THis weekend Brian B, 7mmrhb, and myself went to our annual explosive shoot in Elsinore, Utah called the Kimberly Kaboom. It is an 8 hour event in which you pay 2 dollars per shot to take a crack at targets at 900 yards. The targets are 2" muffler pipes stuffed with an explosive solid that is taped to the pipe thus creating a little ball that is the same size as a golf ball. The pipe is then bolted to the top of a standard 3 foot garden stake and is angled to be straight with line of sight to the benches and is then painted flourescent orange and has a flag attached to it. There is no backer, and no steel plate behind the target. The hillside is about 40 yards behind the suspended target.
You pay 2 dollars per shot and you get to take only 2 shots during your turn and then you move to the back of the line and wait for everyone else in line to shoot their 2 shots.
No rangefinders allowed.
Does anyone see a problem with this?
I see several. First, the target is less than 1/4 MOA in size for a 900 yard distance. Not even the most accurate gun and shooter in the world can keep 1/4 moa across 9 football fields.
Second, the target is "housed" in a protective pipe which is angled at zero degrees so it does not follow the curve of the trajectory at that range. Even the flattest bullets in the world are coming down on such an angle at that range that they physically could not and would not enter the pipe unless the bullet entered the very top lip of the pipe which in reality would give you not the intended 2" target, but more like a 3/4" target! That is actually less than 1/9th MOA for 900 yards!
The third thing wrong with this shoot is the backstop. If the target is suspended 3 feet above the ground and the closest possible impact point is 40 yards behind the target, it makes it almost impossible to tell where you missed. From the bench, every shot looked to be 3 feet low or more, when in fact, the angle of the drop may have actually put the bullet 6" above the target as it passed.
All three of these problems stacked so heavily against all the shooters that there was never a hit. I would venture to say that there was easily 500 bullets launched downrange by everything from my 6br improved to a 50 bmg and nothing connected. Several shooters including myself were holding about 2-5 inch groups at that range and none could just move the groups over to the target and that was because we didn't know where we were missing! Vapor trails were almost non-existing, and when there were traces, they were so close to the target that it blurred the image as it went by so you couldn't give a correction report for anyone.
We have been to this shoot every spring for 3 years now, but this was the first time that there was no backstop as the target was moved from 850 to 900 yards. I actually hit the golf ball two years ago and Brian hit it last year, but we will both freely admit that there was just some plain good luck involved in both of those hits. We also had a better idea of where we were missing because of the better backstop. THis time, it was really almost impossible in my opinion.
After the shoot, we were frustrated enough about losing hundreds of dollars that we made some suggestions to the organizers of the event(whom are not long range shooters at all). I suggested putting up a 12" square metal gong immediately behind the target so we could make needed corrections. I also suggested making the target realistically larger so it would at least be 1/3 moa (3"). Then we also suggested that the pipe be angled at about 15 degrees to allow the bullet to enter the pipe and detonate. All these suggestions were agreed upon as needed improvements at the time, but I believe that the organizers will over time forget about them and just keep doing what they are doing.
That is why I made this post. I would really appreciate it if you other fellows "in the ballistic fraternity" wouldn't mind leaving a post with your thoughts on this shoot so that I can show them to the organizers of the event. That way, they could take other opinions of this and maybe it will reinforce my suggestions. Any opinions on the matter will be greatly appreciated.
BTW, if anyone is going to be in the Richfield area of Utah in the first part of November, there will be another shoot and hopefully, new changes will be instigated then. Please drop by and shoot if you can!
Here are some pics of the shoot:
This is a view of the targets with the naked eye. The white dots at the bottom of the hill are 2 foot by 2 foot cardboard signs with the target number on them. The stakes were just to the left of the signs.
Here are some local spectators out to watch the BOOMS that never were! The benches were under the tents.
Here is the great shooting 6mm-284 "boat anchor" and the little purple turtle 6br improved which both shot 3-4" groups that day, but were not good enough obviously.
The 6.5-.284 and the swift also were employed this day to no avail.