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Boomershoot -- General Information

bulletPhotos and video
bulletWhat You Need to Bring
bulletMinimum Gun Safety Rules
bulletAdditional Rules and Clarifications
bulletWeather and Other Conditions
bulletSite Pictures and Range Layout
bulletDetailed Schedule
bulletDirections (on it's own page for easy printing)
bulletFree WiFi is available!
bulletWhat To Expect
bulletAnswers To Questions
bulletHow to Prepare for Your Boomershoot Experience (Sixteen Helpful Hints For The Boomershoot)
bulletRifle Suggestions
bulletBullets and Boomers

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What You Need To Bring

Must Have:

bulletEye and ear protection. The explosions aren't a threat from 375+ yards away, but the guns are. Eye and ear protection is highly recommended for spectators.
bulletA shooting bench or a mat to shoot off of. For many of the shooting positions a slick tarp will be a hindrance--you will slide off the shooting position. A good shooting mat is preferable. If you are really macho, don't mind dirt, weeds, insects crawling up your pants, and want to shoot off the frequently wet ground you can. A shooting bench is required for some of the shooting positions. And a bench that can tolerate sloping ground is even better. Some shooting positions will require a bench in order to see all the targets.
bulletAn accurate center fire rifle with a scope. A 10 x or greater scope is desirable although some people get by with a 3 or 4 x scope. The closest targets and easiest targets are 4"x4" at 375 yards. Most of the more distance targets are larger, 7"x7" inch squares, but the increased distance makes them more difficult to hit. Read the page on rifle suggestions.
bulletAmmo and rifle capable of delivering high velocity bullets to the target. Read the page on bullets and boomers!
bulletAt least 100 rounds of ammo. I know people have gone through as little as 50 and as much as 1000 rounds. It's up to you, but I suspect 100 rounds will be the minimum you will be happy with.
bulletA good attitude. You must be safe and courteous.

Below is a picture of a bullet we found in a stake a few months after Boomershoot 2004. It's a .223 bullet going too slow to do anything more than embed itself in the stake. Although it's possible it was a ricochet, at 700 yards .223 bullets have lost a lot of velocity and shouldn't be counted on to detonate boomers. Bring a little more "horsepower" if you want to get satisfaction at the greater ranges.

Slow Bullet

Nice to have:

bulletA partner for spotting. If you don't have a partner start asking around when you get there. You can probably find someone else to shoot/spot with.
bulletA spotting scope. Some people are able to spot for each other with their rifle scopes. This works out well in many cases because they can take turns shooting at the same target without getting up and down and changing positions all the time.
bullet Protection from the elements. Rain and wind gear was needed at many of the vents. Extra protection from the sun was needed at others. We had a snow storm once. Many people bring a shelter. Except for the .50 caliber area the shooting positions are eight feet wide and you can use about 15 feet of depth.
bulletLaser range finder. You will save a few rounds if you can get the exact range prior to firing the first shot at a new target. There will be a description of the ranges of various land marks prior to starting to shoot so it isn't a big deal if you don't have one.
bullet Food and fluids. We usually have a food vendor on site for Sunday (you pay on an item by item basis). But you may wish to bring your own.
bulletSpectators. Bring as many as you want.

Must Not Have:

bulletAlcohol until shooting is done for the day.
bulletIllegal recreational drugs.
bulletUnsafe gun handling skills.
bulletBad attitude. We are all here to have fun and all it takes is one jerk to ruin the fun for everyone.

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Minimum Gun Safety Rules


Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.


Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.


Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.


Always keep the gun in its case unless the muzzle is pointed downrange and within two feet of the shooting line.

These are the bare minimum which you must follow while at the event. You MUST have them (or the equivalent thereof) memorized. Other rules will be explained at the shooters meeting before you take your gun out of its case.

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Additional Rules and Clarifications

Due to some 'misunderstandings' I'm writing down ahead of time some more detail on what will be expected of you while on the range.

  1. "Always" has a specific meaning (1: at all times). If you don't know what it means you should look it up before you arrive. If you cannot remember the definition while at Boomershoot you have flunked the I.Q. test.

  2. Some people have got a bit sarcastic when they were reminded of the rules. I was married to one of the most sarcastic people on the planet for nearly 40 years and am very tolerant of sarcasm. Some of my Range Nazi's are not. Some of them are extremely sensitive children. Some of them are my children. Others are Marines.You may not be able to distinguish between the two. Be very polite and respectful of them. If you are not polite and respectful of them I will side with my RN's simply because you failed the attitude test. The local sheriff has personally asked me to make this a safe event. Some of his deputies shoot in this event. He and his deputies will side with me. This is a small community in rural North Idaho without much entertainment for the locals, the sheriff or his deputies. It would not be in your best interest to develop an bad attitude while discussing the details of my fascist rules. Don't become a spectator after driving 300 miles. If you do become a spectator don't ruin your chances of coming back next year. And you especially do not want to increase your chances of becoming local entertainment.

  3. There are no exceptions to any of the Minimum Gun Safety Rules. There have been people that thought that just because their firearm was unloaded, the bolt was removed, or had a "chamber open flag" in it that the safe direction rule did not apply. There are NO exceptions. Yes, this rule is redundant. No, I don't care. Yes, I'm acting like a Nazi. No, I'm not going to change my mind. If you persist in prolonging this discussion, yes, you can have you money back. No, you will not be allowed to come back next year. Yes, we are very creative in making our own entertainment around here. No, they did not make the movie Deliverance near here. Yes, they could have learned a thing or two had they done so.

  4. Do not lay your firearm on the ground unless it is pointed downrange while on the firing line.

  5. No alcohol until all shooting is done for the day.

  6. No illegal recreational drugs.

  7. You must be on the firing line with the muzzle within two feet of the firing line before removing/inserting your firearm from/into a case. The firearm must be unloaded, chamber open, and pointed downrange.

  8. No handling of uncased guns on the firing line when people are downrange.

  9. Do not shoot at anything except designated targets or the big rock pile at the base of the hill. I had numerous reflectors deliberately shot up one year and crates used for hauling of explosives destroyed another year. If I knew who did it I would nominate them for local entertainment duty. Shooting at any of the trees, large or small, will also get you nominated. Assuming you survive my initial fit of rage, shooting at the explosive magazine will result in you becoming 'local entertainment' for the rest of your life which you will wish was much shorter than previously hoped for.

  10. Except for when you are shooting directly into the side of the hill beyond 500 yards do not shoot at anything unless it is immediately in front of a berm. In there past there have been ricochets that left the range. This must not occur in the future.

  11. There are a limited number of targets and they are obviously not reusable. If you and your equipment are capable of hitting the closer ones with one or two shots, please limit your consumption. Other people are not so well equipped and skilled as you and may spend all day claiming just one. Move on out to the more challenging targets at 500 yards and beyond.

  12. If you have a handgun with you I would rather that you not wear it on your person while laying on the ground on the firing line. The people behind the line tend to get uncomfortable while looking down the barrels of your handguns even if they are holstered. If you really want the gun with you please remove the gun, while still in it's holster, and lay it on the ground or in a case beside you while you are shooting from the prone position. Please keep the gun pointed in a safe direction for the entire procedure.

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Weather and Other Conditions

The site is 3000 feet above sea level and the shooting is almost directly to the south.

We shoot from a "grassy knoll" overlooking a small creek. The shooting and target areas will have the grass cut down to where we can see things easily.

See also a live webcam from the shooting line toward the target area and data and forecast from a weather station on the shooting line.

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Site Pictures and Range Layout

Boomershoot parking and camping areas.

Parking and camping areas.

Shooting position view of the range. Target areas are outlined in red.

View of the shooting positions from the 700 yard targets.

This is the view from the new shooting position. The closest targets will be at "the tree line" which is about 375 yards away. Hundreds of more targets are located from the base of the hill at 575 yards and in the small crease in the middle of the hillside from about 625 yards to the berm at the top of the hill at 700 yards. Click on the picture above to get a larger view with the distances clearly labeled.

The new built up shooting positions. There are 22 shooting positions here.

On either side of the built up shooting position shown here will be the normal ground level positions. Benches will be required for some of the ground level positions. The built up shooting positions are probably not deep enough (only about five or six feet) for benches.

This is the view of the new shooting positions in use at Boomershoot 2004.

Firing Line (looking East) April '99 (photo by Sean)

Firing Line (looking West) April '99 (photo by Sean)

Study these firing line pictures closely and look for things you might want to bring. The people with the benches and tables in the picture directly above have been doing dynamite shoots for many years.

If you want a picture from the 'top' looking down see the Google Maps. The houses you see in the background of the picture (looking to the East) above are on the right side of the Google map image. The 'tree line' mentioned in a previous picture description is near the bottom of the Google map image. The road running east-west along the top of the picture is where you will drive in. About 200 yards from the east end of the road and about 50 yards or so south of this road will be the parking area. About 20 yards south of the parking area will be the shooting line -- shooting to the south.

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Setup will open at 0900. A shooters meeting will occur at 0950. Shooting starts at 1000. You can setup benches, mats, tables, chairs, spotting scopes, and any non-firearm equipment prior to the shooters meeting. Firearms must remained in their cases until after the shooters meeting. No guns out out of their cases until people are finished preparing the range and a last minute review of the rules is completed at the shooters meeting.

A lunch break will occur at 1200 and you will be given a chance to clean your guns at 1300. Afternoon shooting will begin at 1315 and you can shoot until 1600.

See also: What To Expect.

A very detailed schedule is here.

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Food: Saturday lunch, Sunday breakfast and lunch, there will be food for sale onsite supplied by local Boy Scouts.

Toilets: There will be a wheelchair accessible "Porta-Potty" with waterless hand washing facilities available Wednesday evening through the following Monday.

Cell phone service: Verizon, and Inland Cellular have been verified. There is some T-Mobile service if you have a newer phone (600 and 700 MHz bands). There is also a T-Mobile microcell at the east end of the shooters berm which will give service to all T-Mobile customers.

All other cell providers are non-existent.

Wi-Fi: Free wireless internet service is available onsite.

Camping: If you are into camping, you can stay on-site from Thursday morning though Monday afternoon. There won't be any drinking water, shower facilities, or shade available so you will have to bring your own. A few people would be able to camp at my brothers farm and use their bathroom facilities, fresh water hookup, and shade. This would be about two miles away from the site. Let me know if you want to do this so they don't get overwhelmed.

Motels: If you plan to stay in a motel, Orofino will probably be the best. Below is a complete list of hotels and motels in Orofino. People report staying at the Helgeson, Konkolville, motels and Trib's Place and being pleased. Barb and I spent a weekend at the Best Western Lodge at Rivers and were quite impressed. The Helgeson, Konkolville, and Best Western Lodge at Rivers all have wireless internet service available which is a big plus for some people. The High Country Inn is actually quite a bit closer but I don't know anyone that has actually stayed there.

Best Western Lodge at Rivers
615 Main St
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: 208-476-9999

To get more information about the hotel go to and do a search for Orofino, Idaho.

Helgeson Place Hotel Suites
125 Johnson Ave
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: 208-476-5729

High Country Inn and Country Catering
4232 Old Ahsahka Grade
Ahsahka, ID 83520
Phone: 208-476-7570
Fax:: 208-476-3394

Konkolville Motel
2600 Michigan Ave

Orofino, ID 83544-9636
Phone: 208-476-5584

Riverside Motel
10560 Highway 12
Orofino, ID 83544-9321
Phone: 208-476-5711

White Pine Motel
222 Brown, PO Box 1879
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: 208-476-7093

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What To Expect

Each shooting position is a minimum of eight feet wide. Except on top of the built up shooting positions you will have a minimum of 15 feet of depth to set up your shelters, benches, and arrange your gear. Many of the positions are not level. Some slope to the right, some to the left.

Anytime after the Precision Rifle clinic is over on Saturday evening shooters may set up their benches and other gear. Although there will be people camping on site there will not be any designated guards to protect equipment from theft or vandalism.

On Sunday from dawn until 9:45 AM shooters set up benches, shelters, pads, chairs, spotting scopes, etc. Guns remain in cases until after the shooters meeting (and my helpers and I get off the range). Between 9:00 and 9:45, shooters and spotters will recite the safety rules and get their badges. The shooter meeting will start at 9:50 (sometimes it's a bit late). That lasts about five or ten minutes. You go to your shooting positions and I will give everyone about five minutes to set up their guns before the commence-fire command is given. That way people are not rushing to set up and start shooting (accidents happen when people are rushed). Everyone shoots at their leisure until the cease-fire command is given. Typically there will be about one or two 1-minute cease-fires per hour because of cars that drive by. About noon we will stop for about an hour for lunch, gun cleaning, and repositioning the targets. We will have a brief shooters meeting about 13:00 and start shooting again. We keep shooting until we run out of targets (it's never happened), ammo (frequently happens), or finally just get tired.

The event winds down and the 'official' shooting stops about 16:00 and staff begins the clean up as soon as all of the guns have been cased.

See also Answers To Questions.

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Answers To Questions

I have received (and answered) a bunch of questions from some participants. Here are the best answers I could come up with.

See also: What To Expect.

Q: Are there any municipal airports in Orofino? If so, would it be possible to make arrangements to either rent a car there, or to get picked up? I'm thinking of renting a plane and flying out with a couple of friends and some gear.

A: I really can't be picking people up. I'll be very busy with preparations. Orofino Aviation has a "courtesy car" available. But no rental car agencies are immediately available If you expect to arrive outside of normal business hours call Dave Petet at 208-476-4714. See also for Orofino.

Lewiston and Pullman (call Interstate Aviation in Pullman) also are possibilities. Both have rental car agencies and Pullman (probably Lewiston too) has a "courtesy car". Both Lewiston and Pullman airports are about 75 minutes from the site. The Orofino airport is probably about 35 minutes from the site. I'm not a pilot, and haven't asked anyone about this, but the Orofino airport is in the bottom of a steep narrow valley. It may be a bit more difficult to get into and out of than Pullman or Lewiston.

Q: What arrangements have you made for a 'safety area'? I know for a fact that I will have to swab out the rifle barrels a few times. There will be a need to handle the rifles rather freely, and I don't want people to feel they have to watch their back just because I'm performing some basic maintenance.

A: During the lunch break a fifteen minute interval will be set aside for gun cleaning at your shooting position. Or you can clean your gun during the time when shooting is allowed.

Q: My 11-year old son wants to come. May he watch the rest of us shoot?

A: Yes. You may want to have him spot for you, that will help him from becoming quite so bored after a few hours. He will have to recite the gun safety rules to go inside the shooting area. If you let him shoot, he must use your gun and shooting position under your constant supervision. Sign him up as a spotter.

Q: I hate Barney. I'd love to blow him up. I'd like to give you a Barney doll...

A: This isn't worded as a question, but I think I know what you are trying to ask. Assuming it's the purple dinosaur Barney that we all know and love rather than a politician by the same name then the answer is yes. Please send an email ahead of time with the details of what you want to attempt reducing to it's molecular components. This is so we can determine the best time to do this and the clean up required.

Q: Are there any decent pizza parlors in Orofino? Or are we going to have to stay in Lewiston just to drink too much beer and throw pepperoni at each other?

A: My sister in-law reports there are two good places for pizza in Orofino. She said M & M Pizza & Pub (12740 Highway 12, 208-476-7605) is the better place but it is a little farther away from downtown so they don't go there quite as often as they go to the Pizza Factory (307 Michigan Ave, 208-476-5519). I called Pizza Factory to see if they serve beer. The answer was yes and they are open until 11:00 PM on Saturday nights. I presume 'Pub' in name of M & M's means they do also. I didn't call for their hours.

Throwing pepperoni at each other? I must make a note to myself to ask for proof of mental age next time...

Q: Does Idaho recognize other states concealed weapon/pistol licenses?

A: Idaho recognizes all other state's concealed carry permits. With or without a permit you may have your firearm (loaded or unloaded) in plain sight in your vehicle. With a permit it may be on your person, in the glove box or otherwise concealed in your vehicle. See and/or 18-3302 section (12)(g) for details. And contrary to Washington State law, you may also carry into a bar, but beware:

18-3302B. CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPONS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry a concealed weapon on or about his person when intoxicated or under the influence of an intoxicating drink or drug. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall be a misdemeanor.

Also, a deputy sheriff I know says you will be get some extra attention if you are caught carrying in a bar, "It's just asking for trouble."

Q: Can you give me any idea about what kind of crosswinds we can expect?

A: Winds can vary, 0->60 MPH. I know, not much help. We will be shooting across a creek that flows east-west. The winds normally come out of the west and there are virtually no obstacles to either the west or east. So if there is a wind, it will have full access to your projectiles.

I did some wind measurement on the afternoon of April 17, 1999 and all day on the 18th. Almost all the measurement were just this side of the two trees (the left tree has since been removed) you see in the center of the site picture above. Saturday afternoon from about 14:00 until 17:00 the wind was a fairly steady five to seven MPH from the west (from the right in the picture above). I saw it get as high as eight and as low as three. From the firing line I did one measurement at about 17:00. It seemed to be the same as below in the target area. On Sunday morning about 10:30 the wind was a gentler -- as high as five MPH from the east (from the left) and at times just barely detectable. It shifted around a fair amount. Sometimes from the NE and sometimes the SE. After lunch it was fairly quiet too and the three to four MPH wind gradually shifted around to come from the south and finally from the west about 15:00 It then picked up and got as high as 9 MPH (that I measured, it may have been a bit stronger for a few moments) as a storm approached. I left about 17:00.

At the April 1999 event the winds were in the five to ten MPH range during the morning and picked up to the mid twenties by late afternoon (try hitting a three inch cube at 600 yards with a .223 in those conditions!). At the July 1999 shoot there was virtually no wind all day. At the April 2000 and 2001 shoots there were some breezes, but nothing really bad. Probably about five to seven MPH at the maximum -- there was some light rain to contend with however.

At the 2002 event there were 45 MPH winds the night before. It settled down to about 15 or 20 by Friday during the shoot. "Challenging" is being kind. Sunday was "interesting" as well but there were some good shooting conditions for a while too. See also the Boomershoot weather history and forecast.

Q: We're going to be shooting generally north-to-south. In late April, the sun will probably still be fairly low during much of the day ... what are the chances that we're going to have to arrange some sort of scope hood to keep the sun glare off the lenses?

A: Shooting won't start until about 10:00 so the sun is fairly high. I have not heard any complaints at any of the shoots. I suspect it's not a problem for anyone.

Q: I'm assuming that shooting from the knoll means we'll have good drainage. If it's very muddy, can we find some hay or straw to put under the shooting mats? I'm too old to enjoy wallowing in mud puddles any more. Of course we'll bring tarps of some sort.

A: It generally is not muddy. There is enough grass that it doesn't really get muddy unless you go looking for it. It probably will be damp. Growing grass is like that.

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How to prepare for your Boomershoot experience (Sixteen Helpful Hints For The Boomershoot)

by Jerry The Geek
Monday, April 12, 1999 4:51 PM

(Note from Joe, this was written before Jerry had ever been to a Boomershoot so don't expect this to be adequate preparation. Also note that Jerry can't count to sixteen reliably.)

(1) Spend three days searching for exoteric rifle bullets which haven't been manufactured for at least five years. Pay for them with a check on an overdrawn account. On the way to your car, spill the boxes so that the bullets all roll into the storm drain.

(2) Buy 200 rounds of new brass. Take them out to the back yard and stomp them all into the mud.

(3) Shovel six inches of dirt into your bathtub. Turn the shower water on COLD and lay prone in the mess for 8 hours while fully clothed in your new bargain basement rain gear.

(4) Have your sadistic brother-in-law kick you in the right shoulder 200 times.

(5) Find a patch of cracked asphalt pavement. Throw six fist-sized rocks, a dozen pinecones, and several broken branches on the pavement, and lie down on it in the burning sun for several hours.

(6) Grind your left elbow in broken glass.

(7) Go to sleep on an anthill.

(8) Strike yourself in the right eyebrow with the open end of a metal pipe. Repeatedly.

(9) Buy a new pair of boots which are two sizes too short for you. Kick a tree trunk with each foot. Continue until you have jammed at least one toenail.

(10) Lie face down in a stubble field. Crawl backwards until your belly is thoroughly scratched. Then crawl forward until your shorts are full of gravel.

(11) Practice burning small patches of your skin with a cigarette, chanting "Die, Woodtick, Die!"

(12) Lay a hot curling iron across the back of your neck.

(13) Keep your toilet seat in the freezer, and take it out only when you can't wait any longer. Be sure to splash water on it just before you sit down. (Try to arrange for hyperactive but unidentifiable insects to take up residence in your toilet.)

(14) After you sight in your rifle, bump the scope on the car door as you're putting it away. Pretend you don't notice.

(15) Be sure you arrange to ride to the match with a friend who has just started a new Hi-Fiber diet. Ride in a small car with electric windows which will not roll down.

From: Jim B
Sent: Monday, April 12, 1999 5:08 PM
To: Jerry the Geek; Joe Huffman
Subject: RE: Sixteen Helpful Hints For The Boomershoot

Since you apparently only got to 15, I'll furnish #16: Ride with a friend whose windows don't roll down, and go on a high fiber diet first. Shoot his rifle and ammo. Piss on the toilet seat before he uses it. Pretend you're his sadistic brother-in-law. Buy broken glass and ants for his use. Tell him he's developing a tick. Put his curling iron on "high".

Whoa! What am I doing riding with someone who owns a curling iron, anyway?!


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Email: Joe Huffman
Last updated: April 15, 2019