Author Topic: My First Appleseed - Debrief  (Read 1180 times)

Offline Meerkat

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My First Appleseed - Debrief
« on: October 28, 2015, 01:09:59 PM »
Prior to the Appleseed Event

I'm a new member of the Sandusky County Sportsman's Club in Gibsonburg, Ohio and I heard about Appleseed from attending a regular business meeting.  I've been shooting handguns for a couple years (I'm new to the sport) and decided to pick up a Ruger 10/22 Takedown to do some plinking and teach my daughter how to shoot something non-threatening and easy to handle.  Two hours at the range with her and I don't think I shot more than a magazine.  She was hooked!  For others purchasing a 10/22 rimfire rifle....stick with Ruger.  Can't beat the reliability!

An Appleseed event in October....I figured it'd be a nice cool fall weather event for us, and would give the family (Amy, Sydney and I) some good exposure to all the stuff I can't teach, didn't know, or the family was unwilling to listen to my words of wisdom about.  Sometimes it's better to hear it from someone else.  I would later find out that the instructors (Blindman, Cadence, Scott, Charley and Little Buddy) knowledge and experience was well worth the price of admission.  Very professional!

Anyway, I was the first to sign up for the event in early September and started acquiring all the things that the FAQ and others had suggested on the Appleseed site.  Let's just say I spent a chunk of change (new guns for the wife and daughter, shooting mats, more ammo, slings, etc).  It was turning out to be an investment.  And I found out - you CAN over-prepare for the event (more on that later).

We had a family meeting Tuesday before the event.  I said, "this is your last chance to bail, I can get some friends to take your spot if you don't want to do it"....they said they were in.  I said the website says it's going to last from 8:30am - 3:30pm, so it's going to be a full day.  I said you can scream and yell at me for the 30 minute drive to the range, to get it out of your system, but after complaining about anything!  (Yes, they broke their promise - it didn't last long!)

Now, our family isn't into history.  Period.  I couldn't tell you who fired the first shot, or even what types of weapons the regulars were using.  Well, I can now, but still It's just not our cup of tea.  My memory just isn't that good when it comes to people's names, dates, etc.  Now this doesn't mean I don't care, I'll fight to defend our way of life in this country and I support all our troops no matter the circumstances that take them into harm's way.  I'm a patriot - through and through!  Our fore-father's weren't stupid - they structured the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in favor of the people and limited government intervention (too bad most of the uneducated voters in America don't understand this - it's pretty troubling)....but I digress.  Starting to get political and off track.

Friday night I packed up everything, double checked the list and ready to go!  I'm so excited I literally can't sleep!

Up bright and early at 6:45am and headed to the range at 7:45am.

Introduction and safety briefing took about 30 minutes.  Participants were stating this was their 2nd, 3rd, even 9th Appleseed event.  What!  Really?  What could be so great about this experience?  I thought about this for a while, but it finally made sense on Sunday afternoon.
Anyway, we began setting up in the changing weather....drizzle, wind, etc. (Sydney and Amy already complaining).  It was about 55 degrees or so with on and off rain...I brought tarps, popup tent, etc. but the instruction kept moving forward - while attempting to set all that up.  One thing I can say about the event...It was a fast paced.  There's no time to sit around, chat with your friend about your last grouping of shots, etc.  It's go, go, go!

We started with a Red Coat target and I started with un-sighted scope.  I was so busy in the weeks prior, I had no time to hit the range and sight in any of our guns.  Well, out of 13 shots, let's just say I missed the Red Coat paper entirely!  Yikes!  Cadence and Little Buddy worked with me and we got it on paper and some pretty good groupings.  I was at the point where I was calling my shots.  Which is exactly what you want.

Amy's scope was off, and Cadence was working with her and even shooting it to figure it out.  Amy's problem was with cheek weld, scope too far back, not zeroed, etc.  They got it close, but she still used Kentucky windage for that first day - I think that kinda bummed her out and she was getting discouraged.  The event is just so fast paced that there's no time to start with the basics and get everybody on the same page.  You've got kids, new shooters, and rifleman at this event.  So participants run the gamut.  Lesson learned - sight in your rifle at 25 yards, with a sled, and at approximately the same temperature (more on this later) as when the event will be held even before you show up.

Sydney's scope was pretty close and she was shooting 2-3 inch groups at a "man-sized" target at a simulated 100 yards.  Oh boy, I'm 12 year old daughter is going to walk out of here with a Rifleman patch!  Lesson learned - be humble.  There are servicemen and women in today's military that can't achieve what an Appleseed shoot is going to teach you.  So if you think you know it don't!  I figured we will dial her in and get her shooting through holes in a matter of no time.  So I just let her be and let her have some fun and figure out her new rifle.

The biggest change for all of us was the sling.  I purchased the Appleseed sling for each of us and glad I did.  There is no way, I repeat, no way you can participate in an Appleseed shoot - or frankly any other shoot - without this sling.  It makes a world of difference.  The instructors showed us how to use it for prone, seated and standing position.  Once you practice with this, I highly recommend you make marks on your sling for each of these positions.  It will save you time, you'll become a more consistent shooter and keeping that buckle from digging into your hand!

By lunch time, you've learned how to attach and use your sling from standing, seated, kneeling and prone positions.  You've also fired at a couple of Red Coats, a couple of Grid Squares, and a few AQT targets - and even run the AQT timed drill a couple times.  All learning new positions, breathing techniques, and using muscles most don't use every day.  We've also learned about sight picture, alignment, etc.

Saturday we also learned about MOA and what it meant, calculating it, etc.  For a newbie, there's a little math involved, but the usefulness would be evident the next morning while fixing Amy's scope.

After lunch and a couple 30-45 history lessons sprinkled in the AM, lunch and PM schedule, it's more shooting.  Although Saturday is more about getting your technique down - so if you miss a day, don't miss Saturday!  Saturday before we left, we were told to clean our guns, relax and take a bath and have an adult beverage!  We shoved all the wet gear in the car and headed for home about 5:30pm.  Of course, I had to endure an earful about how Amy and Sydney's entire weekend was gone, we didn't leave at 3:30 like I said, etc, etc, etc.  I chalked it up to them being just tired and hungry.  Lesson learned - if you're bringing friends or family, they may not be mature enough for an event such as this!

I got home and had the unfortunate distinction of cleaning all 3 Ruger 10/22 rifles.  I always seem to get stuck with that job.  It's my favorite thing to do....NOT!  Not much lead, etc. I could tell we didn't do that much shooting.  Maybe 100-150 rounds per person.  Not much at all - I forgot to count now many 50 round boxes of 22 we went through.  I did work with Amy to re-mount her scope in a comfortable position and said we should have a few minutes to sight it in from scratch at the 75 yard range the next morning.  I also laid everything else out to dry in the garage and it was dry by 6:45am the next morning when I repacked everything for Sunday's events.

A note on over preparing.  Bring just the essentials.  Having all the popup tents, tarps, etc. was a hassle.  The wind would blow this stuff around, I'd have to worry about the wind taking the tent away, etc.  It wasn't worth it.  Just bring a mat, rain gear, and your normal gun stuff.  Leave all the other comfort items at home - it'll be easier to focus!

End result for me on the AQT was about a 129 for the day (at least from what I calculated).  I've got a lot of work to do on Sunday to get that patch.  I did learn that the last row is where to make up the points, but you've still got to make the other stages count - they're not throw-a-ways.

We arrived again about 8:15am.  I asked Blindman for a few grid-square targets, grabbed Amy and Sydney and headed to the 75 yard range to sight in her scope after the adjustments we made last night at home.  Well, I had her fire 3 shots at the center 1" square and had to move her up 43 clicks and down 16 clicks.  Had her fire at the center square again....all dead on.  Then picked a top square just to verify and we were good to go.  Entire process took about 5 minutes.  Thank God we learned the proper way to calculate MOA and get her sighted in.  She should have a lot more fun today.

Today, we were also told to bring our Centerfire rifles.  I brought the AR-15 with a Red Dot sight on it.  Doh!  I forgot the rear sight.  I took a couple shots with it and knew this would be a tough go of it today with the AR, and I didn't want to take the scope off the 10/22 and use that because I had it dialed in - at least I thought.

We started about 45 minutes late today.  More stories today (which I would get the occasional glare from both Amy and Sydney), but the history was starting to make sense now.  I could see how the Revolutionary War really could be an interesting topic and hobby for people to learn about.  Still not my cup of tea, but it was interesting to hear the stories.

Today, we practically did non-stop shooting.  A Red Coat, Grid Square and Lots and Lots of AQT's!  Which is fine by me.  That's the fun part.  Sydney sat out of a couple of AQT's later in the day and I put up a couple balloons for her to shoot also - just to make it a little more fun.  I could see she was getting tired.  My score on the AQT's was falling throughout the day - from a 145 down to a 130 or so.  I just couldn't figure it out.  I wasn't dragging the trigger, etc.  Remember that temperature comment I made on Saturday?  Well today was at least 20 degrees colder all day.  I started today pretty well, I thought.  But after an hour or so my shots were get going higher than where I was aiming.  I would finally figure this out after lunch when we talked about windage and Blindman said MOA also changes with temperature!  Oh, man!  That's why I was getting worse as the day heated up.  I was having problem hitting the shingle, and that bottom row.

The club has a 500 yard range here - so everybody headed down to the range with their Centerfire or M1 gear and gave it a shot at the full size targets.  This was a little chaotic.  Cadence was spotting and we had literally 8 shooters at a time - so it was tough to tell who was hitting steel.  I kinda wish everybody got a chance to give this a shot one at a time - even the kids - just to experience an M1 or sighted-in 223 rifle, etc.  I knew my AR wasn't sighted-in correctly so I didn't even get it out of the case.  I was offered the opportunity to shoot the M1-Garand by Little Buddy and Charlie.  Thanks for that - it was a treat.  But I missed all 4 shots and didn't want to go through any more of their ammo, so I handed it back to them.  I just couldn't keep that scope stable.  I'm was anticipating the shot and recoil - I've got to work on that!

Next was some shooting at pumpkins back at the 25 yard range, which was fun for the kids, until they were demolished by the guys shooting the 30-06 rounds.  So that kinda stunk.  Would have been neat to have everybody bring a pumpkin on Sunday, black out the eyes and mouth with marker and see who has the best carving skills from 25 yards out with a 22 round.  That'll keep you focused instead of shooting at paper all day.  I always think reactive targets, like clays, small balloons, etc. are more fun for kids than paper.  Ok, even for me also.  :)

We wrapped up the day with another story by Blindman and a plea (rightly so) to get involved.  But not just get involved with your government and vote, but to become educated and get involved with local groups, Boy Scouts, friends, family, etc.  Just be a responsible, active, educated citizen.  I think he was preaching to the choir, but still, all relevant - especially now-a-days.  Too many uneducated voters and citizens out there screwing it up for everybody else.  Again, I digress.

Cadence also loaded and shot (and let others shoot) a musket which was neat after the official Appleseed event ended.  Amazing at how tough those are to shoot accurately.

All in all - the event is a MUST ATTEND by EVERYBODY that owns a rifle.  If history isn't your thing, I understand.  But the skills and experiences that are taught and shared in just 12-14 hours are priceless.  They truly are.  I now know why people attended this year after year!

Thanks to all involved!  I had a great time!

You've got an attendee for next year at least……gotta get that patch!  :)

Offline DrRichP

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Re: My First Appleseed - Debrief
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2015, 01:35:20 PM »

Thank you for writing this debrief and posting it here. Reports like this are exactly why I get out and work Appleseed events and am so dedicated to this mission.

We look forward to seeing you, Amy, and Sydney back at another Appleseed.


"You never know how far reaching something you think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow" - B.J. Palmer
   Think about that as you go to work the next Appleseed!

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."-Benjamin Franklin

"What makes an insurrection here always more formidable than in other places is that there is a law of this province wh[ich] obligates every inhabitant to be furnished with a firelock, bayonet, and pretty considerable quantity of ammunition."  - Gen. Lord Hugh Percy

Offline colonial shooter

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Re: My First Appleseed - Debrief
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2015, 02:07:04 PM »
Nice report I will have to link this and let others read it. Thanks for doing this.
"When the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny." --Thomas Jefferson

Only the dead have seen the end of war

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

Offline Meerkat

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Re: My First Appleseed - Debrief
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2015, 02:24:14 PM »
I threw a couple of pictures in the action report area also for this event. 

I wish I would have taken more  :slap:  way too much shooting  :~  (is that a bad thing?)

Thanks all for those that directly and indirectly help run the Appleseed program!

Offline Corvette

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Re: My First Appleseed - Debrief
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 07:52:50 PM »
Let me echo Dr Rich P, great after action report. To Blindman, Cadence, little Buddy, Charley and everyone else involved, great job. Sounds like a special shoot.

And, Meercat, once you get that patch, we would love to see you step up and take an Orange Hat and start working toward becoming an Instructor. We would love to have you and your family join the team.

Be bold, brave and forthright and the bold, the brave and the forthright will gather around you!