Boomer Shoot Clinic
Boomer Shoot May 2003
Clinic After Action Report
All Boomer Shoot Clinic attendees:
I will admit that this fourth clinic had weather not unlike the other
three clinics. It was pretty tough to focus in the conditions we had for the
clinic. Cold, cloudy, and rain once again. Although we had some wind, it was
generally of a quarter value but being exposed as we were, the wind fatigued us
more than they blew our bullets around.
I can now note two distinct differences between this 2K3 clinic and
shoot and the clinic and shoot I first worked some five years ago.
First -- shooters and observers are communicating with each other on the
firing line. The fact remains that unless a shooter can spot his own shots –
very unlikely – he needs someone with a decent spotting scope and who can
communicate with the shooter. I was impressed with the dialogue going on
between shooters and their observers, and I encourage you to continue to
practice this type of communication, as it only gets easier. We have come a
long way in a few short years.
Second – and this relates to the first issue – most Boomer Shooters are
bringing equipment to the shoot that is capable of handling the conditions and
standards of the shoot. I believe that most have learned that in order to get
success, you need the equipment that is capable of success. The Boomer Shoot is
pretty technical if you think about it. The targets are quite small compared to
the actual accuracy capabilities of most rifles and ammunition – let alone the
marksmanship ability of the shooter and the ability of the observer to see
bullet trace and communicate clearly with the shooter.
Here are a few comments.
rifle and ammunition combination have to be able to hold the target size at the
range you are shooting; and your bullet needs enough energy down range to
detonate the targets. My last few AARs from pervious Boomer Shoots discuss
rifle and ammunition accuracy and power so I don’t have to preach anymore about
this subject. This being the forth Boomer Shoot I have participated in – my
advice is to stay away from the .223 or 6mm unless you intend to handload the
heavier bullets for these cartridges. I don’t think you will find store bought
bullets in these calibers that will hold the accuracy and have enough energy to
detonate much past 300 yards.
observers’ spotting scope needs to be of a pretty good quality, large, heavy,
and mounted on a very solid stand. Most of the rifles and their ammunition were
fine for the task. A-lot of the spotting scopes weren’t, as many well know from
being unable to see bullet trace. I can’t place the blame on cheap spotting
scopes all together. We had wind that blew the scopes around and I believe many
found out that aluminum or plastic camera tripods didn’t hold the scope
steady. What is the solution in the conditions we were shooting in? That
depends on how much money you want to spend. John and I decided to bring two
big Team Scopes because we knew the conditions were such that we needed a heavy
scope with a large objective lens that could be put on a big tripod to take the
wind. I would have had a hard time with my Kowa because my stand isn’t made for
the rough terrain. A heavy tripod stand would be a better choice for me.
Before you go out and drop money on a spotting scope – you need to do some
serious thinking about what you want from it. For shooting – just remember your
problems at the Clinic or on Sunday’s shoot and go from there. In the North
West – Otto Weber (okweber.com) stocks a number of types of spotting scopes for
observer needs to be able to talk shooter on to a target, dope winds, then give
corrections based on the shooters ‘call’ and what ever directions the observer
gave to the shooter for the shot. The equipment for this task is pretty easy –
a very good, stable, spotting scope. The ability to communicate isn’t as easy.
There are a whole bunch of little Boomers in the various impact areas – all
these little Boomers look alike – many people are firing at Boomers in that
specific impact area so there are is a-lot of dirt being kicked up from misses
that may confuse an observer. To top it off, the observer is usually looking at
the targets with an optic that is of a higher magnification than the scope on
the shooter’s rifle, and the observer is generally not on line with the axis of
the rifle barrel that is being fired. Dialogue between the shooter and observer
pays off in a big way. John Hubbard and I are used to putting a shooter onto a
pretty large target. It is far different trying to put a shooter onto a small
target among other small targets that all look alike. All I can say is to use
logic – macro to micro.
out getting the shooter into the impact area you both want.
something in that impact area that you can both identify.
From a Known Point’. This is one of three ways to call in artillery fire and is
quite effective in communicating where a small boomer is located in relation to
something both the shooter and observer can easily see. Remember, observer,
that your optic is probably much better in seeing things than the scope on the
shooters’ rifle. In the Army some units have spotting scopes with mil dots that
correspond to the mil dots on the shooters’ optic, so bringing a shooter into a
target is made easier as both have the same reference points in their optics.
We aren’t that lucky so we have to use our ability to communicate clearly and
simply. John and I shifted from known points in specific impact areas, in yards
and sometimes feet, to get close to a target. We shifted as such: “Shooter, go
to the 330 yard impact area between the trees.” Shooter gets into center of
sector of said area and says, “Area 3 between the trees at 330 yards.” I then
say; “Shooter, go to the reflector center of sector.” Shooter gets the
reflector and says: “Reflector, center of sector.” To make sure he is looking
at what I am looking at – I question him about what is around said reflector, to
ensure we are looking at the same reflector. Once I know he is looking at what
I am looking at, I then shift him from that known point (the reflector in this
case) in yards or feet in the following manner; “Shooter, from the reflector
shift – right fifteen feet, drop (come closer to us) ten feet -- Boomer target
with orange label.” Remember that I am looking through a 100mm Unertl Team
Scope with a 25X magnification and he is using a 10X optic with a 50 or so mm
objective – and he is in the prone and I am about three feet above him. So –
the point is clear (he, he, he). In fact – with the Boomers it may be best for
the shooter to find one he can easily see then he talks the observer onto that
specific target. He identifies the Boomer and I may or may not question him to
ensure we are looking at the same Boomer. Once I am convinced he is looking at
what I am, I have him put an elevation on the scope and give him a wind call for
his shot. Bang and Boom – he, he, he. Not that simple, but you all now know
what ‘Shift From a Known Point’ is. If you want to know what ‘Grid’ or ‘Polar’
shifts are, then contact me back channel but they are of no value for the Boomer
Shoot unless you are bringing in fire from a battery of howitzers. Bottom line
is this – talk to each other but realize that you both are in different
positions using different optics. You are seeing things differently.
you can’t pick up bullet trace, you can probably see ‘splash’ (dirt kicked up
from the bullet’s impact into the ground). Basing decisions off of bullet
splash isn’t the best way to do things as spotting scopes give very poor depth
perception and as you know – you may not be the only team shooting at the target
you want -- but seeing bullet splash may be the only indicator of where the
bullet went. If you are to work off of bullet splash – my recommendation is to
use ‘bold corrections’ and bracket the target as best as you can. Creeping into
a target will use more ammunition in the long run and may leave you confused
when you get closer and closer but the next shot goes wide. Use bold
corrections when using splash as a indicator – bracket the target – then make a
final correction and let the shooter fire. Being a bit aggressive in the
decision making process will pay dividends here.
ability of shooter – position – seeing – knowing zero – trigger control –
calling shots. I believe everyone across the board showed solid marksmanship
ability. Remember that a position – weather it is supported or unsupported –
points the barrel where you want it pointed. Don’t hesitate to get up and
change things like your body direction, elevate or traverse a tripod or even an
entire shooting bench – shift a sand bag – what ever you need to do to make a
tool point the barrel for you. Do your best to ensure your rifle and whatever
support you are using fit your body – not you forcing your body to fit the
rifle. A natural position for the body means the eyes work better and one has
more confidence in a good shot. More confidence means a better trigger pull.
It all ties in.
shots. I separated this from the above paragraph because I can’t stress how
important it is for you to be able to call your shots – particularly for such
small targets as the Boomers. It is really the only way you can make an honest
correction to zero and your observer is depending on a accurate call from the
shooter so he can give a correction.
Know when to ‘break it off’ and move to another target. I think we are
getting better at this one. Sometimes – you go left, right, high, low and
simply can’t seem to put a bullet into one of those milk cartons. Break it off
after five shots or so and move to another target. Who knows why shots are just
missing but if one persists on one target and continues to miss – his
subconscious is realizing he is missing and he will probably miss more.
Sometimes it is just better to move on to another target.
Already thinking about next year. Next year I plan on bringing out
about 15 individual target stands and arraying them either at Joe’s 200 yard
line (other side of the stream) or at the 330 yard line (between the trees) –
the location will depend on where Joe allows them to be put due to ricochet
areas. Each will have two ‘Shoot-N-C’ targets of sufficient size for the range
and will be used by the shooters to confirm or get a zero from the firing line
on the hill. We will have a small class then zero as needed and go into field
firing on steel prior to blowing up some Boomers.
I intend on giving the shooters more time for coaching by my Assistant
Instructor and myself and I believe this plan will give us another hour or so of
field firing and coaching.
We will see what Joe has in store for next year and go from there.
My thanks for your continued support and I wish you the best until next
year. I am always open to your questions throughout the year so if you have a
question please send me an e-mail or give me a call.
Maj. SF (Ret)
December 14, 2003