Project Appleseed: My Daughter’s First Shoot

Project Appleseed Rifle Training

By Jay Mundy

“Dad, do we have to go?” Samantha, my then 13-year-old daughter asked.

“Yes.” In Sam’s defense, I’d gotten her up at 5. On a Saturday at that, to drive to Black Creek range outside of Richmond, Virginia for a Project Appleseed shoot.

It was December 3, 2016. The drive started about 6am and we got there about 8, signed in, dragged a box of stuff to the shooting line, set up a couple of pieces of carpet for shooting mats, and waited and talked with friends who we were meeting there. About 8:30 the instructors called everyone together.

“Circle up! And welcome to Appleseed….” They introduced themselves, went through the safety briefing and a brief outline of what was to happen that day, and posed four questions: When and where did the Revolutionary War begin? Who fired the first shot at Lexington Green? When and where was the American Revolution won? Why did the British regulars break and run after less than two minutes of fighting at the North Bridge?

We started by shooting a Redcoat target. Thirteen rounds for thirteen colonies. Three each in silhouette scaled for 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards and one for Morgan’s Shingle, scaled for 6 inches by 9 inches at 250 yards. Sam had about half the rounds on the paper. Not bad for her first time ever shooting a rifle, or any sort of firearm for that matter.

Then the instruction started. Prone position and steady hold factors. How to use the sling. Sight alignment, sight picture, breathing and respiratory pause, trigger control, and follow through. Shot groups formed and started to shrink. We paused for lunch and the story of the first strike of the match, of Paul Revere’s ride and the British Army’s march on Lexington, the battle of Lexington Green and the deaths of the colonists at the hands of the British Regulars, shot in the back and bayoneted where they fell.

Project Appleseed Qualification Target Rifle

Back to shooting. Sitting position and transition from standing to sitting, transition to prone. Standing. The we got to the AQT, the Appleseed Qualification Test, which is pretty much the pre-World War II Army qualification test. We shot a couple AQTs and then the final Redcoat of the day. Sam had all her rounds on paper and three rounds each in the 100 and 200 yard targets. Vast improvement.

“We don’t have to come back tomorrow,” I told her as we got into the car to drive to the hotel for the night.

“Oh yes we do!” Mission accomplished.

Sunday, after a good breakfast at the hotel, we went back to the range for more. The second day was different… a few less people, some had dropped out due to other commitments, but the folks who returned were more focused.

The instruction began with a review of the safety rules, and then one of the instructors told the story of the second strike of the match, wherein the British army marched on Concord to search for military supplies. When the militia, mustered on a hill just outside of the town, thought the British army was burning Concord town, Isaac Davis, Captain of the Acton minutemen told Colonel Barrett: “I have not a man among us afraid to go.”

Then it was to the firing line for dry fire practice until lunch. No shooting on Sunday until 1pm, but the time didn’t go to waste.

Shooting began on the strike of one o’clock with another Redcoat target. Then AQTs.

After a couple AQTs we paused for an ‘around the clock drill’ where we shot at a target with 5 squares on it, the point being to shift natural point of aim, rather than muscle the rifle around. Then more AQTs, and at the end of the afternoon, one more Redcoat. Then we circled up to hear the tally.

Saturday morning, out of 27 shooters, ten had all three rounds on the 100-yard target, three on the 200-yard target, one on the 300-yard target, one on the 400-yard target and three on Morgan’s shingle. Sunday afternoon, it was four, four, four, six, and eleven respectively, and three shooters cleaned the Redcoat (all 13 rounds on target) Sunday afternoon as opposed to none Saturday morning.

One year later, December 3rd, 2017, and three other Appleseed events in between, Samantha shot a 224 (out of 250) and earned her Rifleman patch (which requires a score of 210 or better). She cleaned three of the four Redcoat targets that weekend.

Last weekend, the weekend after July 4th, Samantha worked as an instructor in training at the Appleseed outside of Charlottesville. She’s a bit more than halfway through the rather extensive instructor checkout. Sam told the story of the third strike of the match, where the British retreat to Boston was ringed with a ‘moving circle of fire.’

After the students had all left and just us instructors remained, I brought out the CMP M-1 Garand I’d received on July 5th. A very fitting day to have it delivered, we all agreed.

After a couple of rounds to roughly sight in the rifle it was time to share with the other instructors. Our senior instructor had a go and got up smiling. So did the shoot boss. Then Samantha took her turn. BOOM! Big, BIG grin. BOOM! ting! from the clip.

“I gotta get one of these, Dad.” Two rounds out of two in the three-hundred-yard target.

comments

  1. avatar MICHAEL A CROGNALE says:

    OUTSTANDING!!!! Is this project local to your area or nationwide? First that I have ever heard of it.

    1. avatar JR says:

      You can check here to see if you’ve got one in your state.

      https://appleseedinfo.org/schedulemap/

      1. avatar MICHAEL A CROGNALE says:

        Thanks very much.

      2. avatar rosignol says:

        I’ve attended one event (went both days), and will go again. It’s solid instruction at a very reasonable price.

        Recommended for beginning-to-intermediate shooters.

        1. avatar BobS says:

          We’ve had very experienced shooters tell us they learned something useful about shooting, and something challenging about their heritage, and had fun at a Project Appleseed weekend shoot. Something for everyone!

    2. avatar GunGal says:

      Believe it’s nationwide.
      Maybe not all states but a good link for locations.
      It’s been around for a while and great for history of War of Independence and why founders put right to bear arms as 2nd behind free speech.

  2. avatar Art out West says:

    Great story! Good job dad.

  3. avatar Nick says:

    225 is a DAMN good score. My best was 170ish.

  4. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Good on ‘ya, Jay. And good on Sam, too!

  5. avatar Porridgeweasel says:

    Excellent story. Thank you for sharing your experience with the rest of us.

  6. avatar Greg says:

    Barbarians! How dare you teach a child to shoot?

    Keep up the good work.☺️
    Fondest childhood memories were at the range.

  7. avatar Dave says:

    Well done, Dad.

  8. avatar Mile says:

    This is a fantastic organization. All volunteer instructors, non-profit, well organized and professional. Everyone, regardless of expertise, needs to attend one of these, and bring a friend! I’m not on staff, nor an instructor, just a huge fan of what they offer.

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      For people who are essentially forced (i.e. STRONGLY encouraged) into identifying a 501C to contribute to by their emplorer , the Appleseed qualifies as a 501C via the Revolutionary War Veterans Association.

      It’s a lot better then giving to one of the big charities that usually invariably ends up giving money to “womens issues” which invariably means your dollars are paying for abortions.

      I believe this has the account #’s when your employer asks.
      https://www.guidestar.org/profile/20-0850104

  9. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I’m glad that a provide group is still doing this cross the country. Unfortunately there are evil forces working to destroy a child’s chance to learn about their american firearms birthright.
    Just to years ago a person left a comment on TTAG saying a person he met had to leave San Francisco and travel to a internal rural part of California to attend an Appleseed Project event. He said he had to keep it secret from his friends because he would be kicked out of his social group if they found out he went to to a “christian gun ” event.

    1. avatar Toni says:

      i’m not christian but i have some christian friends. in saying that if any of my friends shunned me for going to a group like that i would just say “well you are only fly by night acquaintances after all that. sorry with friends like you who needs enemies.” Screw having friends like that would rather live as a hermit. i have walked away from family and friends because of attitudes like that before and am sure i will again.

  10. avatar Travis says:

    I’m a Project Appleseed instructor in Michigan. Pleased to read about the positive impact this organization is having across the US. 224 is a phenomenal score on the AQT, and what an honor to have her take an orange hat and start the journey to becoming an instructor.

    If you’ve never been to a Project Appleseed event, get your butt off the couch and try it!

  11. avatar Jay says:

    As a Massachusetts native it brings tears to my eyes to think armed citizens of Massachusetts took on one of the greatest professional armies in the world at the time. Now most mass residents are just brainless hipsters voting for whatever feel good bullshit the corrupt Democrat politicians are pushing. Sad.

  12. avatar Jeff Gilman says:

    Is this the same Sam who thought myself and my boys last weekend in Charlottesville?My boys were Isaac and Sammy.

    1. avatar Jay Mundy says:

      Yep. Come back to the next one!

      1. avatar Jeff Gilman says:

        Isaac and I are coming to the known distance shoot in Sept, and I’m bringing the boys back in November as well. Boys had a great time. They can’t stop talking about it.

        1. avatar Jay Mundy says:

          Oustanding!

    2. avatar Riley Chandler says:

      I was there too with my son Ozzy. It was a great weekend and we learned a lot! I can’t say enough good things about the Appleseed event! I think we’ll start coming to the fall events though, even though we had nice weather it was a bit toasty.

  13. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

    Fantastic article and likely because it’s a great story.

    Also need to say to the Editors that I wholeheartedly approve of what the contest has done to adding fresh subject matter not typically found in the usual TTAG feed.

  14. avatar Stinkeye says:

    FYI, for those who buy from Amazon, they have a program called Amazon Smile where they contribute a small portion of the money you spend with them to a charity you designate. One of the options is to donate to Appleseed. If you buy a lot from Amazon, I recommend you do so through the smile.amazon.com program, and choose “Revolutionary War Veterans Association” (the non-profit that runs Appleseed shoots) as your charity of choice.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      the problem with that (and any such) thru Amazon, is that Amazon is in the same leftist category as the typical prog “technology” company. AND they are running American retailer out of business.

      Make are REAL donation directly to your charitable org of choice. NOT the few pennies that Amazon will send them after skimming your transaction (and mining your data).

  15. avatar BobS says:

    Well done Samantha!
    Nice AAR Dad!

    It doesn’t detract from your accomplishment to brag that my own daughter earned her Riflewoman patch at her second Appleseed shoot, with a borrowed bolt-action rifle. She was a ripe old 21 though 😊

  16. avatar Jay Mundy says:

    Outstanding! Get her an orange hat! Sam has to wait until 16 for a red hat, but she’s well on track to have everything done by then.

    1. avatar Jay Mundy says:

      And addendum after re-reading… Sam did all the work, I just encouraged here and there and drove her to the events.

  17. avatar Wood says:

    Superb! I’m looking forward to getting my 4 to the rifle range. They’re not quite ready yet.

  18. avatar Matt(TX) says:

    I shot my Appleseed with my 1941 Johnson 30.06 (no longer mine). I have never been so sore and whipped while shooting than after that first day. I did not get my patch. I did get and still have my perfect Redcoat target taped to my fridge.

  19. avatar Canon says:

    A great read, looking forward to when Appleseed has an event in NY.

  20. As we often say at Applesed, HUZZAH!!! Great AAR Dad and thanks for making the effort to pass on the traditions of America’s founding. We celebrate July 4th as our national birthday but once you come to Appleseed, you will learn that our real birthday is April 19th, 1775 at 12:30 pm at Merriam’s Corner outside of Concord.

    Again great job Dad. Come see us again soon.

    Corvette, Ohio State Coordinator, Project Appleseed.

  21. avatar neiowa says:

    Good write up. Appleseed is one of the best things going for our side. You did not mention that typical shoot will have a significant % of participants being female. I think due that many guys think they all ready “know it all” (are untrainable). While new females are more willing to take/interested in instruction. My daughter was 11 when she first attended. She is very competitive and loved that part of the weekend and it was good for her to see other girls/women learning to shoot.

    I’ve taken my kids to the local shoot the last 3 years and will again this year. As I’ve mentioned here before, the PMI program is better than what the Army has. Where else are you going to shoot (aimed) 300rd in a two day training session. Very low cost with quality instruction? I’d encourage going to a .22LR event as more cost effective. The Revolutionary War instruction is also something largely untaught in modern schools.

    They have had good deal on CCI .22LR at the training when it was impossible to find such. Thanks to CCI

    Also discount “tickets” on Groupn. Free passes for elected official. and discounts for military. Perhaps a highspeed doesn’t stink operator won’t get something out of it and they you can contribute something.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      At least in my area, the Sunday headcount is down due the significant # of “never miss” Sunday church contingent. Day of Rest. I suspect this is widely true, preppers being a part of churchgoers and Appleseed attendees.

  22. avatar Bill Milligan says:

    Fabulous, and congratulations to your daughter on earning her Rifleman patch! I have a 14-year daughter who has been to three Appleseed events as well, and she recently earned her patch during our last outing. What a really great organization- we love Appleseed!

  23. avatar bontai joe says:

    I’ll tell you how good an article this is, after reading it, I signed my wife up for an Appleseed event here in PA. I’ll be there with her as a spectator. I’m too crippled up to be trying to get from standing to sitting and prone, and once prone, I’ll need two strong guys to help me up again (LOL). But this looked like a perfect fit for her to get a solid block of instruction in larger doses than I can provide. Something good to look forward to, she is already excited.

    1. avatar MrsSmith says:

      Talk to the Shoot Boss about Appleseed’s “adaptive” program! It’s designed specifically to accommodate folks with physical limitations, giving them the chance to earn that Rifleman patch despite those limitations.

      Then the next time you can participate TOGETHER 😊

    2. avatar Jay Mundy says:

      Again mission accomplished! And thank you for the compliment on the article.

      Like MrsSmith said, please, talk to the shootboss. It’s common for folks to not be able to do the transitions, but still participate. So go sign yourself up too, and have fun!

      1. avatar bontai joe says:

        For this first go around, I’ll let my wife focus on learning and having fun. But while there, I will talk to the shoot boss about a future event with me in the “adaptive” program. I didn’t know of this option until you mentioned it. Again, a BIG thank you for writing about this. Our event is less than 20 miles from our home, so it is real convenient.

  24. avatar Clark Kent says:

    The juvenile in the photo does not appear to be using hearing protection. BIG ‘no-no’ for any shooter but especially the young ones. She should be wearing foam plugs plus ear muffs. Otherwise good article and program.

    1. avatar Jay Mundy says:

      She had ear plugs in, better ones than just the foamies. Appleseed is very very strict on ear and eye protection.

  25. avatar Mitchell Hamm says:

    Very nice article and definitely hits home for me. I attended my first Appleseed on Patriot’s Day in 2013 clearing my first Redcoat and shooting a 239 AQT to earn the patch on Saturday. Exactly five years later, I went back with my 16 year old daughter in tow. She loved it, but didn’t quite earn the patch. This coming weekend, we are going back with me under an IIT orange hat, her with a newly sighted in scope, her two best friends, and her friend’s Dad. It’s going to rain, but we’re all going to have a great time and I’m hoping my little girl brings home that purple Rifleman patch!

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