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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm An Appleseeder

I was going to go into the whole Appleseed philosophy, but I'm going to just provide this and let them speak for themselves -
In a time when many people think this country is heading down the wrong road, the volunteers of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association are working to turn things around by educating Americans in the things they need to know to understand how this country got its start.

We're betting, once you know it, once you hear the Story of April 19th, 1775, the 'story you never heard in school', once you understand the sacrifices made that day by people much like us, you will not want to see those efforts go to naught.

It's the history of men and women who cared about their liberty - and cared about ours. Cared to the extent they were willing to face death, injury, impoverishment. Cared enough, many of them, to set ordinary concerns in their life aside for the eight long bloody years it took to convince the British we were serious about winning our freedom.
As they noted, the purpose is to teach Americans about our Revolutionary War history.  About our American Heritage.  They use the rifleman skills as a "hook" to get people to attend!

We did the whole two-day course (you can do the one-day if you wish, but you'd lose out on so much instruction and history, it would ALMOST be a waste of a weekend).

Day one:  Safety orientation, Revolutionary war history, rifle skills, Red Coat Target Practice, practice the Quick-and-Dirty Army Qualification Test (AQT)
Day two:  Review of safety, quick review of techniques, Red Coat drills, more history, AQT until you drop!

A quick note for the uninitiated regarding the AQT.  There are 4 stages, each of which require 10 shots.  In the first 3 stages, the maximum score is 50.  In the final stage, the scores are doubled, making that stage worth 100 points.  Thus the maximum score is 250.

To get a Rifleman rating, you need a score of at least 210.  Sharpshooter was a score of 170 to 209, Marksman was a score between 125 to 169, and unqualified was below 125.

Stages 2 and 3 are both fairly rapid fire drills and they both require magazine changes.

So, on to some specifics -

The Double 10/22 magazines I talked about ("Ready For Appleseed") worked great.  I only had two failures to fire during the entire 450 or so rounds we shot.  One appeared to be a bad round, and one appeared to be some sort of misfeed.  You MUST super glue them together.

My best score was a 187 - so I'm a "Sharpshooter".   Sux.

Use a scope.  I was one of the few shooters using peep sights, and every one of the folks that achieved Riflemen used scopes.

Don't take that as making excuses, though.  It IS absolutely possible to make rifleman with iron sights.  If I took my best scores from each of the individual 4 stages, I would have made Rifleman.  That tells me that if I had proper concentration on all of the stages at once, I could have met my goal.  Still, at my next Appleseed, I'll be bringing a scoped rifle!

Our group was about 25-30 people.  I believe we were about half newbees and half returning Appleseeders.  We ranged in age from 12 to (I'm guessing) 65+.  Seven made Rifleman, including one guy at his first 'Seed.  A 12 y/o boy, 13 y/o girl and 15 y/o girl all got Rifleman. 

Check out this picture.  It is of the 13 y/o girl.  She shot Rifleman 5 of the 6 times we took the AQT with a bolt action .22 rifle!   Her low score was 217 and her high was 230.  She was incredible!

It was her second Appleseed.  She took what she learned at her first and (obviously) practiced.

Her pink hat said, "Shoot Like A Girl..... If you can!"   I like that attitude, young lady!

This guy shot Rifleman 3 of his 6 tries.  What was cool was his father was also at the 'Seed, and also got Rifleman.

Bring cleaning kit, tools and loctite.  My rear site, in particular, kept coming loose.  The loctite didn't hold.  This made for a frustrating early second day trying to figure out why my accuracy was suddenly so far off.  Thankfully, it was identified and fixed before I did any of the AQTs

I really need to work on my Stage 2 skills - shooting from a seated or kneeling position.  My best score on that stage was a 35 out of 50.

Natural Point of Aim (NPOA) is an amazing thing!  Reading about it was not enough (at least for me).  I had to see it in practice.  The shifting of the hips to get your new NPOA when moving to another target was an invaluable tip.

What was very cool was, as the course progress, I found myself almost falling into my NPOA immediately - my adjustments were much less drastic as my brain started automatically "doing the math" for where I needed to drop or align my body at the start of a stage.

Bring lots of fluids.  I went through 1 gallon of liquids each day.

Wear a long-sleeved shirt and something to protect your neck.  This keeps the sun and hot brass off of you.  I still ended up with two pretty decent burns on my left wrist from the hot brass from the shooter to my left.

There are 3 levels of instructors - Orange hats (Instructor In Training -IIT), Red Hats (Instructors) and one Green hat (Shoot Boss).  Two of our Orange Hats progressed to Red Hats.  There are different traditions what to do with your old orange hat.  Some pass them along to new IIT's.  Some keep them as trophies on the shelf.

These ladies had a different perspective.  That had us blow the hell out of them!

The hats were placed on the berm and we all emptied one magazine into them.

Fellow Californians, pay attention:  Based on how quickly this training has grown, they are expecting to have taught 1 million people in our state alone by 2015.  Get on it and get counted!

Accept The Challenge

Seriously.  You need to do this.  It is so much more than learning how to shoot.  It is much more about why our founders had to revolt.  It is about why we don't need to do the same - we have the ballot box to preserve what they fought and died for.

We have the greatest country and political system ever to visit the face of the earth, but it's being destroyed.  THAT is our responsibility - to get back what has slowly been taken from us.

I saw this at the shoot.  I don't know if it's official Appleseed or not, but I liked it -

13 Colonies
One Nation
One People
One Day

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Copyright 2010 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Grounghog said...


187 is nothing to sneeze at. You also now know exactly what you need to make it for your next one ;)

Makes me want to get back out there!

Chief Instructor said...

Groundhog, thanks, but I REALLY wanted to get Rifleman on my first try. Especially after seeing individual stages with high enough scores to make it.

I've got the target up on the wall in my office as a reminder to practice, practice, practice!

I've really got to hand it to you for having been an Appleseed instructor. That is a LOT of commitment. Hat tip to ya...

Lucas @SurvivalCache said...

Awesome! I can't wait to go!

I believe you said before that you were doing the 25 yard course (the "Rifleman's quarter mile" equivalent with small targets) but the range in the background of your pictures is obviously larger than that.

How were the courses/targets set up?

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Sharpshooter!

Chief Instructor said...

Lucas, you're going to love it. I'm already intending to go again in October (after it cools off in Sacramento) with a considerably larger group.

We did the shooting at 25 meters (which is actually 82 feet) at the range in the pictures. I was using my smart phone camera, and I guess it doesn't give a decent depth perspective!

The set-up was very simple. You plop down your shooting mat, and the Shoot Boss walks the like and tells you which target number you're assigned to.

We were fairly tightly packed, and early on, while people are getting their bearings, you find a LOT of extra holes in your target! If there are extra holes, they use the lowest scores, not the highest scores.

It cleared up by the time we did the AQT, but it was frustrating early on.

Suburban, thanks!

Lucas @SurvivalCache said...

The next one that I can get to is in September. I'll be looking forward to it all summer, and hopefully getting some practice in. I've to get my gun setup first though.

Yea, cell phone cameras can be a pain. It does look a lot further.

GunRights4US said...

I've been to three AS's so far. Not that I'm so deperately in need of marksmanship training, but because I just enjoy the history, the shooting, and the people you meet there.

Opinions are like ...well... you know. But here's mine on scopes. A shooter should cover the fundamentals thoroughly before progressing to the next step. IMO scopes are in the "next step". Iron sights can fail, and an AS shoot will put your weapon thru its paces - as you've seen - but scopes fail more frequently than iron sights (in my experience). I would recommend having a solid degree of expertise with iron before moving to the scope. So that at any time, if the optics fail for whatever reason, your iron sights will be there for you, and your skill set is ready to make the most of them.

In 7 years with the Marines, I fired expert consistently on a 500 yard line using a '16 with iron sites.

Chief Instructor said...

Lucas, read up about the proper use of the sling, get educated on Natural Point of Aim and practice dry fire as much as you can with your Respiratory Pause. You'll be way ahead of the game!

Guns, that was basically my thought when I signed up for the class. I wanted to get the basics down pat.

My next 'Seed, though, will be with a scope!

theotherryan said...

Appleseed is the only real rifle instruction I have a desire to do. Well at least that is anywhere near a priority for me. I've done the CQB thing in various reincarnations more times than I can count. When I did it the courses were developed and taught by guys who do not own a single pair of neatly pressed 5.11 tactical pants and actually get into gun fights for a living so I don't think there is much I have missed.

Chief Instructor said...

TOR, LOL, ... taught by guys who do not own a single pair of neatly pressed 5.11 tactical pants ...

While I will someday take a CQB-type of course - they look like a LOT of fun - for now, I'm more interested in developing the skills for long-distance accuracy.

As I noted, I was very impressed with the Appleseed training. I think you'll enjoy it.

Scout said...

Several years ago when we first startedd the org. if someone mentioned Appleseed there would be that silence with the crickets chirping afterwards.

It sure gives me a good feeling to see this kind of a response. I saw the comments about the 5.11s and started cracking up. But we specialize in getting folks into shooting, or back into shooting.

Taking a tactical course is great and everyone should do so, but making sure you have the fundementals down before you do is also great.

I have taught guys who had forty years in competitive shooting, Marine snipers, SWAT etc. and all of them said "I wish I had taken this course first". And, they are all Appleseed instructors now.

One of my best instructors here in Texas was the head of the SWAT program for the fifth largets city in the nation and is still in the front lines every day at work, and teaching Appleseed on the weekends.

And the price for the two or eight day course is hard to beat $70 for two days and $200 for eight. This course will get you back into shooting and get you prepped for high power or for any of the tactical rifle courses available today.

We have a hard core safety program and also instruct you in mag changes, position changes and multiple targets in a time constraint situation, which I actually consider a "real world" type shooting.

But for me, the real draw, and what keeps me showing up on the line and instructing weekend after weekend is the people. The absolute best folks America has to offer. that is why I do it.

Usagi said...

Appleseed is fun. They teach good marksmanship.

Make no mistake - the AQT is a game. Play it right and you can get the patch. Scope, trigger job, high grade ammo are requirements for most.

There are not many out there that can consistently shoot 210 or above on a true rack grade rifle with surplus ammo.