Well, I did it. I completed my first Appleseed event!
Upon arrival I was warmly greeted by the shoot boss, the sign in process was handled well and we began shooting almost right away! After a brief but very thorough safety discussion you begin shooting on what they call a redcoat target. Consequently you end the day with a redcoat target, the objective of course is for you to compare the two after a days worth of instruction. You do the same thing on the second day. After the redcoat target the training cycle begins. They do an excellent job of breaking the training into sections. Essentially what you do is learn a particular skill, then shoot 5 rds. on target focusing on that skill, then you learn another skill and put 5 rds. on target, etc. It is an excellent way to build your skill set, effectively stacking the skills, one on top of the other in the learning process. After the morning session ends and you break for lunch, they begin the historical portion of the program. It’s broken into sections just like the training, sections they refer to as the three strikes. Each of the strikes (as in strikes of a match) details three events that ignite the fire that begins the American Revolution. It’s very detailed, very informative, and much more involved than what the history books teach you. I was very impressed.
Following the lunch break you resume training and about mid afternoon you begin shooting the AQT, the qualifying test to earn your Rifleman patch. You shoot it a few times, timed but not restricted to the time. Then you shoot it as it is properly administered under time constraints. The first few times I was unable to complete stages 2 and 3 in the allotted time then after some discussion and letting go of the idea I had to be “perfect” I flipped the mental switch and ran the gun, a CZ 452 American in 22 LR with a scope. Wouldn’t you know it, I shot a 230! I earned my Rifleman patch on the first day! I was very happy.
The second day began much the same as the first, we reviewed our safety protocols, shot a red coat target, and proceeded into the the training cycle. The Sunday morning shoot ran much faster as they still reviewed the material but did so in a much more rapid fashion. I had taken a few friends with me to the event and two of them used my rifles. One of them had a hard time with my Anschutz LTR and I decided to run that gun on Sunday morning in an effort to diagnose any potential issues. Fortunately, the gun ran great! After sighting it in properly, it grouped almost as well as my scoped rifle from the previous day! I was very pleased. The training segment ended and we began shooting AQTs again. I scored a 201 on the first one stopped right there. Unfortunately, I was unable to stay for the afternoon segment which is when they shoot at 100 yds. so I said my goodbyes and headed home.
I would like to thank the incredible instructors who made this weekend’s event such a great experience: Our Shoot Boss: Tazdevil, Lead Instructors: Dr. John, and Dreamer of Dreams, and Instructors in Training: Bruce, Laura, Jumpboot, and Duane.
For a few parting thoughts, let me say I was very impressed with the organization, rhythm and professionalism of the event and the instructors. I will say, I’m 42 yrs old and in decent shape and I came home both Saturday and Sunday very sore. It’s a great event but it is very tiring and it is a lot to handle. I recommend you pack a lunch and some snacks, dress in layers if it’s cool or one of those early spring type days where it’s cool in the morning and warms throughout the day. In the week leading up to the event, go to bed early in the nights leading up to the event, and drink lots of water to be sure your muscles are properly hydrated. You can’t do this the day of, or the day before you need to start several days in advance. Besides drinking lots of water is good for you. Be sure and take some Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen to help relieve muscle soreness and pain. Even the 17 yr. old girl next to me was sore so that should tell you something! Be prepared to expend a lot of focus not only on the shooting but on the instruction and lecture portions of the event. For gear, know your rifle, don’t show up with something fresh out of the box unless you are an experienced shooter and can adjust accordingly. If you have a wide brim hat wear it. Brass from your neighbor on the firing line may drop down your collar so I recommend it strongly. Also, if you don’t have a shooting mat, buy one. They can be had at Midwayusa.com for a good deal and will provide years of service. Get their GI cotton web sling as sold in the store on the Appleseed website. They work great and are very useful, but wash it in the washing machine once or twice to loosen it up some as they come out of the package a bit stiff and harder to work with. Wear some form of boots or heavy shoes as the ground is often rough on some ranges but if nothing else they will provide some ankle support in the standing position. Take a chair as you may be in a place where you need a place to put your stuff up off the ground and you may not have much seating as many ranges really aren’t set up for sitting around.
All in all I had a great time and a great experience. I highly recommend attending an event, supporting the RWVA and their very important message about liberty and how this country was founded.