Boomershoot 2015 versus 2016

Final Boomershoot 2015 statistics:

  Total Average per position taken Average per total positions
Positions Taken 52 0.68
Participants 118 2.27 1.55
Friday Field Fire participants 13 0.25 0.17
Friday Clinic participants 17 0.33 0.22
Friday High Intensity participants 23 0.44 0.30
Private Fireball participants 3 0.06 0.04
Saturday Field Fire participants 45 0.87 0.59
Saturday Clinic participants 18 0.35 0.24
Saturday High Intensity participants 19 0.37 0.25
Dinner participants 59 1.13 0.78
Shooters 110 2.12 1.45
Spotters 1 0.02 0.01
Media/Bloggers 8 0.15 0.11
ATF Approved 13 0.25 0.17
Staff 26 0.50 0.34

With nearly four months to go and only about 10 days worth of entries we have the following statistics for Boomershoot 2016:

  Total Average per position taken Average per total positions
Positions Taken 44 0.58
Participants 89 2.02 1.17
Friday Field Fire participants 11 0.25 0.14
Friday Clinic participants 3 0.07 0.04
Friday High Intensity participants 15 0.34 0.20
Private Fireball participants 1 0.02 0.01
Saturday Field Fire participants 40 0.91 0.53
Saturday Clinic participants 3 0.07 0.04
Saturday High Intensity participants 16 0.36 0.21
Dinner participants 37 0.84 0.49
Shooters 85 1.93 1.12
Spotters 2 0.05 0.03
Media/Bloggers 8 0.18 0.11
ATF Approved 10 0.23 0.13
Staff 18 0.41 0.24

I find it interesting that for 2016, even though we have 29 fewer overall participants so far, we have almost as many Saturday High Intensity participants. And that the Precision Rifle Clinic participation is so low (three on each day) for both Friday and Saturday. Yet the field fire participation is nearly that of 2015.

Boomershoot 2015 email

After Boomershoot I don’t want to even think about it for a while. Unless email requires a response from me I just let it set in my inbox. I finally got around to looking at the collection and thought I would share some of it.

From Cat:

Hi Joe,

I had a fantastic time at my first Boomershoot!
Thank you and your crew for making this event happen, and for supporting the 2nd amendment.
I hope to be back next year!

The BBQ was amazing!

She also shared a picture of the fireball:


From Matthew:

Enjoyed the opportunity to come with the guys and get to shoot.
Enjoyed meeting some of the other shooters, great folks!!!!!!

From Grete:


It was a great experience!

See you next year!

From Greg and Bob:

It was the most enjoyable event we’ve been to. The weather was perfect and our shooting neighbors were friendly. It was great. We did not have any issues during the event. The fireball was amazing, the targets exploded and the BBQ was excellent. Looking forward to next year.

From Joe:

Dear Joe,

Thanks again for this wonderful event. I have been coming for many years and each time is the best time I have all year. Looking forward to next years event already.

You and your crew give a great party!

From Bill:

Joe, I had a great time throughout the weekend.  Great people, food and scenery. Something I will do for next year is site my riffles better (add scope).

Mark your calendars. Boomershoot 2016 will be April 22nd, 23rd, and 24th.

Boomershoot image caption contest

Come up with the best caption for this image from Boomershoot 2015 in the comments and I’ll give you a free Boomershoot 2015 shirt, mug, or thong. Family and Boomershoot staff are welcome to participate but won’t be getting a free anything out of it.

My decision is autocratic, final, and may appear to be at random.


My thoughts are as follows:

  • Impressive stick throwing from 375 yards away.
  • You’ve proven yourself with the hastily constructed spears.Now try using lead projectiles to get detonations.
  • The BC of wood projectiles is too low to retain enough velocity for reliable detonation.
  • I know reloading components have been tough to come by recently but this substitute doesn’t have much future.

Images from Boomershoot 2015

This is my impression of Boomershoot 2015 in images and a few words.

WP_20150503_08_05_45_Pro__highresCreating a target rich environment.

The hillside as seen through a 6X scope.

Part of the tree line target area as seen through a 6X scope.

Nearly all of the target areas as seen from a 1.5X scope.

The fireball crew and their work of art. Barron doesn’t actually walk around with a road flare stuck in his ear. See more details here.

On the left Janelle is pregnant. On the right her husband Barron just initiated the fireball.
People inspecting the crater left by the fireball.

Adjusting the artillery for a long distance shot.

It wasn’t really indirect fire.


Taking a break.

This guy did his prep before he started shooting.

Barb and I patrol the shooting line (photo by Kim).

The two obvious hits are probably outside the active zone anyway. But the target is mostly empty from the rip in the lower right corner.

You’ve got the windage down. Let’s work on elevation.

It’s still a target rich environment at lunch time.


Boomershoot 2016 will be April 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. You know you want to. Start making your plans now.

Road flares and gasoline

The Boomershoot 2015 fireball was very well done and impressive. Here are some of the details of the construction.

There were 15 seven-inch square targets, each containing 800 grams (about 1.8 pounds) of Boomerite arranged as shown below around a 50 pound bag of powdered sugar:


The target in the lower right with the two red dots was facing the audience and shooter. This is the initiating target which propagated the detonation to the rest of the targets.

In the picture below you see 19 gallons of the gasoline/diesel mixture in place on top of the explosives.


The job of the explosives is to lift the gasoline and mix it in the air. Usually we have a ratio of explosives to gasoline of about 1 pounds to 2 gallons up to 1 pound to 1 gallon. This time it is about 1.4 to 1.


In the picture above we have the people that designed and constructed the fireball (left to right: Mike, Matthew, Barron, and Ry) along with the road flares attached with rubber bands to rebar and wooden sticks. One or more of these flares ignited the fuel air mixture.

In Phil’s slow motion video below you will see the ignition start on the side opposite the shooter and propagate to the remainder of the fuel-air mixture.

In this frame capture from Ry’s video you can see the dust propelled into the air some distance from the explosion. I suspect this is from the shock wave traveling through the ground.


In the still picture of mine below you can see pieces of shredded milk jugs which have been propelled beyond the expanding “ball” of fuel and that most of the fuel has been ignited. The flares mounted on the rebar and sticks are entirely engulfed in the fireball.


The following pictures is one of the most interesting fireball photos I have ever seen. Usually it is mushroom shaped or even flattens out more than the picture above. But this ball of fire barely touches the ground and is a decent approximation of a sphere. I’m not sure what the white streamers coming out of the fire are. Perhaps pieces of burning milk jug or lumps of powdered sugar.


Here, a fraction of a second later, we have the ball of fire suspended in air on what is a probably a column of water vapor from the explosives:


Here, another fraction of a second later, we have the fuel still burning high up in the air and forming a smoke ring:IMG_2701CroppedAdjusted

Watch Ry’s video and see the fire roll around in the sky. It’s amazing:

In the picture below, less than a minute after the explosion, we have Barron standing in the middle of the crater he created. But notice there is no fire on the ground. In years past there were patches of burning fuel on the ground. There was none this year. It all went up into the air.


Another thing, as pointed out by Ry this year and last (edited to add: Ry says the first time was 2011 or earlier), is that nearly all of the flares have been extinguished. Ry is the first person I know who has successfully extinguished road flares with gasoline.

Don’t try this at home. Come to Boomershoot 2016 instead.

Quote of the day—Barb L.

Your pants were dirtier than any of my kids clothes ever were.

Barb L.
May 4, 2015
[Boomershoot is dirty. If it rains then it is muddy. If it is dry then it is dusty. This year it was dusty.

She put my jeans through the washer twice.

She described her shower Saturday evening as “epic” with a river of muddy water flowing down the drain.

Here is her rental car the morning after Boomershoot:


But some people think the joy things like this brings makes it all worthwhile:


Barron (standing in the crater from the fireball crater he created) seemed to think so:


But that is just part of the reason of Why Boomershoot.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Kim Huffman-Scott

They are getting too fast and I couldn’t count.

Kim Huffman-Scott
Boomershoot Target Production Manager
May 2, 2015
[I put Kim in charge of target production this year. This is one of the best decisions I have ever made. It dramatically reduced my work load and stress level. But most of all she did an awesome job.

The production line is usually running for about 13 or 14 hours to produce the targets for Boomershoot. This time it was less than eight hours. Part of this was the enthusiastic “army of people” (as Barb describes it) there to help. But Kim figured out how to put them all to work and they listened to her.

Kim quickly identified bottlenecks and fixed them. This is a dynamic problem because it depends on which size targets are being produced and who is doing which job at the time. She  also would anticipate when to change the line to a new target type. This is tough because the production line may have 10 to 20 targets in various stages of completion but you only have a good count of the number of actually completed crates. The following video gives you a clue of what it was like. It doesn’t show the people outside folding the boxes.

As the production crew cranked up the production rate it became more and more difficult to get a snapshot of completed crates and targets in production. This resulted in today’s QOTD. She told me this a few minutes after I took the video above.—Joe]

Boomershoot 2015 status

The first day of Boomershoot 2015 is over.

From the participants viewpoint things are going quite well. The weather is good with moderately warm temperatures, no precipitation, and no to light winds. The Boomers seem to be detonating well if there are solid hits.

From the staff viewpoint things things are pretty good. The biggest hiccup was when the first thing this morning Barb’s rented car locked the doors automatically with the keys inside along with the cash box, wristbands, and the check-in list for the Precision Rifle clinic. This was 15 minutes before people were scheduled to check in. Barb was quite upset and I was almost unable to convince her it was going to be okay. She called the rental agency who had roadside assistance out in a little over an hour and unlocked her car. I set her up with my laptop and the electronic version of the check-in list. No wrist bands and the laptop was a little more awkward than crossing people off the list with a pen, but she got through it just fine.

Another minor issue was the private fireball didn’t work the first or second time. There was a combination of problems. Some of it was improper construction and some shooter problems as well. The third attempt at a fireball was acceptable:

There were some injuries. I twisted my ankle, Barb scraped her back a little bit, and we saw some moderately bad sunburns.

For me it is difficult to see anything but the flaws but I had several people tell me how much fun they were having and how great an event it is, and what I overhear and see on their faces confirm this. This is what makes Boomershoot worthwhile to me.

Boomershoot prep

I arrived on site about 2130 on Sunday night. I unloaded the stuff out of my vehicle into Boomershoot Mecca and reloaded it with my tent, sleeping bags, blankets, pads, pillows, and other stuff. I set up the tent using the headlights to see and I was finally in bed by 2340. The next morning I assembled some shelves and tidied up a bit until it was time to start work. I considered working from “home” at Mecca but reconsidered when my fingers went numb. It was 34F in there so I went to brother Doug’s house and spent the morning working from there.

WP_20150427_06_11_42_Pro 2

The afternoon and evening at Mecca was nice. I rearranged a few things for a better work flow (the computers are for work and personal use):


I then made the test targets for the experiment I completed last night.


Yesterday morning while it was still to cold to work I went for a walk and take rubber bands and empty milk jugs to the Taj. I discovered a squatter in the explosives magazine:


It was ejected from the premises and the carpet cleaned up as best I could with a hand broom:


I left some treats in case they or some relatives decided to visit again:


I then proceeded on to the tree line where most of the Boomershoot targets are placed and put up some steel targets:


We will paint them before the event.

Today I discovered one of the scales we use for measuring the chemicals for Boomerite was having problems. Putting in new batteries and banging it around didn’t help any. I probably paid $20 for it something like five years ago and it has had problems before. I set it aside and ordered a $300 scale just like the other scale I have from Amazon for next day delivery.

Today I’ll tidy up the work benches in Mecca more and move the ATV and trailer here. I might also turn some of the clumpy (basically fist sized rocks) Potassium Chlorate into powder too. I have a new shipment coming in on Friday but if I can use the old stuff that would be better. The stuff I used for my experiment this week was made from the old stuff so I know it is chemically active if I just reduce it in size appropriately.

Boomershoot is looking good for this year. Even the weather is looking great. No chance of rain and highs in the upper 60s. There will be some winds to make things a little bit challenging but probably nothing that will be insurmountable. The winds start out low and build to a peak about 4:00 PM every day. Plan accordingly.

This is a clue

Last night I mixed up some Boomerite for more tests. I wanted to answer the question as to why it goes dead after some time has passed. I did some tests in January without getting a conclusive clue. Tonight I performed the experiment I suggested in the previous post. I put some of the targets in a cooler and kept them at ice temperature and I kept other targets warm. The targets in January were kept at about 70F for 26 hours. This time the hot targets spent the night wrapped up in two coats on top of a hot water bottle then put out in the sun for the day. I didn’t measure the actual temperature because I just wanted to see if the temperature made a difference.

Another thing I did was that for some of the targets I used plastic baggies for the Boomerite of instead of the shrink wrap on the outside of the boxes. Unfortunately the targets in cold storage got completely soaked when the ice bag leaked. Only the cold stored targets that used zip lock baggies could be tested.

The total storage time from mixing until testing was about 23 hours.

In the results below the number represent the range in yards using my .22 with Stinger ammo that the given result occurred. The estimated velocities for the various ranges at the altitude and temperature I was experiencing are

  • 11 yards => 1455 fps
  • 15 yards => 1429 fps
  • 20 yards => 1397 fps
  • 23 yards => 1378 fps
  • 25 yards => 1366 fps
  • 30 yards => 1335 fps
Stored Sealed In Result
Hot Shrink wrap 23 pop
Hot Shrink wrap 13 dud, 11 pop
Hot Shrink wrap 11 dud
Hot Baggie 23 dud, 12 boom
Hot Baggie 20 pop
Hot Baggie 11 boom
Cold Baggie 23 boom
Cold Baggie 25 boom
Cold Baggie 30 boom

It is very clear the cold storage preserves the Boom. There are also some strong hints the baggie storage may preserve the Boom better than the shrink wrap storage.

One conclusion that could be reached is that I need to make the Taj Mahal into a walk-in refrigerator. As brother Doug said, “That’s inconvenient.” Another is that there is a chemical reaction going on that is accelerated by temperature and that perhaps I should change the recipe such that no such reaction takes place.

As always, more tests are needed.

Boomershoot daffodils

Nine days ago Barb and I were in Idaho and among other things we inspected the daffodils we transplanted nearly two years ago. Last year they were rather disappointing with only a little bit of foliage and almost no blooms. I was concerned they weren’t going to make it. But this year they are looking pretty good:



I don’t know if they will still be blooming for Boomershoot this year but I hope so.

It snowed most of the morning and on the north slopes and higher altitudes it stuck on the ground pretty good:


We unloaded the stakes at the Taj Mahal, then we went to Mecca where I puttered around with Wi-Fi, lights, and shelves while Barb swapped out some fluorescent bulbs for LED bulbs and folded a bunch of target boxes.

Barb also got the conference/dining room at the Orofino Best Western scheduled for Boomershoot 2016. The date will be announced at the Boomershoot 2015 dinner on May 2nd, just 17 days from now.

Everything is on track for great Boomershoot this year. There are still positions available if you would like join us for an event you will never forget.

Vampire season again

Last weekend Barb and I made our annual trip to Lowe’s for Boomershoot supplies. Here are 825 18” stakes in the back of my vehicle:


As is usual I was prepared in case someone asked what I was going to do with all the stakes. The clerk did not disappoint me.

Clerk: What are you going to do with all the stakes?

Joe: Vampires.

Clerk: That makes as much sense as many of the other things people tell us.

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]

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.