Saturday, April 20, 2024

Big Gun

Sooner or later it's gonna get hot and we're going to need to irrigate. For the past two years we have been watering our little 2 acre corner of alfalfa with hand-line that we just left in the field until it's time for cutting. Well, when that time came around, that pipe was so lodged to the ground with intertwined alfalfa, that it was next to impossible to pull up. Not being a guy who gives up easy, I started to look into big guns. 

This bad boy is a Komet Twin 202. With the right pressure, she can push water as far as 300'. All we had to do is build her a stand. 

Here, a Silver Bullet stands next to her to give you a size her magnitude. The crew at J&E Irrigation in Basin, said we could give it a try this summer and if by fall we don't like it, they'll take it back. If we do, we'll buy it. Sounded worth a go. 

So we dug out some parts and pieces from the North 40 to build us a tripod stand. We used to have risers running up the middle of our field for a wheel-line that Grandpa had. When we put the pivot in, we cut them off. This 90 was the last of the line, and looked to have potential as a transition from carrier line to sprinkler. 

For legs, we used some other old risers and nipped them off at a 45. 

Then cut some flanges out of this rusty 5/16" plate to mate the sprinkler and the main line. 

To give the sprinkler free-flow, we blew the valve part out of the riser. 

And ground it down so we could weld it good. Galvanized steel can be welded, but it's best to grind that coating off. It'll make a better weld and it will keep you from breathing in that bad smoke that welding over galvanized puts off. 

We first capped the 6" inlet and welded a 4" collar to it. Once you start welding pressured pipe fittings, start and stop as little as possible. 

Then welded the flange where the sprinkler will bolt to it. Just gotta watch getting a weld too close to your bolt holes. 

Then welded the three legs onto the pipe upright. Tripods are cool, they'll set flat on level and un-level ground. 

This gun is likely going to have some kickback to it with upwards of 50psi. So we welded these old drill stem collars onto it. I bet they push 100lbs a piece. Shouldn't go anywhere. 

To attach to our carrier line, we have a 4" hose that will allow us to move the stand around a bit. On one end we welded on a bell that will plug into the pipe. If that doesn't work in the long run, I think we can cut it off and still save the threads on this 4" fitting that wasn't cheap. 

The other end of the hose we attached to the tripod. Pipe dope is a must. 

Then wrenched her down with a 36".

Once the welding was done, we threw her in the back of White Horse and headed for the field. 

We basically have a triangle plot that we are working with. We figured in the middle of the arch would be our best chance of coverage. Once in position, we ran a 4" carrier line to it from our main line. 

Then bolted the sprinkler down with a gasket under it. 

Outfitted it with a gage and plugged it in. 

Let 'er buck! Operates very smoothly as it oscillates side to side. 30psi is not far from what we expected. However, Dad has a new pump he plans to install this spring to give more pressure to the whole place. He expects a 20psi increase. 

Until then, not bad. She shoots a solid 120'. If nothing else, it'll be a good sprinkler to run through on a hot July day. 

I'm encouraged. If you don't grow something good on barren ground, you'll grow weeds. Around the Big Horn Basin, irrigation in not optional. However, how you choose to irrigate is. This big gun is this year's sprinkler of choice. I bet with more pressure we'll reach out to 200'. If so, it'll all be worth it. 

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