I attended my first Project Appleseed Shoot on Saturday 5/28/11 at the Fin, Fur, & Feather Club in Chaplin, CT. It was a 1-Day event and, being so, there was a lot of info and shooting packed into one great long and hot day at the range.
I started my day with about an hour and 15 minute drive from Hamden to Chaplin, which is located just off of Rt. 6 east of Mansfield Center and Windham Airport. Nice drive and fairly easy to find. The event start time was slated for 0830 hrs.
After checking in and registering, we set up our gear in our respective lanes on the firing line. We then had a thorough safety brief conducted by our Shoot Boss, Fred (vernic82 on the Appleseed forum), who possessed a wealth of knowledge and experience shown throughout the day. Accompanying Fred were Instructors in Training - Chuck G., Levi (bigred200e on the Appleseed and CTGunTalk forums), and Tia (sp?) (LymiSeed on the Appleseed forum). All of these guys were super helpful and professional.
We only had 7 shooters (including myself), so there was a lot of individual attention and plenty of assistance available.
A note here, all of our targets were hung at 25 yards with paper silhouette targets simulating various ranges, like the old Army Qual course.
Next, we started with an initial evaluation to get our individual starting points so that later we could accurately see how we had improved. We fired 13 rounds at a 'Red Coat' target, with 3 rounds fired each at 100, 200, 300, 400 yard silhouettes and a 250 yard 'head' shot.
We then learned how to build a solid prone position and various ways of how to utilize a standard GI nylon web sling for support. My rifle had a Magpul MS2 multi-mission sling, which I quickly found out that, although great for tactical purposes in my LE job, the GI sling was better suited for this marksmanship training class. Fortunately, they had extra GI slings on site and I purchased one.
Throughout the morning, we fired numerous 'sighter groups' as we adjusted our sights and tightened our shot groups using the material being taught to us. In between 'sighter groups' during the morning and early afternoon, we were taught the 6 steps to firing a shot; how to shoot from standing offhand, safely transition to sitting or kneeling, and prone positions; the use of Steady Hold Factors; natural point of aim (NPOA); shot analysis on target or 'talking targets'; an explanation of inches, minutes, and clicks and their usage; sight adjustment and range estimation; and the rhythm of a shot or the 'Rifleman's Dance'.
Our 'sighter groups' were fired on targets like these:
In the afternoon, we conducted several AQT's (Army Qualification Tests), which were timed at 4 minutes total to fire 40 rounds from standing, sitting or kneeling, and prone positions at targets ranging 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards. These were the simulated targets we used:
At the shooting day's end, we repeated the initial 'Red Coat' effective range drill and confirmed that we had indeed improved our accuracy and grouping size. We also got an idea of what our effective range as marksman would be.
Although none of the 7 shooters earned the coveted Rifleman patch on this day, several of us were extremely close to doing so, and would have certainly done so if this had been a regular 2-day event.
That being said, the true goal of shooting an Appleseed is to improve your marksmanship, and that you definitely will do if you come with an open mind and use the techniques they teach you. I certainly improved mine. Check your ego at the door as you would and should do in every training class so that you can positively absorb the most class material.
As some of you may know, I've been in LE for nearly 15 years and previously served 9+ years in the Army, so I've been shooting for a long time, though mostly handgun the last few years and not as much rifle due to having two young children under 5 yrs old and not a whole lot of extra time. This year I've pledged to shoot and train more, which is what lead me to Appleseed. Much of this material was a refresher for me, but I did learn several new things. I now better know my strengths and weaknesses and what I need to work on to get my proficiency back to where it should be. Have no doubt that I will be attending more Appleseeds, earning that Rifleman patch, and likely joining their ranks of instructors in the future. I really enjoyed the experience!
All of the shooters, except for me, used .22 rifles, with a few loaned to shooters by the cadre. I used my 5.56 Rock River Arms LAR-15 Entry Tactical carbine. I started the day with a Millett DMS-1 1-4x24mm Illuminated Tactical Rifle scope mounted in a LaRue SPR/M4 1.93" LT-135 QD mount on my rifle. I used Federal 5.56mm XM855LC 62 grain FMJ Ball on stripper clips and burned through about 500-550 rounds for the day. Rifle and ammo performed flawlessly.
Although I had pretty tight shot groups from the start, I had problems with proper eye relief on my scope being a little too close. My groups were slightly low and to the left. So, after tinkering with the scope a bit, like a fool, I switched over to my EOTech 557.AR223 HoloSight with co-witnessed iron sights and then back to my scope. I played catch-up the rest of the day and was just about there as the day ended.
Project Appleseed is also about history and heritage, as they are affiliated with the Revolutionary War Veteran's Association (RWVA). During lunch break and at day's end as we were packing it in, we were given an excellent history lesson by Fred, our Shoot Boss, about the events of April 19, 1775, when the first shots were fired on Lexington Green. It was a much more detailed history lesson than we were ever taught in school. Being a history buff, especially military history, I was extremely interested in this detailed account of the start of our nation, as they say, "where marksmanship met history."
All in all, it was a very long, hot, tiring, and fun day. We wrapped it all up at about 5:30pm or so. I met some really good people amongst the cadre and my fellow students. I'm definitely looking forward to attending another Appleseed shoot (or two) this summer! And I'm definitely looking forward to bringing both my daughter and son to one someday!
And FYI - the event is FREE for LEOs and military personnel, whether AD or RC. You just pay for your ammo and a range fee in the neighborhood of $10. Can't beat that!
_________________ DE OPPRESSO LIBER / ILLEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM<br><br>People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. - George Orwell
SR9 High Master II
Joined: Feb 12, 2009
Location: Bethlehem, CT
Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:13 am
Snakeeater, thanks for posting your experience. I had a similar experience at the Appleseed in Hartford last September. I learned a lot, got lots of practice and enjoyed the company of the others and the instructors. My shooting improved too!
I too enjoy history and you are correct we just do not get what Fred related to us in school. Fred is a good speaker and knew the material in great detail. Excellent.
I certainly recommend doing an Appleseed if you have not. It is a good experience for new shooters and those with a lot of shooting background as well.
_________________ "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy 1962
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