Memorial Day sales on optics and targets

Optics Planet has more than just optics. They have holsters, flashlights, knives, bags, cases, and other stuff. 10% off on order of $50+. Coupon code SALUTE:


MGM makes innovative steel targets and sells some cardboard targets (this is where I buy all my USPSA targets) as well. 15% off with Code MDS2017 (the 15% discount does not apply to cardboard targets):


I suppose the brass is good.

At Boomershoot this year someone gave me several boxes of assorted .40 S&W ammo (562 rounds) and told me to appraise them and give them credit for Boomershoot 2018. In the collection was this:



$9.00 for five rounds? What does a box of 20 sell for these days without all the fancy packaging? Oh. $62. No thank you.

As an engineer I’m frequently annoyed that crappy products in the hands of the “right” marketing and sales people can be a success. And furthermore that marketing and sales people can get away with outlandish claims. At the face of it this appears to be one of those instances.

A quick Internet search indicates my hunch that the claims exceed the function is correct:

.40 “EXTREME SHOCK” Ammo Gel Test and The Box O’ Truth #23 – ExtremeShock Ammo and the Box O’ Truth.

But my favorite find of the search is a description of how the bullets are made:

They’re, in fact, made up of a special compound derived from Chuck Norris’ beard hair. The hairs are ground into a special powder and mixed into a paste with Jack Bauer’s tears. The paste is then forced into molds of bullets created from the bones of John Wayne. The molds are super heated, then rapidly cooled by the cold stare of Clint Eastwood.
It was on “How it’s Made”…

Well, I suppose the brass is good and I can reload it.

Easy and difficult

Speed steel shooting has sometimes been called “drag racing with a handgun”. While this is almost always true the stage designer can give you a wide range of challenges. The Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun Club Fun Steel match on March 25th, 2017 was the widest range of difficulty I had ever seen in a single match. One stage only took me 1.52 seconds to shoot. Another took 4.97 seconds. Here’s the video:

Match wise, I won the rimfire iron sight division with an average shot time of 0.6658 seconds per shot. I came in dead last in the centerfire iron sight division (I had problems with my gun again—details in another post).

Here are the final scores:

Brian L.          PCC-O       45.31
Jon S.            RF-O          54.86
Brian L.          RF-RV-O    58.51
Dan L.            RF-O          63.00
Jim D.            RF-RI-O      63.81
Joe H.            RF-I            66.58
Jeremy P.      CF-I            79.85
Craig J.          RF-I            80.29
Jon S.             CF-O          82.44
Thomas A.     CF-O          85.49
MAC                RF-RV-I     93.16
Roy L.              CF-O         95.15
Craig J.           CF-I           101.38
Roy L.              CF-I           101.44
Thomas A.      CF-I           103.21
Scott B.           RF-RV-I      104.78
Roy L.              CF-I            107.51
Thomas A.     CF-S           109.63
Dan L.             CF-LR         117.82
Scott B.          CF-RV-I       118.46
Bret C.            CF-I             127.46
Joe H.            CF-I             132.58
Brendan         RF-I             142.51
Alaska B.       CF-LR          274.21
MAC               CF-RV-I          DNF

Update: Stage pictures.


The two small plates in the center were not visible to someone of ordinary height. This picture was taken from a viewpoint of approximately 7.5 feet above the ground.

USPSA match results

It’s been a several months since I shot in a USPSA match. I practiced a bunch in the previous two weeks but I completely forgot to practice one handed shooting. I remembered this as I was driving to Idaho to work on the weather station but then it was too late to do much about it. I had an extremely busy weekend and I was suffering from a lack of sleep and decided sleep had a higher priority than even a few minutes of dry firing.

Two of the stages had some one-handed shooting and I did okay on them (in fact, I won one of the stages). Overall I felt I did okay but not great (especially the classifier). When I looked at the overall results (Limited Division) I was surprised:

Lewiston Pistol Club USPSA-May 2017 – 2017-05-14

Match Results – LTD
Place Name No. Class Div PF Category Match Pts Match %
1 Huffman, Joe TY29386 B LTD Maj Senior 339.3213 100.0000 %
2 Meyer, Wade A95272 C LTD Maj 330.5290 97.4089 %
3 Piper, Steve A88114 U LTD Maj Senior 294.2301 86.7114 %
4 Imel, Kevin L2544 B LTD Maj 273.4669 80.5923 %
5 HARRIS, MARK A102929 U LTD Min Senior 262.6431 77.4025 %
6 Smith, Mark U LTD Min Military 205.7575 60.6380 %


What happened?

It turns out that, as in most of the other matches I have done well in, I get the best results when I don’t try to do my absolute best. Not making really bad mistakes yields better results than having a mixture of awesome and catastrophic stages. This was a mixture of mediocre and good. My fellow competitors had a mix of catastrophic and good:

Six Chickens (03-02)
Stage Results – LTD
Place Name No. Class Div Points Pen Time Hit Factor Stage Pts Stage %
1 Meyer, Wade C LTD 57 0 14.66 3.8881 60.0000 100.00 %
2 Smith, Mark U LTD 50 0 17.00 2.9412 45.3877 75.65 %
3 Imel, Kevin B LTD 50 10 15.25 2.6230 40.4774 67.46 %
4 Huffman, Joe B LTD 49 20 11.72 2.4744 38.1842 63.64 %
5 HARRIS, MARK U LTD 53 20 17.76 1.8581 28.6736 47.79 %
6 Piper, Steve U LTD 42 50 10.15 0.0000 0.0000 0.00 %
May Flower Mayhem
Stage Results – LTD
Place Name No. Class Div Points Pen Time Hit Factor Stage Pts Stage %
1 Piper, Steve U LTD 136 40 18.11 5.3009 160.0000 100.00 %
2 Meyer, Wade C LTD 155 10 30.46 4.7603 143.6828 89.80 %
3 HARRIS, MARK U LTD 160 0 37.94 4.2172 127.2901 79.56 %
4 Huffman, Joe B LTD 146 20 30.60 4.1176 124.2838 77.68 %
5 Imel, Kevin B LTD 152 10 34.60 4.1040 123.8733 77.42 %
6 Smith, Mark U LTD 156 10 40.02 3.6482 110.1156 68.82 %
Paper Plates 2
Stage Results – LTD
Place Name No. Class Div Points Pen Time Hit Factor Stage Pts Stage %
1 Piper, Steve U LTD 106 0 15.93 6.6541 115.0000 100.00 %
2 Huffman, Joe B LTD 109 0 19.45 5.6041 96.8533 84.22 %
3 Meyer, Wade C LTD 105 0 20.03 5.2421 90.5970 78.78 %
4 Imel, Kevin B LTD 110 0 21.34 5.1546 89.0848 77.47 %
5 HARRIS, MARK U LTD 113 10 31.93 3.2258 55.7501 48.48 %
6 Smith, Mark U LTD 100 20 32.57 2.4562 42.4495 36.91 %
Brave You Are?
Stage Results – LTD
Place Name No. Class Div Points Pen Time Hit Factor Stage Pts Stage %
1 Huffman, Joe B LTD 69 0 19.36 3.5640 80.0000 100.00 %
2 HARRIS, MARK U LTD 54 0 23.80 2.2689 50.9293 63.66 %
3 Meyer, Wade C LTD 70 30 24.77 1.6149 36.2492 45.31 %
4 Imel, Kevin B LTD 57 40 19.05 0.8924 20.0314 25.04 %
5 Piper, Steve U LTD 55 40 17.51 0.8567 19.2301 24.04 %
6 Smith, Mark U LTD 48 40 23.01 0.3477 7.8047 9.76 %

I forgot to turn on my camera for the first stage we shot (May Flower Mayhem) but here are the other stages:

Boomershoot 2018 registration

Registration for Boomershoot 2018 will be opening up for everyone on Sunday May 14 2017 at 9:00 AM PDT. Sign up here.

Boomershoot 2017 participants and staff will already have registered so jump on it to get the best remaining positions.

This is what Boomershoot 2017 participants created and saw after the opening horn to indicate commence fire:

Be a part of Boomershoot 2018.

Quote of the day—MILF Hunter

If there was to be zombie apocalypse I know where to go now.

MILF Hunter
March 2017
Comment to the above video.
[I would want a place with lots of fuel, medical supplies, food, and water as well. Earth moving equipment so you could make defensive trenches and bury the zombies would be nice too. But, I agree, this guy would be a good person to have as a friend in such circumstances.-Joe]

Overheard at Boomershoot 2017

Boomershoot was very well received this year even if the fireball was a failure (it didn’t ignite).

Some were via email and text message, but still…

At the Saturday dinner:

That was the best speech I have heard at Boomershoot in the last ten years.

At High Intensity:

This was the most fun I have ever had with my AR.

At the Long Range event:

I usually get about four or five boomers. This year I lost count.

Via email:

Joe as usual, We totally enjoyed Boomer Shoot 17.

Thank you and your crew AND family for hosting and putting on such an unusual and fun event.

The location is absolutely wonderful.

I totally enjoy the challenges of the venue.

It s great to meet new shooters and running into old friends.

I’m glad you feel appreciation for being Mr Boomershoot, because, as you mentioned, this event impacts more than just the attendees.  Best Western and High Mountain Resort are both outstanding.  The small town atmosphere is a treat when you are coming from Seattle.

Again thank you so very much for the wonderful amazing shooting opportunity.

PS… Oh yeah.  I’ll be there next year. clip_image001

Via email:

Thank you for yet another FANTASTIC event.

Whatever you did with the formula, this year, *KEEP DOING IT!!!*.  I have NEVER, in my 13 (nonconsecutive) years seen fewer targets for the cleanup crew.

Your stated goal for Boomershoot seems to be bearing fruit: the level of marksmanship this year was outstanding, which directly relates to the lack of cleanup targets mentioned above.

Via text message:

I think I figured out the draw for men of big explosives: closest thing to a female orgasm they’ll ever feel! Smile

Mere practice does NOT make perfect

I learned that concept early on in the music business, from similar observation.

Although there is a small percentage of people who pick things up intuitively, most anyone will benefit from quality instruction. It applies to pretty much everything.

Then again; how did the instructor learn what he knows? Who taught his teacher and where did that person get the knowledge and insight? At some point someone had to figure things out on his own, we benefit from generations of those people’s combined knowledge, and ideally we can add to it. Competition or other direct comparison is the way to prove you know what you know, or to disprove that which you think you know but don’t.

Here is where I restate the side benefits of hunting (the primary benefit being the harvest of wonderful protein from wonderful nature by your own hand). You can do all the range shooting in the world, and even excel at it, and be under-prepared for “shooting for real”. Even though game animals generally don’t shoot back, if you hunt for several seasons you will realize this in ways you cannot otherwise imagine. Here’s another man who sees it that way;

Long range rifle for sale

Via email from Dave Bakken who says he will bring the rifle to Boomershoot this year if there is someone interested in purchasing it.

Details on the equipment here. Synopsis:

Q: What happens when a professor in a technical area decides to get into long-range shooting?

A: He ends up with the gear described in this document, after a huge amount of research and trial and error.


Q: What happens when he is getting divorced later (after not having time to shoot the rifle for 2+ years)?

A: He sells it. This saves those who hope to get into long-range shooting a HUGE amount of time. Especially if you do not presently have time to learn and master handloading…


OK, so nowadays Dave is selling his rifle and setup. In doing so, anyone who wants to get into long-distance shooting can buy this and save a HUGE amount of time in researching options.

Here is what he is selling:


List ($)

Rifle Setup




Supporting Gear


Gear in the Toolbox





Asking Price: $3500.

I’m in a practical shooting match as I type this

Tam has a good funny.

I’ve said before that it would be cool to design an IPSC stage in which there are no “shoot” targets (only “no shoots”). Maybe even, everyone goes home without firing a shot that day, because that’s more “real life” than anything else you could set up.

The most unrealistic thing about a Practical Shooting match, then, is that you go to one knowing for a fact that shots will be fired, and you are thus prepared for it. In real life on the other hand, you never have that advance notice, there are no rules, no scratch lines on the ground, no range Nazis to correct your “mistakes”, no timers, no “walk throughs” prior to shooting your stage, and probably not even any safe places to shoot at all.

In that most realistic sense then, I’m in an IPSC match right now, as I type– I’m carrying a gun and assessing the environment, seeing no immediate threats. I’ve been in this particular “IPSC Match” for over 20 years already and have yet to draw my pistol, much less take a shot. This isn’t merely similar to real life; it IS real life. I only draw and fire my gun when I’ve decided to pause the “IPSC Match” for a while, and find a safe place to shoot.

The range mentality has gotten so insane that I’ve seen multiple gun demonstration videos in which the shooter loads five of six, in a percussion revolver (which is stupid right there if you understand how a percussion revolver differs from a cartridge gun), fiddle farts around trying to lower the hammer on the empty but inadvertently lowers it on a live chamber instead and has to fiddle fart with the gun some more to be sure it’s “safe”, walks five feet to the firing line, confident that he’s “being safe”, and then looks down and shuffles around a bit to make sure his feet are right on the scratch line. Stuff like that.

Don’t even try to talk to me about it. I’m just…not…listening…anymore. I’ve hear it all before anyway. Hell I wrote some of those the rules, literally– I was once the president of a Practical Shooting club.

Go ahead and call me crazy though. I’m accustomed to it, as you may well imagine.

Can you shoot like a 6-year old?

This looks like a fun challenge:

I’m going to see if I can find a place on my property where I can shoot at a water filled milk jug from 1000 yards away. The challenge website is here.

I have my doubts about being able to shoot as well as the 6-year old boy. I’ll be happy if I can shoot like a 15-year old girl:

Rounds in the last month

March was a busy month for me. I had hard drives fail on two different computers. The laptop was particularly painful when the Windows Home Server recovery utility didn’t support that hardware. I ultimately recovered everything but it took over a week of my spare time. The other hard drive only took a few hours of my time and lead to a simpler backup method which was nice.

Boomershoot tasks picked up too. There is still some space left if you want to sign up here.

Anyway, I reloaded 525 rounds of .40 S&W and ran many of them over the chronograph. This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223.log: 2,424 rounds.
3006.log: 543 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1692 rounds.
40SW.log: 63,945 rounds.
9MM.log: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 90,245 rounds.

America’s Rifle Challenge Event

I have been exchanging email with Chris Seidler who asked me to promote a rifle clinic in Nampa Idaho which Revere’s Riders is putting on. He is going to be promoting Boomershoot as the two events complement each other.

Here are the details of the AR event:

NRA America’s Rifle Challenge Clinic

June 24-25, Nampa ID Rifle Club Outdoor Range


clip_image002[7]Attendees will learn modern defensive shooting skills on the AR platform at an NRA America’s Rifle Challenge clinic.  Woven throughout the event we will address elements of a personal security strategy as well as historical vignettes illustrating the use of the short range marksmanship in American history.  Attendees will experience shooting in multiple firing positions at varying distances.

Firing in this course will be within 100 yards with a focus on the close quarters environment from 7 to 50 yards.  An AR-15 type modern sporting rifle is ideal, but any semiautomatic magazine fed rifle is suitable.

Required equipment: Appropriate carbine, 400 rounds of ammunition, at least 2 and preferably 6 magazines, two point rifle sling.


Course Highlights

Sharpshooter Fundamentals

·         Shooting Fundamentals

·         Standing, Kneeling, and Prone Positions

·         Natural Point of Aim

·         Sight Adjustments & Zeroing Procedures

·         Vintage M1 Carbine WW2 Qualifier


Defensive Carbine Considerations

·         Carbine Role in a Self-Defense Plan

·         Mental Preparedness

·         Carbine Ballistics Considerations

Short Range Marksmanship Skills

·         Situational Awareness and Scanning

·         Rapid Magazine Changes (Tactical Reloads)

·         Short Range Marksmanship Techniques

·         Clearing Malfunctions/Stoppages

·         Emergency/Speed Reloads

·         Special Subjects:   Zeroing Carbines & Rifles, Carbine Trajectory and Zero Issues, Barricades, Movement, Firing from retention, Field Stripping & Cleaning the AR-15

·         Carbine Skills Test


The clinic will be led by Revere’s Riders master instructor Christopher Seidler, a certified NRA rifle and personal protection instructor and chief range safety officer. He has coached at the CMP’s Small Arms Firing School at Camp Perry. Chris has deployed multiple times to Afghanistan including combat experience and led antiterrorism/force protection efforts; he currently instructs at the Air Force Weapons School.

When does recoil start?

Cool posting on “when does recoil start?”

When Does the Pistol Slide Start to Move?

It has some pretty good gif/animation and explanations.

Short version: once the bullet starts moving, Newton’s laws kick in. I think one of the most fascinating part of the animations is the smoke spurts; the 1911 has some at the breech, too, but they all have smoke exiting the barrel before the bullet. Cool stuff.

Group size

On Sunday Barb and went to the range and used the “Training Bay”. Barb practiced drawing from the holster. I set up my chronograph and tested 17 different .40 S&W loads with four different powders and two different bullet types (both 180 grain). I ended up firing 170 rounds of .40 S&W and 20 rounds of .22 into the same target. All the .40 S&W was from about 28 yards. It made for, what I thought was, an interesting target:


I wasn’t doing my best with each shot but I was reasonably careful. My primary goal was to not shoot the chronograph screens and having a constant point of aim helped.

But after pulling the target I wondered, “What would be the equivalent five shot group size made from the same sample of ammo?”

“Group size” has always bugged me. A better measure would be standard deviation. But that’s not what the shooting world uses. I understand why. Standard deviation is much more difficult to compute in our situation. Group size is extremely easy and as long as you are honest with yourself (don’t find excuses to throw away a bad group and always use the same number of shots when comparing) it can give you a fairly decent indication of the accuracy of your system (gun, ammo, and shooter).

One of the problems with group size is that you can’t easily compare a three shot group to a five shot, seven, or ten shot group. I spent a lot of time manipulating equations and running simulations and built a solution into Modern Ballistics. If you edit a cartridge and have it calculate the “5-shot Group Size” via “Calculate via group” you can input a set of one or more groups at various ranges and various shots per group and it will compute the equivalent 5-shot group size in minutes of angle.

Sooo… I put in the group size 13” from the target above for a 170 shot group and it immediately complained. I had programmed in error checking which said, basically, that if you are shooting a group with more than 100 shots you don’t know what you are doing. Heavy sigh.

So I went with a 100 shot group with 13 inches and came up with a 20.84 MOA five shot group. Okay. Not too bad considering the variations in the ammo (the mean velocity on any given loading varied from 907 fps to 1033 fps), iron sights, with a pistol, and not originally intending to shoot for a good group. And it would have been better had my program allowed for 170 shot groups. Converting back to inches and rounding down a bit to compensate for the 170 versus 100 shot group it comes out to 5.75 inches.

I’m okay with that.

Boomershoot in the news

I suspect the Clearwater Tribune needed some filler so they wrote a short article based upon an ad I was running in their paper.

Barb and I were amused by this line:

There are over 1,000 of these targets, rigged with 1,500 pounds of explosives.

The targets are not “rigged with explosives”. The packaged explosives are the targets.