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Big Sandy After Action Report (*repost from NFA)
Posted By: LongDuck In Response To: Big Sandy Shoot update. (Kenton)
Date: 11/6/14 16:14
In Response To: Big Sandy Shoot update. (Kenton)
In a word: OUTSTANDING!
The long version:
Got there on Thursday afternoon and the temperature was tolerable - but unseasonably warm as AZ was running about 10F warmer than typical this time of year. Setup went quickly putting the EZ-Ups and tarps on the line and lashing them down, and the wind was as expected: calm in the mornings, flying in your face throughout the day and then reversing at night. I was camping with 2 other guys so we had good shade between our vehicles to stay out of the heat. Thursday night was quiet as more people rolled in and set up.
Friday's shooter meeting started at 11:15a and everybody had time to grab some breakfast. Overnight lows were in the mid-60F and cooled things down nicely, but as soon as the sun was up it was getting hot. Kenton and Ed went through the specifics of the shoot (see www.mgshooters.com for info) and thanked the vendors. Given this was the 10-year anniversary of Big Sandy in operation, they were putting out a TON of reactive targets and it showed. There was a giant paper mache' cake (target) with "10" on the front and 'Bubbles' popping out of the top with an M16 in her hands! Awesome work on the crew who made that it was saved for the Saturday mid-day startup. Friday matches included the Military bolt-action match and the BAR/Battle rifle match - which went well thanks to Todd and the Match Crew who always do an excellent job keeping things in order.
Not as many regular vendors were there, but I ran into Jim/Linda Haak and bought some tracer - they make the best stuff. Also found some .22LR Piney Mountain tracer 500rnds for $195 and it worked great in a pistol and 10/22 - kinda wished I bought more, and it was more plentiful and cheaper than .223 tracer. The airplane crew was busy keeping the arial targets flying, and there were several quadra-copters with camera's patrolling the line at times. Also, a Smithsonian TV Crew were there filming with professional equipment and sound - and Kenton mentioned they brough a quadracopter with video to capture the line. This was an a-political video team, and I didn't see them talking to too many people - just shooting footage including the Hellcat tank destroyer on line position 100 or so. There was a full line of cannons down on the West end that did a Saturday salute with all (attempting) to fire at once, but several misfires. Cool to see and some serious hardware.
Saturday's Shooter Meeting started early to get things underway at 8:30a with the usual announcements, plus an NFA 'political lobbyist' looking for donations (*I was skeptical, as were a number of others I talked to - but hopefully someone will post with the inside scoop). Someone shot up a plane after it was down the night before, and Kenton said it was unflyable - so don't do that. The line started up shortly thereafter and we were all whacking reactives for the morning with a break around lunchtime. Temps dropped a bit with high clouds, and the breeze was appreciated. Short break at lunch for the Target Crew to put out more reactives and the cake was moved out on the line; a Range Safety Officer mentioned that the trigger was placed square between the "1" and the "0" on the cake - and within 30s someone pegged it to an impressive mushroom cloud!
The Saturday match schedule included the Thompson/Subgun match and pistol matches, but these started earlier than announced and several shooters had to re-shoot the subgun match to get scored. Again, the Match Crew did a great job accommodating those guys and the pistol match went smoothly - and a new addition which I think a lot of people enjoyed - it used the same empty propane tank setup as the Subgun match, so no target setting/taping was required.
Saturday's night shoot was incredible! The # of glowsticks as dusk fell was impressive, and as soon as the line went hot the ground-burst fireworks were booming. The minigun started running long strings of full-tracer and everyone on the line would stop shooting to watch that red laser beam of tracer destruction race along the line with the occasional 'BOOM!' as it hit a reactive. Very cool to see and hear. The line stayed hot longer than Friday night as the shooters switched to night optics (I used an HK33 w/Trijicon TA01 ACOG) to clear out single sticks, and is my favorite part of the shoots at night. Every once in awhile someone would hit an unseen boomer and start up fresh fireworks. After the line closed for the night (9:30p?), the RO's cleared the line and a firework show started up at the East end of the line, lasting a good 20min or more with a great finale.
Sunday was cleanup day, both forward of the line with the Crew compiling all of the UXO, and for campers getting things ready for the road. We hit a few more reactives and then packed it up.
Overall - once again, I brought stuff I didn't even shoot very much, too much ammo (but beats 'not enough'!), and had a great time camping with my HS buddies. We shared some Dutch oven peach cobbler with the guys next door, and everybody on the line was friendly and happy to be there - as is always the case with this collection of shooters. The 4H club was doing good business at lunch and dinnertime, and another guy was driving the line with a flatbed trailer full of firewood; wish he'd come around on Thursday evening and Friday morning, though - as I'd rather buy onsite than drag wood up there taking up space in my truck.
On the way out, gave Julie a hug and shook Ed's hand thanking him for another great Big Sandy adventure. Pictures should be showing up in the usual places soon, and the highlight for me was taking out reactive targets at night at distance - there's nothing like squeezing the trigger and feeling the recoil followed by the BOOM! off in the distance as your reward.
GREAT JOB - BIG SANDY CREWS! Looking forward to next year,
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