In Which Lessons Are Learned

So as I previously mentioned I spent my Saturday with Paul Barrett and his wife Julie.

Yes, that Paul Barrett

Friday night Ry was trying to figure out who to put with Paul to ensure he had an awesome time.  I volunteered my self.  I mean, when else would I get an opportunity like that?  I also forgot what NAVY stands for.

I was bummed I didn’t have a video camera because I would have just tossed it on the tripod in front to record the whole thing.  Instead I must rely on memory.  I must get a new camera for next year.

I started off by unloading a bunch of equipment for my rig.  Initially I thought Paul was staying through Sunday and was quickly informed they’d be leaving after the dinner.  This meant I could use my equipment, which I’m more familiar with which is always a good thing.  If they were staying through Sunday I wanted to make sure they were familiar with the equipment they would be using.  Ry gave me his Evil Black Rifle to use.

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There were many reasons for this.  High capacity magazines, suppressor, and semi-auto.  Overall it was to illustrate the utility of such a rifle. 

How well did it illustrate that fact? I’m going to be buying another full length AR soon.  It will have a quick detach mount and I will be buying a suppressor to go on it.  For inexperienced shooters it seriously helps take the edge off shooting.  The loud bang is often what contributes to the flinch factor.  Not to mention it was much easier for me to communicate with Paul since I wasn’t partially deaf after each shot.

I pulled out my shooting mat, Joe gave me his to use but mine was a bit longer and thus would require less mud on clothing.  As for spotting scope, I grabbed mine because it had a Mil-Dot reticle in it like Ry’s scope.  This made it even easier for holds and other shooter spotter communication.  I set up that equipment as well and had a general discussion with Paul and his wife on long distance shooting answering questions while I set up.

I talked with Gene Econ and his crew and made sure we would have an extra instructor handy for help.  I also had them sit in on Gene’s class that morning.  Overall they appreciated Gene’s class, a bit of the material was way over their head because they weren’t familiar with the topic.  Over the morning those questions would be answered.

I did a quick review of the manual of arms on the AR-15 with Paul once the line went hot.  We then spend the next bit finding a comfortable position and getting him on target down range.  I eventually had to swap out Ry’s bipod.  It was too high for the berm and was better geared for the hill, or indirect fire beyond the hill.

He put in the magazine, dropped the bolt and we were off to the races.  Ry had informed me that the zero should be for the berm at 400 yards.  We had about a 6mph right to left wind.  I looked at the spare mag, wasn’t sure exactly what weight it was but I figured it was probably 50 or 55 grain V-max.  There would be a difference for compensation but not entirely sure of the BC I decided to push about 1 minute right from the no wind zero to start with.

I have him hold dead center of the target and start pacing the wind.  I tell him, “Spotter Ready, Hold Center, Send it.”  He squeezes off the round and I watch the trace, low and to the right.  I ask him, “Where was your cross hair as you broke?”  His reply, “In the middle of the cross”.  I come around, explain where the bullet hit and what that means.  I do the math in my head since I knew the correction in Mils.  I add another 1/2 minute of right windage and about 2 minutes of elevation. 

I tell him to hold center again and tell me when he’s ready.  He says, “Ready”.  To which I reply as the wind picks up, “Spotter ready, favor right.”  Shortly after I hear him say he’s sure exactly where to hold.  He know it’s not all the way to the right but he’s not sure what to use as a visual indicator.  I grab my pen and paper and draw the steel target he’s shooting at, a classic IPSC.   I visually explain center, favor and hold, their use and how you can combine favor up and hold right for example.

I go back behind the spotting scope and say, “Favor right, spotter ready, send it.”  He squeezes off the round and I watch the trace and it misses to the left again.  This time elevation looked better.  I tell him, “Hold right, spotter ready, send it.”

Fumpt….

*Clang*

Hit in the upper left, I ask him to call the shot.  He says it broke on the right edge.  I tell him, “You smacked it in the upper left, definitely a solid hit.”  At this point he makes a comment.  At this point he also indicates he’d rather stop just because he’s happy with the 1 in 3 record.  I tell him we need to get to the center of the steel.

I ask Julie, “Would you like to see bullet trace?”  She says yes so I put her on the spotting scope to call shots and I just kneel next to Paul to do the mental math and adjustments.  Every shot for the next bit is a hit and eventually he’s ringing the middle of the steel.  Next comes a conversation about the details of what’s happening and some of the physics involved.  I then ask if Julie wants to try.

Not nearly as excited as her husband she was still plenty interested.  Paul did it and he didn’t think he could so there was no reason she couldn’t.

I spend the next bit behind the spotting scope, the winds shift a bit and I have to do some windage adjustments but I notice something, she’s pushing a lot further left than she should be.  I ask Paul to watch through the spotting scope so I can sit and watch her shoot.  As she squeezes the trigger the next time I see it.  She isn’t using the pad of her finger for the pull but more of the crook.  It explains the push to the left.  I help her correct that problem and a couple more shots with her husband spotting and we here the magical sound.

*Clang*

She was ecstatic.   She never thought she would do something like that, and I will say she had the worse winds to shoot through during that.  She shoots a bunch more times and then starts to feel sore.

She climbs back up and we all begin talking about different questions they have.  From minutes of angle, to Mils, to ballistics, what is happening as a bullet goes down range.  The had a lot of very good questions. 

After a while of talking I ask Paul, “Want to go further?”

He replies, “If you really think I can do it.”

I then reply, “I have no doubt you’re capable of hitting out at 650.”

He says OK and I go grab my .308.  It’s a Kimber 8400 AT it’s heavy, I don’t find the recoil anything overwhelming.  I lay down prone behind it with my notebook, estimate the wind and range, dial everything in and squeeze off a shot.  Self spotting even on a 308 is difficult.  I see it low and left, I fire 4 more shots and get pretty close to the target and say to Paul, “You’re up, you should be very close.”

He lays down behind the rifle and I spend some time getting him in a comfortable position and adjust the stock.  I get his eye relief correct and his position looks good.  He sees the target I was shooting at and I get behind the spotting scope.  I tell him to hold center and away he goes.  It was to the left and a bit low.  I come up correct it and verify his position.  I didn’t pay attention to one thing though.  His eye relief was good, he was well supported, I felt he was good to go.  He felt good to go.

I get back behind the scope and tell him to favor right and send it.

*Bang*

Damn, missed it by about 2 inches low and left.  Then I heard, “Uh-oh”.

The phrase uh-oh and firearms should never be used together in the same sentence.  Well  while focusing on his eye, I overlooked his shoulder.  His polar fleece made it looked tucked tightly into his shoulder.  In fact it had been a bit loose and slipped during recoil.

Initially the cut didn’t look bad, but I grabbed Bill, one of the instructors and he grabbed his med bag.  Luckily it didn’t need stiches, but he got a good gash on his forehead.  His wife was joking about how she had something for her next speech.  About the time we finished cleaning it all up it was lunch time.  I talked to the guys at RNS and they were more than happy to feed Paul and Julie. 

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At this point I felt horrible.  I felt like Joe and Ry trusted me with a pot of gold and a bunch of underpants gnomes came and stole it under my watch.  I was so worried about just the eye relief I overlooked the shoulder.  Everyone eventually gets scoped in one way or another.  Anyone who says they haven’t has never shot anything bigger than a .22.  He did have a good sense of humor about it but I still felt really bad for missing it.

We told Paul he was by no means the first and definitely wouldn’t be the last.  We told him the story of Squeaky and David’s pistol. 

After lunch they decided to head back in to town.  He insisted it was not due to his injury.  I’m not entirely sure because I’m sure he probably had a headache from it too.  I hung out with the guys from RNS for the rest of the afternoon till the boomers were brought out and high intensity.

How awesome was it, Dave the photographer let me shoot his .45-70 Sharps and I hit steel at 650 yards.  I actually thought I missed and was pissed, then came the *clang*.  Yes I was that unnamed individual.

When I arrived at the dinner that night Paul came up to me and had a copy of his book in his hand.  He cracked it open and wrote this inside and handed to me.

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How awesome is that?

He spoke during the dinner and had a long QA with the people who were there participating.  There were a few comments made politically.  One question was made that I didn’t like how it was phrased, “Where do you feel safer?”  That’s a question with no real answer.  They were trying to illustrate that there was no need to be afraid of everyone carrying weapons.  The thing is, one always feels safer where they are familiar.  Which is exactly what Paul said.  The better question would have been, “Do you have any reason to feel uncomfortable in this room given the number of people openly armed?”  I know that answer would have been no.  Alas I didn’t get a chance to make the comment so on the blog it goes.

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I made sure to grab a picture with Paul before he left, and I know he and his wife were both happy as they were actually able to shoot something at distance.  Paul said he will be writing an article on his experiences and I’m looking forward to seeing it.  He said he’s going to have an entertaining time at work when he gets back.  How many people who work for Bloomberg Business Magazine, yes that Bloomberg, show up to work with a case of scope eye?  I guess we both learned something very important from this experience.

Learn from my mistake, don’t get target fixated on the distance between the scope and the eye, remember the shoulder matters too.  You have to balance each of them.

Boomershoot 2012–A Quick Rundown

I got home and finished unloading my stuff from the rig.  I’m now beginning to unpack.

Here’s a quick rundown with some pictures from each day.  I’ll be coming back over the next couple days and filling in detailed posts of the major items.

Day 1:

Soaking wet.  Trudging through mud.  Lots of boxes to be assembled.  After which we decided to eat warm food in town.  I loaned Joe the shower in my hotel room so he could warm back up.

Day 2:

Filled boxes with explosives, arranged boxes in the mud for the PRC shooters.

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After which we stood out in the cold and wind to run the high intensity event.

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I cleaned up after high intensity at entertainingly close distances, evidently the ESS guys filmed my stupidity.  Again more on that later, last night it turned into a two part series.

The minute in-laws were running a bit late.  We were going to meet a group in town for dinner and were running late.  Way late since I looked like I had been rolling around in the mud.

We didn’t have a single seat left in the room we were in.  It was like the pre-Boomershoot dinner that was just a social hour.

Day 3:  I was instructed to guard the pot of gold, Paul Barrett, and ensure he had a good time and enjoyed himself.  He told me that mission was accomplished even with one minor hiccup.

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I got both of them on steel at 400 yards and he just barely missed the steel at 630 when it all went south.

I helped with the high intensity again.  After which I stuck around since there was handling of firearms on the range to ensure safety while the ESS folks did some model shooting with Shelly and Anette.

I was chatting with the photographer and he ended up taking some pictures with me as well since I had one box to clean up afterwards.  

Day 4:  Woke up way too early, so we could be on the berm setting up targets at 0700.  I was starting to feel all the walking, bending, and repetitive motions associated with the shoot.  I trudged through tossing boomers and getting them staked out.  We did a quick interview with one of the ESS videographers explaining some of the physics, and then Rolf gave an impressive show by juggling the explosives.  Yes this is the same Rolf of “Entertainingly Close”.

We get the boomers laid out, a bunch of guys are working up on the hill and then we get read for the fireball.

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Yes that is Ry in the lower right.  His post on the fireball is here.  I will be doing a separate post with Janelle’s video here in the near future.  I love that picture because Ry just looks like a bad ass in it.  He lost hair this weekend, I bled a bit. 

There were a few exciting events, which I will blog about later.  The most exciting of which however could have ended the event permanently.  Luck prevailed and it didn’t go boom.

After the shoot was over we began the staff cleanup.  There was a lot leftover this year.  It 3 waves of a full high intensity event to get everything cleaned up.  We were exhausted, but I headed down the hill to grab dinner and then go visit with the RNS guys.  As exhausted as I was, we finally left their place about 0100.  I only see them once a year normally so it was worth it.

There were a few other side stories that I’ll be pushing up in the next couple days.  I’ve got a large pile of video and pictures for gun porn too!

So With that I’m going to go continue decompressing.  If I saw you this weekend and looked exhausted, in a rush, or like a man on a mission, it’s probably because I was.  Yes this is a “vacation” but it’s a lot of work and it’s exhausting.  So if you were looking forward to chatting with me more and didn’t get a chance, it’s not because I don’t like you.  It’s because those down times are actually pretty rare and usually done in parallel with stuffing our face.

I know there were a few people who asked me questions, and I’m very glad they asked, I was a little curt and blunt with the answer.  Again, I wasn’t trying to be or sound like a dick, at that point I was starting to seriously shut down.  I would much rather if someone thinks a target is questionable or doesn’t make sense that they ask instead of just shooting at it.  So to the man that asked me about the targets down on the end, hope this helps explain my curt response.

Quote of the Day–Paul Barrett (04/30/2012)

“Before we continue let me just say one thing.  That was fucking amazing.”

Paul Barrett – On the Boomershoot Firing Line

April 28, 2012


[I spent the day with Paul and his wife Saturday on the firing line at Boomershoot.  I teamed up with some support from Gene Econ and some of the instructors to ensure that Paul had a good time.

The above was the quote out of his mouth after smacking some steel at 400 yards.  Then we did it again and again.  He was ready to stop after his first hit because his ratio was 1 for 3 on hits.

There is no question though with that comment he had a good time.  Even with what happened later, he shrugged it off and said, “It’s another story.”  I’ll write up details on that one later.  He was also looking forward to telling the story in the office on Monday. –B]

Quote of the Day: Anonymous – 04/26/2012

Joe: Well we have an ATT microcell at Mecca if you want to call your wife.

Anonymous: I’m good, she wants me to call but the thing is, I’m on vacation.

Anonymous – Dinner Conversation with Boomershoot Staff


[I was going to credit this individual but he seemed to think he would be in some sort of trouble with his significant other.  His justification is he spends all day on the phone doing tech support and his wife wants to talk on the phone with him constantly about nothing.  In other words his wife is wanting him to continue his job without pay. -B]

Confetti, Non-Dairy Creamer, Charcoal, Steel, and Explosives

Joe, Ry, and I headed out to the Boomershoot site today to do some testing with Chalk Dispenser V3.0.  We had previously tested the chalk dispenser and it did quite well.  The main problems we found weren’t with the design, but with the material being dispensed.  This time we were going to try glitter, Mylar confetti.  At the last second we also added non-dairy creamer and match light charcoal.

In hindsight reviewing the pictures we should have taken a couple from up on the hill because up close it just doesn’t look the same.  From the previous testing though it looked as though we had bruised the hillside. 

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As we got into the middle of the colored area, we noticed more evidence of the chalk problem we saw previously.  It had obviously clumped into small balls.

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First we tested small charges of 50 grams.  While it did work, they were difficult to load requiring special preparation. 

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That is 50 grams of the most fun intoxicant this side of the Rio Grande.  It is so little that it’s hard to place it in such a way to fill the hole to complete a visible target, but it still packs a punch.

Joe forgot the glitter, however we did have the confetti to try as well as the newly added charcoal. First up was the non diary creamer.  We had already done the one 50 gram test when this picture was taken.

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The results were lacking in significant difference, it looked the same as without the creamer.

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Second up was the confetti.

 

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We packed it in there.  The results though were less than pleasing.  Do you see the confetti, we didn’t as it happened.

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Next was the charcoal after that dismal failure.  We were actually hoping to get the charcoal dust to ignite, however these results were still fantastic.

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It wasn’t good just once though.  It was repeatable!

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And I caught the brass in the air on both of those pictures, how awesome is that!  We attempted another test that I didn’t get pictures of since I was shooting.  I some how got the Boomerite to start burning, with the charcoal above it.  I let Ry finish it off since it was his gun and I was frustrated to say the least.  Still no fireball though.  We wanted to get this thing to toss a fireball, how could we get it to toss a fireball.  We then started going through Joe’s truck looking for things that could be used.  We found a spray can of window deicer.  We put that on 100 grams of Boomerite with and we pulled the Boomerite through to make sure we would hit the Boomerite first, not the can.  We also had attached road flares to help with ignition.

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Still no luck.  However we later had a discussion about the road flares and wondering what causes them to be extinguished.  The assumption was that the concussion would result in removing the heat and liquid material preventing the flare from continuing the burn.  It’s only the gases that burn, the burning melts the solid, which will then turn to gas, and burn.  We though maybe the concussion blew off the liquid and gasses killing the flare.  Both this picture and the following one would beg to differ though.

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This brought an abrupt end to our testing.  We had done something very stupid without realizing it.  We placed a piece of metal between us and the explosive.  The pressures from the explosive split the welds along the top.

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So what is a guy to do when you still have Boomerite left, and no target to test it in?

The answer is quite simple, put 4 pounds in the non dairy creamer bottle, put the target on top and launch it in the air.

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The target can be repaired, but I would say it looks no where near like when we got itJoe already has video of the stuff that really matters.  I’ll work on editing the video tonight and tomorrow and see if I got anything worth while.  For now, enjoy the story board and pictures.

Update:Video is here.