Just because I was in the mood, I decided to take off on a little expedition this afternoon in search of that missing flight bolt from a few weeks back.   (See posting, “A bolt too far”)   We had  tried our best to bust 1,000 yards with a 276 gram (4,259 grain), scale replica of the famous Dura-Europos bolt.  The last we saw of that exotic bird it was ripping out of Firefly at 375 feet per second.  Here, again, is a quick video of that shot.  Click for Vid.   20121107135533(1)

We searched for that bolt for a couple of hours right after the video was taken.  To no avail, of course.  Gary and I had looked for it on a second occasion back when we were “wabbiting”.   And again, no luck.    Today I had a new strategy to try.

The last few times we’ve taken Firefly out, when we got around to working on the downrange end of the data, I was getting a little lunk-headed in the sensitivity department.   Probably I needed sugar.  Today I was properly fueled and rested for the task of finding the bolt.     …. And, I was wearing my magic moccasins.

Experience has taught me that when I am looking for something in a natural setting,  beyond fixing the object’s appearance in my mind, it is best to melt into that setting by shedding any desire to find anything, and just letting course and direction be dictated by wherever the moccasins choose to go.  The eyes do the rest by relaxing and almost casually observing the area being walked over.  Believing yourself to be lucky, also seems to help.

After about twenty minutes of padding over the damp earth and falling deeper and deeper into this purposeless trance, a flash of orange registered somewhere in my subconscious.  A more deliberate squint at the ground four yards ahead, revealed this peeking out of a clump of grass.   The rains must have flattened the grass enough to make it visible because it sure seemed like we’d been over that area before.

After that it didn’t take long to set up the laser range finder and get a reading back to the 750 yard marker.   It was telling me that the bolt had traveled exactly 250 yards beyond the marker, which I had difficulty swallowing as that would put the range of the shot bang on 1,000 yards.    However, a quick check of the angle indicated we were 9 degrees to the left of the marker.  Plotting this out when I got back to my computer revealed that, after this correction, the overall range of the shot was actually 998 yards.

So, technically at least, we haven’t busted 1,000 yards yet.  Clearly, the Catapult Gods are out there, always keeping the mortals in check and from rising above their station.

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