At 5:30 on Friday morning, I woke up, stretched, gathered my things, and wandered from The Mill to the house to get ready for the day. You see, there’s no bathroom in the studio where JB and I were staying. We had to walk to the house to do pretty much anything.
I wandered to a couple of other doors and tried them. All locked.
I knocked on the first door again, several times, until JD woke up and stumbled over to let me in.
I said, “Good thing I didn’t have to get into the house in the middle of the night.”
JD’s reply: “Yeah, you’d have been shit out of luck.”
After an epic breakfast (OMG THE NOMS), Derek, David, JB and myself headed out to the Boomershoot site to start the Precision Rifle Clinic, which was run by Gene Econ.
I’m drawing a blank on how to best describe the clinic. It was EXTREMELY helpful to me, especially given that I’d never fired a long-range weapon before, and had only looked through a scope at the NRA Convention last year (I had to be told how to do that, too, which was a little embarrassing).
Joe brought his AR over and put it at Position 50, which wouldn’t be filled until Sunday, so that I could be close to the other clinic participants in order to be able to hear instructions and get the help I needed when I needed it. I got individual sighting help, was able to ask questions about the AR and how in the hell to work it (I obviously had some idea, or I wouldn’t have agreed to borrow it, and Joe wouldn’t have agreed to lend it to me), and how to work the scope, and then JB took up his position as spotter and we began the long (for me) process of sighting the rifle.
Honestly, it only took so long because I kept wanting to go back and make sure I could still hit targets I’d sighted several shots before. Also, I was enjoying shooting. So yeah.
I did very well, actually – in the first 30 or so rounds that I shot (before lunch), I think I seriously only missed the steel 3 or 4 times. Any “misses” other than that just meant I didn’t hit the center of the target, and it usually only took me one shot to correct that.
We broke for lunch, and I realized I was getting a bit of a sunburn. Naturally, this meant that I got distracted immediately after eating lunch and forgot to put some on. This is relevant, I promise. It leads up to what has apparently become the long-awaited broken nose story.
We continued shooting for a while, then it was time to set up the boomers. I look like a midget in this photo.
Here are my boomers, set up and ready to go. I painted a red cross on them because everyone else was painting spots and doing full-coloring of their targets, and I figured having a cross would make them easier to see, and would give me a good point of aim. I was right.
We got back up on the hill and began shooting. First, I tried to aim at the target on the lower left, but missed several times, so I moved to the larger target in the back, which measures 6 inches across. I hit it, it exploded (sorry, no photos of this), and the blast promptly knocked down the first target I was aiming for. I moved over to the lower right-hand target and made short work of it (these small targets measured 4 inches across), then came back to the fallen target, which was now only 2 inches tall and partially concealed by dirt and that clump of grass you can see in the photo above.
It took several tries, but I got it, and I’m not gonna lie, I’m STILL proud of myself for hitting that target, especially considering that it only took me 15 minutes total to hit all three targets, while some other folks were still trying their damnedest to hit the 6-inch target.
Since I finished so early, I took the opportunity to take photos of some of the explosions before it was time for cleanup:
I wandered down to David’s tent, where everyone was hanging out and having a great time, and we were shooting the bull and getting ready to go down for cleanup when we realized that they’d called “hot range” and everyone was blowing shit up down on the berm.
Yes, we’re among the group that Ry was referring to. I will point out, though, that it wasn’t exactly a mad scramble, and we weren’t waving our guns around behind the shooters while desperately trying to find a place in line, and I’m actually a bit insulted at the insinuation. Most of us did briskly walk behind the shooters to get to the other end of the line, and if there was a place, we stepped in and started to set up our rifles. I had just gotten the .223 that David loaned me out of the case when Joe came up and tapped me on the shoulder. He said that they were going to call a cease-fire in a bit, and then the boomers would be moved closer together to get those of us who were late a chance to “get [our] money’s worth”. Fine with me.
So those of us with our ATF clearance helped move the remaining boomers closer together, put out some more boomers, stepped back, and let fly (unlike the other photos in this post, these can be embiggenated by clicking on them – they just haven’t been uploaded to Flickr yet):
Despite appearances, I’m not aiming at my foot in that last photo. The expression is because I was exhausted, and haven’t shot a rifle in so long that my arms got tired very quickly.
JD can be seen to my left, and he was busy absorbing the shock of the .50BMG that Derek was shooting at that time (link goes to YouTube).
Once that was done, several of us headed to a local Mexican restaurant (the only one in Orofino, I think) to have food and hang out. I was feeling awful from my sunburn (which was only on ONE part of my face, by the way…my left cheek…what a gyp…), so I managed a couple of bites, then JB and I had to leave everyone else there so we could go to bed.
It was a great day, truly.
Next post: Saturday.
Don’t forget to check Flickr for photos as they come up! I’m only on Friday, and I’ve already got over 300 photos in the Boomershoot 2009 set.