Author Topic: Beginner's Corner: What to Buy (July - August, 2013)  (Read 3011 times)

Offline Nero

  • Retired Shoot Boss
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3364
  • Don't fiddle while your country burns.
Beginner's Corner: What to Buy (July - August, 2013)
« on: July 09, 2013, 03:24:09 PM »
Since you've been to an Appleseed shoot, this article probably isn't for you.  It's for your buddy, the one you want to get to a 'seed and introduce to shooting, but who may feel overwhelmed by the whole thing.  There are questions that instructors hear over and over again from new or potential shooters.  This is the first in an occasional series of articles that will try to anticipate and answer some of those questions.

So, you're thinking about an Appleseed shoot, what should you be looking to get, and where can you get it?

Ear protection

The 'snoring spouse' foam ear plugs from the drugstore will do fine if you're just shooting rimfire.  Get some cheap ear muffs from the local hardware emporium if you're shooting something heavier.  Yes, they are big and clunky, but if you decide that shooting is for you, you can get something nicer later.

Eye protection


Prescription glasses that are shatter-proof should be good enough for use with rimfires.  Non-prescription sunglasss or readers that are not rated for eye protection are not good enough.  If you don't normally wear glasses, some shop-rated eye protection should do you.  Just make sure to get a pair that's adequately ventilated, so you don't steam up.

Shooting mat

You really want something between you and the ground or asphalt.  Your elbows will thank you; we do a lot of work in the prone position.  A chunk of carpet will do, or an old quilt or comforter.  Or anything made of closed cell foam, such as a yoga mat or backpacking pad.  If you're going to be in the open, take the possibility of rain into consideration.  Avoid any mat that is inflated, whether pumped up or self-inflating:  It will make for an unstable shooting position.

You'll see a lot of shooting mats from 'Midway' on the line.  There's a link to Midway below, but here's a tip:  Don't ever buy one of those for less than 50% off - Midway puts them on sale every few months as a 'loss leader'. 

A rifle

Duh!  For the sake of this article, we're going to assume you've arranged a loaner, or already have a rifle to get fitted out.  Some later articles in this series will take a look at common beginner rifles and their pluses and minuses.

Ammo

The ammo shortage appears to be slowly easing, but you're probably still going to be doing some hunting around and paying more than you should for a few more months.  Here are a couple of web sites that will help automate the online hunt:

Gunbot
Ammoseek

The other tactic is to find out when your local gun shop or outdoor store gets their ammo delivery, and be there.  One warning:  If you are firing a semi-automatic 22, ammo that's labeled 'Subsonic' or 'Quiet' or similar will not work reliably.  Also, be aware that 22 'Long' is not the same as 22 'Long Rifle' (LR) - LR is almost certainly what you need.

Finally, if you get into shooting seriously. I would recommend Champion Shooters.  They are serious about target ammo, and sell case-lots of the good stuff.

A sling

You'll get the most out of an Appleseed shoot if you have a sling for your rifle that can form a loop, and a way to mount it on your rifle.  We recommend a 'US GI' or 'M1' sling, because it's cheap and simple.  I'm including several sources, since you may be able to economize on shipping if you are ordering other items from the same place.

* The Appleseed Store.
* Tech-sights, under the Accessories category.  The standard GI sling width is 1 1/4", but Tech-sights has some at 1" width that may fit pre-installed sling loops on some rifles.
* Midway USA
* The CMP.  The cheapest source, but can be slow to ship.  But if you're ordering other stuff anyway...

If you happen to have a '1907' style leather sling - it's got two separate straps - that works fine as well, it's just a little more complex to set up.  Bring it on out.

If your rifle has sling mounts, well and good.  If not, look on the 'net for tips as to how to install some on your rifle.  Or just bring it out to a shoot and we'll fix it up with temporary mounts.  You'll be amazed what we can do with zip ties!

Decent sights for your rifle

This is one place where you might want to put some $ into that rifle before attending a shoot.  Let's put it this way:  In a weekend, we can teach you to shoot better than the out-of-box 'open' iron sights on many 22 rifles are designed to accommodate.  That can get a little frustrating when your improvement is held back by your equipment.  (The Ruger 10/22 'stock' iron sights are the most notorious.)

If you want to improve your sights, you've got two choices:  a scope, or better 'iron' sights.  Let's deal with the latter first.  We suggest the after market sights offered by Tech-sights.  They are fairly easy to install, and are designed following the well-known and proven 'military' sight pattern.  They are available for most common 22 rifles, and a few centerfires as well.  The Appleseed Store also stocks a couple of the most popular models of Tech-sight, if you are trying to combine orders.

If your rifle came without sights, or your eyes are getting to that certain age, you may want to opt for a scope.  Don't break the bank.  For shooting at 25 meters or even 100 yards, a simple 4x scope similar to this will do you just fine.

There are too many combinations of scopes and possible mountings to get into here, but a few words of advice:  Get the lowest rings that will work, which keeps your sight line closer to the rifle stock and makes it easier to get a cheek weld.  (That's another reason for a scope with a modestly sized 'objective lens'.)  Do get a scope that adjusts in repeatable 'clicks' - some very cheap rimfire or air rifle scopes do not.  If you have a choice in mounting to the rifle action, go for a 'Picatinny rail', it makes the scope mounting more repeatable, and less likely to vibrate loose during heavy use.

Go-to places

I've mentioned a few online sources of supply above.  Here are a few reliable online vendors with some comments:

Midway USA.  Just about everything for the shooter.  Runs periodic sales on mats (see above) and other useful beginner items.  Tip:  If the item you want is back ordered, do not trust Midway's estimated arrival date.  Get yourself on the notification e-mail list instead.

Brownell's.  Another online merchant with a wide selection, with more of a slant towards gunsmithing and repair than Midway.

Numrich Gun Parts.  If there's something missing, busted, or needs improved on your rifle, no matter how obsolete or obscure, they've probably got it.

And don't neglect your local gun shop.  Do ask around with fellow shooters as to which places are just pushing iron, and which know what they are doing and will help out a beginner.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License by Tim Oren.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 05:29:24 PM by Nero »

Offline Caliper

  • designated Shoot Boss
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 622
  • Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Re: Beginner's Corner: What to Buy (July - August, 2013)
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2013, 11:03:03 AM »
Ear protection

The 'snoring spouse' foam ear plugs from the drugstore will do fine if you're just shooting rimfire.  Get some cheap ear muffs from the local hardware emporium if you're shooting something heavier.  Yes, they are big and clunky, but if you decide that shooting is for you, you can get something nicer later.

I think this is a bit too generalized.  There are many in-the-ear plugs that equal or beat common over the ear products.  Many of the generic over-the-ear muffs only have a NRR (noise reduction rating) in the mid 20's, which is fine for power tools, but not very good for firearms.  On top of that, these bulky designs often lead to the trigger side muff being pushed out of place by a good cheekweld, resulting in compromised protection on the trigger side ear. 

Personally, I would reccomend a shooter look for something with a NRR or 30 or higher.  These markings can be easily found on the packaging of any ear protection or on the product description at Midway/Brownells.  Pro-Ears and Walker both make muffs that rate a NRR of 33 and 34 respectively and cost under $20 (Pro Ears is even made here in Michigan  ..:.. ). 

There are several brands of in the ear plugs that have a 32 or 33 NRR.  The key to the soft foam plugs is properly inserting them deep into ones ear.  Simply poking the end in your outer ear will not achieve the hearing protection you need!  Roll the plug between your thumb and forefinger until it is squished down to a small diameter before putting them deep in your ears.  For most people, the end of the plug should be nearly flush with the opening to your ear canal.  Sometimes it helps to reach over your head with the opposite hand and pull up on your ear to help straighten the ear canal.  Some people find this type uncomfortable but if you can comfortably wear them they will provide excellent protection that never gets in the way when shooting. 

Offline DaddyFatty

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
  • "Not a pothead, just an overweight Dad."
Re: Beginner's Corner: What to Buy (July - August, 2013)
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2013, 10:07:02 AM »
Link to Gunbot should be gunbot.net not gunbot.com

-DF

Offline Nero

  • Retired Shoot Boss
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3364
  • Don't fiddle while your country burns.
Re: Beginner's Corner: What to Buy (July - August, 2013)
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2013, 11:11:49 AM »
Link to Gunbot should be gunbot.net not gunbot.com

-DF

Thanks for the catch!  :bow:  Fixed.

Offline wingwrench

  • Instructor In Training 1
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 83
Re: Beginner's Corner: What to Buy (July - August, 2013)
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 01:51:29 PM »
Caliper;

  Thank you for mentioning the proper way to insert foam ear plugs. There are normally instructions on the package, many in sketches. Most folks DON'T seem to realize there is a correct way to insert them. Properly inserted into the ear canal makes a HUGE difference to noise reduction. Ask any diligent construction worker or mechanic!

Offline SteelThunder

  • Great Lakes RC
  • Master Instructor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1691
  • All knowing, all powerful, utterly indifferent
Re: Beginner's Corner: What to Buy (July - August, 2013)
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 03:42:47 PM »
Thanks for posting this guys.  I like to send a note to the people attending my shoots about how to prepare.  This is a great guide.
NRA Patron Member, SAF Life Member
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor, RSO
Warlord of the West

Ultima vox civis
"Learning occurs only after repetitive, demoralizing failures." - Pat Rogers
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart." -- Tecumseh

Offline slim

  • Inactive Instructor
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3369
Re: Beginner's Corner: What to Buy (July - August, 2013)
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 12:01:04 PM »
How about a big bold reminder - "Dont worry if you dont have something. You may be able to borrow it from us. Contact your local Appleseed State Coordinator for more information."