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Old 05-01-2018, 07:10 PM
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Boulder CO April 2018 2 Day Appleseed (Very Picture heavy) Tips and Trip-ups

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Attended my first ever Appleseed event this past weekend, felt it was worthy spending time for a After Action Report as I got a lot out of it. I will be pretty general with the actual Appleseed shoot and will try to focus more on the equipment side of things.

First of all, a big thank you to the Shoot Boss and RSO's Wxxxx, Pxxx, Bxxxx, Rxxx, and Bxxxx (names not used as I don't have their permission to do so). The RSO's are all volunteers, no pay or compensation so their time commitment is a huge deal , I appreciate that!

Class size of 12 people ranging from 12/13 to 50's years old. All shapes and sizes and also including a lady and a girl. Father with his 3 sons aged 14-23, 2 kids 12 or 13, and 5 more individuals including me and my shooting buddy. Skill level ranged from "never touched a gun till now" to maybe semi-proficient in my case. Also had the 5 RSO's including the man-in-charge, the Shoot Boss. That is a pretty good student to instructor ratio. RSO's all wore a Red or Green Hat.

First day, Saturday. Weather is great-- just a week earlier there was a couple inches of blowing snow and just miserable conditions, typical Colorado spring weather. Clear skies 45 degrees rising to 74. Sunday repeats the miracle but stays partially overcast at 78 degrees, does throw some intermittent wind of 3-8 MPH occasionally. Can't ask better for better conditions in windy Colorado.

view west:
view south
view north
Sunday conditions:

I wanted to do Appleseed at the Boulder Rifle club as that is the local unobtainium range. Initiation fee is $1000 + $250 annual + a work bond, and they still have a 10 year waiting list to get a membership, wow. It's a nice range, but I have others much closer to me that suit my needs better, but I'm glad I got to go to it.

I mentioned weather up front as it has a big impact on your level of enjoyment. This range is uncovered on the 25 meter firing line so you will spend all day in the sun. I also brought cold weather and rain gear. I had sunscreen and stupidly did not use it the first day, lesson learned. Bring lots of water, I brought a half case of bottled water, shooting buddy was smarter and brought a gallon. We each went through most of what we brought.

Another aspect of the weather is the color of my apparel. I like Flat Dark Earth (tan) or white for outdoor clothing. The sun is merciless, dark colors will transfer heat to you, making you more miserable than necessary. I avoid OD greens, blacks, and darker reds and blues. This also applies to the color of my firearms. FDE colored guns sitting in the sun get less hot. Learned that a few years ago shooting summer matches. Those "black rifles" can be pretty unpleasant to the touch if left sitting in the sun. Cerakoting my weapons in different colors serves a purpose, it is about making life easier.

Author's appleseed rifle:

Back to clothing. I Didn't want to wear dark, hot jeans. They are nice and soft but hot. Also know that you will be doing a lot time on your knees and elbows these 2 days. So I got a pair of Duluth Trading CO. "Ultimate Firehose Pants". I wanted these pants for the reasons of 1) they have tan (desert khaki they call it) and 2) they have double knee material with built in knee pockets that you can insert neoprene pads into:

They worked out pretty good, they are a heavy canvas construction with a lot of pockets that were a big convenience. I did not feel heat transfer at all like I would have with jeans.

There are 2 downsides to these pants though,
1) they shrink in the wash. Buy at least 2 inches bigger than you think you need in both waist and inseam.
2) the built in pockets for knee pads are a great idea, just don't work out to well in practice. The knee pads worked great for the first half of the day, then slowly started irritating my kneecaps. So when I am walking the pads swing back and forth at just the right height to hit my knees. you wouldn't think this is a big deal, but after a full day of these swinging strikes with every step, I had a blister line on both knees that matched the pads.

With that said, I took the pads out for the second day and my knees thanked me. I would NOT recommend the Ultimate Firehose pants EDIT ADD 6/25/18: after wearing these for 2 months once a week, they "Stick" to your knees when transitioning to seated shooting causing you to waste time fiddling with them to get into a correct seated position. EDIT ADD 11/3/18, tried these pants again today for another appleseed, they stick to much during transitions. Duluth has opened several brick and mortar stores across the US, I'd highly recommend trying on a pair before you buy if you have that luxury and remember that they shrink.

Standard white T-shirt with a tan shooting jacket, note the elbow pads and the split shoulder pad :

I found this jacket a few months ago while researching Appleseed shoots and equipment. Was trying to find a surplus military shooting jacket as I wanted the padded elbows--ha. None to be found anywhere, so what to do now?

Found seamstress Mary Hicks out of Nebraska. Turns out she makes small runs of shooting jackets for the Marine Corps and will do custom work for you as well. She asks you for a lot of body measurements and will make a custom shooting jacket for you out of just about any material (you can even ship her materials). The jacket is made out of khaki canvas and has a pulse pad, recoil pads and what I thought were way oversize elbow pads. Those "oversize elbow pads" saved my bacon! This was probably the best piece of $140 custom clothing I have bought. Her information:

Footwear. I wore my everyday 11" work boots. I find I tend to pick up goat-heads and other prickly stuff in my socks if I wear tennis shoes to the range.

Hat. A nice wide brim boonie or cowboy hat works well for prone events. Baseball caps tend to get in the way of the rifle scope bell. I've personally found that you either want a boonie cap with a very wide brim or short brim, otherwise the brim tends to get in between you and the scope bell like the baseball caps do. The wide brimmed boonies just lay on top of the scope and give better protection from the sun. Make sure it is ventilated. Most of the people that wore baseball caps had reversed them with the bill facing back by the third target.

Baseball cap example:

Just make sure to wear comfortable clothing and respect the sun and elements.

Shooting mat and ground cover.

Bring a couple of picnic blankets and a folding chair for your staging/rest area. a blanket is superior to a tarp in that it wont blow away anywhere near as easily. Having a blanket under your chair is nice for when you drop things that are small (like that box of .22 bullets that goes everywhere) as they don't get lost in the grass or get dirt on them (that dirt will then go into your gun).

Shooting mats are another big deal. I have a high quality shooting mat that folds into 4 sections and has very nice padding. That padding pretty much eliminated the need for kneepads for me. Wish I had known that ahead of time. This pad also has a bipod rail you can put preload against and I use that feature a lot at other matches. I wish it had some velcro pads on it, but it is what it is. http://www.crosstac.com/apparel/shop...at-olive-drab/

The big advantage of this folding mat over the typical rolling mats is it stays flat and therefore usually doesn't blow away in the wind and it is WIDE. Most mats are to narrow by the time you spread out on them and you find you are laying halfway off it and getting into the weeds and burrs and dirt and bugs. Midway has some 4 way mat knock-offs that are cheaper, but I don't know about the thickness of the padding. This also looks pretty interesting from Midway, the "Half Acre" mat, haha https://www.midwayusa.com/general/pr...d-shooting-mat

My mat in the middle, again tan so it picks up less sun radiation. You can also see how the targets are hung on the suspension wires downrange.

Now on to the Appleseed.

Arrive before 8:30am , mix with the RSO's and help set up targets. They are pretty smart with their target hanging system. They string a wire at 2 heights off vertical beams and hang corrugated plastic board with office binder clips on the wire and pin the targets with push-pins instead of staples---brilliant! Saves a lot of time changing targets and you change a lot of targets.

On to initial meet and brief.
I am kind of miffed about something I read in another appleseed thread on RFC where the poster basically said they don't do proper safety instruction. Let me tell you from experience that is NOT the case. Safety is a big deal to this organization and the first 15 minutes of both days were spent reinforcing that. In fact, line firing was stopped a couple times for safety violations (loading before commanded was a biggie) Shoot boss gave a group time out (stop and huddle up around me and listen) warning on the second infraction, with the threat of the next violation was a "you go home now" event.

Range layout was explained with the "shooting box area" marked with a red line on the downrange side and a blue line on the up range side. Nobody to be in that box unless commanded to, that is where the rifle lives for the whole event and must always be safe. Goal of the redline is to always have a safe rifle's muzzle just touching it. This basically allows the RSO's to account for and safety all the guns in the same area. You can see the red line in this photo, sorry I don't have any good blue line pics:

1) First target shot at (in prone, all redcoats shot in prone position) was called a "Redcoat", a red variation of the army standard rifle qualification target. We got to shoot 13 rounds at 5 targets, 3 per silhouette and one at the square. This was so the instructors could see what type of skills you have. You shoot a Redcoat at the beginning and end of each day for a total of 4. I guess it's supposed to be a report card on your progress through the class.

RSO's then got down to business showing us how to properly use a sling and how to properly shoot in prone position(6 parts of "stable form") using a sling. This is one of the reasons I came to Appleseed, to learn how to shoot with a sling as it is black magic mumbo jumbo to me:

I listed several slings in that pic. I really wanted to use the Vickers VCAS sling I have on other rifles, but the padded section makes the adjustment area to short to work. If I had the version without padding it probably would have ok. The G.I. sling Appleseed recommends is really what is needed for this class as it has the slide tension lock in the right place and the right length of material. I was actually quite bummed that most of my slings won't work with the "slung arm" technique taught here. The 1" nylon generic sling would have probably worked, but I didn't have a tension block slider for it and I think the cotton G.I. sling is a better choice.

2) I was flat out amazed at how much control over the rifle the tension sling method provides, when done in proper form it is incredibly stable, the sights just bob up and down the target slightly with your breathing. We moved on to "5 1 inch box targets", shooting 5 rounds at a time at one box, go downrange see results, come back, wash, rinse, repeat for all five target boxes.

3) Move on to NPOA training for next target, or Natural Point of Aim. Combine that with the previous 6 parts of stable form, groups should be getting smaller. shooting 5 rounds at a time at one box, go downrange see results, come back, wash, rinse, repeat for all five target boxes.

4) Add a time restriction to the previous steps, and also sight adjustment theory and makes sight adjustments. shooting 5 rounds at a time at one box, go downrange see results, come back, wash, rinse, repeat for all five target boxes.

5) Lunchtime. Bring a school-box type of lunch. Pizza and a soda will not do you any favors here, simple plain food high in protein/carbs and water are the best bet as you are going to need energy for the afternoon.

6) Change to green coat target. Now introduced to standing positions with different sling protocol options. Shoot 5 rounds, go downrange, see results, wash, rinse repeat for 2 targets.

7) Position transition training. Learn how to go from a standing to sitting/kneeling position. Shoot 5 rounds, go downrange, see results, wash, rinse repeat for 2 targets. THIS ONE IS A KILLER! THIS WAS THE WORST RESULTS FOR ME BOTH DAYS. I never found a sitting position that I could consistently shoot from, much less feel comfortable in. I finally wound up going to a kneeling position as the best compromise for me. I need to do more work on this

8) Position transition training Standing to Prone. Another tough one to learn. These position swaps have to be done safely but quickly as they are the most time constricted. Trying to do your 6 steps of proper form, breathing technique, and NPOA under time is a pain in the ***, but prone beats sitting any day for me.

9) Shoot final target of the day, another redcoat.

Targets shot on first day, Saturday in order:

Things learned and observed on Saturday.

Do go and shoot your equipment before coming to Appleseed. The Father with his 3 sons were shooting brand new Marlin semi-autos, but one of them went down to being a bolt action that had to be manually cycled each round by hand. This was a very frustrating experience for this poor guy's son. Found out next day that a retaining clip in the trigger mechanism had come off and was the cause of the problem, fixed it, gun ran fine on Sunday. There really is no time to work on your gun at Appleseed as it lives in the firing box at all times and can't be taken off the line for cleaning or maintenance.

You will be sore as hell, you are using muscles and positions you don't normally use. Bring aspirin or ibuprofen. I slept soundly that night.

This is not as easy as it looks. I'm used to bench-rest, silhouette or PRS styles of shooting. I've never done transition positional shooting before. Keep an open mind to learn new techniques.

Ask questions. The instructors are there for you to learn and like questions, and they also seem to have answers.

Learned that I have trigger finger problems. Found out l like to pull the trigger at a angle instead of straight, back, and to top it off I get my finger off the trigger as soon as I fire instead of riding it to reset. Finding out this information was worth the whole price of admission to Appleseed! I've always been taught to have the finger off the trigger until ready to fire, but it is ok to leave the finger on the trigger and ride the reset. This in fact helps accuracy and is an important part of follow through. I noticed groups tighten for me using proper finger trigger control.

They also don't want you gripping the palm area tightly without some space in there, your finger should form a "C" and a handshake strength grip on the gun. If your palm doesn't have a good grip area with the "C" finger, your stock isn't set up to fit you (yea, I all ready knew this rifle stock had limitations: it's a factory ruger, boat paddle plastic stock, made for iron sight shooting. I have a scope and had to put a cheek riser on and knew the grip angle wasn't the greatest to begin with.)

On to Sunday, Day 2

Get to range at 8:00 am, help set up targets.
Again, another SAFETY meeting. Everybody needs to go home at the end of the day with no holes in them.

1) First target is a prone REDCOAT with 13 rounds total. You are trying to put everything you learned yesterday to work.

2) 2nd target is a 5 square transition standing to prone, reinforcing proper techniques 6 steps of form, NPOA and breathing properly.

3) Shoot our first AQT target as practice. This is the target that you can earn a "Rifleman" patch on, so you need to have your **** together now! The AQT is shot in 4 timed sections, each section 10 rounds, however there are a couple twists they throw in there to make it difficult
a) first part is shot standing with a 10 round mag at the biggest, top target, 3 minutes IIRC.
b) 2nd row of targets (2ea) are shot with 2 mags, one with 2 rounds one with 8 forcing you to change mags and only 5 shots per target so you have to count. It is also a transition standing to sitting/kneeling, ONLY 55 Seconds!!!
c) 3rd row of targets (3ea) are again shot with 2 mags, 2 and 8 rounds forcing another mag change. 3 rds 1st & 2nd targets, 4 on 3rd, more counting. It is also a transition standing to prone, ONLY 65 Seconds!
d) 4th row of targets (4ea) shot with 1 mag, 10 rounds, prone. 2 rounds at 1 and 2, 3 rounds at 3 and 4, more counting but 5 minutes time allowed but points double for these
Also the targets get smaller from top to bottom, these things are just plain mean!

4) shoot 2 more AQT's, this time for real, Points Count now!
Now Mr. Murphy decides to help me out as well. Misplace my mags for one of the transition stages, load the 8 round instead of the 2 round, so when I go to shoot shot #5 it goes "click" instead of bang. Wait out hang-fire time and realize I put wrong mag in first. By the time I get i sorted and get the first mag back in, time runs out. I'm also noticing lead chunks in my mags and on the mat. Sure enough, I get 2 more failures---one was a DUD round (CCI std velocity) and another was a mag failure, round stuck down in magazine. Don't know if this is a weak spring or debris blocking path failure, I haven't taken it apart to look yet.

At this Point I am real sore and getting tired and thank God it's lunchtime. Lunchtime is also story time about how the revolutionary war started and certain battles and tactics and interesting individuals.

5) shoot more AQT's, fatigue is really taking toll now and my AQT scores are going the wrong direction

6) Shoot boss breaks up routine, we play a shooting game. Breaks us up into 3 teams and hangs 3 paint sticks vertically from target wire and we prep 20 rounds in 2 mags. First team to shoot their stick in half wins some swag (stickers. patches, etc). That was a lot of fun even if our team didn't win.

7) Told to Hang a 5 square target, grab 5 loose rounds and a mag, this gets interesting:

What is going on here, why is the RSO laying down on the job next to the shooter?

RSO's break us into groups and take us to the firing line individually to give one-on-one instruction for about 15-20 minutes each. They are looking over your entire form of shooting and correcting problems. Again, this is another part of the event by itself that makes it worth coming to the Appleseed shoot!


Last edited by wolfshoon; 11-03-2018 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 05-01-2018, 07:10 PM
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reserved for future expansion, Good thing as I ran into the 21 picture limit and the 20000 character limit in first post.

8) Get a final opportunity for "Rifleman" patch, shoot another AQT. Fatigue is now seriously affecting shooting form and the score proves it.

Targets shot on Sunday, in order:

9) Hang final target of the Appleseed, REDCOAT #4 prone. Managed to just squeak out a perfect score on it (Project Appleseed uses best case scoring, if it touches, it counts)

Redcoat targets (first and last of each day) shown in order. Remember, this is supposed to be a report card of your progress. My case really isn't a very good textbook example:

Clean up range and have final meeting and awarding of "Rifleman" patches to the 4 who qualified. I got to take home one of those coveted patches

Things learned and observed on Sunday and final take-aways from activity:

1) remember what I said about vetting your gear before you go. Make sure you are sighted in at 25 meters. I got burned on AQT targets in 5 different ways:
a) magazine mechanical failure, really nothing I could do about that
b) loading magazines into the rifle in wrong order, cost me 6 potentially perfect scoring shots
c) miscounting the number of rounds per target, they penalize the highest score on the target with too many and you've all ready lost the points on the one you didn't. I'd have gotten 2 AQT's with "Rifleman scores" if I managed my targets better
d) DUD ammo, not really anything I could do about that. Will probably use SK+ next time instead of CCI std velocity
e) clean your rifle Saturday nite, a dirty rifle might have been the cause of some of Sunday's woes

Found this on clean up Sunday night:

general dirtiness in bolt area:

2) Bring ammo, I had about 30 rounds left out of brick of 500
3) IF you run a 10/22 GET A COUPLE OF CLEAR PLASTIC MAGAZINES, that would have prevented the mismanaged magazine failure above.
4) Make sure the gun fits to your body. This is hard to know ahead of time if you are an inexperienced first timer, however I've seen lots of "seasoned pros who've been shooting for years and know how to shoot" on the range with wrong length of pull, improper cheek weld and overall crappy form.
5) Bring "SHARPIE" pens, makes target marking a lot easier
6) Speaking of SHARPIE's, get a silver sharpie and number your magazines and initial them. I numbered all my arrows in archery so I could tell when one was going bad, same thing applies to mags. Plus , if it is marked then there is no question of who owns it. I had an incident at a match a few years ago where a guy did everything but outright accuse me of taking one of his mags. He later magically found his mag he misplaced, but because of that incident I mark every one of my mags now. This avoids having to play the "Who has my ****?" game at the end of the day.

numbered mags, #4 is the one that failed to feed:

Feel good moment of the shoot: The 12 year old girl was one of the 4 people awarded a Rifleman patch----Great Job!

Best reason for going and second feel good moment: The 23 year old son of the guy who brought his 3 sons was a great example of massive improvement. His first groups on Saturday were literally the size of a beach-ball when he was on his target (he actually accidentally shot my buddy's target 3 lanes over early that morning, lol). By the end of Sunday he was shooting very respectable 3" or better groups. Another great job and a shout out to the instructors for getting him there.

This was a fun event that was well worth going to, I intend to take another course. Thanks again to the Appleseed instructors and Boulder Rifle Club.

Bonus pics of rifles and how/why I set mine up:

10/22, note the cheek rest extension and the extended mag release:

10/22, this one got a rifleman patch. Again, cheekrest and mag release mods:

one of the marlin semi-autos

probably the best set-up 10/22 gun for Appleseed with iron sights, this guy got rifleman patch. Another cheek rest extension and has a long mag release lever.

My shooting buddy's gun, CZ455 with SWFA 3-15x. He was the only guy to run a bolt and that hampered him a fair bit, but he was becoming scary accurate towards the end. I might regret talking him into coming to this event with me He was very very close to getting a Rifleman patch (one shot close)

My rifle:

I've found out shooting matches through the years the 2 biggest mechanical aids that help me are an adjustable cheek rest that gives me a proper cheek weld, and a CANT level indicator. This rifle has a cheek adjustment, but I don't have level indicator on it at this time. For the short distance of the Appleseed event I didn't feel it was necessary.

Wanted a lightweight gun for this event as I know how tired I feel shooting silhouette, this one weighs in at 6 lb 1oz with the scope mounted. My other .22 match guns are all 9+ lbs and as tired and fatigued as I got Sunday that would have been a big burden to aim.
This is a basic Ruger 10/22 with a factory receiver, bolt, threaded barrel and stock. I had to swap out the factory trigger, it's just too gritty and wandering in release. I have a KIDD single stage 3 lb trigger installed in it's place. Barrel and action are cerakoted Flat Dark Earth and the black plastic factory stock was cerakoted FDE and Patriot Brown in a 2-tone pattern.

The scope is a Nikon Pro-staff 3-9x. Good glass, crappy reticle design (it's a proprietary Nikon BDC design, I don't like BDC reticles at all). I had taken this scope and put it on the "sell off" pile, but for this Appleseed event it was acceptable. Parallax is set at 50 yd IIRC, so that could account for some errors, but that's a stretch. My eyes went to crap around age 42 and using iron sights is not really a usable option for me. I can see OK at distance, but up close is not a pretty picture. This is why I like shooting rifle over pistol as I can compensate for that eyesight loss with a scope. It is also cerakoted FDE as this was one of my first projects when I was learning how to apply cerakote.

Scope setting was set on 4x for most of the event. For some reason This scope's eye-box view tunnels with a black ring pretty badly at 3x, but clears up at 4x and above. This factory stock is too short LOP for me, that combined with the limited mounting slots on the factory rail mean the scope is about 1/4"-3/8" to far back to get the perfect sight picture and the cheekrest is about 1/2" too far over to properly center comfortably. I am tall and lanky with long hands, the wrist grip of the factory stock leaves a lot to be desired as well. In short this is a ill fitting stock for my body. I'll add a picture of my match guns to compare this one too, notice the differences in stock length, cheek-weld and grips.

Need to remake cheek riser, this is over to far to the left, pulling me away from the scope's eye-box picture

My "comfortable" 22's, notice how how the cheek rests are in relation to the scope center line, I have high cheekbones. These are set up for steel/PRS variable distance (25yd - 200yd) type matches.
1) KIDD ss16.5" 10/22 in PMACA chassis with magpul PRS3 stock 0 MOA base SWFA 3-15 SFP
2) CZ455 16.5" factory barrel pillared and bedded, threaded knob, EGW 0 MOA base SWFA 3-15 FFP
3) another KIDD in Magpul x22 stock with 3/4" cheek riser, 16.5" steel barrel 0 MOA base, SWFA 3-15 FFP:

That last picture piqued my interest, what is the relationship between LOP, scope setback, and the rearmost position of the stock on my other rifles? So I lined them up and laid a wood ruler straight lines across the trigger area as the default, a cleaning rod for scope setback and the edge of the mat as the butt line. My best fitting rifles are the FDE Magpul (top) and the PMACA stock (4th) with the adjustable butt-stock. The 3 others all feel a little short on LOP to me with the factory 10/22 the worst. Scope mounting setback in relationship to the trigger is pretty close to the same on all of them:

That's all folks, thanks for looking.

Last edited by wolfshoon; 05-23-2018 at 07:00 PM. Reason: continue story
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:15 AM
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Professional Review with Loads of Pics!

All I can say is just.... WOW.

This is far and away THE most helpful post I have read on internet forums in at least the last few years.

I have my first Appleseed event coming up in June and have been scouring the internet for information and suggestions so I can get the most out of it as I possibly can.

The Project Appleseed forum has wonderful people and excellent info but this my friend is a GOLD MINE

Thank you for including so many well expressed and well organized details and so many helpful and relevant PICS

I have no experience moderating forums but believe this should be one of the stickies here - It is indeed extremely helpful and honestly very encouraging and inspiring for those of us out here striving for RIFLEMAN
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:19 AM
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Welcome to the ranks of Riflemen! Great post!
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:01 AM

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Very nice write-up. I really like the looks of that shooting jacket. Thanks for providing the contact info for Mary Hicks.

I also shot my first Appleseed 2 day event last month. I have done some three position shooting in NRA "postal" matches many, many years ago, but I had not done any three position shooting for decades until very recently.

I will offer a few comments from my perspective.

First, regarding equipment, I used a largely stock Ruger 10/22 with a synthetic stock. I also have a Ruger 10/22 carbine model with a wooden stock and Tech Sights which I brought as a back-up and did not need. My primary rifle has undergone a trigger job by Brimstone gunsmithing (Tier 2) which made an enormous difference in shootability for me.

I have somewhat longer arms than average and also find the LOP of the stock Ruger 10/22s to be a bit too short. I have installed recoil pads on both my carbines. I use a LimbSaver slip on recoil pad on the synthetic stock and have installed a John Masen recoil pad on the birch stock. These are available from Midway and other vendors. They require a little trimming if you want a flush fit, but they work well:


The rifle I use for the event is a Hawke Sport Optics Vantage 3-9x40 with AO. This is a fairly low-cost adjustable objective scope, available on Amazon and elsewhere for just over $100. It is very comparable in dimensions to the Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 BDC.

I use the stock Ruger 10/22 combo Weaver/3/8" dovetail rail on both my carbines. But in order to get the scope for enough forward for proper eyebox positioning in the prone position, nearly everyone will need to use either an extended rail, a cantilever one-piece scope mount, or a set of extension rings. I use a set of fairly inexpensive Weaver rings with the stock Ruger rail and they work well:


Only one of the rings is an extension ring, but only one is required at the forward end of the rail to get the scope ocular far enough forward. Although these rings are sometimes described as "high" they are anything but, with a saddle height of only .328 inches, but they are high enough to allow mounting of a scope with a 40mm objective diameter, at least with the Ruger 10/22 carbine taper barrel.

I also need something to raise the comb of the stock to provide for a proper cheek weld. I use the Beartooth comb rising kits on both my carbines. These come with a variety of foam pads of different thickness to allow customizing the comb height and I like their appearance:


I did, in fact use clear and black opaque Ruger 10 round rotary magazines to avoid confusing which magazine had 2 rounds and which had 8. But if you only have opaque black magazines, marking them is definitely a good idea. Another tip to avoid getting them confused is to pick up the magazines and shake them. A magazine loaded with 8 rounds will rattle. One loaded with 2 rounds will not.

Regarding other equipment, a good source for USGI cotton or nylon webbing slings is Ammogarand:


They also sell 1 1/4" locking sling swivels and extra keeper cam buckles and J hooks for the web slings. Many shooters find it convenient to apply the loop sling to their upper arm, detach it from the rifle, and leave it on their arm between stages. Although this can be accomplished by releasing and reinstalling a locking sling swivel, I find it more convenient to have an extra J hook at the front end of the sling when detaching and reinstalling it, or when changing slings between the first and second stages of the AQTs as I did.

Although the USGI web sling does work well as a loop sling, I rather prefer a leather "model 1907" type leather sling to the web sling by a small margin. These can be pricey for top drawer models such as those from Rob Brown or Turner Saddlery. I bought a less expensive model from Creedmoor and I have been pretty happy with it thus far:


The only bad thing about this sling model that I have found thus far is that the keepers are rather thin and are stapled together rather than sewn. As a result, they tend to stretch rather quickly. Fortunately, Creedmoor also sells a pair of much better quality leather sling keepers for $6.95 which are much thicker and sewn:


I have found that rigging the 1907 leather sling in a non-standard "no-pulse" configuration reduces the pulse beat that is transmitted from the brachial artery to the rifle stock. I tried this type of configuration to the more common methods of rigging the 1907 sling and found a significant reduction in pulse beat especially in the sitting position. I commented on this option in another thread:


In addition to reducing pulse beat, this sling configuration makes it very easy to adjust length at the forward sling frog. I find I have to tighten the leather sling by two sets of holes when going from sitting to prone. It is not practical to reconfigure the no-pulse sling to a parade sling for carry or use as a hasty sling, however. I simply used a USGI web sling as a hasty sling for the standing off-hand stage, then switched to the leather sling for the sitting and prone stages. With extra J clips installed on the web sling and the leather sling, this was extremely easy to do.

I also find that using some type of padded shooting glove on my support hand significantly reduces beat that can be transmitted from the hand to the stock. Again, Creedmoor has some inexpensive options for open finger shooting gloves.

My shooting mat is a fairly inexpensive roll up model by NcStar that works pretty well and is available in tan:


A pretty inexpensive option for a shooting mat is to buy one or two of the 4 panel anti-fatigue foam "puzzle mats" sold by Harbor Freight:


The foam panels fit together along the edges like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Three panels fit together provide more than enough length. If you cut the fourth panel lengthwise, you can widen most of the mat's length. Or buy 2 sets and cut two of the panels lengthwise, and you will have enough to make two complete shooting mats that are as long and wide as most custom shooting mats. I used one of these foam mats under my roll up mat for additional padding. It was nice to have the cloth mat to fold over the rifle to keep the sun off of it, or protect it from a light shower. As it turns out, I loaned the other foam mat set I had to another Appleseed shooter who did not have a proper mat.

I definitely agree that a ball cap is less than ideal for prone shooting with an optic. Boonies work well as did the cheap, broad billed straw hat I bought at Walmart.

As for knee padding and pants, I use a pair of relatively light weight "tactical" cargo pants made by 5.11 with interior knee pockets for padding. I cut rectangles of 1/4" thick minicell foam to put in the pockets. This provided plenty of padding especially in combination with my shooting mats. The minicell foam is very light and I scarcely notice it there when I am not shooting. The jacket I used did not have elbow pads, but I wore a pair of elastic volleyball elbow pads under the jacket which worked well.

As for tactics, I absolutely agree on trying out your rifle, magazines, and ammunition prior to the event. I have read comments from some Appleseed instructors that one should just come to the event to avoid learning bad habits. But not all rifles even of identical manufacture and model work well with the same ammunition. You also need to confirm reliability of the magazines you plan to use as well as the rifle as a whole.

While sight adjustment is covered during Appleseed I think most shooters will be happier if their sights or optics are at least roughly zeroed prior to the event. Zeroing sights can take longer than it seems it should, and you will not have time to work out issues with your scope positioning if you are using one.

There is no question that the AQT stages that require transitioning from standing to sitting or standing to prone under the clock are the hardest. I have undergone hip replacement surgery within the last couple of years and also have a somewhat bad knee, so I am not nearly as spry as I used to be. This cost me a few valuable seconds on the transition stages. I actually shoot pretty well in the cross-legged sitting position, and if Stage 2 of the AQT allowed one to start from the sitting position (as for NRA three-position rules do) I think I could clean that stage pretty easily. But in Stage 2 of the AQT you must start from a standing position with the bolt closed on an empty chamber. On the "Fire" command you must transition from standing to sitting, load a 2 round magazine, chamber a round, acquire natural point of aim on the first silhouette, fire one or two rounds at that silhouette, change magazines, reacquire NPOA, fire a balance of 5 rounds at the first silhouette, shift and acquire NPOA on the second silhouette, and fire five rounds at that silhouette. That is a lot to accomplish within 55 seconds and will require most shooters to fire at a moderately rapid cadence to avoid "saving" rounds.

I find that upon transitioning from standing to sitting, I have a considerable pulse beat that takes several seconds to "quiet down" before I can commence shooting. I think this is something which might improve with practice and some improvement in my current level of physical conditioning.

A common tactic to save a split second on the second and third AQT stages is to switch magazines after the first shot, leaving the second round chambered so as to avoid having to cycle the bolt with the charging handle to chamber the third round.
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Old 05-10-2018, 01:24 PM
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OK stupid question time...

old fart shooting since 1962 and Army for 22 + years.... all my slings were just slings... you know, over shoulder transport of rifle to and from the hunt site or motor pool many times slung across back while working on a Huey

On this forum and my other go to forum I tend to think I want to do Appleseed but I really need to work on getting in SHAPE...I have quality tack drivers that fit me and are reliable

I appreciate all the various AARs posted...this one being very well written with gobs of excellent suggestions

OK--- the stupid question.... please describe the use of a sling for shooting.....

I hate that at 63 I have no clue ----and as I hit "POST" I am off to google

BUT the quality of folks here-- and their experience level ---I suspect I will get a great set of answers as to HOW and WHY certain slings make for better shooting....
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:39 PM
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First off, great post and congratulations on earning your patch.

I've shot 8 Appleseeds, and this photo is from my first one.
I got fried by the sun both days with the temps in the high 80's

After that I brought my own canopy, and put it over the shooting line.
I shared it with 2 other shooters.
It worked so well that at every subsequent match there were at least two more in use.
Takes the sun (and rain) out of the equation and I highly recommend using one.

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of mine in use. It's a bigger than the one in the photo.


Last edited by Smoothtrigger; 05-10-2018 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:49 PM

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The use of a sling for rifle stabilization while shooting allows more of the rifle's weight to be borne directly by the skeletal system rather than muscular tension. The more muscle you have to use to support the rifle, the more quickly you will tire, and the less stable you will be.

Not all shooters use a sling for off-hand shooting in the standing position. For one thing, NRA and CMP high power three position competition shooting rules do not allow the use of the sling for stabilization while standing, although the sling must remain attached to the rifle. Appleseed allows you to use the sling standing in a hasty or loop configuration, or not at all. I prefer to use the sling in a "hasty" configuration when standing.

I use a loop sling in the sitting and prone positions and in these positions the sling makes a huge difference, at least for me. Although I prefer the "1907" leather sling (so-called because it was adopted by the US Army in 1907 for the model 1903 Springfield bolt action rifle) the USGI web sling works quite well as a loop sling.

Here is a brief video from an Appleseed event showing the use of a USGI web sling in several different configurations:

The first configuration demonstrated is sometimes called the "hasty hasty". In this configuration the support arm is simply placed between the two point sling and the rifle and drawn as high up across the upper arm as possible. In the "hasty" configuration, the support hand is crossed back under, around, and over the sling near the front sling swivel which provides greater support and a more stable position. When properly adjusted for length, the hasty sling applies pressure across the chest at the pectoral muscles as well as the upper arm and the back of the hand. In effect, the sling tension along with the bones of the upper arm and forearm create a triangle that is much more stable than the use of the arm and hand alone.

Note that for the loop configuration, with the USGI web sling, the butt stock end of the sling is completely detached from the rifle and the loop is created by pulling up the sling webbing at the center of the "double D" or "H ring". After placing the loop as high on the upper arm as possible and snugging it down, the support hand is placed between the rifle and sling as before, and once again passed back under, around, and over the sling near the front swivel.

In this video, the USGI web sling is attached so that the cam lever of the keeper buckle and the excess length of sling at the feed end face away from the rifle. Some prefer the cam lever and excess length facing the rifle. It is easy to switch from one to the other and it is a matter of personal preference.

Here is another video demonstrating the use of the model 1907 type leather sling:

I would also suggest the Ken Roxburgh videos on high power shooting in the standing, sitting, and prone positions which have been posted on the same user's channel. Note that since these videos are geared towards NRA high power the use of the sling in the standing position is not permitted for stabilization.

Ken Roxburgh recommends setting up the leather sling in what has been called the "USMC" configuration. The Army uses the same type of sling rigged in a somewhat different configuration with the two frogs facing away from the rifle and the two keepers separated with an upper and lower keeper. I have seen several other ways to rig the same sling including the "Jim Owens no-pulse" configuration that I like to use.

With the leather sling in its most common configurations, the sling is lengthened by detaching the frog of the short strap and reattaching it to the short strap itself near its end, but the sling remains attached to the rifle at the butt stock. The short strap will hang somewhat loose when the rifle is mounted.

Although a taut sling will significantly increase stability for most shooters, I have been told by experienced shooters that a tight sling will change the POI somewhat and I found that to be true. After zeroing my scope at 25 meters using a bench and bags, I found that the sling shifted my POI downward and slightly to the left (I am a right-handed shooter). This is not a problem but may require an adjustment in your sights or scope to accommodate for the POI shift.

Last edited by pblanc; 05-10-2018 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 05-10-2018, 03:38 PM
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Too funny that I actually understood pblanc's post....thank you sir!
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Smoothtrigger View Post

After that I brought my own canopy, and put it over the shooting line.
I shared it with 2 other shooters.
It worked so well that at every subsequent match there were at least two more in use.
Takes the sun (and rain) out of the equation and I highly recommend using one.
Fantastic, I have one that I use for steel events, didn't even occur to me to bring it. Great suggestion, especially for the follow up Known Distance course coming in the end of July.
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