Author Topic: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"  (Read 1685 times)

Online Catch-10-22

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"How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« on: November 26, 2018, 04:27:29 PM »
How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?
Catch-10-22 – 23 November 2018

We often say that Appleseed is not an equipment race, unlike many forms of competitive shooting. Appleseed teaches that a Rifleman should be able to shoot 4 MOA with a stock rifle and ammunition, using only a sling. That said, we also do not restrict options for shooters like some competitions (such as CMP Rimfire Sporter) do to even the playing field. “You run what you brung” is a motto we embrace – we want Rifleman to be proficient with the rifles they own.

At 25 meters, a Rifleman should be able to place all his rounds in a 1-inch square, equivalent to 4 minutes of angle (4 MOA). Since 20 inches represents the width of a man size object, being able to shoot 4 MOA means that a Rifleman can control everything within 500 meters – this is called the Rifleman’s quarter mile.

Many rifles out-of-the-box in an appropriate caliber these days can achieve that result. This means that there are very affordable options for Appleseed rifles that will score Expert.

Affordable Rifles
Since many (but not all) Appleseed shoots take place at 25 meters, a 22LR rifle is a very affordable option in terms of a rifle, ammunition, and sights. While a 22LR isn’t likely to control the Rifleman’s quarter mile, using scaled targets at 25 meters and providing supplemental instruction helps the Rifleman acquire all the skills required to shoot at that distance. And since some Appleseed shoots are 22LR only, this is the most affordable place to start if you can only afford one gun.

Many semi-automatic, detachable magazine-fed 22LR rifles can be bought for under $200: the Marlin 795, Mossberg 702, Savage 64, Rossi RS22, and the Remington 597. Marlin 795s are often used at Appleseed events by students and instructors because they are affordable, accurate, and reliable. Ruger 10/22s are also very popular start at under $250. While tube-fed, lever action, and bolt action rimfire rifles can also be very affordable, they are a bit more complex to run at our events.

Once you choose a rifle, it will run best at Appleseed with 2-4 magazines, aperture sights or a scope, and a GI sling mounted to the rifle.

An Affordable Rifleman’s Rifle: Marlin 795 with sling, scope, and 3 magazines

10-round magazines for these rifles range from $10-15 each and having at least 4 is a good idea – a semiautomatic rifle is a single shot without a reliable magazine (sometimes worse than that, it may not work at all). There is also a course of fire we sometimes teach where 4 10-round magazines are required. Larger capacity magazines won’t make much difference at Appleseed, which is highly convenient for Maryland and other states with magazine restrictions.

Marlin 795 magazines are relatively robust but watch for damage to the feed lips; it is good to mark your magazines so you know which one to replace if it starts to fail

Sighting Systems
While it is relatively easy to select a reliable rifle, there are unfortunately not many rifles out-of-the-box that come with a reliable and precisely adjustable sighting system.

We teach students how to use open sights but we find that aperture sights and scopes are far more precise sighting systems. Some open sights can only be adjusted through drifting the sights in a dovetail with a hammer – I dare you to try making repeatable MOA-sized adjustments! A recent Marlin 795 I bought had a rear sight that was machined into the barrel so crooked as to be unusable.

The Marlin is very accurate despite this poorly machined and installed rear sight

If you prefer iron sights, aftermarket aperture sights, such as Tech Sights ($60-80), are highly reliable and precise (adjustable in ½ to 1 MOA increments) and compatible with a wide variety of different rimfire rifles. They are not the only option for aperture sights but tend to be the most common.

Some shooters prefer using a scope rather than iron sights – they may have problems seeing a 4 MOA target at even 25 meters while maintaining sight alignment. Luckily, shooting rimfire at 25 meters doesn’t require a high-end, high-power scope: a fixed 4X or variable 3-9X is more than sufficient. In fact, anything more than 5X is overkill at 25 meters and will only emphasize your natural wobble. Several instructors use the Simmons .22 Mag series on their loaners and personal rifles, which runs at only $30-40.

The Simmons 22 Mag line of optics are affordable and sufficient for 25 meters

A mount that ensures sufficient eye relief and decent rings are more important to the accuracy and reliability of your sighting system – we see more problems with mounts and rings that come lose (Loctite is your friend) than broken scopes on rimfires. While 10/22s come with Weaver scope mounts, many times we find students struggling with eye relief when shooting in the prone and seated positions. An extended scope mount ($25-45) provides more flexibility for mounting the scope sufficiently forward.

This one-piece dovetail scope mount has built-in rings and allowed for the scope to be mounted further forward

The exception to the cheap scope rule would be a Known Distance rimfire event where you are not only shooting further (200 meters) but where the amount of adjustment required to compensate for bullet drop can challenge the mechanics of a low cost scope in terms of tracking and reliability toward the edges of its adjustment range.

A higher end optic, such as the excellent Clearidge Ultra RM 3-9X32 AO, and an elevated extended base can easily get you reliably to 200 yards with 22LR

Slings and Mounts
Appleseed teaches the use of a GI-style sling. A 1.25” cotton or nylon GI sling should cost $13-16. I prefer cotton because it is a bit stiffer and doesn’t slide down my arm as much, but to each their own.

Mounting the sling to the rifle ranges from simple to painful. Some rifles, such as the Marlin 795 and some Ruger 10/22s have built-in sling mount holes or studs to which sling swivels can be attached. We suggest 1.25” detachable sling swivels as that GI sling width is more common and provides more support (although Tech Sights makes a 1” GI-style sling). If your rifle doesn’t have studs or mounts, you can use a variety of expedient (zipties, leather and fabric straps, wire adapters, barrel band adapters – normally $10-15) and permanent solutions (a pair of screw-in studs are typically about $10).

The Marlin 795 has simple sling mounts molded into the stock

Finally, there are a range of rifle upgrades that can make it easier and faster to run your gun. These are really a set of nice-to-have enhancements and this is also where the dollars really start to add-up.

  • Automatic Bolt Releases: A common and highly recommended upgrade for 10/22s ($15-20), but we teach you to work around it and several inexpensive rimfires (Marlin 795) have one standard. I won’t own a 10/22 without one.
  • Extended Magazine Releases: Pretty common for 10/22s, although the newer models have built in extended levers which are much improved over the past button and small lever. We have also experienced issues whereby some extended levers interfere with the bolt lock and release. As we clear rifles by locking the bolt back, this can create delays on the line or frustrate a shooter.
  • Enlarged Charging Handles: Less common and there are techniques we teach that minimize the value of the upgrade. Similar to the extended magazine levers, these can also introduce reliability issues if not properly fitted.
  • Enhanced Triggers: Range from the excellent and inexpensive 10/22 BX trigger ($50-70) to very expensive replacement trigger packs that can run from $200-300. Enhanced triggers are not necessary to shoot 4 MOA, even if the trigger is heavier than you prefer.

This Ruger 10/22 has a BX trigger with extended magazine release, auto bolt release, and an enlarged charging handle

  • Flash Hiders: You will see these on some loaner Appleseed rifles and they typically run about $10. They aren’t there just to look cool and we certainly aren’t worried about giving away our position to those pesky paper Red Coats! We use them to protect the muzzle crown from new shooters scratching them on the ground when making rifles safe or transitions between positions. Scratches to the crown can cause 2 or more MOA of dispersion and we want loaners that are capable of expert scores. They not necessary for most shooters who will take good care of their own equipment.

A $9 slip-on flash hider will protect the crown of the rifle from abuse

  • Enhanced Barrels: Like enhanced triggers, these can range from $100 bull target barrels to exotic options costing upwards of $400. One thing to be aware of is that some match barrels with tight chambers will not eject an unfired round. This can make the rifle slower to operate in some circumstances during an Appleseed event.

A match barrel may not always eject unfired rounds; this can slow you down if you have a misfire or feed issue

  • Replacement Stocks: The fit of your rifle to your body certainly matters and if there is a stock that provides a better fit, more adjustability, or whatever other advantage you want, go for it. For most shooters, a replacement stock is not necessary – there are expedient ways to inexpensively adjust your cheek weld interface with your rifle, length of pull, scope eye relief, etc. without an expensive replacement stock (which range from $80-200). It becomes a necessity for smaller stature and very young shooters for which adult stocks are way too long to use securely. If you struggle with the fit of your rifle stock at an Appleseed, instructors will work with you and recommend options to help you find the perfect solution.

Example Budget Build
If you were looking to buy an affordable Rifleman’s rifle, here is a suggested build (I recently built two rifles as loaners using these same parts):

  • Marlin 795 with one 10-round magazine: $142
  • 3 additional 10-round magazines: $33
  • USGI 1.25” cotton sling and pair of quick detach sling swivels (from the Appleseed store): $20
  • Simmons 22 Mag 4X scope: $30
  • One-piece dovetail scope mount (includes rings): $16
  • 10/22 slip-n short muzzle brake (fits Marlin 795s as well): $9 (optional)
  • Total: $250

This $250 rifle will get the job done

The Marlin 795 has a couple of cost advantages on the lowest cost 10/22s apart from the obvious ~$80 initial price difference – the stock has sling mounts built into it (saving $10 on most, but not all entry level 10/22s), it has an automatic bolt release (saving $15), and it uses dovetail mounts which tend to be cheaper than 10/22 rails, mainly because they cross over with air rifles and have built-in rings (saving $50).

Finally, they are relatively lightweight – this rifle, as built with sling and unloaded magazine, weighs 1 pound, 4 ounces less than a similarly equipped standard barrel Ruger 10/22.

The Marlin’s weight advantage could be helpful for smaller shooters

But Will it Score?
I decided to put it to the test at a recent Appleseed. Having only roughly zeroed the rifle and then hopping behind it for the first time that weekend when a student sat out an AQT, this rifle scored a 225, more than enough to qualify a Rifleman. And that was with me experiencing operator error shenanigans from using the rifle for the first time in a timed setting (I am a 10/22 guy). On the all-important bottom row of the AQT (where scores are doubled) – the real test of a rifle’s accuracy if the shooter knows what they are about – the rifle only dropped 3 base points and was grouping at around 2 MOA.

The Marlin 795 will get the job done if the shooter does his or hers!

Why Do People Spend More?
All this is not to say that upgrades and more expensive rifles aren’t valuable. If you want to own a really nice rifle and have the money, you can buy a high-end rifle, upgrade an off-the-shelf rifle till hardly any original parts are left, or even build your own using only the best components – I have certainly done all three!

You will see $1000 and even $2000 rifle and optics combinations on the line at a rimfire Appleseed – and the Rifleman running those guns tend to put up some amazing scores. The reason many people buy 10/22s and AR-15s is the abundance of aftermarket upgrades as you progress as a shooter or wish to adapt to other shooting activities.

The Ruger 10/22 is far more customizable than the under-$200 rimfire rifles…as long as affordability is no longer your goal; these two rifles exhibit every “nice-to-have” upgrade described above

Appleseed events are not just rimfire shoots – there are plenty of centerfire events as well in Maryland and nationwide every year where folks run everything from M1 Garands and M1As to tricked out AR15s and AKs. Controlling the Rifleman’s quarter mile requires a centerfire rifle and they will be more expensive to buy, upgrade, and feed than an affordable rimfire rifle.

Appleseed is not just about rimfires – these Rifleman from a recent Maryland centerfire KD event know very much what they are about

But building proficiency, confidence, and skills with a more affordable rimfire can help you save money for a better centerfire rifle when the time comes. And it will teach you a lot about what you want in that rifle, rather than what others say you will want!

Conclusion: Rifleman are Made, Not Bought
It is not cheating to take variables to shooting precisely and accurately out of the equation – once you have taken poor shooting habits out of that equation as well. A Rifleman should be able to achieve Expert with any well-worn loaner with a sling and a decent set of sights. A shooter without those skills will make a $2000 rifle pattern like a shotgun, cursing the manufacturer and their instruction to anyone who will listen.

This post doesn’t discuss ammunition choices which can also impact rifle accuracy and reliability – let’s just say that every rifle, rimfire or centerfire, can have its own ammunition preferences.

Improved results won’t come from a more expensive rifle or using the money you saved buying an affordable rifle for mountains of ammo to practice with (a common meme in gun forums) – it will come from “thousands of rounds” of dry fire practice to lock in good habits BEFORE you shoot.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 12:22:14 PM by Roswell »

Offline Ramblin' Wreck

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Re: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2019, 08:24:01 PM »
Excellent piece. Well done!
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Online Catch-10-22

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Re: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2019, 09:39:58 PM »
Thanks!  :beer:

Offline Charles McKinley

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Re: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2019, 10:05:51 PM »
Great write up that answers a question that is asked a lot.

Scuzzy please get this thread a STICKY.  In you copious amounts a free time. **) **) **)
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Offline G3yost

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Re: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2019, 03:27:40 AM »
I have done two Appleseed weekends, the first with only my AR and a red dot with less than 100 rounds of rifle before attending, and the second was split between my M1 & the same AR with Magpul Irons.

I have yet to make rifleman and I believe that had I used my red dot at the more recent of the two I would have made it. Gear does matter, but not nearly as much as the shooter.

Interesting info here, thanks.

Online Monkey

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Re: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2019, 09:40:28 AM »
While I often giggle a little when I see acts of thread necromancy, I admit that this one is worth a bump.

As always, a well written article from Catch 10/22.

Fair Warning:  I may "reallocate" the words and the pictures for a future social media

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Offline Mrs. Smith

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Re: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2019, 12:28:07 PM »
While I often giggle a little when I see acts of thread necromancy, I admit that this one is worth a bump.

As always, a well written article from Catch 10/22.

Fair Warning:  I may "reallocate" the words and the pictures for a future social media

Excellent notion, Monkey! Looking forward to it  ^-^
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Re: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2019, 12:53:35 PM »
Good article Jim!

To the subject?  How much does a patch cost?

Wow....well, I could absolutely come up with a return of investment estimate, but that is $.

I would say to the topic, which is gear centric, what it costs is more along the lines of time than money.

What it costs is that the competitor (it is a competition, albeit it a competition with oneself), has:

A rifle/ammo combo that can shoot at least 4MOA
A rifle that is reliable

An OPEN and Willing mind.

That is truly likely the only thing aside from gear that one really needs to earn a Rifleman patch

It also requires superb instruction, because that competitor that has an open and willing mind, will do exactly what he/she is instructed to do. reality, assuming gear is not an issue, it really costs personal time and superb instruction.

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Online Catch-10-22

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Re: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2019, 02:28:10 PM »
While I often giggle a little when I see acts of thread necromancy, I admit that this one is worth a bump.

As always, a well written article from Catch 10/22.

Fair Warning:  I may "reallocate" the words and the pictures for a future social media

Please re-use as desired - figured it would be a useful thing to have for new shooters/Appleseeders.

Same goes for any other write-ups I have done, i.e., the AAR of the Ramseur Instructor KD event and other reviews I have written on MDShooters:

Plan to write a combined review of the CZ455 Training Rifle and the 200-yard rimfire event soon-ish as well.

Offline T. WOLF

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Re: "How Much Does a Rifleman Patch Cost?"
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2019, 09:42:09 PM »
This is great - will be helpful to point new shooters to this thread if they are frustrated with their equipment.
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