Boomershoot 2020

Yup, it’s that time again.  (“That time” being wherein I discover, and not for the first time, that I am totally crap at long-range shooting.)

I just registered for Boomershoot 2020, so I’ll be up in central Idaho on May 1-3, driving all the way up from Texas for the three days prior, and all the way back down for the three days thereafter.  (I drive because of all the gear one needs to make Boomershoot feel less like the Somme circa  1916 only without being machine-gunned by Huns.)  I have not been to Boomershoot for fifteen years, and I very much doubt whether my skills have improved over the intermission.

So why am I going?  Well, I missed Mr. Free Market’s last trip to Scotland for the annual deer stalk in appalling weather conditions, so I need to punish myself — it’s the gunny equivalent of a hairshirt, to quell any feelings of pride and/or adequacy I may feel in my shooting skills, such as they are, and to remind me that shooting generally doesn’t take place in an air-conditioned indoor range, nor even in clement weather.

Organizer Joe Huffman, national treasure that he may be, is not responsible for the drenching rainstorms which sweep the area periodically, nor for the scorching sunshine when it’s not raining.  Nor is he responsible for the variable 20+ mph winds which sweep across the field, and which make shooting at inch-sized targets (at 400 yards) such an  ummm interesting  test of one’s ability to judge the likely fall of shot at the target.

So I’ll be acquiring at some point a new rain/sun shelter and a new shooting bench (the old ones having disappeared without trace into the mists of time during my fifteen years’ absence):

Not quite sure at this point what rifles I’ll be taking up.  The Son&Heir may be accompanying me (his work schedule permitting) in which case the Swedish Mauser will be putting in a repeat appearance*.  I hope he does make it:  he’s as good a spotter as he is a shooter — and at BS, a spotter is mandatory (unless you just want to shoot hundreds of rounds into the ground around the target).

But the rifles… previous experience at BS has shown me that hunting rifles (even ones as good as my Mauser M12) just don’t cut it.  You need a heavy rifle and a heavy barrel (the latter to handle the high rate of fire), and most hunting rifles’ barrels just overheat and the lightweight stocks don’t give you a steady shooting platform.  Here’s a pic of what I mean:

The guy on the left (in blue) wasn’t shooting but spotting for his buddy, who was an ungodly shot:  13 shots, 12 boomers at 800 yards.  The cartridge was .30-378 Weatherby, as I recall.

I don’t have anything like that, nor do I want to shoot a heavy bullet, despite the advantages that would bring in a stiff breeze.

I’ll be thinking about the problem over the next couple of weeks, but I’m leaning towards 7.62mm NATO / .308 Win in addition to the 6.5x55mm Swede I’ll be bringing already.  Here’s an idea of what I’m talking about:

All suggestions (especially from Boomershoot veterans) are most welcome.

*A brief word of explanation:  the S&H doesn’t enjoy shooting through a scope because, and I quote, “there’s no artistry  involved, Dad” and thus prefers to use iron sights at 400 yards.  Last time, he hit six boomers out of fifteen shots fired — in other words, as the 400-yard boomers are 4″ square, shooting MOA with iron sights, the bloody showoff.  Even the Fort Lewis Army snipers were impressed.  We’ll see if his 30-year-old eyes are up to what his 15-year-old eyes managed.


  1. I am not a really experienced long-range shooter, but a higher weight copper over lead non-expanding bullet would be best. Looking at data for the 308 Win. I see a recommended upper bullet weight of 180 gr. Interestingly the 7mm Remington Magnum will shoot this weight with a better ballistic coefficient.

    1. I can’t afford to shoot 7mm Rem Mag all day, both because of the ammo cost and the effect on my shoulder.

  2. Great to hear you’ll be there. Been following your writing for ages. What stall are you in?

    My primary rifles are a Savage model 12 bench rest model in 6mm BR and a Savage model 12 F class in 6.5-284. The 6BR does well at the 375 line, but, the 6.5-284 works wonders at the top of the hill.

    I tend to load heavier bullets for those two, 105gr in the 6BR and 140 in the 6.5-284. Both still fast enough to set off boomers, but, higher ballistic coefficient to minimize wind effects.

    I also have a Savage 308 that really only liked 175 grain Sierra Match Kings. It is not as pleasant to shoot all day, though. My shooting buddy also has a Savage 308, but, doesn’t load his own.

    1. Jack:
      From memory, I’ll be in #32 position. My primary gun will be 6.5x55mm (which I CAN shoot all day, and have), but I need something with just a little more oomph for the 600-yard boomers, I think, hence the .3xx consideration. The Son & Heir and I will be trading shooting / spotting duties all day, as is our wont, so I don’t think either of us will be too pummeled.

  3. You should consider a K31, especially if S&H likes iron sights. Can’t much argue with the Swede, though.

  4. I had a K.11 once, and that 7.5mm Swiss kicks like a bastard, even in the longer gun. In a K.31? Pass, thankee.

  5. Wow. That’s 1800 miles each way. But a week of father-son time is going to be very precious.

  6. Here in Oz ( like you in SA ) most private schools had an Army cadet unit. The cadets went west when the Labor Party (= Democrat) got into Office and decided that sweet reason would ensure there was no more trouble on our Planet)
    I was a member of our Cadet shooting team.
    Iron sights. Army issue .303 ammo. Army issue SMLE rifle. Windswept range on the edge of the sea. Ranges of 300, 500 and 700 yards.
    A bullseye was rare. (The chap in the target trench would insert a white marker for bullseye-red for anything else. I was always seeing red).
    So I know a better shooter when you tell me about one. Hats off to young du T !
    (P.S. I bet he gets a better score than his Dad, and then tells you about it for the next 3 days. Whatever, enjoy the shoot)

  7. damn machine just ate my comment. short version – if you’d consider using a loner drop me an email. I’ve got a couple of interesting .308 platforms that would probably work for this sort of shoot. Be glad to ship one or t’other out to you.

  8. Holy crap, forget about this. Colt’s bringing back the Python and the 1903 hammerless. You gotta hoard them shekels. Gonna be just south of $1500 for the Python in stainless with a four something and six inch barrels. Go over to for details.

  9. Or, he could just drive one way and stay. Idaho is:
    a. not miserably hot and humid like Texas,
    b. gun-friendly (I may be understating this a wee bit),
    c. among the most affordable places in the whole US to live,
    d. not being overrun by the scourge of liberals fleeing the coastal metropolises.

  10. I don’t know if you remember, but MoK and I hightailed it out of Northern Virginia 8 years ago and settled in the foothills just north of Boise. If your route takes you nearby, either on your way up or your way home, we’d love to host y’all for lunch or dinner or whatever.

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