project applseed target rifleman training
courtesy targets4free
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Fredericksburg is a cute little Texas tourist town nestled in the heart of the Hill Country wine region. It’s not the kind of place you’d expect to find the Appleseed project, a course designed to teach Americans how to shoot a rifle, laced with lessons on U.S. history.


But then Fredricksburg is also the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, a man who knew a thing or two about guns. Big guns. So I packed my relatively small rifle, sharpened my pencil and headed to the metaphorical ballistic orchard.


Day one started with the most thorough safety briefing you’ll find outside of a visit to a munitions plant. To ensure safety during the program, Appleseed’s four rules of guns safety are range- and mission-specific, differing slightly from Jeff Cooper’s four rules. Appleseed instructed us to:

1. Always keep the muzzle in a safe direction.

2. Do not load until given the load command.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target.

4. Make sure those around you follow the safety rules.

The Range Officers mentioned “the other four rules” during our briefing, but only in passing. The glaring omission reflected a consistent pattern: the training was at times too rudimentary for the experienced shooter, but not rudimentary enough for greenhorns.

Bottom line on this one: if you’re planning on going to Appleseed, you should have a firm grasp on how to operate your firearm. This is not a class on the fundamentals of loading and firing a gun safely. As such, if you’re new to rifle shooting, or planning on taking someone who fits that description to Appleseed, this is not the beginners’ course you’re looking for.


Once the safety briefing concluded, our assembled RO group, about eight people total, it was designation identification time.

– Orange hats are worn by RO’s that have reached Rifleman status and have volunteered to help instruct and provide eyes and ears on the range

– Red hats are worn by RO’s that have done their time wearing an orange hat and passed a series of tests. They’ve graduated to chief instructors, responsible for running the event.

– Green hats are the shoot bosses, They maintain complete control over everything at an Appleseed event.

Appleseed attendees attempt to receive the aforementioned Rifleman patch. While there’s plenty of history to learn and more than a little work on rifle skills and fundamentals, the patch is proof positive that you can hit what you’re aiming at. To earn it you have to score better than a 210 out of 250 on the Appleseed AQT test.


First up: the “Red Coat” target. I’ve actually seen this target before at stage 2 of the Pecos Run n’ Gun. Trust me, it was a lot less stressful to shoot a Red Coat at 25 yards.

The Red Coat course of fire consists of five targets. Four consist of scaled head and torso targets representing the actual sight picture of an average sized human head and torso and 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards. The fifth target, Morgan’s shingle, represents a square the size of a human head at 250 yards.

From any position of your choice shooters attempt to put three rounds on target on each of the head/shoulder targets, and one in the target zone of the shingle. Careful, historically-minded readers will notice that this requires thirteen shots in all, one for each of the thirteen original colonies (as the Appleseed instructors’ will inform you).

Participants shoot this target series four times during the course of the weekend. Once at the beginning and end of each day. The RO team keeps track of how the group is doing relative to how many people hit each of the target zones. Our group, like most, improved each day.


The diagnostics and practice target above is the second target series. The entirety of the first morning was spent putting these up, shooting at them from various positions, and getting feedback from the instructors on what we did or didn’t do correctly.

IMG_1098The last target is the one that matters most. It’s the test shooters need to pass for their Rifleman patch. Hits in the V count for five points with each corresponding number counting accordingly. Stages 1 through 3 are scored 1 for 1 while stage four has a 2X multiplier for all points. The course of fire is as follows.

  • Stage 1 – From standing, fire ten shots at the top target in 2 minutes. Maximum of 50 points
  • Stage 2 – From standing, on the fire command drop to a seated or kneeling position. Fire two shots on the target on the left. Perform a magazine change. Fire three more shots on the left target. Transition to the right target and fire five shots. Time limit is 55 seconds. Maximum of 50 points
  • Stage 3 – From standing, on the fire command drop to the prone position. Fire two shots on the target on the left. Perform a magazine change. Fire one more shot on the left target. Three shots on the middle target, and four shots on the right hand target. Time limit is 65 seconds. Maximum of 50 points
  • Stage 4 – From prone, fire two shots on the left target, two on the next target to the right, three on the third, and three on the fourth. Time limit is 5 minutes and all points count double towards your total score. Maximum of 100 points.




The total round count for the first day was less than 100 rounds with most of the time being spent under instruction. The round count for the second day is closer to 400 rounds or so depending on how quickly you reach Rifleman. Each AQT test burns 40 rounds.

The Appleseed project provides solid instruction. That said, I found the training to be disappointing.

Like any responsible gun owner, I believe that a nation of citizens trained in the safe and effective handling of firearms is a nation of people who are likely to be a bit more civic-minded, responsible and generally “good” to have around. But rifle handling isn’t in and of itself enough of a draw to get newbies to the range. Appleseed sells the sizzle: U.S. history.

I’ve offered friends and family the opportunity to go to shooting classes in the past on my dime as a way to get them involved in the shooting sports and I’ve been met with a resounding chorus of “maybe”, “that might be fun”, or “meh.” Contrast that with the same friends and family universally exclaiming “oh cool!” when I told them about Appleseed.

The delivery of these history lessons left a lot to be desired. In one long lunchtime rant, the instructor shared anecdotal stories meant to promote the Appleseed ethos of “citizen marksman make for stronger countries.” In practice, the lessons were a  rambling, haphazard retelling of American history that wandered aimlessly between stories of British regulars, militia men and various characters. Count me as one of the people who mentally checked out and focused on the sandwiches and chips I’d brought.

I would have loved to have seen those same stories broken into bite-size chunks and told throughout the course of the day.


The shooting instruction was also lacking.With four instructors supervising 20 participants, bad habits remained uncorrected. The shooter next to me struggled for two days with the kneeling position without assistance. He was obviously frustrated by his performance on the various tests and none of the instructors helped him out. Breaking up our large group into two or three manageable sub-groups could have done quite a bit to increase the level of attention.

Not one instructor used a spotting scope during the shooting stages. We had to make our rifles safe, call a safe line, and walk downrange to check targets with instructors. There was a long delay between poor technique being applied and corrected, which ultimately slowed a lot of people down over the course of the weekend.

There was only one rifle stock with a laser pointer for the instructors. I’m glad there was at least one there, but I found out later it belonged to the shoot boss and wasn’t owned by Appleseed. This setup is an excellent diagnostic tool and should have been used widely before anyone fired a single round.

Further frustration: a sizable portion of the participants, myself included, were running aftermarket stocks on their guns. Had Appleseed accepted stocks and laser pointers instead of the entry fee (or for a discount on the fee), I would have gladly brought an old stock and cheap laser pointer to the party.

The end result of all this: I received very little in the way of individual training. I can think of only one time when one of the instructors addressed something I was doing while shooting. It was a warning to keep my support hand loose and it happened at the exact moment I was preparing to break a shot.


I paid $60 for the weekend. Despite all my whining, I think I got my money’s worth. The Appleseed project offered an excellent primer on the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship. Next time, I’ll be taking an AR with a can and a set of target irons or maybe my Garand. My marksmanship improved over the course. Both of the guys I came with earned their Rifleman patch, which made for a much calmer ride back to Austin (much trash talk had taken place on the first night over beers and fried chicken).

In short, Appleseed training is not top tier rifle marksmanship training, nor is it the best place to receive civics lessons. But it’s good enough to get non-newbies and non-marksmen out to the range and help them further down the path of rifle proficiency.

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  1. A minor quibble, but its something that peeves me, like “ATM Machine”.

    If AQT = Army Qualification Test, does that mean that AQT Test = Army Qualification Test Test?

  2. Good job bud! I’m an Orange hat and I love it. I’ve been a part of Appleseed since 2008. It is the best training you can get for $60 or $80 or whatever they charge for it nowadays. Some areas/dates there may be 1 instructor for 2 students. So you can really get some attention to what you are doing incorrectly. It seems that you should make a trip to South Dakota to get some better instruction. For returning rifleman we try to improve their score by pointing out issues, but honestly, I try to help the beginners more than those trying to improve their score.

    Also, most people obtain rifleman status after 4 appleseeds. On any given weekend we can expect about 25% to obtain rifleman.

        • 27.3403 yards to be exact. It is actually 25 meters. I’m an orange hat that has set-up the ranges quite a few times. I should know.

        • Perfect. Thanks guys.
          I just printed off some targets from the Projects web site.
          In the coming months, I’m going to try a few different guns and sights to see what works best for me.
          My class is set for April 18-19th. (Anniversary date for the shot heard ’round the world).
          I like the idea of competing with myself under pressure.

  3. My experience with Appleseed was somewhat different. Most of the complaints you voiced did not happen at any of my Appleseed experiences. There were one or two individuals who had never had instruction of any kind, in re; firearms. Those individuals received more individual attention and instruction but weren’t singled out and separated from the rest of us.
    The history lessons were sprinkled judiciously throughout the two days of instruction but, yes they were more intensive during the lunch breaks, but that served to hold our attention and keep us focused. There were several young people attending all of the Appleseeds I’ve been to, one as young as 7, and they had a great time as well as learning a lot about US History (that they aren’t being taught in school, nowadays) and Riflemanship.
    Different areas will have different instructors; some better than others and some more passionate than others. But for the price (I think it’s going up the 1st of the year), I think the RWVA presents an exceptional value for the instruction offered.

    • That is the experience I had as well. They spread the history out over the course of the two days… and did a great job with it. I found that part riveting, actually. And the shooting was very well executed. Lots of trigger time.

  4. > My marksmanship improved over the course.

    Seems like a lot of bitching for what, in the end, gave you the desired result.

    • How does one provide a critical review without being critical? Providing a comprehensive review and pointing out shortcomings is not “bitching”.

      • > Despite all my kvetching (as RF would say), I think I got my money’s worth.

        The reviewer admits it outright. Lots of bitching, despite achieving the desired result.

        > In short, Appleseed training is not top tier rifle marksmanship training, nor is it the best place to receive civics lessons.

        Good Lord. For 60 bucks the expectation should NOT be “top tier rifle marksmanship training.” Hell, 60 bucks for two days on a range — ANY range — is a bargain! From that perspective *any* instruction at all would be just a bonus. Take your 60 bucks to Gunsite and ask them to teach you a class…see where that gets you.

        • Just because it’s cheap, and is run by volunteers, doesn’t mean poor instruction is ok. Of course it’s not reasonable to expect one-on-one intensive training, but that’s not what they promised. The promise is a history lesson and large-group training. Per their website, one of the reasons to attend is:

          “To learn to shoot a rifle — to learn to shoot it just as well as your forefathers.”

          If they didn’t do a decent job (relative to the promise to learn to shoot a rifle, and according to Tyler there were new shooters who were floundering, and the history aspect was haphazard) on either, despite the low cost that information is still relevant. Most of us would rather not waste a few days on mediocre training and a history lesson that is more rant than teaching. That is not to say that this experience is representative of the project as a whole, but short of attending classes in every state, all he can do is report his experience.

        • If $30 for a day at the range if a bargin for you, I feel really sorry for you with my $7 all day range.

        • I suggest that this experience – especially regarding individual instruction – is unique. The standard for all “Instructors In Training” (“Orange Hats”) and Instructors (“Red Hats”) is to get down on the mat with the shooters. While there are definitely events where that does not happen, it is NOT adequate. If an IIT, Instructor, Shoot Boss, or Applecore (“Blue Hats” who help with registration and clearing the line) attends an Instructor Bootcamp (“IBC”) they are told repeatedly to engage on the mat with shooters and to circulate so that they engage as many shooters as possible throughout the event. What one Instructor misses another may catch (as is typical for any physical skill instruction). “Volunteer” does not mean “amateur,” and that is certainly not the standard at a Project Appleseed event. For context, an IIT spends approximately 110-130 hours learning all of the blocks of instruction and history and has to pass 5 written tests. As for history, it is not a Project Appleseed event without history presentations. While perhaps not everyone is inspired by the history, I suggest those who are not are in a small minority. Additionally, since every IIT has to present every history block over their time working to earn their red hats, one can certainly find those who are struggling through their first or early presentations of the material. It is said, probably accurately, that public speaking is the biggest fear most people face. For “gun folks” there is a distinct difference between presenting information regarding firearms and history. Some of the most eloquent firearms instructors would struggle mightily with presenting a history lesson (especially as detailed as required at Appleseed events) and probably actually be nervous. I was the first time I did and I had been a certified handgun carry permit instructor for several years. While not everyone will be satisfied with what is presented at a Project Appleseed, I know as a Shoot Boss (from my 6 years at the time of this comment) the vast majority are. In fact, VERY inspired by them. That is why it is currently growing so fast in our area (Middle Tennessee). In fact, it is expected we will add 3 ranges for events just this year (2021). We added 3 ranges 2 years ago (prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic) and had 22 events scheduled just in our state last year (before COVID caused the cancellation of about 1/2 of them).

  5. On my Appleseed event here in Gainesville Florida our orange hats constantly prowled the line and brought correction while the shoot was happening as well at the downrange inspect targets time. Individual instruction time was not lacking either. The history was also in a cohesive line and not ramlbiling on and most participants were paying attention. I imagine since it is a volunteer org that experience will vary widely. Hats off to out group in Florida. They are fantastic!

  6. Doesnt sound much different from high power. I’ve shot a lot of CMP HP but never attended an Appleseed. Is caliber essentially the only difference?

      • Most people run Ruger 10/22s and use bulk ammo. I would suggest using quality .22LR ammo and not the bulk stuff. I’ve seen too many failures over the years teaching Appleseed classes with bulk.

        Other people will bring other variants of .22 LR and I’ve even seen bolt actions (I would not recommend it).

        I personally shot my first rifleman with an AR. Other guys will bring M1As or M1 Garands. I’ve seen one SKS and another guy with an AK. They quickly chose to use an instructor’s Ruger 10/22. They just didn’t group that well.

        • Bolt actions will mess up your NPOA and without NPOA you will not achieve rifleman’s cadence. You’ll have to regain NPOA on every shot which makes stages 2 and 3 very hard due to the time limit.

  7. “Not one instructor used a spotting scope during the shooting stages.”

    This is usually my litmus test for whether someone has worthwhile advice to give about rifle shooting. Essentially it’s an outgrowth of 7P: Piss poor planning promotes piss poor performance. If you aren’t prepared with the appropriate gear for the job, I’m turning right around and walking away. Look at it this way, would you hire a roofer that showed up without a hammer? Or a plumber with no pipe cutters? If you show up to do a job without the appropriate tools to efficiently complete said job, likely as not you (the customer) aren’t going to be pleased with the results. Same goes for shooting instruction.

    • You would be amazed what can be taught without a spotting scope.

      Shoot five, walk down and discuss the targets and the next lecture topic works just fine without one more piece of gear to throw into the car.

      If someone with the attitude you’ve articulated decides upon seeing no spotting scopes on the line to pack up his gear and drive away because the volunteers organizing it don’t meet some arbitrary standards and preconceived notions of what’s needed and how to teach, then I’d say that person won’t be missed.


      • The problem is one of efficiency, as Tyler articulated. Even for a small number of students, walking back and forth to the target every 5 shots wastes quite a lot of time, and more importantly, doesn’t give you instant feedback, which can be critical to self-diagnosing what went wrong. For example, I think I pulled shot 3 to the right because I yanked the trigger, so I ask my spotter who tells me that it hit at 2 o’clock, 2 inches out from my main group. I can now make a concrete connection between my actions performing a particular shot, to result on target. If the objective is just get them on paper, then sure, a scope isn’t necessary. But if those are 50 yard targets, getting to the rifleman level is going to be significantly aided by a spotter. As to the “another piece of gear” problem, that’s not a good excuse. My spotting scope cost a grand total of $80 new, fits easily along with everything else I need in a messenger bag, and is plenty good enough to spot .22 holes in the black at up to 100 yards. This is not an excessively high bar. I’m not asking people to show up with $5k worth of gear, steel targets, and a laser light show. Moreover, it’s not really the lack of gear that’s the problem, so much as the extent to which it speaks to a lack of preparedness and forethought. Four instructors with presumably ample rifle experience, and no one though it might be a good idea to have at least one scope? Forget about the low cost of the training, my time isn’t free, and I don’t see the point in spending two full days trying to learn a skill from people who aren’t adequately prepared to teach. I’ve seen the results first-hand, which is why when I’m teaching rifle skills, I mentally go through a checklist the day before that includes gear as well as a defined plan of action as to what subjects I want to cover based on the student skill level.

        • We’re teaching fundamentals here. We want them to fire five rounds as consistently as possible, then we diagnose what they are doing wrong (if someone’s not right there watching and coaching them in person) and work with them to correct it. All the while walking down to the targets gives all a chance to get out of position and relax a little. Older folks and older backs don’t like being in strange positions for long periods of time.

          If you want lots of one-on-one, coaching through a spotting scope, you’re in the wrong class.

          ETA: It’s 25 meters, not 50.


    • At 25 meters, if the lighting is decent and your visual acuity is sharp enough, you’ll have no issues seeing .22 cal bullet holes in a white target. If all the rounds are in the black, you probably don’t need much correction to achieve the desired result of an Appleseed.

      I had fun at the one I attended – I was offered the Orange hat after I qualified as Rifleman in the first test. Would have taken them up on it, but the local (to me) events were closed off after the property owner on whose range it was held was picked up for alleged militia activities.

      I thought the history lessons were kind of weird. I enjoyed the history, but the whole event had this kind of odd militia vibe to it; not in a particularly good way. I know that Appleseed as a whole tends to distance itself from the militia movement, but there still seem to be some connections there. If you are a member of that movement, fine – but as an event intended to attract newcomers to the culture, or provide economical marksmanship lessons to current gunowners, it’s a definite turnoff.

      • “off after the property owner on whose range it was held was picked up for alleged militia activities.”

        Huh? For some reason I thought a well regulated militia was necessary to the security of a free state. Were those who picked him up planning to regulate him?

      • An Instructor that promotes militia activity at a Project Appleseed event is likely to be “retired” by their superior Instructors. It is not tolerated. As for “weird” history, I would love to know to what, exactly, you are referring. The history is largely taken from the book “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Hackett Fischer, a history professor. That book is intensely documented and probably 1/4 to 1/3 of the total pages are appendixes and footnotes.

  8. It’s a great organization and I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend event. There was a good deal of historic information provided, as well as some 50 cal. muskets to shoot. I would highly recommend it for anyone that wants to be more proficient with a rifle.

  9. The Appleseed experience varies as to the abilities and charisma of the instructors, just as any NRA course, or state CCW course for that matter.

    Sounds like you got one that was less than exemplary. It happens.

    Having said that, I would remind you that the people there teaching for the two days aren’t paid a cent. The Appleseed program no longer even pitches in a $10 bill towards their Saturday evening instructor meal where they talk over the day’s events in a day-one after action.

    And as a commenter above pointed out – you spent $60 and write as though you were expecting (entitled to?) a top tier, Travis Haley or Chris Costa course. Seems as though you might re-calibrate your expectations.

    I’ve been an occasional Appleseed instructor “in training” for about five years now. It’s a good program, particularly with more experienced instructors who do a better job telling the “Three Strikes” stories. I’ve heard good renditions and I’ve heard bad ones. Heck, it’s the reason I’m still not a redhat because I’m there to teach marksmanship skills, not history. But others excel at telling history, and we’re all volunteers.

    I will say that one of the reasons you might not have received so much one-on-one instruction is that we instructors have to triage shooters. Those who are unsafe or display an inability to make their gear run get first attention. Once they are half-way squared away, we work on those with the biggest issues. Looking at your targets (and targets do talk…), you look as though you pretty much had your poop in a group.

    As an instructor, I’m going to get down in the mud with the person I can do the most good with. If I can help the teen boy change his score from room temperature to the mid- to upper-100’s or better, you’re going to have excuse me if I didn’t help you achieve a 230 when you’re already shooting 200 plus.

    “I think I got my money’s worth,” you wrote. Indeed. Seems as though you did.

    And those “other four rules”? Those are probably non-Appleseed rules and when at Appleseed, we’re not supposed to talk about non-Appleseed stuff.


    • Thank you for volunteering your time at Appleseed events. I attended my first Appleseed this past weekend and thought it was fantastic! Even though I was a passable rifle shooter going in, I still improved over the weekend and walked away with my patch (shot a 222). I’m seriously considering volunteering in the future. For now I’m just looking forward to attending another event, which I’m planning to bring my son to.

    • Regarding your last paragraph, why the hell not? Those 4 rules exist for a reason, and they should be gospel for anyone with a gun in their hands. Appleseed rules or not, they are pretty damn important.

  10. With Appleseed, YMMV with the quality of the instructors at the course. Remember, these guys are volunteers. That said, I have been to more expensive courses which lacked good instruction as well. My 3P CMP course comes to mind.

    In some cases you will have plenty of Orange hats to help, in other cases not so much. There are single day and two day courses. Also, the stages can be different depending on where you take the course and who is teaching it or who has the Green Hat.

    If you shot separately timed stages, you had it easy. Many of the NE courses I have attended do all the stages in 4 1/2min. Which is much more difficult.

    You also had what looks like a nice day. Try a Winterseed or one in the rain and muck as was my first Appleseed where I learned my cheap scope was not exactly fog proof.

    All in all, for the price, IMHO, the ladies and gentleman of Appleseed run a darn fine course. Yes, they could help people on the course more, but all in all if you follow along with the fundamentals, you will improve from the time you started until you are done for that day.

    Two of my nieces turn 16 next year and I will be taking them to an Appleseed in 2015.

    If there is a better course for the same amount of money, I would love to know so that I could attend that myself.

    One more item, they do have Appleseeds where they are shooting real distances and using open site M1 Garand’s. I have yet to attend one of those course myself but I hope they are better for experienced shooters

  11. Seems like a good review. A far as the cost $60 is nothing so you can’t expect too much. From talking to other people it really seems like there is no organizational history curricula. Instead it seems like random chatter about shootin’ Redcoats, militiamen, and ‘Murica!

    • Achmed,

      We actually do have a standardized history presentation, which is to be broken up into three parts, all of which have specific ground to cover. Whether the three parts are presented together or separately is left to the discretion of the shoot boss.

      I’d be happy to explain further to anyone with questions about the heritage side of our program, and I am always open to hearing other people’s experience, both positive and negative. As has been mentioned, this is a program of volunteers, but we can always strive to better ourselves.


    • Nothing is further from the truth. As Heather indicates, the history is very organized. However, it is not verbatim and some Instructors are more adept at presenting the history and some more adept at presenting the skill blocks. Nevertheless, all of us constantly work on improving and give each other helpful critique. It is not easy to be an Instructor and I dare (actually I am politely inviting) anyone who has not attended an event to join us, and those who think they would like to instruct to volunteer (after they qualify, of course – earn the Rifleman badge and come to 2 events).

  12. I appreciate the insight, Mr. Kee.

    I have signed up for 2, and both were cancelled due to low turn-out.

    Maybe this Spring there will be an awakening, and others will want to attend.

    I think a contributing factor may be the continued, 2 years and counting, dearth of .22LR in the area.

    500 rounds of 5.56 mm would be a $250 investment, and that can thin the heard quite a bit,
    even with my less expensive handloads.

    • I doubt they were cancelled due to low turn-out. Generally, they are cancelled because they cannot get a shoot boss. I’ve been at an Appleseed where there were 3 instructors and only 2 students and we still operated both days.

  13. Hi Tyler,
    My experience was a bit different than yours, as the instructors paid close attention to all the students and I’ve got my stance corrected maybe too often :-).
    I really think it depends on the luck of the draw with the volunteer instructors, but as most people mentioned – this is not a rifle 101 class, the assumption is that you are able to shoot your rifle and you need to improve on the marksmanship.
    Also, while a spotting scope would help, there is nothing wrong with each student getting to their target and getting hands-on explanation on what they did wrong there. If you were to use a scope, I’ve seen people who have trouble adjusting or even seeing through one (but they’ll nod and say “yes I got it” if you ask them). Also, if you want to explain them not only the score but what they actually did wrong (which in my experience happened on the AQT stage as well) nothing beats touching the paper.
    Congratulations on your patch!

  14. My Appleseed experience was different. The one I attended had a 2 to 1 student to instructor ratio. This was a good — I was new to shooting. I had purchased my first rifle 6 months before. I knew how to work it correctly and would go to the range to “shoot”. I really didn’t know what I was doing.

    The three things it taught me:

    1. Fundamentals. Basics — the most valuable being natural point of aim. This was huge to me.
    2. How to use a sling — I learned they aren’t just for decoration anymore.
    3. And most importantly — how to go to the range and shoot/practice with a purpose.

    Since the Appleseed I’ve gone on to shoot NRA light rifle, high power, and other disciplines. I now go to the range with a good idea of what I want to do and how I want to do it. For me, at least, it was a great investment at the tender age of 59.

    A note on the history. The Appleseed folk take their history very seriously. In my case it was presented in small doses over the course of the two days with heaping portions at lunchtime. The book referenced is Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer. Portions of this were presented over the weekend. The presentations piqued my curiosity so I purchased the book. The presenters played a little fast and loose with the facts in the book but overall, captured the essence of it. It is a good read and the parallels between what the British were seeking then and what the gun grabbers are seeking now are frightening.

    At the end of the weekend I was a much better shooter (although I didn’t qualify — ticked me off). We shot over 600 rounds over the two days. I highly recommend it to someone who is unsure and wishes to learn the fundamentals of rifle shooting.

    Final note — not sure why you need a spotting scope at 25 yards. Really wasn’t an issue where I was at.

  15. I was looking forward to going to the one in Ft Worth after New Years, but its apparently one of those ranges where you cant shoot FMJ and it has to be soft tip or HP only. Even if its relatively cheap for the class, I cant justify the ammo cost when I have cases of FMJ to shoot and a minimal amount of the other stuff.

  16. You sound like a whiner. I bet you ride a jap bike too.

    Are you from California or did you actually grow up here in Texas?

  17. We have a tiny handful of instructors here in Kentucky. If it weren’t for the Indiana and Ohio instructors coming down to assist, you would never see more than two instructors at a Kentucky Appleseed clinic. Whenever someone laments that there aren’t more instructors at our events, I remind them that a Rifleman is a person who see’s something that needs doing, and he or she just does it. The problem with our nation is too many generations and too many people have had the attitude of “That sucks. Why doesn’t someone do something?”. If you see something that needs fixin’ (like low instructor/student ratio), then why not help fix it?

    Also, nobody mentioned that we also conduct Full Distance clinics (also called “KD” events) where we shoot full size (19″ high x 25″ wide) Army D targets at distances of 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards. We even allow spotting scopes and binoculars at those, but you have to bring your own. Come to Camp Atterbury in Indiana and we will show you how it’s done.

  18. The walk downrange to check targets is part of the instructional process. Lessons are conducted at the target line to diagnose shooters’ groups and explain how to zero the rifle by measuring the distance from point of aim to point of impact, converting into MOA, and then calculating sight adjustment.


  19. Im glad Appleseed instructors chimed in. You folks are awesome and my three weekends were not at all like what is described in this whiny article.

    Its obvious by the snarky and condescending tone of the article that Kee showed up not to learn anything, but to gather what criticism he could and write an article. Any learning that happened was by accident. Whining about using event-specific safety rules and not parroting NRAs? Who cares? It’s just one of many nits the author wants to pick so he can seem like an edgy reviewer.

    Were all three Strikes of the Match presented all at lunch? That is not what Ive seen in the past and seems like a lot of mid-day time to sit around.

    Of course, if you come to Appleseed convinced you know it all (like this clownshoe author), you wont learn much. Maybe dude is upset he didn’t get free gear to review or someone didnt bow down to his exhalted status as a blogger, i mean, “journalist” HA! Its okay tho, just one less egotistical bloghole for me to follow.

  20. Went to my first Appleseed this past weekend. GREAT time. 65F sunny winds from behind the gunline. Range was a hayfield/pasture and for 22LR only. The hosts put up a big circus/catering tent, tables/chairs, awesome noon meals and snacks, hot choc/cider/coffee. WOW. (Apparently this is not the typical Appleseed).

    3x Appleseed personnel with 17 shooters. Rifles (.22LR) were whatever you brung. Lots of 10/22, Several scopes. I used an old Mossberg bolt with target irons (NOT good as I at least could not do well on the long range targets with a 12 o’clock hold). 4 kids, 1 young lady, 12 adults 1/2 were women. Most were newish shooters. A few with a dad/husband that knew all there is to know/there to “help” (tyler). Likely better if they had dropped off the traineeer and gone hunting.

    I took my 3 oldest kids who used 10/22s and a Marlin 60 all with peep sights. None have had all that much experience on a range. My “marksmanship training” was Army (crap) and the Appleseed range is run much like an Army range. Structured group instruction broken into chunks followed by shooting with the Appleseed guys providing individual help. BUT the PMI was MUCH better that what I saw in the Army (Infantry) – or the Army of the late 80s. Covered the basics with lots of time firing and enough coaching.

    Two of my kids are history buffs and they all loved the oral history of Lexington/Concord (and the food provided by the hosts). This was broken into chucks during rest breaks and lunch.

    They used a stock w/laser to demo hold and changing POA while staying position. I have never used a laser so don’t know what else might do for instruction. Most of the “pointing out the negatives” above is whining. If provide helpful criticism to a mfg it might push them to change their product. For a volunteer run operation your helpful hints would consist of getting off your but and pitching in. If you can stick to the program.

    A great program will be taking them to another and their younger sib. But will pickup the specified M1 GI slings the modern patrol slings I had OH did not work for smaller size shooters. Sling supported in integral to the Appleseed program. But I guess I’m in the market for a couple more .22 rifles.

    Note – I purchased for this another Ruger; a 2nd edition 10/22 Comm. as has peep sight, very disappointed – The peep sights are only one step up from junk (long allen wrench to adjust screws on left and right side), mag well is so tight have to push the mag with a finger thru the ejection port, and the front sight fell out of the dovetail before the rifle had been fired. That’s constructive criticism I’m sending to Ruger.

  21. So maybe I am ignorant of this, but what purpose does a laser and a stock have? I have shot rifles all my life, but have never seen or used this.

  22. Charles,

    The laser and stock are for instruction. They will, away from the firing line, get down into position and illuminate the laser on a target at a short distance to illustrate the effects of the proper positioning. It will also show the effect your movements have on the point of aim, e.g. breathing. It’s a stock with no action/barrel and the laser sits in it to show point of aim. Very helpful to understand the fundamentals being taught and visualize what’s happening when your are in or out of the correct position.

  23. I’ll echo the positive comments here about Appleseed. The instructors are regular folks who generously give of their time for the purpose of teaching basic marksmanship to new shooters. The best candidates an those that take away the most are those who have an open mind. It’s why an open mind is the first requirement in the list of preparations.

    They’re not professional speakers or presenters, know that up front. As was said, some get good at telling the narrative and others struggle to translate their passion into words. But they get the point across for both purposes of the program – improved marksmanship and improved understanding of how and why our founding history matters today.

    With all due respect and care, I would suggest Mr. Kee adjust his attitude just a tiny bit and jump in to help out now that he’s a Rifleman. We can use all the help we can get to spread the message and skill of civics and marksmanship.


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