Monte Milanuk Tweeted on April 30, 2015 [At Boomershoot 2014 Monte, who does resemble a wookie, fired the opening shot to detonate the fireball target. There were some miscalculations and Monte was too close. Watch this video for details:
I didn’t discover Monte’s tweet until yesterday.—Joe]
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:
Via email from Insights. I wish it was some other time than Boomershoot weekend. Some people might be interested in doing both:
Over 60 hours of training in 4 days!
Its finally here, the class you’ve been waiting for — Recondo School! Four completely packed fully immersive days of training with Special Operators on all aspects of patrolling. Learn all there is to know about small team reconnaissance, ambush, and raid. Starting with the basics, 3-5 man element teams will conduct day and night reconnaissance missions. Next the teams will combine to conduct ambush patrols. The teams grow again to conduct raids on enemy encampments. The final day is live fire battle drills, learning to do everything safely with live ammunition.
Outside of the military nothing like this has ever been offered before. Others have done fantasy camps, no one has run the real deal. Most active duty infantrymen never get a chance for this level of training!
One of the ultimate expressions of this class was done during the Vietnam War and was known as MACV-RECONDO school. This school was set up by Project Delta (yes, the guys who later founded Delta Force) and then turned over to 5th SFG. This was the basis for LRRP/Ranger type operations in Vietnam. This course will be modeled after that school but with a modern backdrop and modern planning procedures. Taught by Army Green Berets, Army Rangers, Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol members and other select Special Operations personnel. The best of the best. Each combat patrol will have at least one cadre member and larger patrols will have two or more per patrol. Cadre will be teaching, mentoring, and leading the patrols. The course will be taught inside of a scenario wargame, just like all military exercises and like the Special Forces Qualification Course which uses “Pineland”. In this course we will be using the scenario of “Red Dawn”. A foreign military force has invaded America and now you are in the resistance fighting against them. Luckily US Army Green Berets have infiltrated your area to provide you training and leadership! Immersive scenario based training is far more effective than a conventional course. Everything is “real” and has context and pieces learned on one day connect back in later in the scenario. This course will have over a dozen live role players playing the part of the enemy, have real people as part of the “underground” etc. FULLY IMMERSIVE TRAINING. InSights will be offering numerous “linked” courses around this scenario in the future. Besides the patrolling track we will be offering a Tactical Operations Center track. These are the guys who make the missions run, produce and give intelligence briefings, run radio networks, debrief teams after missions, coordinate with underground forces and assets, meet and interview intelligence sources, “Battle track” teams and the enemy. Learn intelligence preparation of the battlefield, operational security, and tradecraft for the resistance environment. The TOC track is perfect for those who might not be up for four days and nights of moving through the woods but who still want to learn to contribute to the team. Class dates: May 2-5, 2019 Location: 3 hours from Seattle (location provided upon registration) Tuition: $1600 Prerequisite: Concealed Pistol License or documentation of good character Minimum required equipment:
AR-15 type rifle in 5.56 with blank adaptor and 400 rounds of blanks and 200 rounds live ammunition
Simple chest rig or load bearing equipment
Outdoor clothes and boots with multiple changes and gear for inclement weather.
Sleeping equipment to include cot or sleeping pad
Night vision equipment
A full field kitchen with cooks will be present so students will not have to worry about meals or snacks, etc. You will be able to dedicate yourself 100% to training. Large squad tents are also provided. To register, call us at 1.888.958.0884 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe and we’ll see you in class!
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.
Long timers around here and people that explore the sidebar already know that I have a weather station and webcam at the Boomershoot shooting line. I visit it frequently and sometimes see interesting things. And sometimes the view is just very cool. Just a few minutes ago was one of those times:
The batteries don’t handle really cold temperatures well and there is no heat at Mecca. At times it gets well below zero so I put some scrap insulating foam board underneath and on top to retain a little bit more heat until I can make something a little more permanent for the winter.
I brought the two year old batteries home, charged them, and did some tests. They have about 70% of their claimed storage capacity. I took them back to Idaho earlier this month for use at a different site.
Brother Gary, his dog Roscoe, and I took them the last 0.3 miles across the field on plastic toboggans over a few inches of snow:
The other site is underneath the power tower you see at the top center of the picture. It is a Wi-Fi relay station to get Internet service from Mecca to brother Gary’s house. The batteries there have been working for a couple years but were a little marginal in terms of recommended capacity. As they aged I was concerned that one dark and extremely cold January the batteries would fail. Putting in additional batteries now will ensure it makes it through this year and I won’t have to make the trip across the field on snowshoes over four feet of snow pulling 100+ pound batteries. I will test their capacity each August or September when access is easy by driving across the field and replace them as needed.
My niece, Amy, helped with several early Boomershoots and I gave her t-shirts as part of her compensation. Recently she decided she didn’t want them and gave them to her parents, brother Doug and SIL Julie. The didn’t want them so I picked them up and brought them home this weekend. The shirts are still in good shape and I took pictures of the image on them before putting them away:
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.