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Old 03-24-2012, 10:01 PM
IceDeep

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My first Appleseed (rundown)



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Ok this will be sorta quick as I am pretty tired and I got to be up early for day #2 but I know people like hearing about there experiences on AS.

First let me say thanks to all who contribute to the program in one way or another wither as a coordinator, shoot boss, instructor, or instructor in training.

I am not a slouch when it comes to shooting (this is before) and have killed many a bird, and wasps either with the BB gun when I was young and running around town, to the time I killed a jack rabbit high tailing it away from me and zig-zagging with a .22 revolver (3 shots got it at maybe 25 yards [seemed longer to a 12yo kid]). Recently I have been able to hit a bullseye with my 308 at 100 yards (averaging about 1 to 1-1/2 inch groups), and could get ragged targets at 25 yards with my 10/22 for the most part.

While I looked into some of the techniques used in AS nothing compares to having a instructor with between 100-200 hours of training helping you learn instead of by yourself. I was one of the better shooters at the shoots today and was able to get both the "head" shot (barely) as well as go 2/3 at 400 yard target and 3/3 at the 300 yard target. On all of this I was either the only one, or one of a few (3 or so) people to do this. Yet I still kept a very open mind because I knew I had more I could learn and I knew I could do better.

The instructors were very friendly with the exception(with good reasons) when a safety rule was broken, or going to be broken. AS sadly isn't for everyone and I did see one person (I actually think a couple) go home early because it wasn't there cup of tea. I think this is mainly due to the aspect that not everyone is "ready to learn" and some think they "know it all".

We put down range about 150 shots and we actually didn't get to do any AQT's because 90% of the people were on the beginner end of the scale of shooting. Though you could see the bright faces of one of the women when during the first shooting she was one of the best shooters. Also I had a women next to me who seemed to have zero experience and I saw her get a lot of one-one instructor help both from a women instructor as well as one of the male instructors. She went from missing the paper all of the time accept a lucky hit to actually getting on target a few times.

I saw many of the people improve there groups from hazy almost spray and pray type groups to smaller more manageable groups that were about 1/2 dollar size (again this people for the most part were either young and inexperienced, or even older and inexperienced).

On my end of the line I had 2 other experienced shooters and both went from ok groups to very fine groups (one person had almost perfect ragged groups on many of the targets by the end of the day but it was his 2nd seed).

A few questions I would like to answer for some people...

1. Is there a lot of politics? Yes and no... Yes the is politics but it's historical politics that is spoken of. It's made to show you the context of what people gave up (there lifes, or families lives, or at least had the chance of it) to give you what we have today (and some would say is slipping away bit by bit off a cliff).

2. Can I learn something even if I "know how to shoot? Yes! I would say just about anybody accept maybe the top 1% of shooters in the world (and maybe even them) will learn at least one thing if not a dozen to improve there shooting.

3. Can a new shooter learn a lot from Appleseed? Yes, the instructors care very much about the project in my experience and are there to help people. The might get there expenses partially, or fully paid for but the real pay for there time and effort is seeing people improve there shooting and understand what people gave up to give you the ability to go out and do just what we are doing.

4. Is the historical information interesting? Yes! As someone who has studied a bit into the founding father, the war for revolution, the constitution, etc... I can tell you that it gave me a good context of what I had read into but never really "felt in the heart". I knew people died for the liberties we have in America but I never really understood how much they gave up, or risked.

Last but not least remember you don't have to do anything at the AS shoot you don't want to accept let the instructors talk when they are saying something and obey the safety rules. If you don't want to shoot the way they are telling you to you don't have to but your defeating some of the purpose of being there by doing so. Keep a open mind, keep safety first and try and keep your heart open to the loses of our forefathers and mothers to give you what you have today and you will have a new respect for both yourself, your historical heritage as well as your fellow American who is willing to work with you to keep what we have today.

Let me sorta repeat...
Now with that all said my groups/shooting got worse but was improving near the end of the day about back to were I was with some groups and shooting coming out better (again) I was 3/3 at 300 yards (one of only 2 or 3 of a 25 person group) on the first red coat lineup. But by the end of day one I was the only person to be 3/3 at 400 yards where at the start I was only 2/3. So if you go and your shooting actually gets worse for awhile it's understandable you prob practiced those techniques (which were most likely flawed in some way) for years. Can you expect to switch to a new way of driving a car and be just as good as you are now in a day or two? Nope.. That goes for anything and especially for a precision skill such as long distance shooting.

Hope this helps some people as earlier summaries helped me! Thanks again.
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Old 03-25-2012, 01:49 PM
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Great write up. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

I'm sure there's a Rifleman's Patch just waiting for you!
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:32 PM
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And we wait with baited breath for the day two right up.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:11 PM
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I, also, attended my first Appleseed this weekend, and my impression was not unlike IceDeep's. Our group was much smaller which was fortunate, because due to a shortage of instructors in the South Texas area there were only two. The group was pretty diverse, ranging in age from late teens to the '70s and from absolute novice to somewhat experienced shooters.

The instructors handled the group very well, and as best I could tell everyone was quite pleased with the event. The novice shooter was a college student in his late teens who, very possibly, had never fired his brand new S&W or anything else. The instructors were very patient with him and worked one-on-one to help him reach the point of being able to at least get most of his shots on the paper. They even allowed him to remain in the prone position and fire at the five square targets while the others were going thru the AQT's. They were absolutely committed to not allowing him to become discouraged during his early, frustrating attempts, all while keeping the firing line running safely and smoothly for the others. I had the best view of this process since I was firing in the position to his right, and as a left hander I was facing his position the entire day.

My objective for the Appleseed was, and still is, to be able to fire a Rifleman score with iron sights with my eyes which have been keeping me from walking into trees, etc. for comfortably north of 70 years. After completing the first day and two AQT's I am convinced that it is doable, but not exactly the cakewalk I had originally hoped. I will have to work on mag changes, because in phase two of one AQT I was only able to get off three rounds for a score of 12 due to a long and difficult mag change. But for that mishap I would have been within striking distance.

Bottom line, I learned a lot, got acquainted with some neat folks and managed to get off over 200rds for the day. I'll be back and hopefully will be able to make both days next try.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:54 PM
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03a3guy,

Tell me you weren't shooting an 03a3?

You mentioned mag changes so I assume you were shooting something else. Were you using peep sights? Peep sights and the longer the barrel the better helps with my 'not as old as your eyes' eyes.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:21 PM
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03a3guy,

Tell me you weren't shooting an 03a3?

You mentioned mag changes so I assume you were shooting something else. Were you using peep sights? Peep sights and the longer the barrel the better helps with my 'not as old as your eyes' eyes.
What's wrong with shooting an 03A3. I did it at my 3rd Appleseed. Wasn't able to break 210 with that one, but did get into the 180's. You really gotta practice your shooting cadence, though. Biggest problem is cycling the bolt and getting back on target in stage 3. Seems like I left 2 or 3 in the mag well on that stage.

Hector
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:44 PM
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No, I wasn't using an 03A3, but interestingly enough the range owner brought out an absolutely gorgeous 03A3 that had been completely restored with a new barrel and new CMP wood that I coveted seriously. Unfortunately, he had ruined it by putting on a replica scope and removed the original sights. The 03A3 was the first rifle I was ever issued, and I can still remember its serial no. I told the guy that if the S/N was right I would claim that one on the spot.

Too bad you can't graft that sight onto one of my rimfires. That is, in my humble opinion, the finest aperture sight ever mounted on a USGI weapon.

FYI, I was using a Marlin 795 with TechSights. If I really get desperate I may move the sights to my late 80's vintage Marlin 60 with the 22" barrel and give the AQT a go with that, though I don't think it will come to that. This weekend I was bothered by the bright sun with a target that was actually shaded, and I much of the time had a problem seeing the 300-400yd targets. Of course, if I got into better shape so that I wouldn't sweat so that even on an 85 degree day I wouldn't have to wipe my eyes after every round either.

Last edited by 03a3guy; 03-26-2012 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:06 PM
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Nothing wrong with an 03. It is an awesome rifle. I would bow at the feet of someone who can do it with an 03. That would be a challenge.

I've shot rifleman a number of times with various rifles, including a 20" bbl 10/22 with Tech Sights. I have also shot it with a scoped bolt action 22 but not an iron sighted center fire bolt action.

I have a set of Tech Sights on my 795. The two inch difference in barrel length between the 20 and 18" bbls makes a difference to my eyes. Not that I can't see the front sight on the 18" bbl, I just see two of them. Even though I think my 795 is more accurate it was more difficult to shoot well with the Tech Sights than my 10/22. None the less I was able to shoot above 210 with 57 year old eyes.

I did discover a few things that made it easier to do with my 795 the next time. Put some weight in the butt stock and fore stock. I put about 50 rounds of 22s in a plastic bag and put it into the butt stock. I also put about 30 rounds into the fore stock under the barrel. There are some divided sections and you can fit in about 7-10 rounds per section. Wrap the rounds under the barrel in foil to insulate them from barrel heat. This weight really helps the heft and balance. Of course you can use just about anything to weigh it down. Also I noticed that a tight sling changed the point of impact. I loosened mine up a bit but I've read about people putting a steel rod to stiffen the stock. That would add both weight and stiffness.

Last edited by mac66; 03-26-2012 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:05 PM
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I have just gotten a walnut stock for a 995 from Numrich that I am going to fit to my 795 that may well change the "heft" of it a bit also. I like the feel of my '87 vintage 995 better than the 795, and that may well be why. I had thought about using the 995 for Appleseed, but I just couldn't bring myself to butcher its pristine, checkered walnut stock to put on a sling, and besides, it doesn't have the LSHO like the 795.

I ordered what I thought was a plain walnut stock and received one complete with checkering just like the 995, so I am going to refinish it and put it on. It should be a bit stiffer than the composite stock and has a little more weight in the butt end.

While I think the longer barrel of the 60 would be better, I also have a harder time shooting offhand with it, because all the additional weight is in the barrel.
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Old 03-27-2012, 07:37 AM
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And in the mean time we are waiting for ICE DEEP to come back and tell us how he did. Sorry for hijacking your thread.
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Old 03-27-2012, 07:52 AM
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And in the mean time we are waiting for ICE DEEP to come back and tell us how he did. Sorry for hijacking your thread.
So much for simpicity and precision.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:21 AM
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And in the mean time we are waiting for ICE DEEP to come back and tell us how he did. Sorry for hijacking your thread.
No worries about "hijacking" as they call it. I am just glad to see people were interested in how I did, and what I thought/think of the program.

Day 2:

(My memory isn't so good because I basically went to bed as soon as I could on the 2nd day from being so tired from such a long weekend and yesterday was house work stuff I missed on the weekend).

We started off the day with another round of redcoats, and then we spent a good amount of time working on POA such as shooting redcoats sideways to make us really move our POA, as well as practicing cadence shooting in time together through the instructors breathing pattern.

We shoot a few ATQ's and I must say they really are tougher than I gave them credit for. The standing portion isn't to bad but I can tell I need to practice my ability to stabilize the weapon.

The transitioning from standing to sitting was very tough with the time limit allowed, especially with a magazine change and on the first ATQ I messed up mainly due after shooting the first target I reloaded the next mag and forgot which shoots went were and put 3 in one and 7 in the other because I was focusing on doing everything else and my mind slipped.

The transitioning from standing to prone was also tough and I didnt get all rounds fired.

I did alright on the prone but I still have the "first round wild" which I honestly don't think it's due to my shooting I think it's from being in such I hurry I don't rack the slide as I normally do. I know it's not the weapon because it's not 100%, and while shooting without time pressures I don't have this issue accept once every 10 magazines. While shooting ATQ's every first shoot seemed to be this way and it's very discouraging when you are trying to do your best.

None the less with all these issues I was still in the 150's range and then 170's which I know I will improve on with a month or two of practice at the range.

The Shoot Boss allowed some of us with centerfire rifles (I was shooting my Ruger Target, but had brought my Sig Sauer 556) to go to the long distance range and try that. I had recently put a scope on the rifle as the iron sights on very poor for anything accept close quarters combat and it wasn't dialed in at all especially for that distance. Though at 200 yards I was able to get a number of targets on paper and I am curious how I would have done if I actually had a sling.

The other 2 people who went to the long distance range were doing very well. They didn't have super tight groups but one guy with his M1A was able to get 5/5 on the target all in the black. The guys actually through I was hitting center mass with my 2nd round and one of the instructors was impressed but it seems they didn't see properly through the spoting scope (60X, looked very nice). I was actually a 6 inches out of the black on the left.

After that we were given a choice either hang with the regular group and continue to do as they were doing with some changes (along with shooting ATQ's, shoot cookies, more red coats, more ATQs and they were going to give away some flags) or go with one of the Red Hats and one instructor and go through ATQ after ATQ. I thought I needed more of a chance to dial in my Sig so I did that but after seeing I wasn't going to dial it in as I liked doing that I switched back to my Ruger. The 2nd to last ATQ is were I got 170 something (target isn't with me) but on the last ATQ I saw a those 2 flyers from the first shoot and mag change and I knew I was burnt out and just needed to take a break from shooting for the rest of the day. We had several people who were right on the verge of getting rifleman one guy shoot 208 not once, but twice! Another was in the just about 200 range.

We ended up having the range owner come in and shoot with a bolt action (sorry can't remember what it was, but it was a centerfire) and qualify on his 3rd ATQ, we also had a instructor re-qualify and get another rifleman badge (which I didn't know you could do).

I know we had a lot of impressed people and I would say about 1/2 the group stayed to clean up the brass and everything else and we left the range as good/better than when we found it. I also enjoyed chatting with some of the people there as one of the instructors (the one who qualified a 2nd time and is a young man I would say in the 17yo range) about the ruger and some of the modifications I have done, and another instructor (actually his father) who told me about a gunsmith I could get a nice and cheap (35 bucks!) trigger job he said would be helpful.

One thing I wanted to comment on is you could tell one person (I won't embarrass him/her by saying who) while doing the stories would get rather emotional and that the revolution and what was given up was very close to their heart. They would have a quivering lip and that voice change while giving some of the stories and it really make you feel it a bit yourself.

I didn't find there was a "sale-mans pitch" for anything, not the RWVA, or the ROC card or anything. It was mentioned once or twice and the real pitch is all about making sure people understand that what we have today in this country isn't just something that fell out of the sky for us but people stood, fought, and died for it and we need to appreciate that. And if we appreciate it maybe we will make different decisions, or put more effort into keeping what we have.

Overall I would say that I learned a few things most especially that will help me in the end.

1. Use of a sling... I was as clueless as a newborn on how to use a sling for anything other than carrying my rifle. I never used one before and now I think I have it pretty well down both the arm sling, as well as the hasty sling (and even the hasty, hasty sling which I didn't practice but is rather simple).

2. Positions... I knew how to hold a gun so I could shoot fairly well, but I must say I saw a vast improvement in rifle stabability using the positions that are thought there.

3. POA... I have gotten a bit better at POA, even before the weekend I was practicing the POA and doing the "put gun on target, close eyes, check POA, adjust" but now I know how to do that other than just sitting on a bench.

4. Cadence/Breathing... I was doing it all wrong and I think this is what messed me up the most especially with ATQs. I have been practicing "holding breath" not "releasing breath" but the instructors gave us a good example of why shooting during the pause while your breaths are empty is the best. For one you can't know if your lungs are full or not the same as the last shoot, and two if your using bone support and not muscle support (As I was) you will be more relaxed. I do think the way I was doing it (lungs full) helps with your trying to muscle the rifle, but I think it's not the best way to be accurate. The only reason I say that is because of the fact that when you hold your breath it helps your muscles keep tension. But even with that said I will be working very hard to correct myself in this area and do the relaxed, pause between breathing shooting from now on.

5. Trigger pull... I noticed after a instuctor told me hold to put my trigger on the trigger properly I was able to get near perfect shoots at times (right at POA, center mass) which made me a believer in a hurry.

If I had one negative thing to say about Appleseed it would be the following...

I am a very, ummm shall I say OCD, or anal person? I like doing things exactly as they should be done and this helps me in some ways but I basically had to ignore the windage/MOA training they did because they say "it's good enough" which I understand there training people specifically to shoot out to 500 yards/meters and not beyond. The training is made to make it easy for people to do those corrections. Not saying I know a ton about windage/MOA but I could tell they were teaching "sorta right" things and not "exactly right things" in this area. Thus I didn't want to learn something that is "sorta right" with the way I learn I prefer to learn exactly right even if it means study on my own without help.

Besides that and the fact I am sore and hurting a bit from all the hard work I can't say one bad thing about the program (and honestly being sore isn't anything anyone can fix and it's a small price to pay for the instruction, I don't think I am that bad of shape for a guy in my 30's either). Good people who you can tell care, good instruction which is better than any non-official instructions I have had. I am very sure than in the next appleseed or two I will get my badge and because I signed up for RWVA before going, and now have my ROC I will continue to make the effort to every AS until then and maybe, just maybe I will look into taking a orange hat at that point I know they need more in my area. The Green hat and red hat were both from out of my state so I really appreciate them making the trip to allow that to happen. I think we only have a handful of orange hats in our state sadly.

Hopefully people think I have been fair, and I can't comment on what the bigger group did while we were at the long distance range or the ATQ "grind" hehehe. But I can say every day I enjoyed, every ache and pain was worth it.

Thanks!
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:47 AM
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Thumbs up

Thank you for the write-up(s). We're on the fence with whether to travel up-state for an Appleseed that fits our schedule and your postings convey information that's real useful to consider. Good on you for taking the time.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:00 AM
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Thanks for the feed-back and good on you for sticking it out. Yep, we learned how out of shape we were too! LOL At this point the best practice you can do is dry fire practice in you living room floor. Get someone to time you on the transitions, try to get that first shot off in under 12 seconds. Just do 10-15 minuets 2 or 3 times a week. You are trying to develope muscle memory and erase bad habits. Talk your self through the 6 steps. You should see ZERO wiggle when that hammer falls.

Pick one rifle, make it sing and dance. Switching from one rifle to another with the time monkey will cause you to waste motion as the wrong muscle memory kicks in. Until you can do it with a "little rifle", you can't with the big one. A 556? Man I'm jealous! My wife and I both a Sig fans.

If there is a position you don't like...Practice it the most!

Don't go overboard on rifle mods, it ain't about the rifle. But...Any quirks it has in reliablity or mags getting hung up, etc, figure those out and fix them.

Myself, I hated that loop sling at my first one. Now it's all I use in all positions but the hasty is best in the standing. In prone/sitting (with the loop), if the sling isn't just on the edge of hurting, it ain't tight enough.

Yep, IMC....Too much math in public will make folks eyes glaze over. Plus we can't get detailed and specific because every rifle is different. But the generic come-ups and wind formula will get you on paper with hits. Occasionally we have lines with nothing but LE or Mil, we cater that to the students.

This is 5 days worth of material put out in 2 days, it'll take you some time to chew on it, practice it a bit, and at some point the light bulb will click and you'll find 220+ scores flow like water, one after another.

The physical parts of shooting are perishable but the KNOWLEDGE part of how to do it is not. These fundamentals will cross to any rifle in any discipline. Work on it and even if have problems down the road, you'll know what you need to do to fix it. Have fun and look forward to seeing you get the patch and an orange hat if si inclined. It's very rewarding in so many ways....O.L.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:48 PM
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Thank you for the write-up(s). We're on the fence with whether to travel up-state for an Appleseed that fits our schedule and your postings convey information that's real useful to consider. Good on you for taking the time.
No problem, and your welcome I am glad to be of help. The whole reason I posted this was for people like you trying to decide if it's worth your time .

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Thanks for the feed-back and good on you for sticking it out. Yep, we learned how out of shape we were too! LOL At this point the best practice you can do is dry fire practice in you living room floor.
Yep sadly as a single guy I don't get much chance to have someone time me. I play on getting some timer to time myself as well. I will do plenty of dry firing practice but since the place I stay in is so small there is many areas where I can aim at anything 15 feet away, let alone 25 feet. The best spot would to be laying on the floor in the kitchen. I know I will keep working on some things even with no rifle in my hand such as trigger pull in relation to breathing. I did that the first night laying in bed I would breath out - pause/pull - breath in, repeat. This is one of my big issues because of working so hard to learn the wrong way apparently.

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Originally Posted by Xsail View Post
Get someone to time you on the transitions, try to get that first shot off in under 12 seconds. Just do 10-15 minuets 2 or 3 times a week. You are trying to develope muscle memory and erase bad habits. Talk your self through the 6 steps. You should see ZERO wiggle when that hammer falls.

Pick one rifle, make it sing and dance. Switching from one rifle to another with the time monkey will cause you to waste motion as the wrong muscle memory kicks in. Until you can do it with a "little rifle", you can't with the big one. A 556? Man I'm jealous! My wife and I both a Sig fans.
I totally agree on this. I plan on working more with my little .22lr's (Ruger 10/22 Target-scoped, and 10/22 Carbine-tech sights) than my Sig. Mainly I was just wanting to get a change of pace and see if those qualities would have helped me on my Sig, as well as just giving me my only chance so far to fire at long ranged (beyond 100 yards). The Sig is a great gun, though I really don't know what it's capable of, I just know it's built like a tank and very reliable. Fired everything I have ever shot through it from cheap steel ammo, to M855, to Hornet and Black Hills ammo. One thing I will say is I have found (so far, I need more testing on this) is you really seem to need heavier ammo (at least 60 grain or higher) to take advantage of what it can do. Really it's not made to be a 1MOA rifle, it's made to be a 3MOA rifle or slightly better that you could use in battle conditions and not be without a weapon due to the two stage piston switch. Also it's a piece of cake to clean (I have fired 100-200 rounds through it a few times and the chamber looks almost as clean as if I hadn't fired it at all) and really only inside the piston gets dirty, and even the barrel seems to stay cleaner than on some other guns I have fired (though can't compare to a AR, never shot, or cleaned one).

I am considering building a custom long range AR especially since all my mags/sights/ammo will switch back and forth well if I build it right. Prob something with a 20 inch barrel not a 16 inch like the sig.

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Originally Posted by Xsail View Post
If there is a position you don't like...Practice it the most!

Don't go overboard on rifle mods, it ain't about the rifle. But...Any quirks it has in reliablity or mags getting hung up, etc, figure those out and fix them.
The one mod I would say EVERY ruger user should work on, and do with there rifle is a automatic bolt release. This will really help out with the timed portion. I don't worry about the trigger on my Target model it's not to bad, but for 35 bucks it's something I will consider if I could get it to the quality I have on say my Savage 308 (2.5 lbs) which is so crisp it really helps the trigger pull.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xsail View Post

Myself, I hated that loop sling at my first one. Now it's all I use in all positions but the hasty is best in the standing. In prone/sitting (with the loop), if the sling isn't just on the edge of hurting, it ain't tight enough.
Standing is something I need to work on to get my groups to a reasonable level, I do pretty well in both prone and sitting I think the main thing with all of this I need to work on is the adjustment of POA while staying in position.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xsail View Post

Yep, IMC....Too much math in public will make folks eyes glaze over. Plus we can't get detailed and specific because every rifle is different. But the generic come-ups and wind formula will get you on paper with hits. Occasionally we have lines with nothing but LE or Mil, we cater that to the students.

This is 5 days worth of material put out in 2 days, it'll take you some time to chew on it, practice it a bit, and at some point the light bulb will click and you'll find 220+ scores flow like water, one after another.
Yeah I don't blame the program or instructors at all. When you have a group of about say 70% newer shooters and maybe only 10% experience shooters with the rest in the middle you really need to do it the way they do. They admit that this is just the easy way to do it and make it so people can memorize everything without having to do math in there head and such besides basic multiplication tables. I just don't like to learn things the wrong way even though I never plan on shooting beyond 500 yards I just want to learn it right when I do. I did learn a bit more about MOA/Distance changed and helped get it set in my mind as to what I had previously learned.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xsail View Post

The physical parts of shooting are perishable but the KNOWLEDGE part of how to do it is not. These fundamentals will cross to any rifle in any discipline. Work on it and even if have problems down the road, you'll know what you need to do to fix it. Have fun and look forward to seeing you get the patch and an orange hat if si inclined. It's very rewarding in so many ways....O.L.
Thanks for the reply and I look forward to continuing to work on it and take what I learned into more constant use every time I dry fire, and go to the range.

Last edited by IceDeep; 03-27-2012 at 12:53 PM.
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