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Palouse Practical Shooters April 16th, 2000 Boomershoot

bulletFinal Report
bulletEmail from participants
bulletBallistics considerations for cold versus warm days
bulletGeneral Stuff (background, FAQ, stuff to bring, gun and ammo types which will set off the targets, directions, site pictures, training opportunities, etc.)
bulletMinimum Gun Safety Rules

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Final Report

Everyone I talked to expressed at least some pleasure.  There was some disappointment that some of the targets didn't detonate.  Experiments with new mixtures will probably fix this.  Targets that work with .22 LR at short range are in the Beta test stage.   See my ballistics calculations for some more thoughts on this.  Some highlights that come immediately to mind are:
bulletTwo pickups stuck in the swamp (Friday afternoon) and having to get my brother's tractor to get them out.
bulletStanding behind my pickup for hours building targets on Saturday when I would have liked to have been listening the lecture from the Precision Rifle Clinic.
bulletTelling the guy that talked about "Bomb Building 101" that we don't talk like that around here -- these are "Reactive Targets".
bulletThe black dog (probably the same one as last year) visiting the target area on Saturday during the shooting.
bulletAmanda loosing her diamond studded earring on Sunday.
bulletThe .50 BMG Barrett with API and tracer rounds.
bulletTracers from the FN-FAL out to the 600 yard target.
bulletEven the small targets causing the Sony Discman in the van 400 yards away to skip.
bulletBugs Bunny's Big Boom (BBBB?).
bulletAt least three people (including me) screwing up pictures of BBBB.
bulletRain during the shoot on Sunday.
bulletThe flash from the titanium enhanced targets.
bulletRuss detonating a target at 200 yards with his lever action 30-30 (soft point bullets had to make the difference, that is a really slow round).
bullet5' wide and 18" deep craters created in the swamp during clean up.
bulletMud and water raining down on the happy clean-up crew.
bulletSun coming out just as clean up was finished.
bulletJG's colorful "praise" for his gunsmith being reported to me by three different people.

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Email From Participants

From: Glen Taylor
Sent: Friday, April 21, 2000 10:40 AM
To: Joe Huffman
Subject: Boomer Shoot

Joe, I'd just like to thank you and say both my son and myself had a great time at the shoot. Next year there will be more Canadians coming. I showed them the pictures and two of the people that could not get down with us are now contemplating unemployment and divorce to free up time to attend with me next year. Again, thanks to you and the people of Idaho for the hospitality extended to us during this visit.

Regards, Glen

P.S. If you have or can get more pictures I'd appreciate them as we didn't have the opportunity to take many of our own.

From: Randy Goolsby
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2000 6:08 PM
To: Joe Huffman
Subject: Re: Boomer Shoot entrants update: April 14, 2000.

Joe, I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this years boomer shoot! I can seriously say that it's the most fun I have ever had; at least clothed. I had zeroed the M1A rifle long ago at a range, but this event really gave me an opportunity to "practically exercise" the thing. I learned some new things about this rifle (all good) and blew the cobwebs off some skills I had used in the military about marksmanship, that were dormant. It was a -great- time. Funny, I didn't really notice the rain until the targets that I could see through the open sights were history. Thanks a lot for the opportunity to shoot. You and your crew did a fantastic job! Keep me on the list for future shooting consideration would you? I'd appreciate it!

Best Regards, Randy
Randy Goolsby- 94 Bronco EB

From: Lyle Keeney
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2000 9:54 PM
To: Joe Huffman
Subject: Boomer shoot

Hi Joe,

I want to thank you for hosting a terrific event. I had never fired my M1A Match rifle at anything beyond two hundred yards until Sunday, and it was a lot of fun. I nailed three of those little suckers, the last one at 350 yds, so I got to experience the joy of new accomplishment. Next time, 550 and beyond.

When I hit the first target in the 200 yd line, it blew over the other two. It would be nice if they were placed a bit farther apart so as to avoid this. Also, with a 7mm mag and a 300 mag on either side of me, plus with my concentration on shooting, it took a second for me to realize that the "stop shooting" horn had been blown. One of those hand held CO2 air horns might get people's attention quicker.

Next time, I think I'll try to bring a rain cover of some kind. I was really liking the looks of the one that was set up there.

I have heard many times that one should not skimp on optics, but I was tempted by a 100 dollar spotting scope a few weeks ago. It goes to 32x or so, and it seemed fine on the sunny day when I tried it out in the store. I ended up using my nice 20x binocs to spot at the boomer shoot instead, because that cheap spotting scope just was not cutting it. I could make out the targets better through my 14x rifle scope than through the spotting scope.

I really had no idea how much fun that was going to be. Once again, thanks for a great time.

Lyle Keeney
Palouse, WA

P.S. Is that your property? It's beautiful out there.

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Boring ballistic calculations for the geeks among us:

I ran some numbers on my ballistics program.  Assuming 3100 feet above sea level (what my altimeter indicated on the day of the Boomershoot) and 45 F for the ambient temperature the 'cutoff velocity' of 2000 fps for successful detonation would be: 

bulletJust under 375 yards for .223 Federal Match ammo (69 gr. Sierra MK's at 3000 fps)
bulletJust past 350 yards for .308 Federal Match ammo (168 gr. Sierra MK's at 2600 fps)
bulletJust past 400 yards for 30.06 Federal Match ammo (168 gr. Sierra MK's at 2700 fps)
bulletJust under 600 yards for 300 Win Mag. Federal Match ammo (190 gr. Sierra MK's at 2900 fps)

With the temperature on the hot end of things (85 F) with corresponding increase in air pressure (2900 feet above sea level) associated with clear, hot weather, we end up with the following:

bulletJust under 400 yards for .223 Federal Match ammo (69 gr. Sierra MK's at 3000 fps)
bulletJust past 375 yards for .308 Federal Match ammo (168 gr. Sierra MK's at 2600 fps)
bulletJust past 425 yards for 30.06 Federal Match ammo (168 gr. Sierra MK's at 2700 fps)
bulletJust past 625 yards for 300 Win Mag. Federal Match ammo (190 gr. Sierra MK's at 2900 fps)

In general terms, from bullet velocity alone, we get a little over another 25 yards of range just from having a warm day versus a cold day on the range.

The cool ambient temperature probably is a factor in two different ways.  One is that the denser air reduces the velocity of the bullet at the target and the other is it probably inhibits the detonation.  

I've devised some experiments to try and quantify this problem.  It should allow me to come up with a way to make the targets more sensitive and still be safe in terms of manufacturing and handling them on hot days.

Some of this testing has been done as of July 2000.  See the Reactive Targets web page to follow this.

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Partners Wanted

None at this time.

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April 19, 2000 -- The event is over.  I've caught up on my sleep and ready to start thinking some about the next event as well as getting questions about the next one.  It will probably be April of 2001.  Also see my final report and the pictures by Boyd and Sandra.

April 13, 2000 -- The shooter that was concerned about a math test on Monday is no longer concerned and will be shooting in the mud with the rest of us on Sunday.  However, another shooter wrecked his bike and will not be attending.  Nothing too serious, a few stitches and some discomfort when walking, but enough to cancel on the long drive and the fun.  So we have a definite opening (again).

All things are still a go. The weather is threatening showers/rain. The high is expected to be about 55 F, the low about 35 F. Please bring warm clothes and rain gear. Your shoes will probably get wet from the grass even if it doesn't rain. I don't expect hard constant rain (I would cancel it if that were the case). But there is a good chance of having showers and perhaps some wind on Sunday. Bring a tarp or something similar to put on the ground if you plan on going prone to shoot. See weather reports for more details.

We made it into the local paper:
Precision rifle event set for Sunday in Cavendish

CAVENDISH -- A Boomer Shoot, a precision rifle shooting event featuring explosive targets, will be held Sunday near Cavendish.

About 40 shooters are expected to participate, said Joe Huffman of Moscow, organizer of the shoot. Cavendish is on the road between Kendrick and Ahsahka.

Milk cartons filled with ammonia nitrate, diesel fuel and potassium chlorate will be shot at from ranges of 200 to 700 yards.

Spectators are welcome.

Those who want more information may contact Huffman on his cellphone at (206) 499-7279.

April 12, 2000 -- Another slot opened up and then all three were filled with new people.  We are full with the possible exception of one shooter that won't know for certain until Friday.  Let me know if you would like to be in the standby position and I can send email on Friday night.

The clinic is full also, but Eugene says he won't turn anyone away if they show up.

I got a call from the local newspaper (Lewiston Morning Tribune).  They will be running a short announcement about the event in Thursday's paper in the outdoor section. 

I'm rather worried about the weather.  All the reports predict rain on Friday night.  Saturday morning is supposed to be dry, but with rain from the night before things will be a bit messy.  There may be showers on Saturday and Sunday too.  Bring rain gear.  Unless they are predicting actual rain for Saturday and Sunday I probably won't cancel it.

April 10, 2000 -- Two slots have been just opened up by a team that had to cancel due to their goat having triplets.  They have to feed them by hand every four hours.  If you want to participate contact me via email or phone (206-499-7279).  

These same two people were scheduled for the precision rifle seminar too.  So there are some definite openings there as well. Contact Eugene Econ if you are interested.

April 9, 2000 -- All positions are officially full.  However, since Eddy's teammate had to cancel, if someone wants to shoot with Eddy that position is available (see Partners Wanted) to share.  Contact Eddy directly.  I also have word that one participate may have math test on Monday and will have to stay and study.  He will not know for certain until Friday.  If he cannot make it a full slot will be available.  Send me email if you would like to be on the waiting list for this slot.  Send me your phone number in the email message and I will call if (and only if) the position is open by 9:00 PM Friday night.

I got some email from Eugene Econ (see precision rifle seminar) this morning.  His seminar was completely full, but two people had to cancel.  He says that in addition to these two positions he and his partner (Mike Hagen -- a frequent contributor to Tactical Shooter) are willing accept anyone that shows up in a timely manner.  Show up about 9:30 or so on Saturday morning.

I visited the site yesterday and was pleased with what I saw.  It was just a little bit wet, but not bad.  Dry enough to have held the event as is, but a little drier would be nice.  The weather reports are looking good and I expect we will have excellent conditions if the weather continues to hold.  I also put together 34 targets and started some minor repair work on the explosives magazine.  I need 75 targets by Friday night and then another 200 by Saturday night.  I obviously have a lot more to do, but I will have help on Friday and Saturday.  I don't anticipate any problem in getting it all done.

March 27, 2000 - Assuming the checks that are claimed to be 'in the mail' actually are, then the event is completely full.  You have two possibilities to shoot 1) Show up as a spectator and hope someone else doesn't show up by noon.  2) You know someone who has their own slot and wants to share. 

March 26, 2000 - There are only two shooting positions open.  If you have sent in your entry and haven't received a confirmation email please let me know before the last slots are filled.  If you planned on coming but haven't sent in your entry yet, NOW is the time.

I inspected the site yesterday.  It's still very wet and muddy.  If you look carefully under the brush and trees on the north slopes there is still snow.  Assuming the weather is within normal limits for the next few weeks things will be fine.  

I have all the milk cartons I need, plus a few extra, all washed and dry.  I have a list of tasks for my helpers made up, complete with a schedule. I have a tentative distribution of the targets at the various ranges:

Range (yards)
















At the 200 yard line there will be three targets for each of the 30 shooting positions.  Beyond that there will be areas about 20' x 20' with targets on a 3' grid that will be "free-for-all".  I will ask that you only take one or two before moving out to a further distance.  As before there will an IPSC target or two at 700 yards with a large package of explosives in the center.

Be sure and bring your old tax forms and any other stuff you want blown up.

At this point everything is a go.

JG (mentioned in status report for March 17) has again changed his mind and says he is coming.  I didn't even have to offer to pay him.  I'll believe it when I see him fire his first shot on site.  For those of you that thought I might be referring to Jeff Griffin, you are wrong.  This is someone from the Seattle area.

March 17, 2000 - Just less than one month prior to the event and the Precision Rifle Clinic is full.   There are currently seven shooting positions still open.  

All the chemicals are in, the wheelchair accessible toilet is scheduled to arrive Friday night, my help is all lined up, all things are a go at this point.  The only major concern at this point is the weather, but of course we are way too far in advance to have a clue about that yet.

Those of you that got the Boomershoot Update email yesterday will wonder why there was there was six openings yesterday and seven today.  Well, one person, who shall remain nameless for now, but whose initials are JG, wimped out, again, and canceled.  This is the same guy that claims he is so good he doesn't need a spotter to shoot the targets, doesn't need to practice, and doesn't need to know the altitude, temperature, scope level, or range finder, to reliable hit targets several hundred yards away -- he's just that good.  Of course he also believes the gunsmith about a gun he built for someone else shot 4 inch groups at 1600 yards.  JG purchased an identical gun from the same gunsmith several months ago and hasn't even been fired it yet.  He shows it off to everyone and tells everyone how great the gun is and how great a gun it will be for the Boomershoot.  But he can't seem to find the time to even take it to the range to see if a bullet will make it the distance from the chamber to muzzle and do a four inch group.  For a couple months after getting the gun he claimed he hadn't shot it because he didn't have any ammo for it.  So, after getting some hand-loads working for my gun I made him a great deal on some Federal Match ammo I didn't want.  Now his excuses are so pathetic that I would be embarrassed to repeat them.  I'm thinking that in addition to giving him his money back I should pay him to come and show us all how it is done.  After all, he's a legend in his own mind, why not be one in everyone else's too?  I'm sure that if he shows up and shoots for us it will be something we will talk about for years to come. <BIG S.E.G.>

March 1, 2000 - I have confirmed entries for all but 11 shooting positions, I have two of those spoken for with "checks in the mail", and several others that insist they are coming but haven't got around to sending in their entry yet.

All the chemicals are in and some of the processing has started.  I have some help for making the targets so I think everything should get done on time.  

Eugene Econ sent me some email saying that he only has one slot available for the Precision Rifle Clinic.

I only got one response from someone that was sort of interested in a competitive event.  That tells me that it probably won't happen this time.  Since this will be the biggest Boomershoot  ever I would just as soon not complicate things even more.

February 22, 2000 - We are now half full with over seven weeks until the event.  My expectation is that the event will be full by mid-March -- if not sooner.  (Retired) Major Econ reports that the clinic is over half full also and he has ordered more targets from me for the clinic -- a total of 75 now.  This is more than the number of targets I had in total for the first Boomershoot in October of '98.

I have ordered all the chemicals that will be needed for the targets and then some.  All chemicals should be here within a week or less.  The critical item will be having enough time to build all of them.  I'll do some preliminary processing of the chemicals starting this weekend.  I also got some email, and a call, from someone that sells explosives targets -- big ones.  Much bigger than the little ones you buy in the gun shops.  Much more expensive too.  I may buy a few just to see what they are like.  You will get to see them go up at the same time I do -- April 16th.

I plan to put a box of IRS tax forms in a box on top of a big charge of explosives and set it off for the entertainment value.  Also there will be some Symantec and Zortech (software companies that I and some other engineers had some rather unpleasant dealings with) shirts and software that will be disposed of in a rather dramatic manner.  The charges will be somewhat larger than the standard targets, probably about 10 times larger.  Maybe with something to make a nice fireball.

Other people plan to bring some other things to dispose of as well, I won't give out the details here, but lets just say this will be a 'celebrity shoot' (no politicians!).  The current plan is to use the left over targets for this, after the event, as part of the disposal procedure.  

I have received virtually no feedback on the competition suggestions for the event.  If this isn't something that many people are interested in, then I certainly don't want to complicate my life any more than necessary.

February 6, 2000 - Major Econ has informed me that as of this morning there are only 11 slots left in the clinic.  If you in are want to do this you should sign up soon.  See Long Range Precision Rifle Clinic for details.

February 4, 2000 - I've added a section for people looking for partners. Send me email if you are in need of a partner and I'll post it here as well as mention it in my update messages.

As of the last time I checked my P.O. box (January 29th) we had twenty five shooting positions available.  If all the people that have said they are going to enter actual send in their money there would be about fifteen positions available.  Also of interest is all the people that plan to bring .50 caliber guns.  Someone put this event on the 50 Caliber Shooters Association web page as a place to shoot and I have been getting inquiries from Canada and other far away places.  The guy from Canada asked if we allowed people from Canada.  I told him it was fine as long as he left the silly Canadian gun laws behind.

I had another suggestion for a competition.  One of the great benefits of this one is that it could be done simultaneous with the rest of the event and it even has a prize.  

There would be a special target at some great distance, probably 700 yards.  To shoot at this target costs $1.00 which goes into a "pot".  The first person to detonate it takes the pot.  

Any thoughts on this idea?

January 17, 2000 - I have pretty much decided that there will be a competition portion of the event. Entirely optional, just for the fun of the competition. The precise details have not been worked out, but it will almost for certain be something like the following:

It will take place after the targets have been replenished during the lunch break. Everyone will have their rifles sighted in, and experience working with their spotter. 

Two person teams start from something like fifty yards back from the firing line, gun loaded, chamber empty, run to the firing line and engage as many targets as you can within 90 (120, whatever) seconds. The targets will be arranged in groups at various ranges and you can only detonate one target from each group, except for the most distance one.  For the most distance group you could engage as many targets as you wanted.  If the target groups are at 250, 350, 500, and 600-yards then you would probably shoot at them in that order, connecting with one target from each group.  It would make it more complicated, but perhaps more interesting, if the more distance targets were of higher value.  Something like the 500-yard targets counted as much as getting two 200-yard targets.  I think if I were to bring a computer with a spreadsheet program the scorekeeping would be simplified enough that it would be doable.

You would get two runs, trading spotter/shooter positions for the second run. By running two or three teams at a time I think we could get through the competition in 60 to 90 minutes.

I'm thinking of reducing the distance to run for people competing in a wheelchair to about 10 yards instead of 50 for the temporarily able-bodied people.  Almost for certain there will be one wheelchair bound participant and I would like it to be at least possible for him to participate in the competition.  If you think that represents an unfair advantage, bring your own wheelchair (keep in mind you will have to shoot from it too!) or suggest a better idea.

Eugene Econ has agreed to put on another precision rifle seminar.  This time it is an all day seminar using, in part, reactive targets.  In essence it looks like he is doing a practice session for the competition portion of the event.  If you are serious about competing, you had better attend the seminar. 

December 14, 1999 - I have revised the format of the event some to make certain we don't have any more fires or lost targets.  All targets will be confined to a few relatively small areas and put on short stakes.  All target areas will be soaked with water after the event to neutralize the chemicals and eliminate the possibility of spontaneous combustion of the materials.

As of this date we still have lots of openings.

October 7, 1999 - There are still some issues to work out with the local fire department after the last event with the fire we had the next day.  But I expect that will be settled in time.

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There are 30 shooting positions. Each position costs $30.00 ($25.00 if you are Palouse Practical Shooter member). If you want to share a position with another shooter (or two maximum for a total of three shooters at one position) they may sign up for $15 ($10.00 for PPS members) additional. Example (assuming none are PPS members), you and your partner share one position, that would be a total of $45.00. $30.00 for the first position and $15.00 for the additional person. If three people share a position, then it would be a total of $60.00.

Send your entries to the following address:

Joe Huffman
PPS April Boomer Shoot
P.O. Box 3745
Moscow, Idaho 83843-1916

Include a signed piece of paper with either the NRA's three rules (or see Minimum Gun Safety Rules) or Jeff Cooper's four rules of safe gun handling.  Memorize them.  You will be asked to repeat them (take your pick, either the NRA or Jeff Cooper version) when you show up.  Think of this as an I.Q. test.  You don't want to look stupid and go home without shooting.  Pass the test.  You will be expected to follow the rules at all times.  If you don't follow them you will become a non-shooter for the remainder of the day.  Refunds for safety violations will be very unlikely.

All entries must be received by April 14th.  Make the check out to Joe Huffman.  You MUST have web access and an email address (except for a couple of my local friends).  Also, I need phone numbers so that I can contact you at the last minute (no later than 9:00 PM Friday night, the14th) in case the event must be canceled for some reason.

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Minimum Gun Safety Rules


Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.


Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.


Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

These are the bare minimum which you must follow while at the event.  You MUST have them (or the equivalent thereof) memorized.  Other rules will be explained at the shooters meeting before you take your gun out of its case.

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Email: Joe Huffman
Last updated: February 06, 2006