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:
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:
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.