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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ready For Appleseed

I'm ready to rock.

I've finished up tweaking my Ruger 10/22 in preparation of this weekend's Appleseed rifle training.  I added the Tech-Sights upgraded front and rear site package (TSR200), a couple of Uncle Mike's swivel studs and swivels and a USGI web sling.

If you notice, there is what appears to be an extended magazine in the rifle.  Here in California, we are limited to 10-round magazines, and the standard 10/22 magazine sits flush with the stock when it's inserted.

I'm using a device made by Andean, Inc., that allows you to join two standard magazines together.

We'll see how well it works.  The magazines are joined together by clicking this device into the bottoms of the two magazines.  The instructions recommend that you use Super Glue to help ensure they stay secure.  I'm not going to do this, as I want to see if there will be any problems with its use.

I must say that it makes unloading the rifle much easier, as it give you something to grab, plus the extra weight helps the joined magazines drop out more easily.

Ryan over at TSLRF (active duty military) commented that the military has extensively tested double mags, and the news isn't good.  They tend to get filled up with dirt, and the cartridge retention "wings" tend to get bent out of shape.  I'm bringing 6 magazines with me, so if I have problems with the "joiner", I'll revert back to just using the standard mags.

I zeroed in the rifle on Monday.  Using a special tool from Tech-Sights (that SHOULD be included with the sights... hint, hint....), making the adjustments was brain-dead easy.  Very impressed.

What I had most difficulty with was in the proper use of the sling.  Remember, I'm a rifle-newbee.  My only past experience had been in using a sling as a "hasty sling" where you basically just wrap your support arm through the sling to add a bit of stability.

The Appleseed program wants you to use the sling correctly!  They had a couple of articles with instructions on how to properly use the sling, and they were useless, at least for me.  I correctly understood which loop through which to pass my arm, but it just wasn't working correctly.

Finally, I jumped on YouTube and found this video -

I watched it, and the clouds parted, the birds chirped and the angels sang. I finally understood what they were talking about!

Using the sling in this manner adds an incredible amount of stability to your shot. Really. It was amazing.

Riflemen, I need some insight: I have the vertical movement of my front sight under control. The breathing suggestions from Appleseed work like a charm.

I noticed, though, what seems to be a lot of horizontal movement - keeping the front sight steady from side-to-side.

Any ideas what might be causing this, or what I can do to control it?

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Mo said...

You'll never achieve perfect steadiness. Focus on keeping the front sight on the bullseye and a slow trigger press to the rear. Trust the tigger will break at the right time. Follow through!!! Stay on the sights and the trigger, call your shots.

Grounghog said...

First, get a second sling. Or even 3 or 4. Set one up to be your loop sling for prone shooting and the other to be your hasty. It's a lot quicker than trying to adjust them during a string of fire. If you can't do that, wait until you are at the 'seed and mark the positions on the sling so you can quickly adjust it.

Second, in prone you should have almost no side to side movement. Let the instructors evaluate your position and see what you may be doing. Could be as simple as getting a leg bent. That's what you are going for. You'll have a LOT of movement in the standing, or 'off hand' position. One thing you will hopefully learn on all positions is trigger hold. When you know where the trigger will break (roughly), you get it to that spot, control your breathing, and if you have to, you squeeze the shot off while your site is passing over the correct part of the target. As Mo said, you'll never achieve perfect steadiness. What you are going to learn is how to compensate for and minimize the movement.

If you have a significant belly, it's going to make things harder. I've found that shooting sports are a significant motivator to loose weight!

Good luck to you. Love the blog!

Groundhog in San Antonio

Grounghog said...

Almost forgot a couple more things.

Regarding the web slings. One reason to get a bunch of them is that they only come with one clip. This makes it impossible to quickly change slings. It takes two slings to make one with clips on both ends. Or you find extra parts :)

The issues you were told about regarding double mags will not likely be an issue at an Appleseed. Your primary thing there is to learn FUNDAMENTALS. Tweaks and techniques are for after you master those. Slow and accurate is a heck of a lot better than fast missing. You develop the speed after you get the accuracy part down. The mag and sling tips you've been given are only to help you go faster (the tips for the 'seed that is). You develop the skills and then you have them in your tool box.

Appleseed is about fundamental rifle marksmanship. We don't teach you how to fight, just how to shoot straight. You could take 'seed skills and go on to competitive shooting sports, or you could learn tactics somewhere. It will be something to build on. I know you're probably aware of all this but maybe for others reading your blog it'll be helpful. Hope you make a rifleman's score!


Chief Instructor said...

Mo, yeah, I know it will never be perfectly still, but it just seems too much to me (especially when looking at the 1 inch square 25 yards away!).

I'm good on the trigger squeeze and front-sight focus. It's exactly what I teach in my pistol classes. I'm a true believer!

Groundhog, I've been doing seated and prone dry fire at home, but the class will be the first time I've pulled a trigger from those positions. My range doesn't allow any position other than standing or seated at the bench (in a chair).

At least right now, I'm able to go from the proper sling use to the hasty sling without making any length adjustments. I just have to reattach the bottom clip. We'll see how that works out after an instructor reviews my sling usage!

All of your insight has been very helpful to me, and I'm sure to my readers as well. It is very much appreciated.

Lucas @SurvivalCache said...

I can't wait to read your after action report.

I'm planning on going to one the Appleseed events in September and I'm really curious to hear how they're run and how much you learn.

Shy Wolf said...

A lot of side-to-side movement can be eliminated with the Natural Point of Aim, and you'll get a lot of that at the Appleseed. Regardless the position, NPOA is important from a stationary position. Moving makes changes in that, of course you're aware. And there's one technique the Appleseeed may not tell you about losing the shot when the sight is crossing the target- takes some practice but most pistol shooters do the technique without realizing it.
As Groundhog says, it's all about BASIC marksmanship, nothing fancy. Just plain, simple shooting skills everyone is wise to learn, and attending an Appleseed is a great idea even for we older, or even the more advanced, shooters.
On the sling, once you get the length of the sling adjusted for your prone position, you shouldn't have to make any further adjustments for any other shooting position. Getting that first length is the tricky part, and they'll demonstrate, you'll do and practice. Then you'll use it-lots.
Have fun- you'll enjoy the time and people.

MikeH. said...


(1) Relax. You're putting way too much of your focus on something that can only be had with a rock solid bench rest.

(2) See # 1.

(3) See # 1 again.

(4) Go, relax and have a great time.


Chief Instructor said...

Lucas, I plan on doing an after-action report sometime early next week. I hope I can take some pix and maybe videos to spice it up a bit!

Shy, I've been practicing the NPOA in my family room and I think I have the concept understood. I feel pretty comfortable in the prone position, but can't find what seems to be a comfortable seated position. I've done the crossed leg, crossed ankle, spread legs - all of 'em - but I just don't seem to "fit". I'll need help with that.

Mike, I know - chill out! I'm really looking forward to this. I'm going with a buddy, so that should help with settling down and having some fun along with the instruction.

Jack said...

Spent a weekend last month shooting the Appleseed Project with my 19 year old nephew. 2 days, 500 rounds, 1000 bug bites. We had a good time and I'd do it again, just not in the Florida swamp in April. :)

Take a woman or child to Appleseed to shoot with you, they are free.

Chief Instructor said...

I'm hoping to bring a group to the Sacramento 'Seed this coming October. It was too hot in May, and I won't have people cooking in the summer heat.

I, too, had a good time, and will be back.