View Full Version : Just attended my first Appleseed!

Ben Towe
March 31, 2014, 12:51 AM
(Moderators: I wasn't sure whether this should go here or Tactics and Training, so if it's too far off topic I apologize)
I thought I would post a report about my first Appleseed experience and some thoughts about it. It was held at Knob Creek shooting range in Kentucky yesterday and today (I just got home a couple hours ago). We had excellent instructors and I learned quite a bit of history and shooting skills in the two days of the course. I've heard good things about Appleseed on this forum and can gladly say that it's all true, it's a really good program.

I shot the entire course of fire with my Del-Ton AR-15 carbine with 3x scope. I didn't get my Rifleman's patch but I did get close. A combination of a malfunction and my own frustration kept me from attaining it, but I still had an good time and I learned a great deal about proper techniques of sling shooting that I was sorely lacking.

Now some things I learned through experience and observation. If you're going to go to an Appleseed I highly suggest the following:

1) Bring plenty of clothes and rain gear and a tarp or two, yesterday was miserably cold, windy and pouring down rain. We had a covered firing line which helped somewhat, but inside an hour it was soupy mud with water running through it in addition to blowing rain, by the end of the day I was soaked, frozen, and covered in mud. All I brought was a long sleeved t-shirt, a light jacket and a tarp to go under my shooting mat. Bad call.
2) Get plenty of sleep at night. I didn't Friday night and though I soldiered through, I know everything would gone better had I done so.
3)Rifles: For the sake of yourself and your fellow attendees; SIGHT IN YOUR RIFLE PRIOR TO THE EVENT! If you don't know how get someone to help you or hire it done. I spent the better part of an hour chatting with the range boss while the other attendees attempted to line up their sights; some of them weren't even on paper. For the first 45 minutes I shot with them but I finally decided to stop wasting ammo. Due to this delay the rest of the class had to be accelerated which I feel was greatly detrimental to everyone. I am nearly certain some would have earned a Rifleman's patch otherwise. Put that thing on a bench and dial it in a week or two before the class, I promise you it will make life much easier.

Another thing I saw was most people brought .22s, which is alright, though I am not a big .22 fan. The problem was that some of them brought unfamiliar platforms and sight setups which really hurt them. Both of my friends that I went with brought iron sighted .22s, one a 10/22 takedown and the other a Marlin 795. Both good little rifles and both ran flawlessly, but both guys are familiar with scoped ARs and they both regretted bringing the .22s. Neither are bad shots but the unfamiliarity showed in their AQT scores. Bring a familiar platform, at least on your first shoot. If you are a scope shooter, use a scope. If you are an AR shooter, use an AR. Trying new things is great, just not during your first class.

Bring a rifle that you don't mind getting dirty, and I mean dirty. My poor rifle lay in the rain and mud for 9 hours straight yesterday and looked like it had just come off Sugar Loaf Hill in 1945 by the time we got back to the hotel last night. You don't want to put your collector grade M1 through that.

I'm sure there is something I'm forgetting, if so I'll add it tomorrow. Bottom line is, I highly recommend going to an Appleseed, but if you come prepared and comfortable with your rifle and gear, you'll get so much more out of it.

Magnum Wheel Man
March 31, 2014, 07:55 AM
I used a 10-22 at my class ( several years ago ) as was recommended at the time... I think if I were going to do another ( which I'd like to do ) I had planned to use my SKS that I have Tech Sights on... 7.62 X 39 is actually easier to get than 22 LR... now I'm not sure... this Russian thing is going to cut down on & raise the prices of 7.62 X 39... with us shooting about 400 rounds between both days, I'm not sure what I'd use today... probably 22...

how many rounds did you shoot during your course ???

Ben Towe
March 31, 2014, 02:08 PM
I shot about 210 rounds, others shot about 300 or so.

April 1, 2014, 09:01 AM
Appleseed doesn't have a monopoly on shooting in the rain. Its been known to rain on CMP GSM Vintage Rifle Games also.


Magnum Wheel Man
April 1, 2014, 09:08 AM
gotta admit I only had to contend with the heat & humidity... & we couldn't use the long range, because it was flooded out, but we had a sunny day... worst issue I had was the hot .308 cases burning the back of my neck, from my neighbors rifle :o those hats with the flaps that cover your neck aren't just good for sun protection ;)


April 1, 2014, 09:29 AM
I don't like centerfire rifles for the 25 meter Appleseed events. The muzzle blast isn't condusive to helping other shooters learn. My first event I was next to the one guy who brought his Mosin 91/30, and when that thing went off it literally shook me in my slung up position.

Two weeks ago we had some AR shooters going through a case of Wolf Gold down at the other end of the range. The muzzle blast was definitely a training distractor, but lucky for me I was on the far side of the firing line from that position.

While it may be sacrilige in some circles, I think that a 22 with a scope is the best bet for most new shooters to learn the basics. With an appropriate scope (must be adjustable to be parallax free at 25 meters) the aiming process is massively simplified.

I used to think that irons were the only way to go for serious training until I read that David Tubb uses a scope on his air rifle for indoor training and recommends it.

I wouldn't hesitate to attend a full distance Appleseed if an event is available to you, and that is definitely the right place for centerfire rifle shooting :D


Magnum Wheel Man
April 1, 2014, 10:24 AM
I pulled the scope off my 10-22, & installed a set of Tech Sights, just for Appleseed shoots... but admit I don't think that would have made a difference in rifleman qualifying... my rifles barrel block loosened up, as we shot through the 2nd day, so my shooting started getting worse, by the time we were doing qualifying :o

Brian Pfleuger
April 1, 2014, 03:08 PM

I'm surprised they make allowance for that. They shouldn't, IMO.

April 1, 2014, 06:17 PM
Brian Pfleuger,

Appleseed is quite known for having students show up and be handed a loaner rifle from a friend or volunteer. So even if the rifle was sighted in, the new shooter will still have to go through the zeroing process.

Most of the first day of the event will be shot working on getting a good solid zero and tightening groups. Some events don't even get to the AQT on the first day.

Magnum Wheel Man,

On day two I had the action screws loosen up on my Remington R5 to the point where the barrel was "flopping" loose in the forend. Luckily one of the red hats had an Allen Key set with the right size key to torque the bolts back down. Shot a 232 after that. That was the first time I'd ever shot action screws loose.


April 1, 2014, 09:02 PM
Appleseed’s are great. I mistakenly thought I’d have no problem making Rifleman. Didn’t even come close on day one. But on day two everything started to click, and by noon I made it. Just about every target I shot the afternoon of day two was Rifleman scores, until my 10/22 decided it was too dirty and started jamming. So I just quit and did what I could to help my Son. He came with in three points of making Rifleman, which made me pleased.

I used a 10/22 with a 3 power scope, my Son used a 10/22 with Tech Sights. My next goal is to try again but with Tech Sights. When I make that, it will be with a center fire at full length ranges.

Ben Towe
April 2, 2014, 11:22 PM
Mike38, I went into it thinking it would be much easier than it was. The transitions between positions were really hard for me because I'm a big guy, sitting/kneeing was also really difficult for me.

April 3, 2014, 06:17 PM
I feel like there's a little bit of a double standard with the Appleseed shoots. Go to their website, and they promote using Tech-Sights quite a bit. At the same time, many people go with the objective of earning a "rifleman" score during the weekend.

In my observations, the people with scopes fared much better than people using iron sights in terms of scoring. So basically, the people who follow the Appleseed suggestions the most closely are the least likely to earn the rifleman scores.

It's not a big deal, and it certainly is possible to score well with irons and score poorly with scopes. It just struck me as a bit of a contradiction. Regardless, there are some worthwhile things to learn no matter what sight you're using.

April 3, 2014, 06:38 PM
Mike38, I went into it thinking it would be much easier than it was. The transitions between positions were really hard for me because I'm a big guy, sitting/kneeing was also really difficult for me.

I’m not what would be considered a big guy, but I knew hours of stand, sit, prone would take it’s toll on me. I guess you could call it old age. What I did was squat, or sat on my heels, rather than sit my butt on the ground. Nobody said a word to me about it, so I guess it was okay.