Nov 15, 2011

Pumpkins and Pyrotechnics

A couple of months ago, we got together with a bunch of friends for what could be described as a day of shooting.  Our friends Tom and Leslie have a beautiful home in Snohomish, Washington.  Their property is quite large and there is room for all kinds of shooting.  We shot short range with pistols, long range with rifles, and we shot clay pigeons.  At some point during that day, the idea was created to have another get together shortly after Halloween.  We considered that it would be quite enjoyable to shoot pumpkins on Halloween.  But then, we hypothesized that pumpkins could be purchased at a heavy discount after Halloween given that stores would likely have leftovers. 

The date of November 5th was set.  I could hardly wait.  There is something about guns and shooting stuff that, as my wife would say, "gets you all wild eyed."  As the date got nearer, I got more and more excited.  I had a humorous conversation with my friend Eric a couple of days before.  He asked how many pumpkins we should get?  I replied, "lots.  As many as we can reasonably get."  I heard back from him later that day.  It went something like this, " I called the Fall City Farms and asked if they had any pumpkins left.  The guy asked me what they were for.  I told him we would be launching them out of a trebuchet and shooting them with shotguns.  He laughed and told me to come load up for free."

So, November 5th rolled around and we headed up to Tom and Leslie's house.  I was glad that my brother, Joel, decided to come.  It had been a while since we had been out to shoot together.  We walked in the house and said hello.  Tom walked out of the room for a minute and came back in with a large bag of a white powdery substance.  I had an idea, but I asked him, "what is that?"  He replied "tannerite."  I wish there had been a camera to capture the looks of the faces of everyone in the room. 

Tannerite is a legal binary explosive that can be set off with a bullet impact.  This day was quickly becoming more interesting.  Eric showed up with his truck bed full of about 35 pumpkins.  We set up our shooting area with various targets and shot for a while.  After about an hour, Tom started mixing the tannerite.  He made about six "packages" that were to be placed inside or underneath pumpkins.  The instructions with the tannerite state that a rimfire (.22) round will not set off the tannerite.  That did not stop us from trying, but it turned out to be true.  It was a good thing that Eric had brought along his Springfield M1A.  The M1A is the civilian variant of the M14.  It is a semi-automatic .308 rifle.  Both the M1A and the M14 are descendant from the more famous M1 Garand. 

Springfield M1A
After the targets had been set, we tried to set a few of them off with rimfires and various pistols. As I mentioned, no dice.  Since Tom and Leslie's home was just recently constructed, they have a shipping container on the property.  It just so happens that the container is about 100 yards away from the target area.  We decided to climb up on top of the shipping container and shoot from there. 

Our friend Jay has lots of fun toys.  He had thought ahead and brought along his new Go Pro HD video camera. 

We had a brief conversation regarding camera location.  A few people were a little concerned that it might be too close to the explosions.  Jay responded, "It's fine.  I purchased the best warranty program they had.  The guy told me as long as I can gather up whatever parts are left, they will give me a new one."  With that information, we mounted the camera to the leg of a plastic card table about 50 feet from the target area. 

Please enjoy:

The third pumpkin, in slow motion, was my shot.  If you watch closely, right before the explosion you will see the side of the pumpkin struck by a .22 round.  Joel thought it would be funny if he could blow it up before I could.  The explosions were impressive.  You could feel it in your chest.  This was the first time any of us had done anything even close to this and it was as much fun as you might imagine.  It was a "blast."

1 comment:

  1. I never would have left town if I knew there was a possibility that one day I would be shooting pumpkins with you.