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Posted: 5/7/2012 9:08:55 AM EDT
My first Appleseed shoot:


  I had been wanting my family to attend one for  about two years. 
I had read the posts about others going and enjoying it.  But making the time to get there, camp, travel,  and all the logistics, had me making plans, only to have them vanish into the family priorities.

  Well,  appleseed came to me! Topgun Shooting Club   http://www.topgunshootingclub.com/
Hosted an  appleseed shoot and that's 16 convenient miles away. So I got in and then my wife and son (9) wanted to attend too.  So off we went!

  First I want to talk logistics. 


Rock what ya got!  Anything will "do"  But.... 

I recommend a 10/22, a Savage Mark 2. Any  detachable , 10 round or more, peep sight, optics, scope, etc.  Rig it for a sling. A military sling. See the web sight - GI sling. 

Yes you can use centerfire rifles.  But my family and I burned thru 1000+ .22lr over 2 days.  We were in close proximity on the firing line, and this apple seed shoot was at 25m, with simulated distance targets. ( itty bitty dog targets..... Yeahhhh.  Itty freaking bitty. ) in short - if your Appleseed has a KD - known distance - portion bring a battle rifle and zero it for 100m before you go. Then try the KD. But bring a magazine fed .22lr -etc... for the simulated distance. 

Loc-tight all your optics screws,  and sight lugs. This much shooting shakes stuff loose. 

Buy and bring extra magazines. Mark them so you know they are yours. 


SUN- It's hot. Bring an easy-up, umbrellas (You range locally may have shade or covered shooting areas ours did not. I'm in Texas, it's May 5th,  and 91 degrees and humid) , good hats, long sleeves, sun block, etc...

Firing line gear- Tarps, under your shooting mats.  To catch brass, and keep the bugs at bay. Padded shooting mats, or old blankets. You are going to do a lot of prone, sitting, kneeling, standing, and transitions. 
Be comfortable. Creature comforts. 

-Coolers full of cold water
-Organization areas for prepping stages. 
- white towels to cover your rifle from the sun. ( they get hot) , Plastic if  it is raining etc. 
- baby wipes. Your hands get dirty. 
-maintenance tools for your rifle. Allen wrenches, screw drivers, lens wipes, oil, pocket knife, bore snake, cleaning Jag-rods, tooth brush, oil. 
-A back up rifle
-A teachable attitude
- True Grit- this is work! Mental and physical. We had 3 people quit 1/2 way in first day because of the heat, improper clothing, rifles that were not sighted in /failing, and no water. 

Participating People- anyone is welcome to come learn. No matter what your physical condition, or limitation. The instructors will help find workarounds.  What can be mitigated  will be. If there is a fix it will be found! Heat is a killer. Come prepared. 


  We arrived early, signed in, paid, and we were directed to set up our shooting area down on the line.
I invite you to use the online forum to ask questions about the particular range you will be at. My range boss -Floyd was helpful. He encouraged our sun shades. 

  My family had planed on only doing One day of the Two day event,  our faith is important, but as we progressed thru the Saturday we discovered this was truly important too.  We decided we were in for the Sunday portion.

We had been directed to leave our rifles in the car until told to get them. This is because Appleseed is for everyone. Beginners- experts. 

The day starts as safety -safety-safety. These guys have no idea who you are or how you behave. I had an 9 year old with us participating, he is well behaved, but still a child. He received and abided by the safety instructions, he needed to only shoot prone rested, after trying tight sling prone, sitting,  kneeling, and standing.  "Trying these " because it was safer physically for him to CONTROL the weapon and manipulate magazines.  While working on his accuracy. 

  My wife is Army, I'm Marine Corps, our rifle training was similar, and dated. 15 years ago. Mel seldom shoots a rifle, this was a big challenge For her.  She had never used a deliberate sling.  Prone was seldom used in our range trips.  Accuracy measurement was not a criteria. Trigger control, breathing, sight picture....  Tell ya what! If you want to hit those little red dog targets you had better listen and apply what the instructors are teaching. 

  It was funny to see the redheaded devil in my wife get her hackles up when the first timed AQT took place.
"...That's BS! Nobody can shoot that fast accurately, on that small a target, and do all the sitting and slinging...."  She had never participated in a time limited shooting   Test.  She was challenged, angry   - and hooked! LOL...

But Sunday morning she was back giving it Hell. And having slept, digested the lessons, and thought it thru.... She delivered on her second try. 

On Sunday we both shot expert. Me on my second try 228,  and She on he 3rd try 218.  We received our RIFLEMAN patches and a heart felt congratulations from the instructors. We are very proud of it. 

Mischa (9yo)  shot really well. He had a measurable improvement in his accuracy on targets. And had a qualifying marksman score on a AQT.  118! He had a ball. 

 He had trouble remembering the shooting test patterns, and Manipulating his rifle, but was happy, protected, and encouraged by everyone. He will grow into all of this,  and one day soon join us as a proudly trained Rifleman - and active citizen. 

  We were all inspired by the recounting of our nations history on April 19 1775. When British subjects, made a sacrificial decision, and transformed into Americans! We have rights. We have good evidence, from history, that you need those rights. 



Link Posted: 5/7/2012 9:21:32 AM EDT
Excellent AAR.
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 9:29:28 AM EDT
Outstanding man, sounds like you guys had a great time!
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 9:32:12 AM EDT
Thanks for the write up!  I’m looking at trying this with my 7yo daughter this Sept at the College Station shoot.  Still need a few items.
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 9:37:58 AM EDT
Looks like a great time!!
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 9:48:44 AM EDT
I went to one a few years ago with some members of this site. We had a good time, it was harder than I though it would be. Made Rifleman on the first day and it is what started me in shooting Service Rifle today.

The people who had their families with them all enjoyed it very much. The girls were having as just much fun as the boys. some of the wives didn't seem to care for the shooting part but were enjoying watching the rest of the family and cheering them on.

I recommend anyone that wants to learn the real way to shoot a rifle using the same basic techniques taught in most militarys to go to one. If you have any youngsters with interests in the shooting sports bring them too. camp out and make it a fun weekend with the family. A helpful wife that doesnt care to shoot can run the campsite and provide support, if the type who likes being outdoors. (I have been hunting one for 20 years now)

As an incentive I would tell youngsters if they promise to pay attention and do their best that Dad will take them to buy them their first .22 rifle after shooting if they are new shooters.

As mentioned it is a little tough and will make most people not in shape to shoot in position with a sling all day sore. The kids were affected by the hot weather when I went too so you might want to attend when it's cool out to make it more enjoyable.

One other thing, as mentioned it is most important to have your rifle sighted in at 25yds. Almost everyone that had trouble did not have good zeroes when they arrived, if you are not good at sighting in a rifle with only a few shots it will make your day tough so be sure to do that beforehand.

Earning that green Marksman patch didn't seem like a big deal at first, by the time I had it in my hands it was one of the coolest accomplshments I ever did shooting as well as any.

Ya gotta try it!  Great way for a plain ordinary civilian to feel like a well trained Patriot of the greatest country on Earth in just one weekend!
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 9:52:09 AM EDT
Good write up OP!

Glad that you both achieved Rifleman. Like you said, it isn't nearly as easy as it looks or sounds!
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 9:54:11 AM EDT
Everyone here needs to do an Appleseed shoot.   Congrats OP!
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 9:58:14 AM EDT
It was ALOT of FUN!

Get out and do it. We had folks from every walk of life, all ages, all makes and models.

Everyone took away valuable lessons. I feel crisp and sharp now. Honed. I will be helping and volunteering.

They have staged timed AQTs, and Speed AQTs. The timed ones seem harder but the speed ones demand you hit with speed. We had 3 riflemen this class, and a lot of close competition for it.
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 10:17:26 AM EDT
See what happens when arfcom moves out of their parent's basements?? They get to use REAL guns and hell, they might even have a chance at a hot wife
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 11:47:18 AM EDT

I found a mod I had done to my flush fit ruger mags came In handy for appleseed.

During tree rat  season I take that long string and loop it around a scope base. Basically it's a dummy cord- preventing a drop into ankle deep leaves. For us this weekend it provided a handy grab / orientation landmark.

Simply drill a small hole in the thumb gap on the angle leading into the logo relief area. Then strip the coat off a length of para cord exposing the strong inner lines. Tie a knot immobilizing the over sleeve, thread 1/2 of the exposed lines thru the hole tie it off and melt. Easy to keep track of the $14 acorn.
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 11:57:14 AM EDT
Did I make it in before someone gripes about having to listen to the history portion?  I was blown away when I saw that in an Appleseed thread not long ago.

Appleseeds are great aren't they!  Glad you enjoyed it.
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 12:00:28 PM EDT
I loved my first Appleseed.  Shot with my son and a good friend of mine in the August heat of Southern Virginia and loved every minute of it.

I don't recommend a bolt rifle because of time and reloading restrictions, but any semi-auto .22LR will do just fine.  I put Tech-sites on both of my guns for my son and I and loved those.  

I really enjoyed the history portion and my son did too...

Glad you enjoyed yours.

Fellow Rifleman.

ETA:  Pic.

Link Posted: 5/7/2012 12:06:44 PM EDT
There are some people who believe history is like religion. "You can't rely on it because you were not there. "

That and " the founding fathers were slave traders.."

They gobble down the permission to ignore history. Those people are doomed to repeat that history.


That's a good motto
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 12:23:55 PM EDT
A weekend of shooting, mom & dad scoring Rifleman, junior having a blast and everyone learning more of their American heritage. Pure win!

Good job OP.
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 6:27:21 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/7/2012 7:18:21 PM EDT
My sons first sighter on Sat-

My sons first kneeling. -

After he got his zero-

9 years old ! He is a great kid.
Link Posted: 5/8/2012 6:58:11 PM EDT
Floyd, Chuck, Kirby,& Kirk found this over on the Appleseed boards and linked in.

Thank you guys!

I'll be seeing you soon.

They are the most tactfull, range instructors I've seen. I will need to reset my cynicism to come up to their level of competence.
Appleseed is a safe place to learn because they care. They have the confidence and serenity of spring gardeners.
Link Posted: 5/9/2012 3:44:03 AM EDT
Your son has very respectable groups for his age. With a little time and coaching he'll be a marksman in no time.
Link Posted: 5/10/2012 9:08:27 AM EDT

Guess I got kissed on the elbow this weekend.
Link Posted: 5/10/2012 9:20:00 AM EDT

Well done OP.
While your home set up some targets and practice dry firing and calling your shots.
You'll be amazed what it will do for you when you get back to the range.
Link Posted: 5/11/2012 9:53:14 AM EDT
I am going to an appleseed shoot this summer. I am either going to buy 500 rounds of .223 or a .22 conversion kit. Which would you recommend?
Link Posted: 5/12/2012 6:46:43 AM EDT
I am going to an appleseed shoot this summer. I am either going to buy 500 rounds of .223 or a .22 conversion kit. Which would you recommend?

Don't go with the conversion.  I often see folks wrestling problems with them on the line.  They seem to do ok when very, very clean, but begin having reliability issues when they begin to get the least bit dirty.

I understand if funds prevent this, but I highly recommend a semi-auto, magazine fed, .22 rifle.  If my "go to" rifle was an AR, I'd buy a .22 cal dedicated AR and set it up identical to my "go to" rifle.
Link Posted: 5/12/2012 6:22:11 PM EDT
I am going to an appleseed shoot this summer. I am either going to buy 500 rounds of .223 or a .22 conversion kit. Which would you recommend?

Don't go with the conversion.  I often see folks wrestling problems with them on the line.  They seem to do ok when very, very clean, but begin having reliability issues when they begin to get the least bit dirty.

I understand if funds prevent this, but I highly recommend a semi-auto, magazine fed, .22 rifle.  If my "go to" rifle was an AR, I'd buy a .22 cal dedicated AR and set it up identical to my "go to" rifle.

Link Posted: 5/12/2012 6:24:17 PM EDT
Great Post OP
Beautiful family.
Link Posted: 5/12/2012 6:24:49 PM EDT
Excellent AAR.

Yep!  I'd love to make it to one of these sometime.
Link Posted: 5/12/2012 6:33:53 PM EDT
I've been waiting for one of these to be withing a acceptable distance to my house for a couple years now, guess I might have to make the trip to Nebraska and get this done.

M&P 15-22 o.k.?
Link Posted: 5/12/2012 7:17:45 PM EDT
M&P 15-22 with four mags would be ideal. You could do it with two but you'll be hustling trying to load mags all the time.

ETA - Where you at in KS. Our range near Pittsburg hosts a couple a year at least. Because of a split within the Appleseed organization the Eureka, KS range hosts Appleseed-esque shoots run by the entire former KS Appleseed instructor corps who joined USRA en masse when the split happened (leaving KS with next to no Appleseed instructors).
Link Posted: 5/20/2012 7:26:58 AM EDT

Having instructed with the Texas crew and knowing a few of them I am not surprised at your Appleseed experience.
I think there are some hats with your names on them should you decide to pick them up.

BTW, I plan on stealing this if you don't mind: "Appleseed is a safe place to learn because they care. They have the confidence and serenity of spring gardeners."


p.s. See you at the NRA National Meeting in Houston next May, Booths # 3464-3468
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