Join Date: September 28, 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
AAR: Phoenix Arizona Appleseed, Oct 20-21 2007
I attended an Appleseed shoot.
I learned a lot about shooting a rifle for real. I will never again shoot from a bench. I am the bench. After this class, I feel truly that I own my rifle. I became so much more familiar and gained ownership over it.
I learned six steps to firing a shot, and how to exploit them to fit me. I learned how to acquire a natural point of aim. I learned to do these things while standing, kneeling, sitting and in prone.
I learned to to use a proper rifle sling. I learned how to optimally use a shooting jacket for peak accuracy.
A quick summary of the weekend:
We all met at the smallbore range at Ben Avery at about 8:30 Saturday morning. Fred gave us a bit of history on his Appleseed program, as well as a series of history lessons regarding the events of April 19th, 1775. We set in to shooting at the "redcoat" target: A 4-sillhouette target, red in color, scaled for 100, 200, 300 and 400 yard distances. The final target was a 1" square representing the size of a headshot at 250 yards. We were told to load 13 rounds and to fire 3 rounds per sillhouette, with a final single shot for the head, from the prone position.
The first time I shot this target, I could only keep all three rounds in the 100 yard target. I would get 1 or 2 rounds per the other sillhouettes, and I missed the headshot.
After firing this target, Fred took us down the path of the rifleman. A lot of information was soaked up by all parties. We started with the prone position and worked our way "up" from the ground, going to sitting/kneeling and finally to standing. As we worked these positions we fired at different targets, all based on 100/200/300/400 yard accuracy.
After firing about 60 rounds from my M1A I started getting a lot of "out of battery" conditions. I hurried making my reloads for this event and as a result I ended up with excessive case lube left on the brass, and walnut dust mixed with it. Dirty chamber, dirty brass, bad feeding. I also noticed my ARMS#18 mount got shot loose again, despite previously putting locktite on the receiver screw.
I set the M1A aside and continued shooting with my Marlin .22. My first AQT (army qualification target) score was a 171. 250 is the top score, and a 210 or higher will earn you an "attaboy" in the form of a rifleman's patch from Fred.
I left the first day with a lot of knowledge as well as some frustration at my M1A. I stopped off at Sportsman's Warehouse to buy some factory .308 in order to evade my dirty chamber problem. Once home, I stripped and cleaned my rifle and also removed the scope mount.
Day two dawned with some mildly sore muscles, but an eagerness to get that "attaboy" patch. Hey, you put a challenge in front of me and I want to beat it. That's just who I am.
We arrived at the range at 8AM and noticed that the public range was closed. We started to set out targets and found out why. The wind was up. It would hit our target backers and they would explode into splinters. 2x2 posts shattered like kindling. Half of our target stands were destroyed instantly.
We stepped back and examined the situation. The wind was from behind the targets, so we took our remaining targets and shortened their legs. With the extra wood, we fashioned tent stakes and rammed these into the colichi-infested ground, then tied the targets to the stakes. This gave them added rigidity in the wind. As a result, we only lost 2-3 more target stands the rest of the day.
While we were busy building targets, many rifles were left out in the swirling dirt and dust. Including mine. Actions open. Argh. My M1A receiver looked like a piece of heavy grit sandpaper. The fresh lube from last night's cleaning just attracted all the possible rocks, grit and dust it could. Back to the marlin .22 again. At least all that expensive retail .308 could hold down my shooting mat.
We did various drills this day and shot at all sorts of targets. We shot the redcoat a couple of times, the short AQT "green" target, one of those stars like at the fair, and a couple of AQT's. I shot a 179 and a 205 (argh!).
One last opportunity for the AQT at about 5PM. Final AQT of the day for me: 217.
I met some good people, and gained intimate knowledge of my rifle. Too bad it's just a marlin .22, but even being a .22, I now know I can be extremely effective with it. It began to feel like an extension of my body by Sunday afternoon. The sling was a perfect length, the optics were right on, the ammunition was true, the magazines functioned flawlessly.
I have new goals for myself over the next couple of months:
1. Pass the AQT with the following rifles:
---a. M1A Scout
---b. Mosin Nagant 91/30 (I ordered 30 5rd stripper clips from Numrich)
---c. Winchester 94 (this will be tricky, but entertaining)
---d. my as-yet unbuilt AR-15
2. Get a "red hat." Instructor credentials for Appleseed.
Any one in AZ wanna shoot battle rifle?