Boomershoot AAR

So, four days of driving for two days of shooting.  Was it worth it?


This post will be pic heavy, so everything else is under the fold.

I left Tucson on Thursday a week ago at just after 5AM.  I drove all the way to Brigham City, UT before stopping for the night, about 825 miles and 12 hours, expecting to leave the next morning early and getting to Orofino with enough time to get to the site and set up before field fire on Saturday.  Obviously, that didn’t happen.  Drove through some very pretty country, though.

If I hadn’t been in a hurry, I’d have stopped and taken more pictures.  I got into Orofino late Friday afternoon, got some dinner and went to bed.

Saturday dawned wet.  I made it out to the site and got my position set up:

That’s mine, the one with the silver top and blue sides.  Much nicer than last time.  Here’s the interior view looking downrange:

When Field Fire started, I dragged out the AR and did some shooting on steel at the 385 yard berm, but it became apparent that my folding table was WAY too low for shooting off the bench.  Add to that the fact that my boots and socks were soaked through, the wind was blowing 10-15 miles per hour and the air temperature was about 50ºF, my feet were freezing.  Despite that, the AR was kicking ass.  A double swinger with 4″ square plates was no challenge at that range.  Still, I needed to do something about the table height, so I left about 11:30 and headed back to town.

A clean, dry pair of socks on my feet and a couple of garbage bags between them and my sopping boots, and I headed for the nearest auto parts store for some wiper blades for the truck.  Again, I wish I’d taken pictures.  The auto parts store was also the local gun shop!  Very cool.  After the new blades were installed, I went to the local construction supply and got some 1″ schedule 40 PVC cut for leg extensions for my table.  Back at the range, I found that the extensions were too long, but I found someone with a saw and got them cut down to fit.  I had just enough time to get the .300 Win Mag out and put four rounds downrange before cease-fire was called to set up boomers on the 385 yard berm.  The muzzle blast from my braked .300 did some interesting things to the water on the canopy, even with the muzzle a good 10″ outside.

Once they were ready to resume shooting, I got my spotter back and got dialed in for Sunday.  Before leaving Tucson I’d sighted the rifle at 500 meters (547 yards), but with the air temperature, altitude and humidity changes I needed to sight in again.  A steel torso target at 660 yards by my Leica laser rangefinder was my target.  I fired three sighters, holding high and right to compensate for the range and wind:

 photo 3hits.jpg

After a quick scope adjustment, I held just high and right of the center black paint, a circle of about 6″.  This is a two-shot group:

 photo 2hits.jpg

Yeah, that rifle/ammo combo shoots.  I was ready for Sunday.

I’d signed up for the “high intensity” shoot, cleaning up the 385 yard berm at the end of the afternoon, but I was too wet and cold and wimped out.  I headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

At dinner, I discovered that my spotter that day was our dinner speaker.  The topic of his speech was “paying back” by taking people shooting and inspiring in them the kind of enthusiasm that makes us drive 20 hours to go shoot exploding targets.  During dinner I met several people who thanked me for my work at this blog.  That’s kind of humbling (and ego boosting, to be honest).

Brian informed me that he’d only be able to spot for me in the morning, Sunday as he was going to have to leave in the early afternoon, but I had another volunteer, so I was covered.  I was back on the range in plenty of time to get set up and catch the opening fireball.  The range was well prepared for us:

And the fireball was too:

Per the description, it was 26 gallons of gasoline and 44 pounds of Boomerite.


Skip to 2:15 to catch the fireball without all the waiting. Pretty damned spectacular.

Then the shoot began.  At the bottom of the hill right at 600 yards was a steel popper that David Whitewolf had put his father’s cowboy hat on:

My very first round of Boomershoot 2016 hit the target just below and to the right in that picture, and blew the hat right off that popper.  I continued to shoot for the next hour or so, taking breaks to let the barrel cool, then switched off with my spotter to let him have some trigger time.  He had never shot at anything past a couple hundred yards, and was going to try the 385 yard berm, but I was having none of that!  “It’s sighted in for 650!  Shoot at the targets on the hillside!”  So he did.  Before he finished, he took three of the highest targets out there at 700 yards.  You should have seen the smile on his face.  “Pay it forward” indeed!

I took a break for lunch about 11:00 and walked the firing line.  Some people were much better prepared than I:

But there were some minimalists:

Turnout was pretty good:

After lunch David spotted for me for awhile as I worked through the rest of the .300WM ammo I brought. All in all, I fired about 150 rounds Sunday, and lost count of how many boomers I hit. I’m estimating about 24, with four or so failing to go off. Not bad, given the variable winds. We packed it in at about 4PM, and everybody tore down and put away. My arm ached a bit Sunday night, but no bruise!

I left Orofino Monday morning and headed for Ely, NV.

Snow. Who the hell ordered snow?

Tuesday morning dark and early I stepped out of my hotel room to see how much snow there was. A bit on the truck, but none on the ground:

Truck was NOT happy about starting, even though the temperature was only 37ºF. Need to check on that, but I got it going, and headed South. I stopped in Vegas for about an hour to tour Count’s Kustoms (Danny has some really nice cars!) and then headed on out.  I got home about 4PM Tuesday. I took my suitcase into the house, but left everything else for Wednesday, which I had also taken off.

Four days of driving, 2,750 miles and two tires for a day and a half of shooting.  Never even put a round through The Power Tool™.  But I had a great time.

Homeward Bound

I left the Konkolville Hotel at 5:50 this morning, drove into Orofino, checked the tire pressure (*wink*), and then headed South.

Just South of Twin Falls, what did I run into?  This:

I drove through this crap for 100 miles, then finally it switched back to rain.

Until I got near Ely, NV. It’s doing this:

When I checked in at the hotel, I asked what the weather forecast was. It’s supposed to snow until 11PM. The temperature currently is 34ºF and it’s going to get colder. Who was it that thought going home through Ely was a good idea? And what the hell happened to Global Warming?

UPDATE: 8:30PM and it’s not snowing. And warmer. Whew!

When Even VOX Recognizes a Problem…

This piece has been making the rounds, “The smug style in American liberalism” by Emmett Rensin.  There’s too much to quote and I recommend you read the whole thing, but I was struck by this passage:

A movement once fleshed out in union halls and little magazines shifted into universities and major press, from the center of the country to its cities and elite enclaves. Minority voters remained, but bereft of the material and social capital required to dominate elite decision-making, they were largely excluded from an agenda driven by the new Democratic core: the educated, the coastal, and the professional.

A few years ago I pulled a passage from a book, John Ringo’s The Road to Damascus that I’d like to repeat here:

(The party) is composed of two tiers. The lower tier produces many outspoken members who make their demands known to the upper tier. The lower tier is derived from the inner-city population that serves as the base of the party. The lower tier’s members are generally educated in public school systems and if they aspire to advanced training, they are educated in facilities provided by the state. This wing constitutes the majority of (the party’s) membership, but contributes little or nothing to party theory or platform. It votes the party line and is rewarded with cash payments, subsidized housing, subsidized education, and occasional preferential employment in government positions. The lower tier provides only a handful of clearly token individuals allowed to serve in high offices.

The upper tier, which includes most of the party’s management, virtually all the appointed and elected government officials, and all of the party’s decision-makers, is drawn exclusively from suburban areas where wealth is a fundamental criterion for admittance as a resident. These party members are generally educated at private schools and attend private colleges. They are not affected by food-rationing schemes, income caps or taxation laws, as the legislation drafted and passed by members of their social group inevitably contains loopholes that effectively shelter their income and render them immune from unpleasant statues that restrict the lives of lower-tier party members and all nonparty citizens.

(The party) leadership recognizes that in return for supporting a seemingly populist agenda, they can obtain all the votes they require to remain in power. Even the most cursory analysis of their actions and attitudes, however, indicates that they are not populists but, in fact, are strong antipopulists who actively despise their voting base. This….is proven by their efforts to reduce public educational systems to a level most grade-school children (in other countries) have surpassed, with the excuse that this curriculum is all that the students can handle. They have made the inner-city population base totally dependent on the government, which they control.

Well, one more:

The smug style arose to answer these questions. It provided an answer so simple and so emotionally satisfying that its success was perhaps inevitable: the theory that conservatism, and particularly the kind embraced by those out there in the country, was not a political ideology at all.

The trouble is that stupid hicks don’t know what’s good for them. They’re getting conned by right-wingers and tent revivalists until they believe all the lies that’ve made them so wrong. They don’t know any better.

From the masthead of this blog, the quote from Sultan Knish:

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been “liberated” to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it’s because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it’s because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem.

Self-realization from the Left? Too little, too late. I bet the piece gets memory-holed.

Two is One and One is None

And apparently two is none, if you don’t check adequately first.

So as reported I’ve been on my way to Boomershoot.  I departed from my hotel in Brigham City at 07:00 local time (06:00 Pacific Standard Time), and Google Maps, being a bi%$h, routed me through the tiny Idaho burg of Weiser (pronounced Weezer).  Just outside of Weiser, this happened:

I’d had (I thought) all the tires checked for proper inflation on Wednesday before I left, but apparently I hit some road debris and that was that. No warning until the tire just let go. So, off on the shoulder I jack up the truck and pull the bad one off, then I drop the (supposed) spare from under the bed:

FML. At least I had cell service. I called State Farm for roadside assistance. Took half an hour to get them to figure out where I was and dispatch a tow truck. Text message said they’d be about 90 minutes out. Wonderful.

Then a local Sheriff’s deputy pulled in behind me, scoped out the situation, and offered to take me and my tire back into Weiser to the closest tire shop. I cancelled the tow, and off we went. Two hours, two tires and $470 later, the new spare is the old driver’s side rear, and I have a new set of Cooper tires on the back axle:

Finally got into Orofino about 5:45 Pacific time, but I’m ready for Boomershoot now!

Iowahawk is a National Treasure

Tam says it best:

Apparently the Nazi Anime Fan wing of the internet has its jimmies thoroughly rustled by the fact that the genocidal founder of the Democrat party has been replaced on the Twenty by a gun-toting African-American Republican woman. And the Pinko Identity Politics wing of the internet doesn’t even realize that’s what just happened.

This is like sipping a martini made out of hippie and Nazi tears, shaken AND stirred.

And this is the BEST suggestion for the $20 bill I’ve EVER seen:

 photo Harriet_Tubman_Terminator.jpgTrigger warning! TRIGGER WARNING!!

Boomershoot Update

Made my last pre-Boomershoot trip to the range this morning.  Seems during my previous testing with the .300 Win Mag I managed to shoot my scope loose.  Red Loctite applied, torqued to spec, and I’m now dialed in at 500 meters.  Took the target AR and ran a magazine through it at 400 meters.  It’s ready to go.  Still need to load some .260 Remington for the Power Tool™.  I’ll have to sight that in on Saturday.  I think I’m going to use it on the 385 yard berm only, though.  Last time I scared a lot of targets with the pistol at 640 yards, but I think I only hit one.

I have someone sharing Position 26 with me now, so I’ve got a spotter and so does he.  I head out for Orofino on Thursday.  I’m planning to stop in Ogden, UT Thursday night, which should put me in Orofino on Friday afternoon.  I’m doing Field Fire and High Intensity on Saturday, and then the event itself on Sunday, departing Monday morning for the drive home.  Haven’t picked a route back yet.

I’ve got a 5’x7′ canopy and some tarp sidewalls to keep the wind and (probably) rain as much at bay as possible, and a half-inch plywood sheet for a ground surface to put my chair and table on.  Weather report says cool and probably rainy Saturday, cooler and maybe rainy Sunday.  Thankfully the wind is supposed to be 10 mph or less.

In Memoriam

My mother passed away on this day one year ago. In honor of her memory, I’m reposting the eulogy I gave at her memorial service:

We are here to celebrate the life of Betty Hill Baker, born Betty Lou Hill, March 14, 1934, and my Mom. After 81 years of life, 61 years of marriage, that’s a lot of celebrating to do.

I was asked to deliver the eulogy probably because I’m her youngest and most likely to hold it together up here.

Let me tell you about my Mom.

Mom was the sixth of nine children born to Heiskell and Anna Hill. It was a close family. Mom’s siblings, in order, were:

Billy Wayne
and Danny

One of her brothers answered when asked if the Hills were Catholic, being so prolific, “No, just over-sexed Protestants.” I’m told grandmother Hill smacked him, but I’m betting she laughed. The Hills are fun crowd.

The Hill kids were spread out from 1923 through 1945, certainly some rough years in our history. Jim and Danny, her last two surviving siblings were with her when she passed.

As I said, Mom was born on March 14, 1934 in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, a little town in the far Western corner of the state wedged between Kentucky and Tennessee. Her next sibling, Jack, was also born on March 14, but in 1938. Just so you get a feeling for the Hill family, from that point forward Mom’s birthday was celebrated on March 15 so the two of them didn’t have to share a birthday.

Growing up in the heart of Appalachia during the Depression years, things were certainly tough, especially for a large family, but the Hills always “made do.” The kids were kept fed and clothed and attended school, and as Mom has said on numerous occasions they might have been poor, but they didn’t really know it. Still, I think her upbringing helped make Mom one of the toughest people I’ve ever known.

When Mom set her mind to something, she accomplished it, no matter how long it took. When we lived in North Carolina, we would make an annual trek to cut firewood for the winter, stacking a cord or so each fall. Often some of the pieces would be very knotty or just a pain to split. In the evenings after unloading the truck, Mom would often be found with a wedge and a small sledgehammer, beating on these pieces until they submitted, long after the rest of us had called it a day.

In front of the house here in Tucson is a small hill covered in stone that Mom collected from around the property and stacked and placed until it met her approval. That took weeks.

One thing Mom always wanted was a nice dining room set – quality furniture. I think it was her 50th wedding anniversary present. Dad can correct me.

When Mom had her first knee replacement surgery, instead of general anesthesia she was given an epidural – a spinal block. The doctor made a video recording of the surgery, and as they were cutting the knee joint away and removing it, the nurse asked “Mrs. Baker, are you watching the procedure?” Mom said it was fascinating. I think if she could have watched her heart valve replacement surgery, she would have.


Mom and Dad met at Lincoln Memorial University. Dad grew up just down the road in Pennington Gap, though he had been born in Big Stone. Still, they didn’t meet until college, but once they did it was all over but the “I Do’s.” They married on the Fourth of July, 1954, honeymooned in California and then Dad shipped off to Japan for his stint in the Air Force.

Getting married on Independence Day has its advantages: You never forget your anniversary, you always have the day off, and there’s a big fireworks show to celebrate.

While Dad was overseas, Mom took a job as a secretary to an executive at a Washington, D.C. department store, a job she enjoyed very much. When Dad returned from overseas he finished his Air Force enlistment as an electronics instructor at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where they started their (somewhat smaller) family.

My brother Wayne was born November 15, 1956 in Illinois, and shortly after that Dad took a job with IBM in Lexington, Kentucky. For the next several years, Mom assumed the duties of housewife and mother. My sister Donna came along January 29, 1958, and after Anna Hill passed away in 1959, Mom’s youngest brother Danny came to live with the family in Lexington until he started college, beginning a trend of “temporary expanded family” that would repeat for decades.

I guess Mom and Dad didn’t qualify as “over-sexed Protestants,” because after two years and two kids there was a bit of a pause before I was born, March 9, 1962. Mom wanted just one more, and she was pretty much in charge of that.

Mom was an old-school “free-range” mother, back when that was considered normal, not child abuse. One of the “memes” running around the internet talks about the difference between growing up then and now. Part of it goes:

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that we’ve lived this long…

As children we had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.

We played dodge ball and sometimes the ball would really hurt!

We played with toy guns: cowboys and Indians, army, cops and robbers, and we used our fingers to simulate guns when the toy ones or BB guns were not available.

We would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

That kind of thing will get your kids taken away these days.

As I said, family was important to Mom. Every year we would travel back to Virginia to visit. Mom and Dad would load the family station wagon with our luggage and put us kids in the back for the trip “home.” No iPhones, iPads, iPods or even portable DVD players at that time. We got a stack of comic books. And a first-class E-ticket amusement park ride sliding around in the cargo area of the station wagon as Dad took us through the twisty mountain roads to the accompaniment of Mom repeating “Don, slow down!

Mom was the furthest thing from a “helicopter parent.” One of my earliest memories is coming into the house after stepping on the remains of a Tonka toy that had met its end in the yard in conflict with the lawnmower, tracking blood on the floor in rather gruesome amounts. There was alarm but no panic, and off to the emergency room I went for stitches and a tetanus shot. No big deal, just another day. Wayne broke an ankle, pretty much the same. Donna broke a wrist skating. Kids will be kids.

But woe unto you if you should, through intent or omission, visit harm upon us.

She wasn’t a helicopter parent, she was a “Close Air Support” parent.

Think napalm.

Wayne broke his ankle playing “touch” football in our back yard. He got a cast and a note from his doctor excusing him from physical activity for a period of weeks until the ankle could heal. He came home from school with the cast in poor condition, and when asked how that had come to pass, he informed Mom that the P.E. teacher had made him play football – under threat of otherwise failing the class. After a fruitless phone conversation, Mom got DAD, and off they went to see the principal, who was informed that their son was NOT to participate in any further P.E. activity until it was cleared by his doctor, or Dad would mop the field with the coach, and then the principal. Wayne got to heal up, and didn’t flunk P.E.

Donna contracted an ulcer while attending the same school. She was placed on a very restricted diet, so Mom would read the newspaper every day to see what the school was serving for lunch the next day to ensure that Donna could eat it, otherwise she’d pack a lunch. Problem was, the school often didn’t serve what the newspaper said they were going to, and Donna ended up having to go without.

Remember, depression-era childhood? Mom’s kids did NOT go hungry.

She called the school and got the runaround, so she called the district office and spoke with the dietician who drew up the school menus. She explained Donna’s condition and the reason for the call. Mom was assured that the dietician understood completely, and that the problem was the school staff taking it on themselves to change the menu – and that the issue would be resolved.

Mom received a call at home from the school Principal’s office. Please, they begged, never EVER call the district office again! But from that point on, what was published in the paper was what the school cafeteria provided.

A while later I started elementary school. One day I managed to lose some of my lunch money. I think lunch was $0.40 at the time, and I lost the quarter. The cafeteria staff wouldn’t let me even buy a carton of milk or a piece of fruit with the 15¢ I did have, so I went home that afternoon hungry.

Air strike!

Skipping the phone call, Mom made a trip to the office. Same principal. She read the office staff the riot act. From that point on, the office kept an envelope with my name on it with some money in it. If I, or even one of my friends was a little short, all I had to do was go to the office and ask for what I needed. If the envelope got light, they contacted Mom and she’d send me to school with enough to replenish it.

These are just three incidents. There were more, and most involved the principal of that elementary school. It got to the point that if he saw us in the shopping mall, he’d cross to the other side to stay away from us. Well, from Mom.

When I was in sixth grade the teachers in the school selected students for the opportunity to go to a summer science camp. I was one of those selected, though we were moving that summer and I couldn’t attend. Still, the invitation went out, and Mom went to the school to let them know that we were honored, but that I would not be going. The proud principal came out to meet the mother of one of the invitees. Mom said the shock on his face when he realized who was standing in front of him was priceless. He couldn’t get away fast enough. But he was greatly relieved to learn that we were moving.

We moved several times. From Illinois to Kentucky, from Kentucky to Florida, from Florida to North Carolina and then here to Tucson. From the time Dad came back from Japan, Mom took up the traditional duties of a housewife. She took care of Dad, us kids and the home until I started school in 1968, and then she returned to the workforce – first back in a retail office environment and then as a bank teller. Remember, the late 1960’s was the bleeding edge of the Women’s Rights movement, and women were promised that they could have it all – husband, home, kids and career.

She tried.

That’s how we got “popcorn night” and the invention of the mystery dish “Desperation.” Mom knew when to drop back and punt.

One of the reasons Mom wanted to work was to make sure her kids got the things that she didn’t get growing up. Mom scrimped and saved, clipped coupons and budgeted, and we got trips to the Florida Keys and Disney World, Washington, D.C. and one three-week whirlwind tour of the U.S. by rental motor home. Donna and I got college educations, and Wayne got tech school when he decided that college was not for him. No student debt when we graduated.

Thanks, Mom.

But she loved working, and interacting with coworkers and the public. She made a lot of longtime friends through work. She also made a lot of longtime friends of neighbors. Some of them are here today. Thank you for coming.

Mom also made room, as I mentioned previously, for extended family. When her uncle Billy Bounds was no longer able to care for himself, we moved him in with us until his Alzheimer’s advanced to the point where he needed 24-hour care. When Nanny, Dad’s mom couldn’t live on her own, she moved in with us until she passed away. Wayne and Donna moved in and out as circumstances required, but Mom also occasionally took in strays.

When we were living in Florida, Wayne was working at a gas station when three young German men came in. They’d come to the U.S. expecting to hitchhike across the country, but they weren’t having much success. It seemed that in the early 70’s nobody was interested in giving a ride to three young men at the same time. Can’t imagine why.

Wayne called home. We put them up for a while until they could buy themselves a car and continue their holiday. They kept in touch with us off and on for a few years after that.

When I was starting my career and had moved out of the house, I found out that my first college roommate had lost his job and was living out of his car. I wasn’t in a position to share my 600 square-foot apartment, but Mom took him in, taught him basic survival skills like budgeting and job seeking, and got him back on his feet. I knew that all I had to do was ask.

Sorry about that, Dad.

After Dad took retirement from IBM, they got to do the other thing Mom always wanted – travel. They went to England several times, Scotland, and Australia. I wish she’d gotten to do more, but I know she loved every minute.

Travel, Dad. Do it for Mom.

But go at least Business Class. Cattle-car sucks.

Well, I’ve been standing up here rambling now for about fifteen minutes, and if we started telling stories I’d be up here for hours, so I’ll bring this to a close. Mom had a long and happy life. She left us peacefully, surrounded by family. There will be no memorial stone, but I’d like to quote something a friend of mine wrote for the passing of his mother a couple of years ago:

Look into the hearts
Of those who knew me.
There, for good or ill
You will find my monument.
You left a fine one, Mom.

Apropriate This!

Bill Whittle’s latest:

And if you are a member of PJ Media, you might want to join PJTV is shutting down all future production. Klavan, Scott Ott and Steven Green need a new home. Bill gets a lot of his income, or did, from PJTV.

I’ve been a member for a couple of years now. You can join here.