Shooting the Biggest Guns Money Can Buy | The Big Sandy Shoot


Uploaded by vice on Jul 12, 2012

Transcript:
[GUNFIRE]
THOMAS MORTON: Hi.
It's Thomas.
We're in Arizona at the Big Sandy Shoot Off.
This guy's about to fire.
[GUNFIRE]
[LAUGHTER]
That was fucking insane.

Look out, and almost there.
We are in an RV in the Sonora desert, in Arizona.
We're headed to a place called Big Sandy, which is close to
the Big Sandy Shoot Off, which is an annual event where
people with guns get together and shoot their guns.
Except their guns happen to be anti-aircraft guns, heavy
artillery, those kind of RoboCop rifles that'll explode
a Ford Pinto on one shot.

[MUSIC PLAYING]
Hooah.
So that was comfy.
We are parked right next to the gun line.
Right now, the guys are out there setting up the targets.
There are just, like, steel barrels, and then there's
going to be model airplanes flying around
for people to shoot.
Then they have these things called reactive targets, which
are basically just explosives that you shoot,
and they blow up.
So fun stuff.
How long did it take you to find this place?
KENTON: I got into my Jeep, and literally covered the
whole state of Arizona.
Took me five years.
I saw a lot of really weird things, man.
Hey, there.
SHOOTER 1: Hi.
KENTON: Everybody's setting up, and getting
their sun shades up.
Setting up their guns, setting up their tables.
Gearing their ammo up.
You'll find that their all real friendly.
How's everyone today?
SHOOTER 2: Excellent.
KENTON: Let's start shootin'.
ED : This is not a militia.
Most of them are professional people.
THOMAS MORTON: Yeah.
So what you mean?
Like, kind of like, doctors?
ED : Doctors, and attorneys, and these people are real
dedicated collectors and shooters.
In order to own one of these guns, it's such a pain in the
hind end, you gotta really want to do this.
KENTON: Here's an anti-tank round that went through, and
that's pretty good size.
THOMAS MORTON: Yeah.
KENTON: That's pretty sharp.
Be careful.
THOMAS MORTON: This would make a good picture.
KENTON: This is hard steel.
THOMAS MORTON: Yeah, this is very thick.
KENTON: Very hard.
THOMAS MORTON: That is a--
KENTON: It's just a flesh wound [INAUDIBLE].
THOMAS MORTON: --a bullet hole there.
KENTON: We'll put Bob up here.
We're blowin' Bob up, his ashes.
THOMAS MORTON: He's just a friend?
KENTON: Bob was an icon within the firearms community.
I was in charge of taking care of him during his passing, and
all his last 10 years.
He is one who pushed us to form this range.
And Bob's wish was to be blown up at the shoot,
believe it or not.
THOMAS MORTON: Yeah, no I-- yeah.
KENTON: We're going to blow the crap out of him.
That's what he wanted, you know?
It's kind of a unique way.
THOMAS MORTON: It's a fitting tribute, sounds like.
KENTON: Yeah, we'd blow you up, man.
If you're good.
THOMAS MORTON: Let's.
KENTON: We'll give you a few more [INAUDIBLE].
THOMAS MORTON: Oh.

Lot of really old-looking stuff--
Gatling guns.
Looks like water-cooled deals that would, like, just mow
down infantrymen in World War I. It's an exciting array of
death-dealers.
You can murder a lot of people.
SHOOTER 3: Browning 1919, just with the A-6 butt stock.
That's probably my favorite.
It's a reliable weapon.
Rate of fire is slow, versus the anti-aircraft guns at
1,200-1,300 rounds a minute.
Still fun though.
SHOOTER 4: So that basically it's a three-man operation.
One guy shooting and one guy's loading.
THOMAS MORTON: And feeding that.
And you have two barrels on the other end?
SHOOTER 4: Five barrels.
Five barrels.
THOMAS MORTON: So it's shooting--
SHOOTER 4: [INAUDIBLE]
THOMAS MORTON: Yeah.
SHOOTER 4: Yeah, so it rotates.
THOMAS MORTON: All right.
So we're about getting ready for--
the shoot is being started.
Then everybody's going to start firing their guns for, I
guess, five hours straight.
So far everybody's super-friendly.
Everybody's really psyched to explain their guns.
A kind of a slight male skew to the crowd.
I think I've seen about four women.
But everybody's friendly.
This is their week, and this is their time to come out here
and expend all their energy through the firing of
high-caliber bullets at model airplanes.
Good clean fun.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]
KENTON: Good morning.
Good morning.
All right.
The schedule today.
We're going to open up the line as soon as possible when
we get done here.
Targets are set.
Then at 1 o'clock, we're going to go ahead
and start it up again.
That's when we blow Bob up.
We're putting him in the dinosaur.
We're also flying him in an airplane so he
can watch over us.
There's a plaque inside, and of course,
when he passed away.
Now, let's go shooting.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
KENTON: Sixty seconds.
Sixty seconds.

[INAUDIBLE]
[HORN SOUNDS]
[MASSIVE GUNFIRE]
[ARTILLERY FIRES]
THOMAS MORTON: Jesus.
[LAUGHS]
There's all these explosions.
There's reactive targets out there, which are basically
literally just sticks of dynamite stuck on a post in
the ground.
And so sometimes you'll see pops where those go off, but
there's other ones where it's just the caliber of the bullet
hitting the hill.
It's making, like, a firework level explosion.
[MASSIVE GUNFIRE]
I don't know how anybody can tell what they've hit.
It's just, like, constant explosions and dust
being kicked up.

GUN RENTER: Fires from the open bolt.
THOMAS MORTON: OK.
GUN RENTER: OK.

Mag in.
You're ready to go.
THOMAS MORTON: All right.
That's it?
This is a Thompson.
GUN RENTER: Yes.
THOMAS MORTON: The M-1 Thompson submachine gun.
GUN RENTER: M-1 [INAUDIBLE]
45 caliber.
THOMAS MORTON: US Army's
favorite, Al Capone's favorite.
GUN RENTER: And when you--
THOMAS MORTON: Eat lead, coppers.
[AUTOMATIC GUNFIRE]
Ah.

Wow.
GUN RENTER: Isn't that good?
THOMAS MORTON: That's great.
There's the last.
I don't know how anybody ever did that.
Be up in your face.
It's a Finnish gun they used in the Winter War against the
Soviet army, punch holes in tanks.
It's probably going to punch a hole
through my shoulder blade.
This is a [INAUDIBLE].

There?
SHOOTER 5: OK.
Get comfortable.
It's going to go on your shoulder and your cheek is
right there.
THOMAS MORTON: Right there?
OK.

SHOOTER 5: Squeeze it hard at the bottom, and--
[GUN CLICKS]
--leave it squeezed at the bottom.
Now pull the trigger.
THOMAS MORTON: Fire in the hole.
[ROUND GOES OFF]
Whoa!
[LAUGHS]
Whoo-whee.
Yeah.
SHOOTER 5: How was that?
All right?
THOMAS MORTON: That felt good.
There we go.
That's just what busted the hole somewhere way off target
from where I was.
See if I've got-- oh, look.
It literally blew my fucking earplug out from that side,
That was insane.

ED : Most people that have machine guns take them out to
a cinder pit or a gravel pit and shoot them.
But when you put them into a venue like this, it really
shows you what these guns are capable of, which is pretty
phenomenal.
[JEEP STARTING UP]
KENTON: I've known Bob since 1978, '77.
THOMAS MORTON: Yeah.
KENTON: I grew up with him.
He was my second dad.
He taught me all about automatic weapons, and
firearms in general, actually.
Never asked for anything.
So, he had quite the honor code, you know?
THOMAS MORTON: This is not quite the final resting place,
but the delivery system.
KENTON: Yeah.
It's the delivery system.
That's what we're doing.
So Mike has prepared Bob in this bag, and we will
literally blow him up.
It's his wishes, and this is what he wanted done.
You know, he wanted to be spread on this range.
So everybody say goodbye to Bob.
[EVERYONE TOGETHER]
Good-bye, Bob.
THOMAS MORTON: So, I think people are being a little bit
coy with exactly what's in there, because when we asked
for a breakdown of all the different component
explosives, the list they gave us was a little shorter than
the list they were talking about amongst themselves.
A couple guys have openly mentioned the fact that this
is, more or less, a dirty bomb in the shape of a papier-mache
dinosaur filled with human ashes.
So we're about to nuke Arizona right now
with their old friend.
KENTON: Just cough.
Cough.
No hurry here.
[CHUCKLING]
THOMAS MORTON: Shit.
Here it comes.
They're about to blow-up their friend Bob in a dinosaur.
[HORN BLOWS]
[MASSIVE GUNFIRE]
[MODEL AIRPLANE ENGINE SCREAMS]

[MUSIC PLAYING]
What's kind of interesting about this is, this is sort of
like an abstract thing.
Like, there's no obvious political bent to it.
It's not pushing law enforcement.
NRA isn't here.
It's just, like, pure firepower.
It's just people who are, like, into guns
for being into guns.
Wolverines.

Whoa.
Yeah.
That's going to make it hard to jack-off tonight.
[LAUGHTER]
KENTON: Other places don't have facilities or the ability
to do anything near this, so everything is
compared to this range.
What this represents is the freedom to be able to shoot,
to do what you want.
But really, it's the camaraderie of
all my fellow shooters.
We help each other.
It's a really good group of people.
And frankly, I enjoy being around them.
Shooter, stand by.
Threat.
[GUNFIRE]
You did really, really well.
THOMAS MORTON: Oh, thank you.
KENTON: No, I thought you did.
You're always welcome to come out and do that, you know?
THOMAS MORTON: Well, thanks.
Yeah.
[INAUDIBLE]
KENTON: We'll take you in.
You'll be our, like, orphan child.
[INAUDIBLE]
[LAUGHTER]
[MODEL AIRPLANE ENGINE DRONING]

PILOT: We're setting up for the night shoot tonight.
We'll just put glow sticks on them.
It's my job to make sure I can get as much
flying time as I can.
It's just a matter of seeing if I can get a few passes in
before someone hits it.
THOMAS MORTON: So sun's finally set.
It's getting towards full dark, which is the official
start time for the night shoot.
And, like, couple minutes from now, this thing's just going
to be totally lit up with tracer fire, and explosions,
and little glow stick planes flying around, and everybody
trying to shoot them down.
And it's been described as like the most insane fireworks
display you've ever seen, but, like, on the ground, 20 yards
away from you.
Kind of, like, beats the shit out of, like, a laser show, or
whatever you'd be doing.
I assume they see a lot of laser shows here.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
[AUTOMATIC GUNFIRE]
Whoa.
Oh.
To celebrate the end of the Big Sandy, we're going to
shoot some [INAUDIBLE] tracers out of an old Nazi MP-40.
[AUTOMATIC GUNFIRE]
Here it comes in.

KENTON: It's a very definite connection between firearms,
and people, and growing up, and the Constitution, and the
United States, and the freedom of this country.
This is about the highest freedom you can do, I think.
THOMAS MORTON: I mean, this is like the most complete sensory
overload I think I've ever experienced.
It reeks of sulfur.
The sound of the gunfire is like it physically impacts
your chest.
You can feel the concussions.
It's like completely short-circuiting your brain.
I can't wait for the next plane to go up.
[AUTOMATIC GUNFIRE]
It's insane.