Boomershoot 2004 Preparation
May 6, 2004
Ben, Colin, Kim, Paul, Rolf, Ry, Tim
and I worked on target production. Ry's kids, Aaron, Arden, Anna, and his
father put in hundreds of stakes for the targets.
Ben loading some six inch targets.
Kim, Colin, Ben, Tim and Rolf assembling targets.
The stake pounding crew takes a break.
Empty stakes ready for targets.
The magazine is almost full and we are ready for the next day of Boomershooting.
May 4, 2004
Ry, Paul, and I made a quick trip to the range. We did some tests on
the targets and found the .22LR would set off the mix when we put it in the old
style containers but not the new cardboard ones. Then we tested the new
targets with a .223 at 380 yards. The all detonated. That must mean
that the thick cardboard affects the .22LR more than the .223. All things
are a go with the new targets. We go home happy.
May 2, 2004
Ry, Paul and I went out to test our new tools and build targets.
We got a little bit of a late start when Kim didn't come home last night and I
had to go find the van to move stuff from it to the pickup. During the night
someone had sideswiped the van which was parked on the street in front of a
friend's house. Then Tidyman's didn't have any sandwiches made up and I had to
wait for them to be built.
It took a while to set things up and move things out of the shed so we could
have room to work. We didn't really get building targets until about 11:00. Then
one of the grinders died. I called Barb who was coming out with Tim and Lisa (to
deliver their camping trailer) later in the afternoon and asked her to buy two
new ones. I got the truck with the rest of the ammonium nitrate on it and we off
loaded what we could from that. But because we were running behind schedule on
the consumption of AN we didn't have enough room for it. Barb showed up with the
grinders about 15:30. We used the new grinders with great success for about 45
minutes until one of them died too. We built targets until 19:00 or so, off
loaded all the AN we could squeeze into any decent sized container we could
find. The AN had absorbed some moisture and made a mess of the truck bed in
places so we had to put the rest of the probably 200 or 300 pounds of AN in
sacks and use a pressure washer to clean up the truck. Back to the field with
the pickup to load up the stuff that needed to be cleaned and had to come home.
Made it home about 23:45. Cleaned up the mixing stuff and was in bed by 23:58.
This morning another grinder was dead. Three out of four died. The cheapest and
most difficult to use one survived.
Also had problems with fireballs not working and the mix not detonating with a
.22LR. We're going back out on Wednesday to do more tests and try and get our
production line going. Then get caught up with the production we didn't get done
Ry while at the magazine building targets.
Notice the truck with the ammonium nitrate in the background.
Ry and Paul both put in long hours preparing targets.
Joe and the empty magazine.
Paul and Ry working on targets.
Tim and Lisa checking things out after delivering their camping trailer.
Joe cleaning the damp ammonium nitrate out of the truck at night.
April 25, 2004
T-shirts are all in. All the targets have their one end put on.
I purchased what I think are the last items needed: stakes, lime, concrete
blocks, rubber bands, labels, and badges. Next Sunday we start doing
target final assembly and storage.
April 16, 2004
I picked up the t-shirts today. They got the order wrong. All the
general t-shirts had STAFF on them, all the staff t-shirt did not. I
salvaged what I could and they took the rest back. They should be ready by
April 10, 2004
Barb and I went to the farm to deliver the potassium chlorate
stored in our garage. We dumped off the 550 pounds
of potassium chlorate, rearranged a few things, measured power cord lengths (I
need to buy some short extension cords), measured the output of the solar cells
(about 180 mA at 3:00 PM). Barb convinced me to lie down on the ground and just
experience the fresh air of spring for a few minutes. It was very pleasant, we
love the springtime in this area. I put a new lock on the shed, then we drove to
Mom and Dad's place, gave Doug his lock back, said hi to my parents and borrowed
the fertilizer truck to go buy the ammonium nitrate. I wanted about 2500 pounds
and because of their lack of control in the loading of the truck ended up with
2600 pounds. That is fine, I will be able to store the excess for next year. We
drove back to the shed with the truck and off loaded about 700 or 800 pounds
into the empty containers. We ran out of time and drove back to visit with Mom
and Dad some before we came back home. Ry and I will go back on May 1 or 2 to
build a bunch of targets and off load the rest of the AN.
March 19, 2004
I went out to the site again today. Considering the late start I got and all
the talking I did with the neighbors when I got there I got a lot done. Before I
left the 6" and 8" tubes (but not the ends for them) were delivered. Two
pallets, I don't know how many boxes, but there were a lot of them. Xenia
modeled for me from the top of one of the pallets:
I loaded up the pickup with stuff that was ready to go out on site and filled
the hole (plus some) in the garage that the stuff in the pickup left. If I
hadn't been able to drive out to the shed I would have had to leave the stuff on
the pickup until I could. The garage is very full now.
The ATFE inspector gave me permission to use the magazine. Another
hurdle successfully crossed!
Xenia finished the gluing of one end on the 4" tubes today (see the picture
below). As soon as the disks
come in for the 6" and 8" tubes she can start on those.
The lock on the shed was malfunctioning. I think it corroded internally. My bolt
cutters were locked in the shed. I borrowed Dad's and a different lock and went
I finished all the electrical work in the shed I needed to get done before the
event. There is still some stuff I want to do, but it's not critical.
I modified four of the crates so they would fit around the bolts in the floor of
the magazine. Then I put all the crates in the magazine to make sure they would
fit as planned. Everything worked. 70 crates will go in with good ventilation
The tree didn't come down as I had hoped. Doug figured we would have a lot more
control over where it went using chain saw and it was too windy when we were out
The grass is growing on the berm we shoot into, but I didn't see anything coming
up on the shooting area berm. I may need to replant.
I arranged to borrow an ATV and a trailer for the event. This will allow us to
deliver the ton of explosives in increments of a few hundred pounds to the
shooting areas, including 1400 pounds up a steep hill, without using a heavy
I shot the different ranges the targets will be with a high quality range
finder and got better numbers for the different target locations. The
distribution table has been updated to indicate this
new data as well as putting labels on the ranges in the
picture of the range.
March 12, 2004
The potassium chlorate shipment arrived today. This is THE critical
item I always worry about getting; it is now safely in hand.
March 6, 2004
Press releases are out. See the press release
March 4, 2004
I forgot to report that the tests on the new mixture was mostly a failure.
We couldn't even duplicate Ry's results from the previous week so we are going
to use last year's mix.
I have confirmed orders on all the items with lead times and potential
scheduling conflicts. Chemicals and containers for the targets will be
here within about 10 days. The portable toilets (one wheelchair
accessible, one normal) will be there Thursday through Sunday. The
caterer, Freeman Creek Concessions, will be there Friday through Sunday
The ATFE inspector, Susan, will be here to
inspect the new magazine in a few days. Immediately upon passing the
inspection we will be able to store targets. Everything is looking good
except for the weather. It snowed a bunch yesterday and will snow again
tonight. But repeat participants know to expect unpleasant weather.
And things could change in the next two months too (this optimism would get a
huge laugh from my son who thinks he could auction off the selection of
Boomershoot weekend on EBay to someone that wanted a guarantee of rainy
March 1, 2004
The clinic, as expected, filled up. I received an email from Eugene
Tell the folks to write me an e-mail asking to be on the waiting list. No
money is necessary. I will get hold of them in a first come first serve basis
and they can pay me at the clinic.
February 29, 2004
We are going to the range today to do some more tests with the new explosive
mix. We need to make it a little more sensitive. We are close, but
not quite there yet.
I canceled the Google Word Ads. There was virtually no response and I
didn't like paying anti-gun bigots my money.
Overture.com has a similar system which
includes MSN, Yahoo, Altavista and some other search engines and is doing quite
well in terms of getting clicks and increasing the traffic to boomershoot.org.
February 22, 2004
It was a big week in entries. 12 of the 20 slots for the
are taken now. 21 of the Friday Boomershoot slots are taken which puts
that event as full as it was last year at the middle of April. 22 of the
Sunday Boomershoot slots are taken. Last year 30 slots were taken by
this time. So on the whole it's running about the same number of entries
as last year when Friday and Sunday are combined.
Ry and Lyle did some tests with a new mixture today. It is reported to
be MUCH more "vigorous" than the old mix. It's not quite as sensitive so
we have to do some tweaking and more testing before we can plan on using it.
February 15, 2004
I went out to the magazine site yesterday. It survived the heavy snows
just fine. I was pretty worried about it but everything looked good.
My son and I finished off the five minutes worth of work left that I know is
required by the ATFE, there might still be some
more required but I won't know that until inspection time next month and I
expect it will be minor if anything. And getting it done prior to needing
the storage space shouldn't be a problem.
A bunch of UltiMAK entries came in yesterday. Glad to see it is getting
some attention. I think having a few more people will make it more fun for
There are now 17 of the Friday Boomershoot, 7 of the UltiMAK, and 20 of the
Sunday Boomershoot slots filled. With 2.5 months left I expect the UltiMAK
event will fill up, not sure about the other two. It depends on how many
shooting positions will be available in May, which depends on the weather in
April and early May. Also Kim duToit
started running a banner ad on his website. I'm getting about four hits a
day from my ad on the Shotgun News website and about 60 hits a day from Kim's
site. I expect Kim's will taper off some after the initial burst, but
still I've received 191 total from Kim this month and 113 from SGN. The
search engine ads for MSN, Yahoo, and others are just now showing up too.
I haven't done a web report recently but I expect there is a real spike in the
traffic. The entry form is being downloaded pretty frequently too.
February 13, 2004
I have 16 slots filled on Friday and 20 filled on Sunday. This is
actually a little ahead of last year, although my impression was it was slower
than last year. I have a lot more slots available this year so I shouldn't
be selling out at the end of this month like I did last year unless something
really unusual happens. The UltiMAK event has
three slots filled.
February 11, 2004
I made it clear on the entry form and other places that mothers shoot for
free on Sunday.
Google is hassling me about have an ad for "gun and/or ammo". They
disallowed some of my keywords and phrases. I'm rather annoyed but am
keeping my cool (in public anyway) until I get some more information on their
We will probably do a press release about the Mother's Day event and maybe
the Google bigotry as well.
February 6, 2004
The Google word ad is out now. The
American Rifleman ad will appear in another couple of weeks.
I got a bunch of entries last night but haven't responded to them yet.
Just a few more and I will have enough to order all the long lead time
February 4, 2004
Several people have told me "the check is in the mail". Including a guy
from Pennsylvania. This will be our first participant from this state.
I got an email from someone suggesting the targets have various color stripes
or other markings on them to aid in the spotter/shooter dialog. Good
suggestion. We knew it was a problem and planned to put up colored or marked
stakes of some sort in the target area to use as landmarks. But this would be
even further help.
January 31, 2004
Entries are coming in faster now. Sign up soon if you want
The banner ad
generating hits, as is mention of the event on
http://www.kimdutoit.com (almost as many
hits in the first 17 hours as SGN has produced in two weeks). Kim
and his family plan to attend this year. Kim maintains an awesome gun
positive (putting it mildly) blog. Check it out.
Xenia (who did most of it
and does neater work than I) and I have put one ends on 250 of the 4" targets.
That's almost enough for one day for this size target.
January 18, 2004
I tested a number of different glues on the lids for the 4"
targets over the last week or so. I found a couple that worked great and
chose the one that was the easiest to apply with the least noxious fumes.
My youngest daughter, Xenia, has the day
off from school tomorrow and will be putting one of the ends on them.
January 7, 2004
The lab where I work canceled work today because of the snow
(about one foot -- but here in the desert they don't know what to do with it).
I got all the paperwork on the new magazine done for the
ATFE and sent off to
them. They just need to inspect it and then (assuming I don't need to
correct anything) I can start storing explosives in it. This will be a
huge weight off my shoulders for this next event. We desperately need this
magazine. And it will take care of the problem of making targets in the
wind, rain, and at night. Shelter, power, and lights. It will be so
January 4, 2004
Ry and I left Moscow about 7:30 and we ate corndogs I bought at the gas
station for breakfast. We stopped at the farm and borrowed some tools.
The temperature was about 5F. We went on to the road closest to the site
and realized we forgot to cut some of the wood needed for the walls.
Apparently the corndog messed up Ry's stomach and we drove back to the farm to
cut the wood and give Ry a chance to recover. The electricity was out when
we got back and I used a handsaw to cut the wood. Back to the site and Ry
wanted to try driving on to the magazine, I vigorously vetoed it. There was
nearly twice as much snow as there was two days previously. I snowshoed in
with a full backpack and both hands full of materials and tools. Ry stayed
at the pickup to continue his recovery. I fell twice going over a drifted
over bank that was steeper than I realized. I finished putting the plywood
on one wall before lunch. Ry made it to within sight of the shed before
vomiting twice and went back. We went back to the farm for lunch with my
parents. It had warmed up to 7F. After lunch I finished the other
wall, the floor, and the screens over the vents. All the stuff required by
the ATFE is completed. I walked out to the road and pickup just after
17:00. Ry had reached the point of deciding he needed to go looking for me
and was working on how to do that when I showed up.
January 2, 2004
Another trip to the magazine resulted in only minor
improvements. I got the pickup stuck and had to put on chains and do some
shoveling to get out. I didn't get the pickup all the way to the magazine
and walked the last 100 yards or so. I wasn't able to get the plywood
installed and the rug for the floor was only four feet long instead of six feet
like the label said it was. I did get another battery installed for the
electrical system and installed a chain on the door to keep it from wiping out
the shed if it was opened too far.
December 30, 2003
Quotes on potassium chlorate, and the 6" and 8" targets have
been received and will be ordered after the first of the year.
The magazine made another step closer to completion on Christmas
Eve. The interior plywood was painted and some of it was glued into place.
The ceiling and the door interior were painted with epoxy paint, two more solar
panels were installed, the contents of the shed were rearranged, and a full
pickup load of "stuff" was unloaded. The floor needs to be covered,
screens put over the vents, and the rest of the plywood installed before the
November 15, 2003
We received 1000 of the new 4" targets this week. They
aren't quite what we ordered but I think we can make them work. I'm
certain the shooters will like them better and the people building targets will
like them better. They should be easy to see with the white end caps and
they should be much more durable than the aseptic containers. We need to
do some tests to see how closely we can space them and how well they tolerate
bullet and rock fragments. I have updated the size and distribution of the
targets again. Combining both Friday and Sunday shooting we will be using
over a ton (it's projected at about 2260 lbs) of explosives this year in 1250
targets. That doesn't count the targets consumed in demos and in the
November 1, 2003
Yesterday I installed fluorescent lights in the magazine. They are
powered by a deep-cycle marine battery and a 700 W inverter. The battery
is charged by a solar cell panel mounted on the side of the shed. The inverter
will also power the blenders and mixers used for grinding and mixing the chemicals
for the targets.
On the way home I harvested a deer with my wife's Jeep.
The Jeep was damaged but still functional. The deer will soon have a new
home in my brother's freezer.
I updated the changes page.
If you are interested there are some new pictures of the shooting area and the
October 30, 2003
The new explosive magazine (Ry named it the Taj Mahal) is almost
complete. I just need to line it with plywood and get
ATFE approval to
start storing explosives.
"Taj Mahal" explosives magazine. Click on the picture for high resolution
Photo, magazine design, magazine construction supervision, and paint job by Ry.
Concrete work by Doug, Lowell, Ry, and Joe.
Shed assembly by Doug and Lisa.
October 7, 2003
The concrete pad for the new explosives magazine has been
finished for several days now. The 3000 pound explosives magazine (the
door alone is 600 pounds!) will be delivered within a day or two. I have
come up with a new target. These will hold about four pounds of high
explosives each. Previously the 'big targets' held just two pounds.
I have set the target distributions.
Pound wise, it figures out to more than twice as much explosives as last year.
Numbers wise it's about 15% more targets with essentially the same average
number of expected shots per target. Ry and I will be testing out a new
target idea soon so there may be some changes in the target size and
distribution, but we don't know for certain yet.
September 29, 2003
Ry and I put in a full day "terraforming". We created a
raised shooting area about 25 yards back from where the previous shooting line
was. It isn't the full width (yet) for a couple of reasons. 1) Under
worst case weather conditions between now and the May 2004 event the grass Ry
planted will fail to grow and it will be a mud pile. 2) Insufficient time
to do all the work without risking a divorce (Joe, not Ry, who is already
divorced). See Changes for 2004 for more
September 16, 2003
The concrete for the new magazine will arrive at 9:30 AM today.
July 08, 2004