I posted this response on another string, but found it prudent to inject here also.......
I may not be the sharpest tack in the box, but I kinda believe in my heart that our main mission is to build Marksmen, teach Marksmanship, and get people thinking and rekindle the fire regarding our history / heritage and ignite some flames to get people involved. We are not selling 10/22s......or any other equipment.
I have helped shooters drastically improve their marksmanship skills and shoot rifleman level scores with Model 60s (factory sights), with open sighted bolt guns, with ARs, with high end scoped 22s, with low end scoped 22s, Have even shown non-believers that you can shoot qualification scores with factory sighted 10/22s.
It is about teaching and learning the fundamentals regarding building your position / NPOA / breathing / sight alignment & sight picture / squeezing the trigger / shooting the rifle (where were the sights when the rifle went "bang") / and resetting your trigger and position for the next shot (follow-through).
It is NOT about equipment.
Now, some minor equipment upgrades can make the journey a bit easier, but are not necessary. I am a big fan of just "run-what-you-brung". We need to be able to teach and instruct based on the equipment / rifles people have on hand.
Now, I know that we run into rifles that are filthy and have been neglected. We also run into incorrectly mounted optics, no sling swivels, etc. I have seen some miracles get worked by instructors regarding equipment and that is kind of enlightening......and also a bit entertaining.
My mission is not to shoot a perfect 250, or build riflemen that shoot 235+. My mission is to teach marksmanship to as many as efficiently and as effectively as possible. That goes for teaching at an appleseed event, a 4H club, a family event, youth clinics, conservation office shooting clinics, etc.
You have to be committed to build marksmen and have to be able to teach marksmanship........regardless of the equipment used.
Does a tricked out rifle help one shoot better? I say no. It allows poor marksmanship skills to go uncorrected and does not improve you actual marksmanship ability. Does it make you feel better to shoot a little knot on the slowfire stages from a scoped / tricked out 10/22? It can stroke ones ego. Does it help you clean the sitting stage? Does it help if your NPOA shifts on a reload?
Train your marksmanship skill and not just practice your AQTs. (There is a fundamental difference between training and practice.)
Once you have trained and mastered the fundamentals, then move out and share the wisdom gained. Start to train with the sitting target and shoot it standing, train the rapid fire target for your sitting, train the slow fire target for your rapid stage, and use Morgan's shingle for your slow fire stage.
Look at AAR pictures from any event and you will see shooters in the prone position with their leg cocked and on their toes with the other foot. That non-firing leg must be either turned in or turned out......not on your toe. You will never shoot 97+ during a 300 yard rapid stage or shoot 190+ at 600 yard on your toes. But, you CAN shoot a rifleman score with that uncorrected error in your prone position.
Teach people to shoot the rifles they have in the closet at home, and the one they bring to the range.......Appleseed is NOT about equipment.
Fundamentals start with building your position and NPOA.........then the other steps will follow.
Remember that the rifle is just a tool. The person behind it can also be a tool......or a weapon......the difference is in their level of training.
If you want to spend money on equipment, invest in a rifle that will allow you to cross over into CMP events (Rimfire Sporter, Service Rifle, Vintage, etc). Otherwise, bring what you have available and I (we) will tweak on your equipment and on the shooter. We will build you into a better and more competent marksman!!
Keep in mind, that rifle should never go off and be a surprise. It goes off when I tell it to.......it goes off when my position is solid, my NPOA is solid, my sights are aligned and in the middle of the target (aim small), and I squeeze the trigger. I tell it when to go off, because I am in control of the rifle!
"A Rifleman becomes as knowledgeable of his rifle and gear as he is of his enemy. He grows proficient with the tools provided and is constantly striving to improve. He grasps the knowledge that the path to true perfection has no end, but always, is the most honorable journey." ---- a portion of ---- An Ode to a Rifleman
"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles." —Jeff Cooper, The Art of the Rifle
Hope to see you on the range, and Keep 'em in the middle!!
Have a Great American Day!!
Nebraska State Marksmanship Coordinator & Coach (Army & Air Guard)
All Guard Combat Team Member & Coach