Author Topic: AAR: Ft. Lauderdale, FL July 3,4 2010  (Read 1061 times)

Offline ItsanSKS

  • Master Instructor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2039
  • Buy a rifle, then LEARN TO SHOOT IT!
AAR: Ft. Lauderdale, FL July 3,4 2010
« on: July 06, 2010, 06:01:38 PM »
This weekend, 25 attendees came together for some lessons on rifle marksmanship, American heritage, and to spend time learning of the traditions passed on from our founding generation; I can't think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day.

Arriving late in the afternoon Friday, I met with Sharon Glass, owner and proprietor of Pop's Gun Club, and we discussed what needs our shooters would have throughout the weekend.  To say that she is a wonderful host is a severe understatement, as she constantly sought to provide the basic necessities, ensuring that everyone was as comfortable as possible.  Many thanks to Sharon and the directors associated with Pop's Gun Club, as you certainly know how to make Appleseed feel welcome at your club.  

With four instructors and 25 attendees, one might get the feeling that one-on-one instruction would be impossible, but these were no average instructors- they went from student to student, engaging each on the various issues that were being displayed; "Your dragging wood!, Get that trigger knee pulled up!, elbow UNDER the rifle!, HOLD THAT TRIGGER BACK!"  

Down at the target line, this instruction proved to be quite effective, as we noticed everyone's groups improving dramatically as we approached lunchtime on Saturday.  Some of our students were showing signs of heat-related exhaustion, and an extra-long lunch was allowed, to afford the opportunity to rest in the shade, hydrate, and swap stories of why and how they had come to this inaugural Appleseed at Pops'.  

Early in the morning Saturday, I could tell that there was some hesitancy in our students to speak with their fellow students, but that was long gone by Lunchtime, and it was difficult indeed to get them back to the task at hand- I have a feeling that many friendships have been forged at this event, and I encourage each of you that read this to seek out your fellow Appleseeders for another trip to the range, so that you may practice the skills you learned this past weekend.

Once we got back to the instruction on saturday, mother nature decided to cool things off for us, by providing a tremendous downpour that thoroughly soaked our targets, but brought the temps down by nearly 15 degrees- a welcome relief indeed!  

Our Appleseeders proved that they were indeed made of tougher stuff, and shot right through the worst of what mother nature had in store for us that day.  Fighting fogged safety glasses, water infused shooting mats, and a swarm of mosquitoes like no other, each shooter became a testament to persistence.  

After we had taught all we could teach in the course of a single day, our shooters were introduced to the dreaded Army Qualification Target.  They had each received the instruction necessary to excel on this test, and have proven their aptitude with their chosen rifle- but would they have the endurance, the skill, and the tenacity to prove that they were indeed a Rifleman?

Only one Rifleman decided to show himself on Saturday, though he did so in spectacular fashion; first shooting a 224, he followed it up with a 244, then a 246!  Congratulations to Roger, scoring one of the highest scores I have ever seen on a Saturday!  Roger intimated that he had learned most of what we were teaching from his father, a man who quite obviously knew very well what he was about.  Unconvinced of his Rifleman status, Roger exclaimed that he would be back on Sunday, to re-take the exam with a 'REAL' rifle- a .308 AR.   :---

Once the rifles had been cleared from the line, and the brass and other detritus picked up, our shooters slowly made good their escape, though each committed to return for Sunday.  Conversations were cut short by the thickest horde of mosquitoes I have ever seen in my life, threatening to carry off all but the largest men- women, children and small pets were in grave mortal danger;  a firm reminder that we were quite literally *in* the everglades.  Escaping with our lives, but short a few pints of blood, the instructors took refuge in the range office trailer, and spent a good hour or two exterminating the hundred or so blood suckers that followed us inside.  


Sunday morning dawned with an ominous gray sky, portending a repeat of Saturday afternoon.  As our attendees filed in, some showing obvious signs of discomfort from the exertions of yesterday, a few bright and cheery faces were also seen- they OBVIOUSLY had not been there the day before, and their exuberance was met with some good natured grumbling from their fellow attendees.  

After a brief recap of the previous days' instruction, and an opportunity to verify their 25m zero, the AQT grind began in earnest.  Thousands of rounds down range in minutes.. One stage blurring into the next. Intrusive instructors barking corrections to students too enveloped in their bubble to hear.  It was a sight to behold!  

As lunchtime approached, our shooters were each introduced to the Ball and Dummy drill, and were paired off, each to try their hand at that "easiest" of duties- Volunteer Rifle Marksmanship Instructor!  With many errors diagnosed and corrected, our students were given an overly generous 20 minutes for lunch- there were more AQT's to be shot, and food wasn't going to help their scores!

Back to the line!  AQT's for everyone!  Some mutinous mutterings could be heard while everyone packed away their half-eaten lunch, but it was all in good fun.  (or at least it better have been!)  Many more AQT's shot, scored, and filed away; the pace so hectic that we barely noticed the rain, which reared its head again.  Taking a short break at about 2:30pm, ThaiFighter began his lesson on the fundamentals of KD marksmanship.  

Mother Nature, knowing that these fine patriots would not be deterred from their objective by mere rain, enlisted the aid of Zeus, who scared the bejeesus out of us with a lightning strike so close, we could smell the ozone- good thing he hasn't been to an Appleseed, or we would have been toast!

Wisely choosing to begin our KD instruction INSIDE, our shooters kowtowed to the will of the gods and sought shelter from the brewing storm.  With their egos mollified, Mother Nature and Zeus took pity on our souls, and provided a fine atmosphere for shooting the whole rest of the day; overcast skies blotting out the scorching inferno that is the midday sun in Florida, and a light mist to reduce the humidity, a half dozen shooters were invited to try their new skills at 100yds.  First up? 4MOA squares, which looked remarkably similar to those little 1" squares we had zeroed on earlier in the day... A few sighter groups to adjust for bullet trajectory, and then a Stage 1 target was posted, which also looked remarkably similar to those tiny stage 4 targets... Strange how that MOA thing works, isn't it?  With the skills from the day previous fresh in their minds, these shooters proved that what works at 25m works at distance, bringing in some very fine groups indeed.  One shooter scored a 96 on the improvised stage 4 target, the best stage 4 score he had shot to that point.

Not wasting any time, we all got back to the AQT grind.  Targets were passed out, posted and shot.  Wash, rinse and repeat.  A few breaks for hydration and dehydration, followed by a rousing speech by our hostess, Sharon, and back to it!  All in all, over 6 AQT's had been administered on Sunday alone, and our students were eager to see how they had measured up.  

Three new Riflemen had proven themselves this day, and Roger repeated his performance from the day previous.

Tim, Ken and Kaye all proved that persistence pays dividends, and that this instruction really does work.

Patches handed out, rifles removed from the line, and the brass cleaned up, there was a lethargy that hung in the air, thick as the humidity.  This can't be the end, right?  There is certainly more we can learn; we still have ammo left!  With the light slowly fading, our eager students were dejected to find out that indeed, this was the end of a fine Independence Day, and would have to wait until their next event to prove themselves RIFLEMEN.

Speaking on behalf of all the instructors present, I wish to thank each and every attendee who made this weekend such a joy to instruct.  You all presented us with a teachable attitude, and took our 'gentle' instruction in stride.  Environmental concerns such as rain, heat and humidity didn't seem to affect you at all, proving that you each possess the grit and determination of your forbears.  With  a little practice, you will earn that coveted Rifleman patch, and I hope that I am there to see it!

Sharon, I can't thank you enough for all the hard work expended on our behalf.  From the fine chili dogs for lunch, the ribs and salad for dinner, and all the preparations you and your club had made, it is obvious that ya'll take Southern Hospitality very seriously.  Just say the word, and we'll be back.  

And now, for some pictures!  (kindly provided by attendee J. Ambrust)

Flags of our (fore)Fathers:


Saturday morning registration:


Meeting those "nice" Instructors:
(left to right: Diligent1638, Douglas34474, ItsanSKS, ThaiFighter)


Getting used to that 'comfortable' prone position:


One of our two-man team of Designated Snipers:


Fine Appleseeders: (Whatchu smilin 'bout, Carl?!)


Enjoying a break in the action: Tom and Bonnie, with IIT Douglas34474


You want me to shoot WHAT?!:

(Tom, unconvinced that one could shoot a 'real' rifle in the standing position as we have instructed, has kindly offered to allow me to shoot his beautiful hunting rifle, a 7mm REM MAG.  Having never fired a belted magnum rifle, I was unsure of what to expect, and his assertion that it was a 'hard-kicking mother' psyched me out a bit, as evidenced by the hard dive the barrel took when my first trigger squeeze fell on an empty chamber.  Adjust sling for proper hasty fitment, insert three rounds, check off steady hold factors in my head, and let loose the dogs of war.  Hey, that wasn't so bad- chamber next round, verify NPOA, ensure that rifle is firmly tucked into the shoulder pocket, and BOOM! Rack bolt, wash rinse and repeat.  Yep, those steady hold factors really DO work, even on a mule such as this.  Thanks for the opportunity to try out such a fine rifle, Tom; though I wouldn't recommend shooting that one from a bench- it's likely to bite.  

Last but not least, Rifleman Ken:




Please feel free to add your comments here, as well as any pictures you may have taken throughout the weekend, though I think we kept ya'll busy enough that there weren't too many taken...

Keep up that dry-fire practice, and I hope to see you all on the line very soon!

-ItsanSKS
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 06:09:41 PM by ItsanSKS »
"Those who would trade an ounce of liberty for an ounce of safety deserve neither."

"To save us both time in the future... how about you give me the combo to your safe and I'll give you the pin number to my bank account..."

Offline ItsanSKS

  • Master Instructor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2039
  • Buy a rifle, then LEARN TO SHOOT IT!
Re: AAR: Ft. Lauderdale, FL July 3,4 2010
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2010, 06:19:36 PM »
On a side note:
If any of you happens to come across a nearly-new red handled Case knife, with IBEW LU 915 engraved on the blade, I would appreciate its return; though not an expensive knife, it was recently awarded to me as a graduation gift, and as such holds significant sentimental value.

-ItsanSKS
"Those who would trade an ounce of liberty for an ounce of safety deserve neither."

"To save us both time in the future... how about you give me the combo to your safe and I'll give you the pin number to my bank account..."

Offline PHenry

  • Master Instructor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3589
  • 2A - The Original Homeland Security
Re: AAR: Ft. Lauderdale, FL July 3,4 2010
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2010, 06:26:04 PM »
Sounds like a great new venue. Darn shame about the knife - I know it means a lot.

Hey! What about the history? Knowing the caliber of the staff at this here event - I am assuming that it were done, just left unmentioned.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 06:35:17 PM by PHenry »
Para ser Libre, un Hombre debe tener tres cosas. La Tierra, una Educacion, y un Fusil. Siempre, un Fusil!  Emiliano Zapata

Offline ThaiFighter

  • Retired Shoot Boss
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 277
Re: AAR: Ft. Lauderdale, FL July 3,4 2010
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2010, 07:54:59 PM »
I knew we fergot sumthin!!!!!   ;D
"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people."

-GBS

Proud to be funding TG and BF's retirement account... ;)

Offline simonkenton

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: AAR: Ft. Lauderdale, FL July 3,4 2010
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2010, 01:18:07 AM »
This was my first Appleseed event and what an experience!  I want to thank all the instructors who shared their knowledge and time with us.  I think the shoot went smoothly (we can't control the weather) and hope this is the first of many at this new location.  Having a covered line was a great help with the sun and rain.  Maybe we need to get a lightning rod up there too; that one was close!  I read Fred's Guide to Becoming a Rifleman and it really came together once I saw it put into practice.  The history presentations were great.  It's all to easy to forget the price others paid for our freedom.  Thank you for bringing Appleseed to South Florida!

Offline Heimdhal

  • Retired IIT
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 141
Re: AAR: Ft. Lauderdale, FL July 3,4 2010
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2010, 12:46:53 AM »
Im sorry I missed it yall.  I will be there next time for sure, unless the good lord plans otherwise again.  Had a family emergency in Tampa and was just too beat after the 4 hour drive sunday morning.

It sounds like a great event (as always) and I hope another strong appleseed community can grow out of it; Im sure it will.

Good job Roger on your 246.  And also to k-os for her 211, she has been fighting hard for that for three appleseeds now and Im sure shell blow up away at all the ones yet to come.

Offline ItsanSKS

  • Master Instructor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2039
  • Buy a rifle, then LEARN TO SHOOT IT!
Re: AAR: Ft. Lauderdale, FL July 3,4 2010
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2010, 01:32:40 AM »
Heimdal,

You were definitely missed this past weekend, though I understand your reasons for not making it.  I hope everything turned out for the best.

K-os was ecstatic about her score, but was unable to repeat it, due to time constraints, and lack of light.  She literally shot it on the last possible AQT of the day.  Now that she's shot the score, her next 210+ will be that much easier- no pressure whatsoever.  We all hope to see her at a few more events, and perhaps even have her take up the Orange Hat...  What will be, will be.

If ya'll aren't doing anything this weekend, how about a road trip?  St. Augustine is just a few hours' drive up I-95...
"Those who would trade an ounce of liberty for an ounce of safety deserve neither."

"To save us both time in the future... how about you give me the combo to your safe and I'll give you the pin number to my bank account..."

Offline PHenry

  • Master Instructor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3589
  • 2A - The Original Homeland Security
Re: AAR: Ft. Lauderdale, FL July 3,4 2010
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2010, 12:30:46 PM »
Heimdhal,

I know of an opportunity to serve. The Citra event is in danger of being canceled for lack of staffing and as this is a new event - we just cain't have that! Any chance you could see yer way clear to spending a weekend in lovely Citra, FL on July 17/18? Please, please, please.  ^-^
PH

Para ser Libre, un Hombre debe tener tres cosas. La Tierra, una Educacion, y un Fusil. Siempre, un Fusil!  Emiliano Zapata