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

[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
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,
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.

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