Staff started arriving at 7:00 AM to mount the reactive targets on the wood stakes we had driven into the ground Thursday and last night. By 8:30 we had completed that job and the opening fireball target, designed by Barron Barnett, was complete by 9:30.
There are a dozen pieces of 10 foot long rebar stuck in the ground around the target. On each piece of rebar are two road flares. The flare are to ignite the gasoline. The placement of the rebar was determined from viewing the video of previous fireballs. We have learned that placement is critical to getting good ignition of the gasoline.
The opening fireball target was detonated by 9:57:
Notice the last frame of the video. The sand platform was only reduced to about the same level as the surrounding ground. It worked wonderfully, resulting in almost no crater.
I think we have this fireball creation dialed in. There was no question about ignition of this fireball. We is suspect the good ignition was the reason it was the hottest, by far, of any fireball we have ever produced. Notice the photographer leaving the area as the fireball climbs into the air? His left arm received a minor burn from the radiant heat.
It was wonderful weather for the long range shooting. With almost no wind, hundreds of targets disappeared in minutes. The rate of target detonation approached that of a high intensity event.
One experienced Boomershooter told me he got six boomers with eight shots, all of which were over 650 yards away. The entire upper area of the hill was emptied of boomers within just a few minutes.
People loved all the steel. The big USPSA silhouette targets range like bells. You could easily hear the most distant one even though it was 700 yards away. One Boomershooter told me, “It sounds like I’m at church!” Yup, this is The Church of Guns and Explosives.
Without any wind the targets were so easy to hit that of the nearly 700 hundred targets available only 15 were still undetonated by lunch time. The only target we found that definitely had a sold hit without detonation was hit by a .22 caliber bullet at about 650 yards. It’s just too much to expect for the .223 cartridge to deliver the velocity required at that range.
With the near perfect detonations and the good wind we learned a new lesson. Watch the weather forecast and adjust the number of targets accordingly. We needed far more targets for a day like today.
We let the participants shoot at the steel another hour after lunch before we packed things up and everyone went home. Barb and I were headed down the hill to Orofino by 5:00 PM.
OMG.. This is a bucket list item… I’m trying to figure out why I’M NOT THERE” This is a “walk over coals” event.
May 2, 2019 Comment to Boomershoot 2019—Thursday
[I ask a lot of people that same question. After people attend just once they are either there or have extremely good reasons, like, “I can only afford to drive from Maryland once every two years.” Or, “I’m dying of cancer and I don’t have the strength to get out of bed.”
Daughter Kim got the Boomerite production back on schedule and we have all the targets we need for Sunday. This is the production line as seen this afternoon:
Here is the finished result, just under 700 targets:
Yeah, there is a large stuffed bunny in one of the crates. But guess what it is stuffed with!
The dry ice is to keep the targets cool and fresh. The targets go dead over time and the dry ice slows down that reaction. We want the targets to be easier to detonate after being stored overnight. It made a big improvement in the successful detonation rate.
Here is what the High Intensity event looked like from the perspective of the targets:
We put out hundreds of targets and after only a couple minutes only five targets were left. One guy melted his hand guard on his AR-15 from shooting so much. Another melted his blanket with the muzzle of his AR when he touched it on the blanket.
This is only a hint of what High Intensity is about. You just cannot capture experience of multiple shock waves hitting each second. Multiple new shooters came up to me afterward and said something to the effect, “That was amazing! I know you told me, but I had no idea.”
Boomershoot is, technically, a three day event; Friday through Sunday. For Barb and me, it is a five day event. Among other things, we arrive on Wednesday, rent a U-Haul trailer, get the ATV from my brother, get gasoline for the fireballs, make sure the generator is working, and generally prep for Thursday when a bunch of the staff show up.
Thursday we put wooden stakes with little signs indicating the position number at each shooting position, distribute garbage cans along the shooting line, pound targets stakes on the hillside, fill milk jugs with gasoline for the fireballs, and put the steel targets out.
Usually we put out about three or four steel targets. This year, in addition to the new targets I put out a couple weeks ago, I put out ten steel targets. Four are full size USPSA Poppers. Two are oversized bowling pin shaped targets. And four of them are full size USPSA silhouette targets as seen on the left side of the picture below. This one is at the 375 yard line. The other targets are spread out between about 600 and 700 yards. This is the first time I have used the silhouette targets at Boomershoot.
I brought out the full size silhouettes so people could relatively easily make a hit compared to connecting with the other targets. The targets will swing and ring with a fairly loud sound when hit. This will give new shooters and those with low end equipment some reward for reaching out to greater distances than they might normally be successful at.
In the picture below you can see the hillside (click on the picture for a higher resolution version of the same picture) after nearly all the steel for the Precision Rifle Clinic was deployed as well as the Boomershoot steel.
Thursday went really well this year. The weather was dry with partly sunny skies. This enabled us to transport materials easily and stay comfortable as we did almost all the outdoor preparation work.
Friday and Saturday the Precision Rifle Clinic takes place during the morning until late afternoon when the High Intensity event takes place. The rest of the crew will be busy during the day on Friday and Saturday making the exploding targets.
Last year we tried a sample from a new chemical supplier and decided to go exclusively with them this year. The ammonium nitrate from them is denser than what we have used in the past. We will have about the same number of targets as last year but have considerably more explosive mass. It will total over 2,600 pounds of explosives. This will be the most explosives we have ever made for a single event.
Boomershoot 2019 is going to have great weather and a real blast!
Last weekend I installed some new steel targets for Boomershoot at the 375 yard tree line.
Here is the old steel (picture from last December):
The targets were made and donated by an extremely generous Boomershooter. They thought they were doing the right thing by making the targets out of soft steel. The thinking was that this would prevent ricochets. It turns out this is not the way to do it. The steel becomes cratered:
The craters cause the bullets fragments to spray back at the shooter and large fragments can travel dozens of yards at relatively high velocity. It is very dangerous and you should be 100+ yards away to be safe.
Very hard steel causes the soft bullets to turn almost into dust and come off of the flat face at about a 20 degree angle. These targets are safe to shoot at a much closer distance.
I purchased four targets from ShootSteel.com and installed on the old target stands.
The previous targets were suspended by chain which was welded at both ends. No problem. I have bolt cutters.
Uh… not as easy as I thought. The chain was really tough. By putting one handle against my chest and pulling on the other handle as hard as I could I could just barely cut through one side of the link. This didn’t leave a gap to disconnect the target. I had to cut the other side of the link to get the link apart. Two extremely difficult cuts per chain. This wasn’t the best solution.
I went back to my car and brought back my AR-15 with some M855 ammo. I got back about 20 yards and cut the chain with rifle fire:
Here are the new targets.The two old targets on the right couldn’t be replaced easily so I just left them.
Yes, it was very muddy. But the weather since then has been pretty good and the forecast is good. I’m expecting decent ground conditions and weather (cloudy with highs in the mid 50s) for Boomershoot 2019.
The new targets are not the ideal shapes. What I really wanted was seven inch squares and four inch squares to mimic Boomershoot targets. I could have had targets custom made but I ended up just purchasing off the shelf targets and painting them to mimic Boomershoot targets.
Here is one of the targets after being shot with my AR-15 with lead core bullets (the targets are rated for 30 caliber magnums at this range as well) from the shooting line:
Boomershoot territory received some fresh snow recently. Then the sun came out (webcam and current weather conditions are available here):
Only 69 days left before Boomershoot 2019. That plenty of time for the snow to melt but not that much time to make all your preparation for long range precision rifle shooting at highly reactive targets.
It’s going to be a great event this year with lots of explody goodness. Just today I bought almost all of the remaining chemicals needed.
Boomershoot 2019 is currently 57% full. Sign up now while there are still positions left.
Last weekend Barb and I went to Idaho. We delivered more chemicals for Boomershoot 2019, trimmed some trees along the road to Boomershoot Taj Mahal, and attended my high school reunion. The weather was a little on the warm side but not bad. We took a few pictures during the trip:
I believe this was west of Colfax on Highway 26. We found the clouds quite pretty.
This is the lentil field just south of Boomershoot Mecca.
I”m planning to repair these steel targets at the tree line before Boomershoot 2019.
Another view of the hay bales with the shooting line in the background.
For many years Barb had digestive issues with wheat. Those issues mysteriously went away a few months ago (Barb is skeptical of my suggestion it was Dr. Joe’s cure for everything, and I’m skeptical of her hypothesis of a spiritual/energy something or other healing). Here we have her next to a field of Huffman Wheat.
After some discussion and a few behind the scenes changes Gene Econ and his crew will again be adding to your Boomershoot experience. As far as participants are concerned there will be no visible changes from what you have enjoyed in previous years.
Registration opens for staff 5/19/2018 9:00:00 AM Pacific Time.
Registration opens for previous year participants 5/23/2018 6:00:00 PM Pacific Time.
Registration opens for everyone 5/27/2018 9:00:00 AM Pacific Time.