Greetings from Michigan (actually, greetings from Estes Park, Colorado area as I write this).
Well, Boomershoot 2013 is in the bag and it was a bit different this year as the usual suspects were not all in attendance. The planet felt like it was slightly off-axis without Phil, David and Scott along for the ride.
I made the usual drive from Michigan through Iowa, up to South Dakota and across Wyoming, Montana and down into Idaho to Orofino. Stayed a few nights with the wonderful couple who host us each year and then drove even farther west to visit with Phil in Tacoma for a few nights and then back to Orofino for the Boomer hunt. As Phil posted earlier, we spent some time at a local range in his area and I was able to chronograph and sight-in my re-barreled rifle which is now sporting a 28″ Benchmark barrel chambered in 6.5×47.
Back in Orofino, I drove out to the Boomershoot site on Thursday to set up the new canopy I obtained. It would be covering but 1 firing position instead of the usual Boomeragio canopy of Phil’s which covers 3 positions. I called this abbreviated portable palace Boomeragio Lite.
The winds were blowing very briskly at the site and it was slow going trying to keep the structure from relocating down the firing line 10 or 20 positions as I got more of the roof and side walls attached. It seemed at times that it would make a fine glider. Eventually got it put together and staked down.
I unloaded some gear from the truck and got it placed under the roof section, then removed the vertical corner poles and let the roof hunker down for the night with various weighty items helping to secure it in place. An 8 lb. jug of Vihtavouri powder jumped in to lend a hand.
Friday am rolled around and everything was still in its place when I got there. I finished setting up and waited for the rifle clinic to break up and start the field fire. I shot for several minutes at the 375 yd. berm just trying to get on the metal poppers and silhouettes. Self-spotting through the rifle scope isn’t the preferred method of quickly getting on target, but I managed to get some hits and record my 375 yd. scope settings.
I then moved up the hill, again focusing on the larger metal targets. Managed a few hits and recorded more scope settings. One of my main goals for field fire was to get a handful of scope settings that would get me in the ballpark for the Sporting Rifle Match I am headed for in New Mexico that takes place the Sunday after Boomershoot. With that in mind, I moved from the bench under the canopy over to the berm where I started using the rifle prone with a bipod.
Also managed to hook up with two fellas who would sort of spot for me as long as I was shooting at the same targets they were. Did manage to get several targets at different distances on up to the top of the hill, so I felt ok overall.
On Saturday, pulled out the Sharps and banged some metal up and down the hill. I love the sound of those 535 g. chunks of lead splashing the metal. I don’t know if the folks immediately downwind of me on the berm held the same appreciation as the black powder smoke engulfed them for a few seconds after each shot.
While I was pleased to get some data and scope settings on the 6.5×47, I brought my old .308 with me again, just because it is what I have used in New Mexico the last two years, and I have more precise scope settings for it. I uncased it on Sunday and got several boomers with it. The zero and scope settings were right in line with what I had last year, so I am undecided as I sit here in Colorado writing this post, as to which rifle to use in New Mexico. My plan is to get on the road early and make the 4-5 hour drive to Raton in time to spend some time on the Whittington High Power Sillouette range and see if I can get enough additional data on the 6.5×47. If not, I’ll probably just fall back on the .308 and try to better my score of last year.
It’s always bittersweet when the final “cease fire!” is called on Sunday afternoon. It’s time to dismantle the Boomeragio Lite, pack up the truck and head back into Orofino for the night, knowing that come morning, I’ll be headed back over Lolo Pass toward I-90 and Billings.. I was the last person to leave the firing line (I’m slow) and the afternoon sun waned in the west.
This special spot in the middle of nowhere in north central Idaho is returning to its natural state until next year (actually, the staff was still working down range to collect undetonated boomers and have their own “clean up” exercise). As usual, I met a few new faces and was especially pleased to be able to have a nice conversation with Joe and Barb at dinner one of the evenings.
The 7 days between Boomershoot and the match in Raton, allow me to visit a couple of nights and days with my cousin who lives in the Estes Park, CO area. I usually arrive on Wednesday late afternoon, but this year I was in Bozeman on Tuesday am and decided to call my cousin to touch base and confirm that everything was still on track. She informed me that there was a big storm on its way down from Wyoming Tuesday night and I might want to get a move on a get there asap. I did and I did and arrived a little after 9 pm Tuesday night just as the big flakes were hitting the ground. She lives at about 7200 ft. elevation, so what was rain down in Loveland was fluffy and white at her house. She suggested I get the truck into the empty stall in her garage so it wouldn’t get covered with snow overnight. Glad I did as it snowed 15 inches with a heavy wet spring snow. I woke up Wednesday am and saw this out the bedroom window:
To make things even more fun, my cous informed me that her power had gone out the previous night after we went to bed. Only her little dirt road up a draw lost power and it was restored Wednesday night a little after 11 pm. Spent Thursday in town, sun was out, went for a hike around Lake Estes, saw some vultures. I needed the walking at the high elevation. Hope it helps me with the walking and shooting in Raton on Sunday.
So, that’s the latest so far at the mid-point on this years Western Odyssey. I’ll let you all know how the Sporting Rifle Match turns out next week.