Boomershoot Proof of Concept

Joe Huffman had expressed skepticism that a bullet from one of my specialty pistols would have enough velocity to explode boomers past the 385-yard line.

IMG_16901.JPGWell, at Boomershoot 2008 I exploded a large boomer at about 620 yards with my factory Encore pistol and its 15″ Bullberry barrel in .308 Win, using Black Hills 175-grain Match loads with the Moly-coated bullets. Muzzle velocity was 2351 fps.

Even better, I went from 385 to 620 yards without clicking any elevation into my scope. I wanted to not only prove the concept of firing a pistol with precision at a distant small target, but also prove the concept of fast target acquisition “in the field” at varying distances simply by changing point of aim on the scope reticle — at least in my hands. On Saturday, I had zeroed with this load at the 385-yard line, holding dead center for elevation on the left edge of a 4″ target to blow it up. To get to targets up on the hill on Sunday, I simply held up on the Burris Ballistic Plex reticle the requisite number of stadia lines. In this case, I just placed the tip of the lower plex post on the lower right corner of the boomer, and away it went. It took some trial and error to get to that point, of course — but it worked!

This is exactly the same drill I performed in 2007, by the way — confirming zero at 385 yards, then having Phil “walk” me up the hill past 500 yards, without changing my scope settings. Unfortunately, in 2007 I had started “walking” up the hill too late in the day to nail a boomer — they were all gone!

Not in 2008 — Joe made plenty of boomers this year. After exploding my boomer, there were a few left up at the 700-yard berm. Phil spotted for both Dave and I simultaneously as we battled it out for the last one — me with match ammo but shooting a pistol with a small field of view in my tiny scope, he with cheap 2.5-MOA ammo in his precision rifle with a big NightForce. He won, but barely.

My personal Boomershoot odyssey:

2005 — pick up a rifle for the first time after buying it specifically for Boomershoot. Finish Gene Econ’s clinic three days later by putting ten rounds into a 7″ boomer at 385 yards.

2006 — miss Boomershoot, but attend the Bower Shooting Clinic. Pick up a specialty pistol for the first time. Become addicted.

2007 — bring the rifles to Boomershoot, but they stay in the cases while I shoot pistols exclusively.

2008 — I leave my rifles at home. Blow up my first boomer past 385 yards with one of my pistols.

2009 — Who knows? But I suspect I’ll be hangin’ in there with the big boys, shooting my .308 pistols at 600- and 700-yard targets almost exclusively, and blowin’ em up, too!

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8 Responses to Boomershoot Proof of Concept

  1. Ry Jones says:

    Thanks for the article you left at my shooting position; it was a great read.

  2. David says:

    Wasn’t me! But I was telling folks to “take two and give one to your friends,” so you must have had a friendly genie stop by.

  3. Joe Huffman says:

    My best estimate of your bullet velocity at 620 yards is just under 1500 fps. This is well into the “gray area” of successful detonation velocities. With a very flat nosed bullet 1200 fps will do it. With a very pointed bullet it could take over 1700 fps.

    Regardless, just hitting the targets at that range with pistols is impressive.

  4. David says:

    I wanted to see if I could detonate a boomer with my 7-30 Waters Contender pistols at that range, too, as the factory loads use a flat-nosed bullet. However, I had a bit of a forend problem and put them back in the case until next year.

  5. guy says:

    “my factory Encore pistol and its 15″ Bullberry barrel”

    I will never claim to be an expert on guns, but at 15″ is that still a pistol or is it a light carbine?

  6. David says:

    Guy, I don’t believe there’s any legal definition for a “light carbine” based on barrel length — certainly not in California, and our gun laws are pretty ummm detailed.

    The closest thing I can think of is that if you have a rifle receiver and reduce the barrel below 16.5″ you violate a law against a “short-barreled rifle.” However, if you start with a pistol receiver you can pretty much have any length barrel you like on it.

    One of my .308 pistols has a 17.5″ barrel on it, and when I had that barrel on my Encore rifle receiver it was indeed a sweet-handling short rifle, or carbine if you will. But I like it better on my pistol receiver.

    FYI, Thompson/Center receivers come from the factory designated as either a rifle or a pistol. Some would argue that a recent court decision makes this irrelevant, and for Federal law they may be right — but California has its own law on the subject and we Californians have to keep careful track of whether we’re slapping a short barrel on a T/C rifle receiver or a pistol receiver. Annoying, to be sure….

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