Quote of the day—Frank Jardim

The sniper is an incredibly efficient fighter, compared to the typical infantryman. Consider that in World War II, American infantry units fired 25,000 rounds to kill just one enemy soldier. By the Korean War, that figure jumped to 50,000 rounds, and the select-fire M14 and M16 infantry rifles of the Vietnam War only seem to have produced more misses, requiring the expenditure of 200,000 rounds to kill one enemy combatant. Nowadays, it’s a quarter million rounds of spraying and praying to kill a single Taliban. By comparison, on average, a sniper requires only 1.3 bullets to kill an enemy. During the Vietnam War, it was noted on many occasions that a handful of snipers accounted for more enemy killed than the entire infantry battalion (and sometimes even regiment) they were assigned to.

Frank Jardim
February 27, 2015
History of the Sniper
[250 K rounds to kill one Taliban? Can anyone who has actually “been there and done that” recently confirm this? It seems like a lot.

And of course bullets and kills are not necessarily the appropriate measure of battle efficiency. You could consume 0.9 bullets per dead enemy by firing nine rounds for ten kills where one bullet killed two of the enemy and lose the battle because your enemy fired 10,000 rounds and killed 1000 of your troops.

Or you could roll your 1000 tanks supported by 10K troops into your enemy’s capital and the enemy gives up without firing a shot and no one dies.

But still, there is something to be said for one person being able to take out a selected enemy at will with a good chance of escape. This makes moderate numbers of individuals without a lot of infrastructure supporting them very powerful.

This is Why Boomershoot.—Joe]


I was at the bank today while wearing a shirt with this image on it:


As I was finishing up my business the teller and I had a short, off topic, conversation.

Teller: So, how do I exercise my freedom with explosives?
Joe: Once a year I put on a shooting event with high explosives as the target.
Teller: Oh! I thought maybe I would get to throw grenades or something.
Joe: Nope. The permits for those are much harder to acquire.
Teller: I would imagine so. Have a nice day.

Quote of the day—Carl Z.

This is somewhat like a family reunion.

Carl Z.
December 31, 2014
[This was part of the note which Carl sent to me with his check for Boomershoot 2015.

It’s true. Many of the people who go to Boomershoot have been attending for many years and it’s the only time they see each other. It’s a very friendly and happy place. No real competition, just everyone turning money into noise, laughter, and smiles.

Be a part of it.—Joe]

Another column on the spreadsheet

Years ago Ry coined a phrase we use when we are perplexed by something we thought we understood, “There aren’t enough columns on the spreadsheet.” This is usually used in the context of Boomerite.

Last week I realized there was another column on the Boomerite spreadsheet. Ry and I then chatted about it a bit and came up with a test plan. Last Friday I mixed and boxed three different recipes and performed the first set of tests.

The story is that we know Boomerite goes, essentially, dead after a week. But we don’t know the rate at which the degradation in sensitivity occurs. Because the quantities involved we make the targets for Boomershoot over the course of two days before the event. Most of the Friday production is used in the High Intensity, Precision Rifle Clinic, and Field Fire events (maximum range is 375 yards). Most of the long range (up to 700 yards) targets for Sunday are produced on Saturday. We expect targets which are one day old to still be close to the maximum sensitivity but we have never done detailed tests on one or two day old targets.

My epiphany last week was that when we have adjusted our recipe over the years we always tested the detonation sensitivity within a few minutes of when we mixed it. We were optimizing for maximum sensitivity for targets which had aged only, say, 10 minutes. What we should have been doing was optimizing the recipe for maximum sensitivity of targets which have aged for one or two days.

On Friday I created batches of Boomerite with various amounts of Ethylene Glycol while keeping everything else the same. The recipe we have been using for years uses 45 mL of EG. So I made targets with 35 and 55 mL of EG to test along with the usual amount.

I then attempted to detonate them with my .22 shooting CCI Stingers at various ranges. The 32 grain bullet is moving fast at the muzzle but it slows down quickly. By changing the distance from the targets I can get an estimate of the velocity required for detonation. Of course the velocity required for detonation is also very dependent on the bullet shape. Just because the hollow point Stingers detonate at a particular velocity doesn’t mean that the much more pointed bullet like this Woodleigh VLD 50 BMG bullet will detonated targets with the same or even significantly greater velocity. Here are pictures of the two bullets:


Yes, what I am saying is that both the bullet energy and momentum at the target are almost irrelevant in making the target detonate. For any give bullet type it is velocity dependent. For any given velocity the more pointed the bullet the less likely it is to detonate the target. We have literally seen multiple .50 BMG holes in a target while nearby targets hit with a .308 detonated reliably.

But since I’m using the same bullet we should (how many more unknown columns are there on our spreadsheet?) be able to determine the sensitivities of the different recipes over time.

The test results were “interesting.” All tests were done at a temperature of 33 F.

Within a couple hours of being mixed all recipes would detonate at 23 yards with a single hit from the Stingers and none of them would detonate from 29 yards. This figures out to about 1370 fps and 1330 fps.

About 26 hours later, after being stored at about 70F, none of them would detonate from 15 yards (~1425 fps). However they would all detonate with hollow point .223 rounds from about 20 yards away.

If the recipes made a difference my test did not reveal the difference. The deterioration while in storage is affected by still another column on the spreadsheet. My next hypothesis is that it is temperature dependent. I need to store a batch of our standard recipe at two different temperatures, say 30 F and 70 F for a day and see if there is a difference in sensitivity.

Does Google want me to hate them?

I generally like Google products. They have innovative products and implement them well. But what is it with them discontinuing the products I depend on the most?

First there was Google Reader.

Google Checkout was discontinued a year ago. I used this for processing Boomershoot payments. They explicitly said I should switch over to Google Wallet for digital goods, which, after a lot of work, I did. I just got that working in September.

Yesterday I got an email from Google (see also Google Wallet for digital goods Retirement):


When we first launched Google Wallet for digital goods, we wanted to make it simple for users and merchants to buy and sell online. The industry has matured a lot since then, providing a number of alternative payment solutions to choose from.

As we continue to evolve and improve our merchant tools to meet new market challenges, we are writing to let you know we will be retiring the Google Wallet for digital goods API on March 2nd, 2015.
    What this means for you as a digital goods merchant:
    •    March 2nd, 2015: You can continue to process payments via Google Wallet for digital goods until we shut it off on March 2nd, 2015.
    •    Remove Integration: If you don’t have your own payment processing, you will need to transition to an alternate solution and remove calls to our APIs before March 2nd, 2015.
    •    Continued Merchant Center Access: You will continue to have access to the merchant center for processing refunds, getting payouts and seeing reports.

Learn more about suggested next steps in our Help Center.

More help
Feel free to contact us for assistance. We are available at any time to help you with this transition.
The Google Wallet for Business team

I think It’s going to be either Amazon or PayPal that gets my business next. I’m thinking Amazon is the most likely. If you already have an Amazon account then when signing up for Boomershoot you can just use a credit card that you have on file with Amazon. For some reason I just don’t trust PayPal as much as I do Amazon. PayPal has also been really nasty with some gun issues. Amazon isn’t exactly friendly but they aren’t actively hostile either:

This Acceptable Use Policy lists items and activities that we prohibit because they may be illegal or inappropriate in connection with the use of our services. It applies to any person or entity using our payment service and any transactions that we are asked to process. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with this policy. We may modify this policy at any time.

If we believe or suspect that any transaction violates this policy or is otherwise illegal or unsuitable, we may take any corrective action that we deem appropriate, including blocking the transaction, holding funds associated with a prohibited transaction, suspending or restricting the use of our service, terminating the accounts of violators, or any other corrective action.

Prohibited Items and Activities:

Firearms and Weapons – includes ammunition, guns, rifles, shotguns, pistols, other firearms, knives (automatic, spring-loaded knives, throwing, etc.), brass knuckles, or other weapons.

For the foreseeable future Google is going to get extra scrutiny before I collaborate with them.

My life is never boring

I received a call from the FBI today. We had a nice chat about Boomershoot and everything is cool.

Someone tried to get me in trouble but I’m pretty sure it was more trouble for them than me. For the record I don’t even let people use the “B-word” in the context of Boomershoot. So telling law enforcement I am teaching people to make such things is laughable, which is what happened when the nice Special Agent hesitantly brought it up.

The end of the conversation was, paraphrasing:

We have to check these things out and write up a report. As long as the information you gave me is correct, as I expect it will be, this will be the end of it.

I gave him information on the most likely suspect who sent them “the tip”. Ry thinks it probably was someone else but it just doesn’t matter. It’s just a funny story for me to blog about and tell my kids and grandkids.

Capturing the changes

Last month I made some substantial changes in the landscape around the Boomershoot explosives production facility (Mecca). I took pictures but I was frustrated they just didn’t seem to capture the changes. Barb and I were there again this weekend and in addition to some minor additional changes, such as spreading grass seed around and raking the seed into the dirt:


I took some more pictures. I think this one captures things much better:


I also was able to take a picture that better captures what the new tent site looks like:


Boomershoot 2015 statistics

Boomershoot 2015 is now half full:

  Total Average per position taken Average per total positions
Positions Taken 38 - 0.50
Participants 71 1.87 0.93
Friday Field Fire participants 11 0.29 0.14
Friday Clinic participants 6 0.16 0.08
Friday High Intensity participants 16 0.42 0.21
Private Fireball participants 0 0.00 0.00
Saturday Field Fire participants 29 0.76 0.38
Saturday Clinic participants 4 0.11 0.05
Saturday High Intensity participants 8 0.21 0.11
Dinner participants 37 0.97 0.49
Shooters 70 1.84 0.92
Spotters 1 0.03 0.01
Media/Bloggers 9 0.24 0.12
ATF Approved 12 0.32 0.16
Staff 24 0.63 0.32

Keep in mind this after the event has been open for entry for a little over a week and over seven months before the event. There are still positions open in every area so whether you want to shoot from the well drained ground on the berm, with a bench with room for a canopy, or in the .50 Caliber Ghetto you still have those options available.

There are still opening for Private Fireballs too. The smoke from these can sometimes be seen from over three quarters of a mile away. It’s tough to describe the intensity of the blast when you are 50 feet away. The phrase we hear about 75% of the time from first timers is, “Holy shit!

Sign up here.

Bomb help update

Early this morning I received the following email (name and email changed to protect the guilty):

From: XXX YYY [mailto:xxxyyy@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2014 1:52 AM
To: blog@joehuffman.org
Subject: removal of blog post

Dear Joe, I would like to ask you to remove a blog post concerning me (http://blog.joehuffman.org/2011/06/05/can-he-really-be-this-stupid) relating to an old email address of mine while I was suffering badly from a nervous breakdown, depression, and various other mental illnesses due to prolonged physical  and psychological bullying. As I have moved on in my life now, I would like you to remove this post as it has many references to my name and email that has caused problems when finding jobs.

Thank you and kindest regards, XXX YYY

I didn’t remove the post but I did change the name and email address and sent him a polite reply wishing him well.

Google Wallet

Does anyone use Google Wallet to pay for things?

The reason I ask is because I am setting up the Boomershoot entry website to use Google Wallet for credit card payments. I get a better rate than with PayPal or Amazon and, at one point, their terms of service were more gun friendly. But now their current terms of service in regards to weapons aren’t much different from PayPal’s terms of service.

What I didn’t realize until I was doing some testing was that you have to create a Google Wallet account with name, address, as well as credit card information. You can’t just give your credit card information and pay. This takes more time and one more business has your credit card info and has the potential to lose your credit card info to thieves.

I expect far more people have Amazon and PayPal accounts than they do Google Wallet accounts.

If you were purchasing an entry to Boomershoot and paying with a credit card would the additional Google Wallet account creation be an issue for you? If it makes a difference you can still pay with a check money order via snail mail.

Mostly off-topic but I found this clause in Google’s buyer terms of service interesting:


To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each individual or business that opens an account or requests credit.

Rearranging dirt and rocks

In preparation for the delivery of the 5000 pounds of fun this last weekend I, as Barb expressed it, rearranged some dirt and rocks around Boomershoot Mecca.

Here are the before and after panoramas:



It’s a little difficult to judge what was really done because in the first picture there are a lot of tall weeds blocking the view of the dirt and rocks.

Here are some pictures of one of the new piles of rocks to give you a clue:



I am a little concerned that I might have created conditions for some major snow drifts near the door to the shipping container. Drifts have formed before but they weren’t large and were of little concern. If the weather conditions are just right I can see the wind now dumping major amounts of snow in front of the door.

Most of the rocks were moved with the bulldozer but hundreds of the smaller ones were moved by hand. I was unable to smooth the dirt out with the rocks embedded in the soil. The really large rocks I could move with the dozer. But baseball sized to almost basketball sized rocks were tough. They would lift the blade if I didn’t apply downward pressure. And if I applied enough pressure to move the rocks I would move large amounts of dirt at the same time. I spent a couple hours moving them by hand and then smoothed the ground with the dozer.

The end result was a lot more area for vehicles to maneuver and park on the east end of the shipping container:


There is a much nicer path from the parking area on the north size of the hilltop to the shipping container now:


It used to be weeds and a maze of rocks to navigate.

The stack of half-length railroad ties is to block some of the sound of the generator. I used to have the generator on the south side of the container but when I was planning these improvements Ry suggested I make a spot on the north side because the power connector was on the north side and for the same power cord length I could get the generator further away.

I came up with and tested a new equipment wash station:


The bag of water is a three gallon solar shower. After about two or three hours in the summer sun it has enough hot water to give at least two people a decent shower. It also does a nice job of delivering hot water for washing the chemicals off of the mixing equipment. The barrel top works as a shallow sink. This is so much better than bending over some railroad ties on a rocky hillside and washing in cold water. The hot water will dissolve the chemicals much better as well as being more comfortable.

I also finally got the eight foot long grounding rod to what I consider the final depth:


I’ve been pounding on this rod when I visit for years.

I also leveled a much larger area for tents and sleeping bags on the very top under the trees. It’s hard to tell from the pictures. The lighting was so high contrast that you can’t really see how level and smooth the area is but it’s really nice when you see it in person even if it looks like crap in the picture:


Later this fall or early next spring I’ll plant all the bare dirt to grass with the possible exception of some of the area directly in front of the shipping container doors. I’ll put gravel there if I get the chance.

5000 pounds of fun

As I said yesterday I was at the Boomershoot site this last weekend.

The main objective was to take delivery on ammonium nitrate for future Boomershoots. Last time (see also here) I ordered 3000 pounds of AN and they brought a semi-truck and trailer. It was difficult to get it into a position close to the entrance of my shipping container production facility. So in the two days before the delivery I rearranged the dirt and rocks in front of the facility to make it easier to get into position.

This time I ordered two thirds more and they put it in something resembling a horse trailer pulled by a large pickup instead of the larger semi. Oh well, I like the changes I made and it was still easier for them than it would have been had I not moved the dirt and rocks.

At first we put down some rollers to unload the material. I’m sorry for the atrocious picture. The lens of my cell phone camera was dirty and I didn’t want to waste time cleaning it to get a good picture when the delivery guy was waiting on me:


After maybe five bags with me carrying them 30+ feet to the rear of the shipping container and the delivery guy mostly waiting for my return he put the rollers away and moved the pallet to the rear of the trailer. Then we both pulled the 50 pound bags off the back of the trailer and carried them to the far end of the container and stacked them.

From the time he was backing the trailer up to the container until they were all neatly stacked at the opposite end of the container was only 28 minutes.


I did a lot of puttering around after he left. I removed bunch of old cardboard boxes for disposal at a recycling center. I had moved a lot of things out of the way to have a clear path to the rear and I put those back where I wanted them. I put the AN from two years ago on top of the latest delivery. An interesting thing I noted when I did this was that the date on the new bags AN was September 4, 2014 and the date on the old bags was September 4, 2012.

I tucked the tarp in around the AN and put a plastic sheet over the top to keep the condensation and occasional snow (that sometimes blows in through the ceiling vent) off the chemicals:


The ceiling of the container is not really sloped. It’s just the distortion from the wide angle lens on the phone camera.

We now have 5000+ pounds of fun ready for use in Boomerite at Boomershoots 2015, 2016, and beyond.

Bath time

I did a bunch of dozer work at Boomershoot Mecca this weekend. It was very dirty work. The ground was very dry and it turned to powder as soon as I broke it up with the blade. I got really dirty:


I wore gloves and my hand was clean by comparison:


I have a solar heated shower at Mecca so I dusted off my clothes and rinsed off my head, arms and hands before I got in my car and left for the day.

But what I didn’t have there was my gun cleaning supplies.


It probably is functional for at least as many shots as would be needed in a self-defense situation. But I’m sure the wear rate would be dramatically increased with the oil being soaked up by the dust. And the odds of a malfunction have to be much higher than normal.

It’s ultrasonic bath time for my STI.


The other day Kevin made a post about the inflated price of reloading ammunition.

Today I was looking at the price of Ammonium Nitrate which is the principle ingredient in Boomerite.

In 2005 I paid $0.14/pound.

In 2007 I paid $0.50/pound.

In 2012 I paid $0.99/pound (see also the pictures of it here).

Today it costs $1.06/pound.

The price of freedom supplies keeps going up.

Update: As requested by Paul Koning I have expressed it in ounces of gold per ton of AN:

  • 2005: 0.655
  • 2007: 1.525
  • 2012: 1.169
  • 2014: 1.669

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.