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"A few things that recently came together in my head"

Started by Newsletter, August 30, 2023, 01:27:58 PM

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From the Archives: "A few things that recently came together in my head" By Old Dog

I just spent 3 days at the Ramseur RBC [Editor's Note: RBC is a Rifleman's Boot Camp. These are comprehensive, week-long program that builds on the skills acquired at previous Appleseeds and Known-Distance Appleseeds. The Rifleman's Boot Camp (RBC) puts you on the fast track to becoming a Rifleman - or an Appleseed instructor. The training consists of classroom instruction, range-safety instruction, and marksmanship from varied distances. You'll learn the basics of shooting at 25 yards, and how those same principles translate to shots of 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards away.] (great bunch of new instructors I think, based on the interest they showed in learning and the perseverance to be on the line learning in spite of the hours and the weather.

Being an instructor will make you a better person and a better shooter as long as you are doing what you ask of the students - keeping an open mind.  There are things you "know" but you don't realize others can benefit from the knowledge.

Anyway, here are some things that have been said before but perhaps can benefit some of the new folks by being said again:

1.  Do your best to "break" a new rifle in with the ammo you intend to shoot in it prior to coming to any type of shooting event.  Otherwise, you take a chance of the rifle letting you down when you need it.  The recommendation (for defensive handguns anyway) is at least 200 rounds.  Better to have issues before you are depending on the rifle.

2.  If you have attachments screwed/bolted to your rifle (rails, sights, scope mounts, etc.) buy yourself a tube of Loctite (the blue type you can buy at Walmart).  Remove those screws/bolts that attach those smaller pieces to the main part of the rifle/barrel and degrease the threads and the holes they screw into and put a drop of Loctite on the threads before reinstalling them to hold the small parts to the rifle.  Otherwise, you take the chance of the small piece falling off the rifle (just coming loose can ruin your day, let alone falling completely off) during a time when you don't need such distractions.

3.  The GI web sling is a great (and necessary part of your rifle).  You should make sure it's in good shape.  You should find the settings that are best for you (some folks require adjustment to get the right amount of snugness when changing between standing, sitting and prone) and mark the sling with a magic marker/sharpie to take the guesswork and extra time out of getting the right adjustment.  Also, remember that winter and summer means different amount of clothes and therefore different sling settings.  Two slings (one for warm weather and one for cold??)  Save yourself a tender thumb tip by using the tail of the sling that hangs out of the clasp to open the clasp - just grab it and pull towards the front of the rifle and clasp opens up.  Beats the heck out of wearing the skin on your thumb tip off.  Oh, a GI web sling is much easier for a newbie to learn to use than a leather sling.  Also, if you want to make using a loop sling less of an aggravation buy an extra snap like the one down on the butt stock end and put it in the loop on the front end of the web sling.  Then you can just remove it from the swivel on the forend of the rifle and leave the sling on your arm rather than fighting the sling off and on at every cease fire.

4.  If you've mounted a scope on your rifle cheek weld is just as important as when using iron sights.  Therefore, you need some type of built-up pad or attachment on your stock in order to get your cheek in the same spot every time, so your EYE is in the same SPOT every time behind that nice scope.  If you can't get your eye in the same spot every time the bullet goes somewhere else every time.

5.  Just as you should make sure your rifle is going to work with your ammo, run the ammo through all the magazines you intend to use.  Again, no use waiting till you in the middle of a stage of fire to find out one (hopefully only one) of your new magazines is defective.

6.  You've heard it over and over but if you don't start practicing getting into, and out of, the sitting and prone sling supported position prior to going to an Appleseed or RBC you are cheating yourself of some of what you can get from that experience.  The more tired you are, the more uncomfortable you are, the more pain you feel, the harder it is for you to be attentive to and understand the information coming from the instructors.  Your learning experience is costing you money in gas, food, lodging, ammo and your time.  Don't cheat yourself.

7.  If you've found this forum on the internet then you have a computer.  Surf for online manuals for your rifle.  There are many sources of online manuals (some in PDF format that you can save to your computer and print so you can take them with you if you want) for just about every rifle out there.  M1's, M1 carbines, AR rifles, M1A/M14's, AK type rifles, SKS's, 10/22's, Enfields, Springfields, HK's, FAL's, etc., etc.  Better to be familiar with your rifle and its parts before you have problems with it than to be "lost" when something does go wrong.  To me a rifle is a tool.  It's a tool I depend on.  Know/learn what the malfunction drills are for your rifle and what a good set of spare parts are for it and buy them and learn how to replace them.  You've got the online manuals and the "old timers" here to help you figure things out if you have problems and need some advice.

8.  Make sure the "shooting" clothes you wear to the Appleseed/RBC are appropriate for both the weather and for your activities.  No use wearing clothes that you're worried about getting dirty or scuffed up.  No use wearing clothes that keep you from getting all scrunched up into a good sitting position or stretched out into a good prone position.

9.  Some people wonder about the recommendations to learn to shoot without a bipod on your rifle.  Well, I have a bipod on my M1A (I can take it off when I need to).  Let me tell you why a bipod is not the best way to shoot a high score on an AQT (from my experience - yours may be different).  A bipod can change your zero from the standing/sitting stages to the prone stages - are you aware of how much and willing to compensate for it?  A bipod bounces, yes bounces, each time the rifle fires.  You had your NPOA, until the bipod bounces off the concrete of the firing line and the front end of the rifle isn't where it was.  Yes, you can try to hold down on the front of the rifle, but even a small change is still a change (maybe your rifle doesn't bounce, mine does).  If you go to Ramseur and get the opportunity to shoot pop ups have you practiced moving?  Yes, moving.  You're not shooting at a single piece of paper; you're shooting at a series of targets that are strung in a pattern that requires you to make quick (and sure) horizontal and vertical adjustments to get the sights on those pop ups.  If you don't believe me, try it at twenty-five meters by shooting at the AQT targets.  See how many bullets you can put in those 200-, 300-, and 400-yard targets (that's the sitting, prone rapid fire and prone slow fire targets) in one minute.  Start on the 200-yard simulated targets and work your way down to the last 400-yard target and then start again at the first 200-yard target.  Have a timer or a buddy time you and see how you do.  Of course, a lower recoiling rifle (like an AR) might not bounce like my M1A.

I'm sure the more experienced folks here can think of many more.  Hopefully most of us can benefit from the experiences of others and we'll all improve.  No matter how old we get or how much experience we have we should be open to learning from others, otherwise you're cheating yourself of the chance to improve.

Editor's Note: I will add # 10. Always come to Appleseed with an open mind. Whether it is your first event or your 100th, please come with an open mind and a teachable attitude. I know I personally, learn something every single time I come to one of our events.

Edited by Roswell