Palouse Practical Shooters 2001 Boomershoot
The event was April 29th, 2001.
All the targets were of increased sensitivity such that 1350 fps projectiles would detonate them most of the time. Previous Boomershoots had required 2000 fps projectiles and suffered from a number of solid hits without detonations.
Some of the things that I remember:
Time for me to gripe.
There were numerous people that apparently couldn't remember the number one safety rule. Always point the gun in a safe direction. What part of ALWAYS don't you understand? I don't care if the bolt IS open! Move the gun case to the firing line, and move the gun in/out of the case with the gun pointed down range the entire time. If you are going to lean the gun on the gun rack then point the muzzle in the air before you leave the line, then move to the rack with the muzzle pointed in the air the entire time. I agree with Cris, below, the safety violations were much more common this year. I had planned to work with my teenage helpers teaching them to RO on Saturday, but the rain changed that. I'll find a way next year. You will have Range Nazi's with an attitude.
Several of the reflectors were shot up. I don't think this was an accident. They were much higher than the targets. Had I checked it out before we pulled up the shooting position markers I probably could have figured out which shooting position those shots came from.
I probably didn't make it as clear as I should have, and I'll do better next year, but please stay on the gravel road as much as possible and don't take a short cut across the field. Particularly the short cut across the little creek. I have to go back and fill in those ruts over the wet spot some of you guys drove through.
From: Cris Decker
I wanted to thank you for another event well done.
Gene and Mike's clinic was interesting and informative. They didn't cover a lot of the same material that was covered last year so very little was redundant. My 16 year old nephew who has zero formal firearms instruction (other than last year's clinic) was able to reap many helpful points from the class session as well as from the coaching on the line. But there was also enough information to keep the benchrest guy's attention too. With that heavy rain your cousin's shop was a perfect back up plan. I can't think of how to make the clinic better, other than making it a three day event or getting your order in for sunshine a little earlier. I hope you keep this portion of any future boomershoots.
Sunday was about as good as it gets, and thankfully Monday's weather wasn't scheduled a day earlier! I really liked the increased target sensitivity and size at longer ranges. Bravo on project nitro. My only target suggestion is to add 1/2 of the targets during lunch; with all those shooters the target depletion seemed pretty rapid, even at the longer ranges (or maybe time just flies when you are having that much fun). The catering was a nice touch too.
My only criticism is in the safety department. With shots fired after a ceasefire called, the occasional muzzle pointed north at a low angle, and uncased guns walking back and forth from the shooting positions I think there's room for improvement. I don't know if it was because of the attendance difference (twice as many shooting positions?) or some other factor, but I felt like we'd slipped a notch in the safety department over last year. Your crew did a great job, but the shooters could improve.
Again, thank you Joe and round of applause for your helpers & caterers for a job well done. See you next year? I certainly hope so.
Note from Joe:
I had over 210 targets on the range. More than ever before.
The Konkolville Motel only promised special rates until February 14th.
After that it was normal rates for everyone.
From: Don Kaag
Nice to meet you. The shoot was great, and all of the work you put in to set it up was apparant. It was perfect to stand behind the line and inhale the smell of ball powder being burned in mass quantities!
Next year I will be prepared, and show up with a couple of hundred rounds of reloaded 7.62mm, and enjoy the day. I did get some rounds through my M1A, but I didn't get to shoot them... I leant my scoped piece to Ryan, my fellow Marine Scout/Sniper, as the M1A he had with him was iron-sighted only. Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed cleaning it when I got home, even though I didn't get to send the rounds down-range myself. Something about the feel and smell of military bore cleaner on my hands has an atavistic appeal.
Helping out as ad hoc range monitor was fun. I'd be willing to do the same next year, so long as it wouldn't prohibit me from cranking off some rounds occasionally.
Congratulations on a class shoot.
From: Will DeRuyter
GOOD MORNING, Joe !
Zack Holloway & I arrived home safely, unpacked the gear & are back to the weekly grind. The pleasant memories of the weekend will linger for quite a while.
We especially appreciate how safe and well organized this event was. The young people you had helping were impressive for their attentiveness and efficiency. Most of all, we liked the caliber of participant you attractive. Zack & I didn't meet a single one we wouldn't like to have as a friend. In fact, we'll look forward to seeing several of these folks at other events in the near future.
Most of all, we appreciate the contribution this event makes to the advancement of the shooting sports and the preservation of our Second Amendment rights. You're making a major contribution.
Many thanks !
From: Behrens, Ronald W
Thanks for hosting such a great event. It was really fun and informative, weather notwithstanding.
You did a lot of work to be able to host that many shooters. Your efforts and hospitality are duly appreciated.
From: Thyng, Michael D
Bob Coval and I had a wonderful time. You throw a heck of a party.
We only wish we could have shot better.
We learned so much and met so many great shooters that it is an event not to be missed. I hope you do it again next year.
Please don't regard our early departure in any way as a sign we were dissatisfied or unhappy. We came, we exploded, we left. We left at 1:30 and got home at 8:30. Wow. Lots of travel time. Fatigue, and distance do play a role in certain decisions.
Your "range nazi" was great. He performed admirably and so did the other staff members who helped keep things running. Thanks for arranging for the hamburger man to show up. Great to have hot food.
We got a lot of tips and have lots of room for rifle accuracy growth. This was a fine, fine event.
I'm going to put you on the club mailing distribution so you know what we tell the members about you and the shoot.
-- Mike, of Bob and Mike
From: Bill England
Joe, I just wanted to thank you for organizing and hosting the shoot. It was remarkably well run and organized, and you have obviously given this a tremendous amount of thought and effort. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves immensely, yet the range safety was excellent.
I also appreciate your arranging for the training session on Saturday.
Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you next year.
From: Greg Clifford
Thanks for letting us participate at the boomershoot. My wife and I had a blast.
Obviously, it is no small task to organize such an event, but you and your people did a marvelous job. Directions to the site were great, the signs were helpful, the staff was courteous and even the toilets smelled good.
Thanks again for putting on such a fun event. I hope that we can do it again next year.
Lewiston Morning Tribune, April 26th, 2001.
Boomer shoot scheduled Sunday near Cavendish
Some 60 shooters will be attending the event from as far away as Illinois, Wyoming, and California. Spectators are welcome. The shooting will start at 10 AM and continue until mid-afternoon. Ear and eye protection for spectators is highly recommended.
For more information call the chief organizer, Joe Huffman, on his cell phone at 206-499-7279 or visit the Web site www.boomershoot.org. There will be signs posted at Cavendish directing shooters and spectators to the site of the Boomer Shoot.
There are 30 shooting positions. Each position costs $40.00 ($35.00 if you are Palouse Practical Shooter member). If you want to share a position with another shooter (or two maximum for a total of three shooters at one position) they may sign up for $25 ($20.00 for PPS members) additional. Example (assuming none are PPS members), you and your partner share one position, that would be a total of $65.00. $40.00 for the first position and $25.00 for the additional person. If three people share a position, then it would be a total of $90.00.
Send your entries to the following address:
NOTE: The '1916' on the zip code is essential! It goes to the wrong post office without that.
Include a signed piece of paper with either the NRA's three rules (or see Minimum Gun Safety Rules) or Jeff Cooper's four rules of safe gun handling. Memorize them. You will be asked to repeat them (take your pick, either the NRA or Jeff Cooper version) when you show up. Think of this as an I.Q. test. You don't want to look stupid and go home without shooting. Pass the test. You will be expected to follow the rules at all times. If you don't follow them you will become a non-shooter for the remainder of the day. Refunds for safety violations will be very unlikely.
I expect the event will sell out by the middle of March (see Status for the latest word), in the event that it doesn't all entries must be received by April 27th. Make the check out to Joe Huffman. You MUST have web access and an email address. Also, I need phone numbers so that I can contact you at the last minute (no later than 9:00 PM Friday night, the 27th) in case the event must be canceled for some reason.
If you want to attend the Precision Rifle clinic on Saturday you must contact Eugene Econ directly.
See General Information for more details on what to bring and expect on site.
Boomershoot t-shirts will be for sale this year. The image will be essentially the same as the one as at the top of this page. Spectators and participants will be able to purchase a limited number on-site. To ensure you will have one (or ten, whatever), send email to me (JoeH@boomershoot.org) by Tuesday April 10 with the quantity, size, and color you want. The colors available will be white, 'ash' (mixture of gray and white) and 'sand' (a light brown). Sizes are M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL, and 4XL. The price will be $12.00 per shirt.
I have received email from Eugene saying that he will be putting on another one of his well received precision rifle seminars on Saturday, April 28th, the day before the shoot. See the clinic details for how to sign up. Sign up early -- it is limited to a small number of people and you don't want to miss this!
It's all over. No injuries, no arrests, no stuck vehicles. I drove to Seattle early Monday morning. I slept 14 hours that night. Today is Thursday, I'm back home and finally ready to start talking about it again. See the the final report and pictures for all the interesting stuff.
Yesterday I made the the modifications to the field such that we have some small berms to shoot into. The ones in the middle of the field at about 275 yards are not as big as I wanted but the ground was just too wet to work on it any more that I did. It should be good enough. I may get a chance to do some more on Friday. It depends on the weather and the availability of the tractor.
If you plan to go out into the target area to view the targets you have tormented and the craters you have made you should bring shoes you don't mind getting wet and muddy.
The creek level was down enough that I could cross without getting particularly wet even without the bridge. Unless we get a bunch of rain it should be fine even if the bridge doesn't fit on it's foundation.
We are now near enough that I have some confidence in the weather forecasts being close to correct for the weekend. My expectations are:
At this time there is virtually nothing that is likely to prevent us from having a successful shoot.
I went on site again today. I repaired the foundation for the bridge:
I still don't know for certain if the bridge I made will actually fit on the foundation, but if it does we will have a much better way of crossing the creek this year. Last year was really the pits. A lot of us had wet feet for two days.
The weather was great! 68F with clear skies and just a hint of a breeze. There are supposed to be showers for the next five days though. If it stops then and clears up we will be fine, but we really need some dry weather for a few days to dry up the ground enough for me to move some dirt around. It's still very wet.
April 16, 2001.
You can't really tell from this picture, but there is still a lot of water standing on top of the ground down in the flat on both sides of the creek. This will make it hard for the workers to stay dry and the explosions will leave big craters in the field that need to be filled afterwards.
I was on site again yesterday. It was very wet but with some help from a friend I am ahead of schedule on preparations. The only thing that I am concerned about now is the weather. The forecast for the next ten days is for showers and clouds. We really need some warm weather to dry things out. I have modified the target distribution based on new data about the magazine capacity and the number of shooting slots we have this year.
I checked with Gene Econ, there are still slots available for the precision rifle clinic.
I had one cancellation and let some more people in after adding a couple more slots. I still have a waiting list and am unlikely to be able to accommodate anyone else unless I get more people that cancel. If you cancel I don't have problem with giving refunds until a week before. I have plenty of people willing to take your slot. One guy joking said he would put his slot up for auction on eBay. After April 21st I'll have to see if people are available to show up on such short notice. Send email and I'll let you know.
I was on site yesterday. 32F, snowing hard, with nearly an inch on the ground. I'm sure glad I scheduled this event later than last year (April 15/16). There is still plenty of time for it to dry out, but the weather is going have to cooperate. The long range forecast is not good, but that only goes out about 10 days. We are 20 days away. You might start thinking about bringing good rain and mud gear, I doubt snowshoes will be required.
If it dries out enough I'm hoping to push up some berms instead of using the hay bales as I mentioned on 3/24/01. This would allow the use of FMJ bullets at all ranges. My Dad and brother are skeptical that it will dry out enough to be able to do any earth moving in time so don't count on it.
I'm planning on quite a few more targets than specified below. But I don't know if I can get them all made in time. I have a new method of mixing the materials that is a little better than what I have used in the past. It's still a lot of hours though. It depends on what other things come up that require my attention and of course the weather (mixing materials in a blizzard slows me down some). I should be able to get at least as many as specified below. Perhaps a somewhat different number of the various sizes however, depending on how they fit in the magazine.
I have people wanting 12 slots on the waiting list now.
The targets I had stored in the magazine for four weeks detonated with .22LR without problems. They also appeared to be safe to handle. I'm very pleased with the latest mixture. See Project Nitro April 1 update for the details.
The ground was very wet from all the rain on the previous day. Too wet to do any ground modifications. If it dries out enough in the next couple weeks I'm considering using a dozer to push up some berms rather than buy the hay to use as a backstop. The hay would have to be thrown away afterwards because of all the lead and copper fragments that would be in it. The berms would be more permanent and more certain to be a good backstop.
I have people wanting ten slots on the waiting list now.
I went to the site today and did some tests using hay bales to stop ricochets from when the ground is hit at a shallow angle. It works with hollow point and soft point hunting bullets. I tested both match grade and varmint type bullets. It did not work with FMJ bullets. Anyone shooting FMJ ammo will be restricted to targets on the steep hillside over 500 yards away. Also, because of the concern about ricochets and after a close inspection of the range I have rearranged the target distribution some.
Although it was a bit wet and there was still some snow in places it would have been possible to have held the shoot with the ground conditions present. Except for heavy rains the day before and during the event weather should not be a concern from this point forward.
One of the bridge pillars suffered some minor damage with the spring runoff. If it doesn't get much worse it shouldn't be a problem.
I am working on some gun racks to lean your guns up against when you aren't using them. I hope these eliminate the temptation to lay them on the ground pointing the wrong direction -- like one person did last year.
Great news! I have arranged for someone to cater the event for Saturday and Sunday lunch. If there are enough campers or other people there early on Sunday morning they will provide breakfast too. The prices will be quite reasonable.
The event is overbooked by four positions. I doubt there will be that many cancellations so the chances of new entries getting in this year are slim. About the only chance is if you have friend who is already entered and is willing to share their position with you. There is a limit of three shooters sharing a single slot.
At last check, a few days ago, there were still a few precision rifle clinic positions open. I expect this to fill up soon as well.
The event is full. In fact it is slightly overbooked. The last entry was for two slots and I only had one available. There are two other people that said they sent their entries, but I have not received them yet. So, most likely, I am overbooked by three slots at this time. I expect there will be a cancellation or two as the time gets closer. If you want on the waiting list send me some email: JoeH@boomershoot.org.
There are still open slots for the Precision Rifle Clinic. Contact Eugene Econ directly for details.
I had a nice chat with Crystal from the ATF on Wednesday. It was routine stuff about the explosives magazine. It is supposed to be inspected every year. She also had some concerns over the plastic I was using for shelves in the magazine and wanted me to use wood or cardboard (static electricity concerns) instead. I agreed to fix it. Some of her fellow agents had expressed an interest in attending ("It looks like a LOT of fun!"). I told her they were quite welcome to attend but they needed to get their entries in immediately. As of this time I have not received them and the best they will be able to do is get on the waiting list.
As of today there are still three slots open. But one additional person said they just sent in their entry. Two other people have sent me email saying, "Sign me up!" but have yet to actually send me their money. Money talks, the others walk (or in this case -- watch). I expect there will be a couple last minute cancellations as things come up unexpectedly. Last year there was a biking accident, another person unexpectedly received some baby goats that could not be left unattended, and someone else became ill. Send your entries in and I'll hold the checks of those that are put on the waiting list.
There will be at least two people with .50 BMG rifles, and at least one person with a full auto rifle. I'm thinking of requiring these rifles to be fired from a different location close by. Putting them on the same line as everyone else might be a bit rude. I will almost for certain further restrict the .50 BMG's to beyond 525 yards to eliminate concerns over bullet bounce from the shallow angle at the shorter ranges. At the shorter ranges I will have some sort of backstop capable of handling the bounce of the smaller calibers.
I did more testing of various mixtures (see the March 3 update of project Nitro). The 40% and 45% nitromethane racing fuel appears to work the best. Even with an ambient temperature of 35 F .22LR with a target velocity of about 1350 fps will detonate them. Unless something totally unexpected happens between now and the middle of April that is going to be the mixture used for this event.
I have made special arrangements with the Konkoville motel in Orofino for Boomershooters. You must make your reservations by February 14, 2001 to take full advantage of them. See the information on accommodations for more details.
Slightly more than half of the shooting positions have been taken. There are still some left, but don't expect them to last too much longer. I expect it will fill up by the middle or end of March.
I have modified the target distribution slightly. This was because they would fit in the explosives magazine more easily. I want to minimize the number of targets being built on Sunday just before the shoot.
The bridge pillars were inspected yesterday (still under snow) and they appear to be holding up fine. I was concerned they may topple during the winter with the heavy water flows in the creek. The real test will be with the spring runoff, but for now everything appears to be fine.
I have all the target containers required and most of the chemicals. A few more experiments will probably be made to test out some suggestions made by various people. But there is nothing that can even be remotely considered a blocking issue.
Eugene Econ just sent me the details on his precision rifle clinic to be held the day before the Boomershoot. Check it out and sign up!
I have decided not to do the night-time targets. It appears to be a lot of work and time is something I am always short on.
Good news. I did some more work on the bridge across the creek last weekend. Assuming the concrete block supports don't wash out this winter or next spring during the annual 'flood' we will have a way to easily get across the creek.
Mixed news. I have some novel targets that I expect will be interesting at night. I need to do some tests at night to make sure are as interesting as I expect. They will go off without using tracers (even with relatively low velocity .22 LR!), but I'm not sure the amount of labor will be worth it.
Bad news. I did some experiments with tracers to make sure the ricochets from the ground were ending up in a safe place. The 700 yard target area was not safe. I will be moving targets a little bit closer and will be doing some more experiments next spring when the ground conditions are a little closer to the actual shooting conditions. I expect we will only be able to go out to about 675 yards.
I'm relatively pleased with the latest mixture I have. It detonates in cold weather (45F) with .22LR (CCI Mini-Mag +V) with a velocity at the target of about 1350 fps. I have a target distribution worked out that I believe will have something for everyone. Some easy ones at 200 yards as well as a bunch of big boomers that will be a bit more challenging out at the more distant ranges. See my probability estimates for the relative challenges for the different size targets at various ranges.
I'm still working on some evening/night-time targets. I'm not sure that is going to work out.
[After the event note: There actually were 115 1/2-pint targets on the range on Sunday. The extras were put out at the 285 and 350 yard lines during the lunch break. Plus there were 20 used at the clinic on Saturday. Plus six were used for the teenage staff to shoot after everyone else was done. All the other numbers are correct.]
At the 200 yard line there will be two targets for each of the 30 shooting positions. Beyond that there will be areas which will be "free-for-all". I ask that you only take one or two before moving out to a further distance. As was the case for the April 2000 event there will be an IPSC target at the various target sites for use in ranging.
With some rare exceptions all the previous events used 1/2 pint targets. The 2-quart targets have eight times the amount of explosives of the 1/2 pint targets. These should be easily heard five to seven miles away. Cars 1/2 mile away will shake. Dirt and smoke will expand skyward as it detonates. Almost two seconds later from over 650 yards away you will feel the powerful thump from the tips of your toes to the top of your head.
Simple target stands.
Last year we had a lot of problems trying to tape the targets to the stakes in a timely manner. I'm going to try something different this year. The targets will be placed in simple stands stapled to the stakes. The target stands will be made up and stapled to the stakes the day before by my teenage helpers. I also have hopes of the stands containing chemical spill from grazing misses better too.
These are the bare minimum which you must follow while at the event. You MUST have them (or the equivalent thereof) memorized. Other rules will be explained at the shooters meeting before you take your gun out of its case.
I ran some numbers on my ballistics program. Assuming 3000 feet above sea level, 45 F for the ambient temperature, then the 'cutoff velocity' of 1350 fps for successful detonation would be:
With the temperature on the hot end of things (85 F) with the corresponding increase in air pressure (2900 feet above sea level) associated with clear, hot weather, we end up with the following:
In general terms we get about 50 to 75 extra yards of range just from having a warm day versus a cold day on the range. And except for the .223 on a cold day we get past the limits of our range. So this time it appears that if you hit it with something fairly reasonable, it will detonate.