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Old July 21, 2016, 08:22 AM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: February 15, 2007
Posts: 1,208
I just shot my first Appleseed event back in June and have a few observations. Obviously, we have many members who have attended these events and will have observations of your own to add. We also have several shoot bosses and other volunteers who may want to chime in. I read as much as I could find online about how to prepare and what to bring. I thought I had all the bases covered but there are a few things that would have improved my experience and this advice may help others.

#1. Rifle - I shot it with a Ruger 10-22. Fast magazine changes (and/or reloading) are required as is "rifleman's cadence" shooting. The strings of fire are timed so a detachable-magazine semi-auto is nearly required if you want to qualify. If you are just there for learning fundamentals of marksmanship, anything would work. One magazine should be marked in some way since you'll need to load one with 2 rounds and another with 8. I just borrowed a sharpie at the range but I might mark them better for the next event.

#2. Trigger - Prior to the event, I installed a BX trigger which I love. I shopped around and found a killer price on it and it was really easy to install. If you can remove the stock and two pins (that virtually fall out) you can install this trigger. For the next event, I'll install an auto bolt release. It should be standard on the BX trigger group but it's not.

#3. Scope - I used a Leupold 4x scope which was a mixed blessing. I'm 44 but my eyes are still pretty good. I did not have it mounted nearly far forward enough for prone and especially the seated position. I moved it and re-sighted it during the event but it just won't go forward enough in the mounts I have. I struggled so much with the eye relief that I'm going to practice at home and shoot the next event with Tech sights.

#4. Sling - Without the correct sling, some of the instruction will be wasted on you and the shooting will be more difficult. Get the correct sling. My rifle has a Mannlicher stock and the front sling attachment does not swivel. I'll add a quick-release swivel for next time so that I can leave the sling on my arm between strings. (Once you shoot an event, you'll see what I mean.)

#5. Shooting mat and/or elbow pads. I took a shooting mat but still managed to turn my elbows into hamburger. Dirt accumulated on the mat and got ground into my elbows. I didn't complain and I don't think it hurt my shooting but they did take a while to heal and looked gross. A better mat, long sleeves and/or elbow pads seem a good idea.

#6. General thoughts. You'll need a chair (depending on the range), sack lunch, snacks, water, sun screen, bug spray and hat. A staple gun and pen or pencil will make changing and marking targets easier.

My best score was 209 which was only 1 point short of the required 210 and I will definitely be back. I don't drink Kool-Aid though and I do have some criticisms, however minor.

The event wasn't perfect. I love history and the lessons were great but could have been shorter. The pace of the history lessons was really slow and we could have had more time for shooting. We only shot the AQT three times and I fired somewhere around 200 rounds total. On Sunday, we couldn't shoot until after noon due to noise and neighbors. I arrived at 8:00 and all of the previous day's shooting instruction was re-covered as well as new history lessons. I would have appreciated being told that we wouldn't start shooting until after noon. I could have gone to church myself or just slept in. While I appreciated the additional instruction, they didn't have us practice it right then, right there. We could have spent much of that time doing dry-fire, mag-changes, and other drills. The instructors could have really worked one-on-one with us to correct position, NPOA, etc. and it felt like a missed opportunity.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience and I will definitely be back. I have the time in September to shoot another event and I can't decide whether to shoot at the same range (different shoot boss) or try another event that would be much further away.
To a much greater extent than most mechanical devices, firearms are terribly unforgiving of any overconfidence, complacency or negligence.
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