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Friday, May 7, 2010

Appleseed Bound

To say that my rifle skills are lacking, would be an understatement.  I've got a number of rifles, but I'm simply not proficient enough with them.  Push me much past 100 yards, and I might as well be throwing stones.

A couple of years ago, I saw a flier for The Appleseed Project in a gun store in Sacramento.  I read it, and it was promptly forgotten.

I kept seeing Appleseed again and again, so I dug a little deeper and really liked what I saw.
Appleseed is a program that instructs Americans on the traditional rifle marksmanship skills that have been passed down from generation to generation, along with reconnecting today's Americans with the people and events of the Founding era. Participants are taught fundamental rifle marksmanship skills that are required to allow a Rifleman to be accurate out to 500 yards, with iron sights, standard rifle and surplus ammo. This is the traditional 'Rifleman's Quarter mile', which is an uniquely American Rifleman skill, that has been part of this nation from the very first days.

Most of the instruction at an Appleseed is conducted at 25 meters, at reduced size targets to simulate 100 to 500 yards. This well proven technique allows us to concentrate on the shooter's mechanics and less time walking a range. At those locations that allow for actual distance shooting, participants are often able to see first hand that the skills that they learn at 25 meters directly apply to actual distances out to 500 yards. These foundational skills are not being passed on to future generations, and so Appleseeds are great for new or experienced shooters alike.

In addition to teaching you how to properly shoot a rifle, they mix in a heavy dose of history.  American rifleman history.

They now had my full attention.

They're a nationwide, non-profit organization.  A weekend of training costs only $70 for most folks, but is free for anyone under 21, active duty military (plus National Guard and Reserve) and all women.

They teach practical skills and instill a sense of pride in American history - and they do it for honorable reasons.  What's not to like?!

I'm now signed up for the May 29/30 course at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center.  If anyone else is shooting at the event, drop me a line so we can compare notes and possibly meet.

Any tips from past participants or experienced riflemen would be appreciated.  I've read all of the suggestions from the Appleseed sites, as well as the article in the most recent issue of Backwoods Home Magazine by Massad Ayoob.

What's the "Inside skinny" on how to get the most out of this weekend?

For the training, I'm going to be using a newly purchased Ruger 10/22.  I picked up a wooden stock model, and intend on upgrading it to the Liberty Training Rifle.  I figured that since we'll be shooting 400+ rounds over the weekend, I wanted to keep my ammo cost down. 

They say that the skills learned by shooting at reduced sized targets at 25 yards are transferrable to shooting out to 400-500 yards.  True?

Ayoob had suggested using a scope.  I wear glasses, but my eyesight is pretty decent.  Should I get a scope or not?  I'm going to zero in the rifle today, so maybe that will answer my question for me.

As I noted earlier, I'm a Babe In The Woods here, and any tips would be helpful.

Accept The Challenge

For me, this is all about learning more practical skills.  It having to do with my favorite activity - shooting - is a bonus!

Get out there and push yourself.  I've got a "Bucket List" of sorts.  It's not things I want to do before I die, it's skills I want to learn over the next 3 years.  Put your own list together.

BTW, one of the items on my list is foraging.  I regularly gather wild fruits and berries, but I want to get into mushrooms and more green plants (I only feel comfortable with wild mustard and dandelion right now). 

When I do a Google search for foraging in the SF Bay Area, I get lots and lots of listings for "foraging" at local restaurants.  I guess that's considered "roughing it".  If TSHTF in this area, they'll be stacking bodies like cord wood...

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theotherryan said...

Does shooting at very small things at close range simulate shooting at man/ deer sized things far away?

Kinda. You can shrink the size to be comparable but ballistics of bullet drop and wind can't be simulated.

However if all you've got is 25 meters to work with it is not a bad way to go. Especially since from what I have read Appleseed is all about fundamentals they are the same.

I have heard good things about Appleseed and am interested in your take.

Grounghog said...

I instructed Appleseed shoots for a while until my job took away all my free time. You probably have most of the tips you need at this point on getting through the weekend but I'll give you a few I think might be helpful.

1. Bring more ammo than you think you'll need. Especially .22 since it's so cheep.

2. If you are older and not in the best of shape physically, expect to be very sore on day 2. Bring some pain killer and stuff to deal with blisters. I'm a big fan of shooting gloves, knee and elbow pads.

For the Ruger 10/22 here's some good to know info.

The stock sites suck. If you are not going to buy new iron sites, I'd recommend scoping it. Shooting with a scope is really not all that much easier than with iron sites for the courses of fire we teach. People on the Appleseed forums for the liberty training rifle will tell you that the Tech-sites iron sights are awesome.

I have 4 of these rifles and I outfitted all of them with Tapco replacement furniture. That gives you a pistol grip and an adjustable butt stock amongst other things. Well worth the expense.

The magazines that come with the 10/22 are not, in my opinion, the best to use for the Appleseed. The best I found were Eagle International. I understand they are not made any longer but you may find some on the net. Mags are your biggest sources of failure to fire. Get as many as you can. If you have trouble with one, mark it and don't use it again until later when you can check it at your pace. Mag changes will make or break your rifleman score. Also, those 25/30 round banana clips tend to stick out too far for most people shooting prone.

PRACTICE! People that have dry fired the course numerous times and never actually shot it have made Rifleman scores on their first go. It really helps.

Hope this helps! "Groundhog" on the forums.

Shy Wolf said...

Ditto what Groundhog says. We went through 750+ rounds last April.
The stock on 10-22 is good for people five feet and under, so I'd replace it. Fiberforce ATK is a good one, my 6-1 son likes his, so do I.
For mags, the kid likes the Shooters Ridge 25 rounders, so do I. An extended mag release will help a lot, though my son's technique is to grasp the mag in his fist, thumb up into the release well and press, slide the mag out. Practice mag changes a LOT. You'll do a bunch of two-shot mags to 8 shot mags (for ten round sessions). Get friendly with changing it.
You appear to have a good sling, get used to using it. Make it tight on your arm and find the comfy points of sitting and prone with it.
I'd definitely go with a scope or peep sight, scope is beter IMO- but stay away from stock open sights.
Practice going from standing to prone and sitting position and firing two five round mags under 60seconds- with hits, of course. That'll give you a taste of what you're in for.
Bring a mat to lay on, be nice to have a shooting jacket, too, with padded elbows and shoulder. Gloves shouldn't be needed unless it's really cold, but an analgesic will help with any trigger finger inflamation you'll get.
The history is more individual stories than events, and a good story teller can make you cry.
Don't expect all your 'coffee' breaks to be the alotted time- and wear your running shoes!
Go, have fun, do the best you can. Most of all, have fun and make new friends.
Dang, makes me wanna do another this summer. I kind'a plan it, but...gee, I've done four now...

Shy Wolf said...

Oh, forgot to mention... my fave part of the shooting was in prone, finding the NPOA (Natural Point Of Aim) and closing the eyes, let the 'coach' cover the scope, inhale your breath, let it go, then shoot when you're ready. You learn quick if your NPOA is right or not... fun Fun FUN!

Chief Instructor said...

TOR, the bullet drop/windage deal was my concern. I understand they teach you those skills. We'll see!

Anon, I'll definitely be bringing Ibuprofen and the knee/elbow pad - everyone I've read makes those suggestions

I'm a bit stuck with upgrading the stock. Being in CA, I can't have a pistol grip with a removable magazine. That would make it an evil Assault Rifle. Yikes!

I'm also limited to a 10 cartridge magazine for the same reason, so I'll be sticking with the regular mags. I've got 4 of them, and will likely pick up a couple more before the class. I intend on getting the adjustable Tech-Sights. If they don't work out, I'll give them to my son for his 10/22, and I'll just mount a scope.

Shy, wow, I was going to bring a 500-count brick to give me some slack. I'll bring two just in case.

BTW, that picture is from one of the Appleseed sites - it's what I'm going to do to my gun (The Liberty Training Rifle). I've got the carbine model, with the band around the forestock. I hope to pick up a sling this weekend.

I'll do some of the standing/sitting/prone once I've got the sling. I want to do NPOA drills to see if I can get to my "sweet spot" more quickly.