day—Cliff Schecter

LaPierre, of course, is never held responsible for this rhetoric, even though it is not too much of a stretch to say that its repetition in all of the NRA’s magazines, radio show, emails, newsletter, speeches, on Fox News, and on right-wing talk radio and beyond clearly contributes to the killing everyday American citizens and members of law enforcement.

Cliff Schecter
April 28, 2014
Preparing for War in Indianapolis: Inside the NRA Plot to Terrify America
[And is Schecter ever “held responsible for this rhetoric” intended to promote the infringement of a specific enumerated right?

Imagine the outrage (and it would be appropriate) if Schecter had a similar screed about Muslims, women, blacks, or homosexuals. He would be (inappropriately)hounded out of a job if not investigated for hate speech.

As you can expect from anti-gun people they are all about the control of others but not of themselves.

As Sebastian said:


Don’t you find it telling that when he talks like this about the constitutionally protected class of gun owners you hear nothing but crickets from the those who claim to promote tolerance? This is just another data point that it’s not about tolerance. It’s about control. They want you either assimilated into the collective or banished to the gulags. It’s up to us to make sure there is at least a third option.

This is why there is Boomershoot.—Joe]

Vampire time of year again

It’s vampire season again. As I reported last year (and 2006, 2007, and 2008) the recurrent joke about all the wood stakes we consume at Boomershoot is that they are for vampires.

Barb and I bought all the 1x2x18 inch wood stakes that Lowe’s had in two different stores and topped off our shopping trip with a visit to two Home Depot stores.

At the second Lowe’s the clerk did ask what I was going to use them for. “In the garden?”, she asked. I managed to keep my face straight until after I told her, “Vampires”.

The back seat of my vehicle is now full of wood stakes for Boomershoot 2014:


The empty milk jug you see in the picture will be consumed at Boomershoot as well. It is one of a dozen or two (or three, Ry hasn’t told me yet) that Ry will use in the opening fireball.