Blogorado Bound

I attended Gun Blogger Rendezvous 1 – 10, only missing the last one so I could attend Boomershoot again. Unfortunately it really was the last one, but that means I have vacation time (and money) to allow me to attend another gathering of The People of the Gun™ that I have had to miss in prior years – Blogorado.

Blogorado is an invitation-only gathering of the Clan held in an undisclosed location in Colorado, attended by a glittering list of blog-writers, their spouses (often bloggers themselves) and sometimes their families.  It is held on the ranch of Farmgirl, Farmmom, and Farmdad.  Motel reservations are made, vacation time has been requested, and now I just have to choose what portion of my arsenal will be making the trip North and East with me.

I’m really looking forward to seeing several people I haven’t seen in meatspace in years, and meeting new people I haven’t had a chance to meet before.

For me, this is the best part of blogging – friends you never knew you had.  As Breda Fallon once said in an episode of the podcast Vicious Circle:

I’m one of those people – I like people, I’m personable, but I don’t really have “friends” friends, because I just don’t connect to people really that well. But then blogs happened, and I found a whole group of people that I fit in with because I’m weird and they’re weird in kinda the same way, and yea for our mutual weirdness. So, thank you for being weird with me.

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!

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!

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.

Boomershoot Update

So Boomershoot is right at a month away.  I’ve picked the load I’m going to be using in my .300 Win Mag, but I’ve still got some issues with the rifle itself to iron out – scope adjustments and Loctite, mostly.

I still need a spotter/co-shooter for Position 26.  I’ll be traveling from Tucson through Salt Lake City on April 21, arriving in Orofino, ID on the 22nd, departing on the 25th.  Anybody want to join me?


Man, it’s nice to have reliable broadband service again! (And a solid night’s sleep!)

Let’s start off my (excessively long) 2009 Boomershoot report with a video: The Anvil Launch!
As noted previously, my shooting partner and I departed Tucson on Wednesday morning about 06:30 and didn’t stop until we got North of Boise, ID Salt Lake City, UT. We left bright and early Thursday, and arrived in Orofino a little after 4:00PM – too late to join the other Gunbloggers up at the range, but we did manage to find the local Ponderosa restaurant (not the chain, an independent) for dinner at 18:00 that evening for an informal get-together. I met Ry Jones, Earl Dungey of Just the Library Keeper, Alan of Snarky Bytes, Matthew of Triggerfinger, the original South Park Pundit (now blogging at Ballistic-Deanimation. I got to see Derek of The Packing Rat, George of Rivrdog, David of Random Nuclear Strikes, and Bonnie of Squeaky Wheel Seeks Grease again, too, and (of course) Joe Huffman, our host. I know I met more bloggers than that, but my memory is faulty.

Friday we slept in, and at Joe’s invitation we moseyed on up to the range about lunch time. Gene Econ was running the first day of the long-range clinic, so we stopped over at the lunch wagon and got a burger & fries, and when everybody else broke for lunch, we headed up to the Taj Mahal where the Boomerite gets made. We met an interesting couple riding a Ural motorcycle with a sidecar (2WD!) that drew a lot of comments all weekend long.

When we first met I asked him what he did for a living. “I lie” was his reply, to which my response was “Oh! You’re a journalist!” I was right. Turns out that he’s Jack Lewis, freelance writer and frequent contributor to Motorcycle magazine, and his passenger is his wife and photographer. My shooting partner is a rider, and works for the University of Arizona doing esoteric technical stuff supporting the local observatories, so he had a lot to talk about with them about – bikes, riding and photography! Anyway, shooting partner and I spent the rest of the afternoon helping out a little, folding cardboard boxes and helping clean up, but where there was a break about three in the afternoon, we headed on down the hill.

We decided it would be a really good idea to get our rifles zeroed for the shoot on Sunday, so we went back Saturday morning, got signed in for “field fire” and set up our shooting position – #74:

That little blue half-tent was our windbreak and sunshade. Not quite big enough, but it sufficed. The temperature was in the low 40’s, and the wind was just a bit brisk, too, so we layered up and took a look at the range itself:

We were on the end of a little hillock. The treeline you see in the middle distance is the 375-yard berm. The bottom of the hill way out there in the distance?

Yes, 606 yards, by my rangefinder. The top of the hill measured 717 yards. On Saturday, steel targets were scattered all the way from the base up to the top. We sighted in on one at about 640 yards. I hit it with both the Remington 700 and the long-range pistol, so I figured I was ready for Sunday. There is something . . . rewarding about repeatedly smacking a 4″ steel target that far off in a stiff breeze.

Late in the afternoon the crew set up some Boomers at the 375 yard line for the precision rifle clinic people to shoot, and then those of us who were shooting “field fire” got a crack at them. My shooting partner got a couple, and then offered me his 7mm Magnum to take some shots. My response? “Oh hell yes!” That done, we packed up our rifles, left our shelter and bench set up, and headed back into Orofino to get ready for the evening’s banquet.

There was an excellent turnout for the dinner, lots of prizes raffled off, and Joe raised $1,085 for Soldier’s Angels plus an anonymous donor gave an additional $300 to be passed on. I didn’t win a thing, and neither did my shooting partner. Bummer. But Alan won the best prize there. (The 50% off a Nightforce scope was #2. I dropped the better part of $60 trying to win that, but wasn’t even close in that competition.)

Joe had all of the blogger/livejournalist attendees stand up and introduce themselves, and there were many. Hopefully he’ll post a complete list some time. I got in a couple of wisecracks, myself.

Sunday was the Big Day, and turnout was good. I’d estimate that there were 175 or so shooters and at least another 50-75 spectators. I saw four empty spots, which surprised me, but I guess given the economy some people just couldn’t make it. Bonnie actually had to head back home Sunday morning, so she didn’t get to shoot on the big day, plus somehow she broke her nose on Saturday (I’m still waiting to hear how that happened.)

Alan has a very good picture of what the side of the hillside looked like populated with Boomers. Firing commenced about 10:00, and there was much Sturm und Drang. With my partner spotting for me, it took me nine shots before I got my first Boomer at about 615 yards, but I rapidly got eight more – at one point three-in-a-row, which has major ego-boosting powers, let me tell you! The call of “TARGET DOWN!” is very cool, followed immediately by a distance-delayed “BOOOOM!” We switched and I spotted for him for a while. I think I was a lousy spotter, because he burned a lot of .30-06 ammo to not much effect for a while. He ended up dropping to the 375 yard berm and finally scored a hit. He concluded that the next time he comes (this was his second trip) he’ll have better equipment. At the least, better optics. I switched to the pistol and put about 40 rounds downrange, but only managed to score one 7″ boomer at about 640 yards. (Scared a few, but only just.) Still, that’s not bad for my first attempt at really looooong range handgunning.

We broke for lunch about noon, so I took my camera and walked the firing line to see what the others had brought.


There were a couple of “minimalists,” like this guy who brought a sniper KAR-98 Swedish Mauser M41B:

and a scoped Mosin

I have a feeling that picking out tiny little 7″ squares at 600+ yards with WWII-era sniper optics was a challenge.

Of course, David brought his long-range pistols:

Lots of people had better sun and wind protection than we did:

These guys had HEAT!

But there was some serious high-dollar hardware on site:

Lots of high-dollar optics for the spotters were in evidence.

I definitely need to upgrade to a better spotting scope/tripod. What I’ve got is fine for seeing bullet holes in paper at 100 yards, but it’s not so much for trying to see bullet “trace” on its way out to 600 yards.

But THESE guys:

I was tempted to ask if those things were self-propelled, too.

Anyway, the weather weenies were wrong (again) and the winds were lighter on Sunday than they had been on Saturday, so it seemed warmer. It didn’t rain or snow, and the shooting was excellent. All in all, it was a great trip – but one I don’t think I’ll be doing next year. Over the week I put 2990 miles on my truck, the overwhelming majority in four long days behind the wheel. I need a shooting friend who’s a member of AOPA. There’s a nice airstrip right next to Orofino. It’s got to be better than 50 hours of windshield time.

But I was grinning the whole way home . . .



Everything’s unloaded, my shooting partner is on his way to his own domicile, and I’m wiped out. Just over 12 hours on the road today. Coming back through Nevada was not noticeably quicker than going through Utah. We saved maybe an hour.

Regular blogging resumes tomorrow.

Travel Report

Travel Report

Reporting in from Ely, Nevada, 19:26PDT. On the road about 13 hours today, not sure how many miles, but a bunch. Staying at the local Motel 6 which has Wi-Fi ($2.99 extra) but it at least appears to be more reliable than the Konkolville Motel’s service. Tired, hungry. Gonna get something to eat, go to bed, and hit the road bright and early tomorrow in hopes of getting home at a reasonable hour.

Man, I’m glad I took the rest of this week off!

Extended Boomershoot report with pictures and video probably Wednesday. And stay tuned for the final installment in the James Kelly saga later in the week.

Quick Post

Quick Post

9:35PM Tired. Shooting pretty much all day today – cold, windy, fantastic. Boomershoot is tomorrow. Might snow on us a bit. Hotel Wi-fi is unreliable. Sorry for the lack of posts. Can’t upload photos, either. Lots of bloggers here! LOTS of good shooters with LOTS of nice hardware.

I’m going to BED. L8R.