The Appleseed Shoot in Winslow, NJ, was Saturday April 17 and Sunday April 18, 2010. I arrived at 8:40 AM and checked in. The weather was good, mostly sunny with a breeze that kept it cool. At 9:00 AM we started. Frank was the main instructor and Mike was the instructor-in-training. On Saturday there were thirteen shooters and seventeen on Sunday.
Safety was covered first, along with all the range commands, then some history of how our great country was started. I never had any training on shooting a rifle so for me everything was a first.
Appleseed teaches the six fundamental steps of firing an accurate shot:
Students also learned natural point of aim, stable field shooting positions and how to use a GI sling as a shooting aid. We then practiced doing all of the above for each shot, while being given helpful hints as needed.
Appleseed uses scaled-down targets designed to present the shooter, at 25 yards, with the equivalent sight picture of silhouette targets at 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards, respectively. Shooting at 25 yards also allows the .22 shooters, including totally new shooters, to work on their fundamentals right along with shooters firing centerfire rifles.
This training gave all the knowledge needed to shoot an expert rifleman score on the traditional Army Qualification Test (the AQT). Positions are standing, sitting and prone: forty shots in four minutes. This is a great deal harder than some of the experienced shooters expected.
I was using my Remington 597 with Federal Game-Shok 40 grain copper plated solid #810. The total round count was 400 (approximately, but very close ) for the two days. I had two or three stove pipes, and one round was a dud. Just at the end of each day some of the mags, not all, needed a slight nudge or tap to drop free.
On Saturday I learned the basics and kept repeating them. I am slow when learning a new skill but I know with practice I will do well. I also had a few muscle cramps with all the standing, sitting and acquiring prone from 9 to 5.
Sunday was the same weather-wise. I arrived at 9:00 AM. With a quick review of safety we started again. I finally felt I was shooting Okay. We took a history break during shooting, which was really interesting. My high score for the AQT was 141 out of 250 which is not that bad, but to be truthful I would have thought I'd have done better. What I feel is more important is I now have a basic knowledge of what to practice to improve that score on my own.
One of the more interesting things I learned include how to use a sling three different ways: the Hasty Hasty Sling, the Hasty Sling and the Loop Sling. The Hasty-Hasty sling is formed by having the sling under the elbow. The Hasty sling is up on the arm ( not looped, both ends are still on the swivels) then wrapped around the wrist. The Loop sling is on the upper arm and around the wrist.
The instructors were great: knowledgeable and helpful. The group was friendly and all seemed to have a good time. I would recommend an Appleseed to anyone who wants to learn to shoot or improve their skills.
By the way, only three folks made "Rifleman," requiring a 210 or better score. Of the three fellas that achieved Rifleman, the rifles used included a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic and an M14 .308 (the fellow used his own reloads from a Lee Challenger press if I recall correctly. I don't remember what the third Rifleman used. It was a father and son--they had a Ruger 10/22 bolt action and I believe a centerfire of some type that the dad used when he qualified.
A historical note: Monday April 19 was the anniversary of the Revolutionary War. On Saturday at 4:00PM at all Appleseed Shoots across the country all shooters shot at Redcoat targets remembering those that stood and held their ground for independence and liberty. The number of shooters this year was 3,000. (April, 2010)
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