Quote of the day—Monte Milanuk

This year’s goal: no singed wookie!
#boomershoot #fireball

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]

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]

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. https://t.co/XnqbSpQTRu

@RyJones: Boomershoot 2014 fireball different angle: https://t.co/8y650tGLcD 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]

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.

Boomershoot 2014 half price sale

We have had quite a few cancelations due to things like Obamacare premium hikes, a funeral (the Oso mudslide), and various health issues. What this means for you is, due to the cancelations, I’m putting the remaining positions on sale. The High Intensity, the Private Boomershoot Fireball, and the main event on Sunday are all half price for the next few days. This does not apply to the Precision Rifle Clinic or Field Fire.

Tell your friends this is a rare opportunity. Boomershoot prices have not been this low in many years and may never be this low again.

Sign up here.

Boomershoot 2014 apparel

I have created a Boomershoot 2014 section in my CafePress shop. I only did some of the apparel items because that seems to be the only thing that sells. If you want the image on something else let me know and I can make it happen.

The image used is this one:


I forget who it was that came up with the basics of this. I modified it some and applied it to the picture Peter Biddle took at Boomershoot 2007.

Update: The color of some of the text was changed for better visibility.

Boomershoot 2014 status

This last weekend Barb and I did some Boomershoot 2014 prep. We installed some new LED lights in the target production facility (Mecca). We cleaned up the benches and Barb swept the floor. We are close to ready for target production in about two and half weeks.

One of the critical chores was an inventory of the target stakes:


This was just a jumbled pile of stakes and we stacked them in a neat pile to aid in counting and distribution for this year.

We also checked on the status of the daffodils we transplanted last June. They seem to be doing okay:



I suspect many of the bulbs didn’t have enough mass to support blooms this year and will build up this spring and bloom next year. But some have already bloomed. Barb and I were encouraged by the results.

The ground was generally dry and even if Boomershoot were to have been last weekend there wouldn’t have been a problem with weather:


We did make a trip across a section of another field that is unrelated to Boomershoot and nearly got stuck. We left some deep ruts, we were bounced around quite a bit and muddied up the sides of my vehicle that remained even after some fairly heavy rain on Saturday evening:WP_20140414_002Web

Obamacare claimed another victim with one of the biggest supporters and promoters of Boomershoot canceling his trip to Idaho after his insurance premiums nearly doubled. He is now unable to afford attending Boomershoot. “Squirrel Hunter” and some of his crew will not be attending this year. This could be a good thing for you because this means there are now some premium positions open.

Boomershoot Mecca winter visit

Three weeks ago I made a trip to Idaho to work on some things for Boomershoot 2014. Contrary to the previous visit I was not able to drive in the 700+ yards to Mecca. There was a snow berm blocking the field road:


And had I shoveled it down to size the depth of the snow on the field road would have been problematic even with four-wheel drive and studded snow tires on all four. I walked in.


Things looked pretty good:


It was cold (16 F) and windy (with a wind chill factor of 5F) but that wasn’t a big issue except for the conditions in the portable toilet:


I did a bunch of work inside for several hours then I noticed my fingers and toes were getting cold. I wore gloves off and on and was able to keep the fingers at an acceptable temperature but the toes weren’t getting any better so I decided a trip back to the vehicle was in order.

As I was walking back I realized that if my visibility were to be sufficiently reduced by a blizzard or fog I could be in bad situation very rapidly. I was just walking across an open field. There was no road or trails to follow except for my foot prints from the trip out. A few minutes of drifting snow would fill those in. Cell phone reception is very flakey. I could easily get in a situation that I couldn’t even call for help. And if help did arrive at the road what could they do beyond blink lights and honk the horn? It wouldn’t be safe for them to try looking for me even if they thought they could find me. My phone GPS might or might not get a fix without the assistance of a data connection via cell.

Not too long after getting back to Seattle I purchased some radios that would allow me to connect with brother Doug on the frequencies he uses for the farm. They also work on the FRS frequencies we use for Boomershoot (Channel 13, Code 0). I have done the range tests but I expect they will have similar range to the portable radio he has which is many miles further than what I would need should I get into trouble at the Boomershoot site.

My concerns were without warrant and I made it back to my vehicle and did some Wi-Fi testing. I had installed a new antenna at Mecca on my previous visit but hadn’t tested it from the Boomershoot shooting line. I drove over to the intersection of driveway into the shooting area and Meridian Road. I had to buck through some snow drifts but they weren’t too bad:


The Wi-Fi signal was great! I could connect to Mecca with my laptop on Meridian Road without putting up another access point. My cell phone needed the extra AP though. With the extra AP I could connect just fine but I couldn’t get out. I found out, after I got back to Seattle, there was a little check box on the “Advanced” tab of the Nanostation 2 that needed to be unchecked. I made a big notation in my setup notes, “CLIENT ISOLATION MUST BE OFF!”

The driveway probably was passable but I walked out to the shooting line berm.


Barb and I have been anxiously awaiting for signs the transplanted daffodils (see also this blog post) survived the winter but today was not the day. Here is the downrange side of the shooting berm where we planted them:


Things were looking good for Boomershoot 2014. The snow was well within normal limits. I talked to brother Doug earlier this week and he said 90% of the snow has melted now but it is still early enough that it could snow up again.