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When I went to Pecos for Run n Gun a few months ago, I realized that my slung shooting wasn’t great. Good enough for that race, but it definitely could have been better. I’m especially weak offhand and from kneeling. So I decided to do something about it . . .

What I didn’t realize when I went to Run n Gun was that every other person there was an Appleseed instructor. So when we decided to kill some time shooting at metal plates while the roads dried out, I got some choice instruction on how to make my rifle shooting better. A lot better. In fact, had I had that instruction before I ran the race, I likely would have done a bit better. So as soon as I got home, I surfed the Project Appleseed site to find an event near me.

And lo, Fredericksburg, Texas, two short hours from Austin, offers Appleseed events nearly every month. So I grabbed two gun buddies, ordered some Tech Sights for my 10/22 (review forthcoming), and spent months trolling the internet for .22 LR ammo. As you read this, I’m rolling out with gear, guns, ammo, and my dog to the family ranch to set up our base of operations for two days. But what is Appleseed? From the About Us Section of their website:

Through Project Appleseed, the Revolutionary War Veterans Association is committed to teaching two things: rifle marksmanship and our early American heritage. We do this for one simple reason, the skill and knowledge of what our founding fathers left to us is eroding in modern America and without deliberate action, they will be lost to ignorance and apathy.

Is there a direct relationship between understanding our country’s founding and civic virtue? The answer should anecdotally be quite clear. As our citizens’ knowledge of founding principles has declined, so too has our involvement in this government ‘of, by and for The People.’ Instead, our citizens seem all too content to relegate governmental decisions and knowledge to those that have been elected, all the while assuming these officials’ abilities and agendas are working on their behalf. We believe that if this trend continues, our country will be left with an expansive gulf between the populace and the government.

Count me in! Oh, and guns. I don’t have a clear picture of what the next two days hold, but I’m confident enough in the knowledge that I should come back with a little less rust on my skillset around rifle shooting and with a much better appreciation for American history.

My registration fee was $60 and the range fees are $5 a day. Given how much good training costs, if this is even remotely decent — and from everything I hear it is really good — then it’s the deal of the century. Oh, and history. I love history. A lot. Dream scenario for me is to be a professor of Texas history at a small university somewhere rural where I can shoot, reload, and hunt every day.

Stay tuned as I post updates and photos from what promises to be a fun, albeit slightly wet, weekend out in the Texas hill country. If it’s good, we’ll write about it. And if it sucks, we’ll write about that, too. If you’re planning on being there, shoot us an email at [email protected] with your contact info so I can be sure to say hi.

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        • “Veterans, peace officers, disabled, and recreators in costume are the only free attendees now.”

          Just regular ol’ veterans? Not just disabled vets? I’m a regular ol’ vet who is churning through the VA paperwork for disability, which naturally takes more years than I was on active duty. (four).

          I’d pay the full price anyway; we can afford it. This year.

  1. I just did one in Florida. Fantastic group and super safe on the range. I am doing the snapping in at the house so next time I can qualify as rifleman. I missed by 11 points and 23 years off the rifle.

  2. I’ve been meaning to go to the Appleseed events for a while now, just haven’t found the time. But his next year it is a priority when they set up here in Vermont. Outstanding program from all accounts.

    Tyler, make sure you have a folding chair to sit in, plenty of water, and knee pads and elbow pads would not be outta place. Dress for the weather, and also bring some snacks. You probably already know all this anyway. Think safety first, creature comfort next.

    My dream job *was* to be a professor of medieval studies but that dream died twenty years ago when it became abundantly clear to me how far gone the colleges and universities are in this country. I had ABD, i.e., courses done but not the dissertation, and finally gave it up as a game not worth the candle to light it.

    YMMV, hopefully.

    • I really, really want to go to an Appleseed shoot with my kids sometime, but there don’t ever seem to be any offered near where I live. Plus the ammo cost is prohibitive. Some day…some day…

      My dream scenario was just like yours and Tyler’s at one time — teaching 19th-century British lit at a university in a rural town somewhere — but I got out of the game earlier than you did. Took my master’s degree and split, not a moment too soon; all those totalitarian-minded progbots were driving me crazy. Now I work at a university in a rural town, but I’m not an academic, which means I have to put up with only a bare minimum of progressive nonsense.

      • I didn’t finish my MA, either; my first wife had just finished law school and we just HAD to move to her home state (NJ) and things went generally downhill after that. My favorite course from that time was with the 18th-C British writers, and my prof at the seminar had studied under both the late Paul Fussell at Rutgers and Walter Jackson Bate at Harvard. I still read those buggers.

      • In Georgia we generally have .22 ammo available for purchase at the shoot for minors for $1.50 a box. We get it wholesale from federal and CCI and sell it at our cost. It’s possible your local events have this also, you would only need enough for the adults. You can contact the Shoot Boss for an event and see its available.

        From the events I’ve been, 350-400 rounds it’s about what you’ll need per shooter if you want to fire every shot you are able to. But, you can learn a lot from dry fire. You would be welcome to mix in some dry runs once your rifle is sighted in to save on ammo.

  3. Get a decent scope! It makes focusing on the fundamentals easier when you don’t have to worry about the sight picture – unless you plan on using tech sights somewhere else in your hunting/target practice.
    I had a weaver classic rv9 scope and it rocked!

    Have fun!

    • I would respectfully disagree. Scopes will definitely help your scores, but peep sights aid learning. With iron sights you really learn to trust your NPOA. Scopes allow for more self-deception, you will often muscle your rifle on target unconsciously.

      I would encourage everyone to use irons for their first Appleseed, unless eye issues make it very difficult to focus on the front sight.

      • I used a scope for my first Appleseed as I wanted to get a Rifleman patch that weekend. It was plenty hard enough with a scope as those simulated 400 yard targets are about the size of a quarter.

        Having scored my patch, my goal at my next Appleseed is to shoot it with iron sights.

  4. I signed up for two in the area, and both were cancelled due to low participation. As a disabled
    vet, I could qualify for a freebie, but figured it wasn’t a bad price for the aforementioned
    history lesson, and SHOOTING!

    I did a checklist, and some dry fire drills for a couple of weeks prior,for no reason.

    I hope it works out well for you, but up here in Washington State, they don’t seem interested in
    anything but closing non-existent loopholes…

  5. Went to an excellent NYC Appleseed – 20 West 20th St, Manhattan.
    Dan Boyle was the primary instructor – he was excellent.

    Took another back in May 2013 up at Blue Mountain Sportsman Center, Cortlandt Manor,
    NY – that was great, too.

  6. Appleseed is a great opportunity to hone the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship. Cost is $60 for the weekend, under 18 shoots free with a paying adult. Right now you can buy gift certificates through Appleseed until the end of December 2014 for $48. There is no limit on how many you can buy and no expiration date. Great way to save $12 off the regular price and get others to go with you.

  7. Aside from the rifle, ammo and ears/eyes, I recommend bringing the following:
    3 standard-capacity magazines
    Shooting mat (can’t emphasize this one enough)
    Web sling
    Sharpie marker
    Pen/paper (note taking)
    Staple gun for paper target hanging
    More food/water than you think you’ll need for the day
    A teachable attitude

  8. I look forward to hearing about it, especially since if I take the course I’ll be taking it at Fredericksburg too. I’m familiar with that cute town, but not the range facility.

  9. As an AS Shootboss, I would expect you will have an outstanding weekend. Bring a learning attitude and the willingness to persist and Appleseed will make you better, that I can guarantee. Have a great weekend, looking forward to your review.


  10. Awesome. I am a member but have not made an event yet. No 22 lr to be found. Let’s us know how it goes. Have have heard very good things too. Btw, the focus is on youth and women shooting they get great rates to come and participate. I figure that’s a + . More youth and females involved the more powerful our country and political influence is. Greg

    • What? Why there’s lots of .22LR around. I found a box in Georgia and a box in Virginia and a box in Texas and a box in a Turner’s ad for Black Friday so no problem. Add ’em all up and it’s only about .79/round with shipping and tax 😉

    • I shot my first Applesed Rifleman score with my AR-15 and 5.56 ammo. No reason you have to use a .22. Many Appleseed shooters do the course of fire with larger guns including .30 ones. The reason the .22 is so synonmous with Appleseed is that when the program got started, .22 was still plentiful and way cheaper than anything else. If .22 is not available in your area, no reason you can’t use something else.

      Also, it could be argued that the more “realistic” test is to use a larger caliber. One of the foundational principles of Appleseed is to “build a nation of riflemen” so that we have the people if they are ever needed.

      If you are ever called to the field of battle, chances are, you won’t be lugging your 10/22. A good test of your skills is to see if you can meet the accuracy/time requirements while weilding the sort of gun you might actually have to use.

  11. Hands down the best money you can put towards your shooting. Much better than gadgets and doo-dads.

    To those worried about match rifles, fancy triggers, and scopes…my best score (234) was shot with a 10/22, tech sights, factory barrel, smoothed factory trigger. Don’t over complicate it. Its MUCH more the shooter than equipment. One of the instructors here in Indiana routinely shoots rifleman scores with a single shot Cricket rifle….single shot, bolt action, iron sights, tiny stock.

  12. I had a great time at my first Appleseed. I haven’t made it to another one yet, but I plan to. I want to re-emphasize what someone said above about a shooting mat. Elbows and knees will take a beating otherwise (and maybe anyway). You also need an old-fashioned style rifle sling, though it may be a bit late to be telling you that at this point. The majority of their instruction is based around the use of a properly adjusted basic web sling. If your instructors are like mine, they’ll have a couple spares.

    Have fun!

  13. Read the blog and comments…thought cool..maybe it’s time to go to an Appleseed. Looked for the nearest which is in MA. Never in a million effing years will I go to MA for this event. Read the MA laws and the comments. What would I bring? My flintlock?

    Can’t get one scheduled in NH? VT? ME?

    • If memory serves, which it often does not these days, Appleseed has an event scheduled here in Vermont, usually well, well to the south of me (Saint Albans Bay near Quebec) at least twice a year. I’d love to meet up with somebody from this group.

    • I shot mine in southern NH. The NH folks are generally pretty active during the spring-summer-fall, but now that we have snow on the ground, I suspect the events may be fewer and farther between. I’m hoping that they run a “Winterseed” this winter which is basically an Appleseed shot in sub-freezing conditions (like what they had at Valley Forge). They even have a special patch for it. Check the Appleseed web site. I’m surprised you could not find something (although you might have to wait until May for the events to become prolific again).

  14. I had a great time – qualified as Rifleman on my first day, then spent the rest of my time trying for a perfect score, which eluded me for the duration.

    I wasn’t proficient in sling use before the event, and it really helped me there and in prone. At the end I was asked to join as an instructor, but unfortunately the range where I took the class (about 2 miles from my house) was closed, and the nearest ones now are hours away.

  15. So everyone says 400 rounds… we used 800 rounds in the weekend. I got rifleman on day two of my first Appleseed in CT. We don’t run them enough up here. It was the best shooting event I’ve ever been to and very very fun. Only 2 people made rifleman but everyone had dramatically improved even by the end of day one. I used a sig 522. Oh. And 4 mags would be much much better than 3 for if they decide to try a rapid aqt


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