Monday, April 16, 2012

Appleseed, two days of well spent time....


The Appleseed Project. What is it... and what is it all about?

The 'Ol Fat Man just got done a weekend Appleseed rifleman clinic, and is now happy to report out for the folks here on Carteach0.

Copied in whole from the Appleseed web site:

"The Revolutionary War Veterans Association is committed to renewing civic virtue - prioritizing civic responsibility over personal interests and indulgence. We are wholly comprised of volunteers who commit time, resources and passion toward achieving the RWVA mission. As a 501(c)3 organization, we promote civic responsibility through the teaching of colonial history and the American tradition of rifle marksmanship in a safe, non-partisan environment."

From my experience this weekend, that is exactly what Appleseed does. It's an effort to ignite the hearts and minds of Americans through the teaching of history, and basic marksmanship skills. At the time of the American Revolution, the people of this nation were unique in the world, and part of that was wrapped up in the way we fought the war... as individual soldiers, each tasked as a 'rifleman', and each tasked to use their ingenuity and skills to bring down the enemies of their homeland. Actual 'rifles' saw very little use in the Revolution, but the skills involved in being an individual marksman certainly did.

Where just about every other nation in the world treated their soldiers as automatons to be directed in every action, en-masse, the fledgling United States depended on it's citizen soldiers to act with individual intelligence, and an understanding and belief of what they were doing and why. This meant one man.... one lone elderly American....
with no orders and no help, could harry, harass, and slow an entire column of British troops . Before the British troops could be formed into ranks as ordered, present arms as ordered, and fire as ordered.... that American militiaman had fired on the column, downed several enemy soldiers, and ridden away to wait around another bend in the road.

This very act set the United States apart from all others. The idea that every man and woman was an individual thinking intelligent citizen and could decide for themselves the best course of action against an aggressor... this idea was foreign to every major nation at the time.

It's this uniquely American attitude and tradition which Appleseed reminds us of.

Each Appleseed event is part history, and part rifleman instruction. Invaluable skills are taught to shooters both young and old, with rest breaks involving stories and lessons from history, all centered around a particular date. April 19th... the day of 'Paul Revere's Ride', and what it means to us as Americans.

The instructors at every Appleseed event are volunteers. They don't spring forth from the ground in shooting jackets, patches, and red hats.... they have to train and earn the instructor hats they wear. An Appleseed seminar is not a walk in the park... it's hard work, and doubly so for the instructors. Still, they give their time, effort, and skill.... in the tradition begun by Americas first citizen soldiers and militia.... as individuals doing what they believe is right.

Now... follow along in images as we walk through 'Ol Carteach's weekend at Appleseed!

Most of the history taught at Appleseed comes from this heavily documented book, Paul Revere's Ride . Based on first hand primary sources from the time, it's a riveting story taken from the inception of our nation.

A goal for every participant, The Rifleman Patch. There are several variations, and some of the various Appleseed branches have their own, but the rules are the same. Firing 40 rounds from positions, a score of at least 210/250 on a special course of fire called an 'AQT' will earn a shooter the treasured Rifleman Patch. The skills taught by the Appleseed instructors go straight towards earning this honor, but it's entirely up to the skill and dedication of the shooter after that.

The Red Coat target..... the first target fired at days beginning, and the last at days end. All fired prone, the sillouette represents an enemy soldier at ranges from 100 yards to 400 yards... with a special tiny square to represent 'The Bucket'. The bucket, or a wooden board of the same size, was the marksmanship test used as a gateway for a soldier to join 'Daniel Morgan’s Rifles'. The target (often a bucket the size of a mans head) was placed 250 yards away. The soldier had one shot, cold, to hit that bucket. If he did, he earned the right to join Morgan's Rifles, and march 600 miles from home and engage in battle with the British. At the time, British soldiers were considered accurate in fire out to 50 yards, and relied on en-masse volley fire past that.

The Red Coat target honors that history, and serves to judge an Appleseed participants increase in skill as training progresses.

Basic marksmanship skills are the very foundation of being a rifleman. Appleseed starts from square one, and reviews the skills in detail.

Gary Ritter (Roverace on the Appleseed forum) and Michael-Angel0 Laffredo (MAL) instruct the group in basic skills, working as a team to demonstrate proper positions.

Zeroing a rifle, done in a logical and scientific manner. Each tiny square represents one MOA, or roughly one inch at 100 yards. Since Appleseed is taught at 25 meters (pretty much 25 yards), the lesson directly translates into shooting at longer ranges.

Every detail useful to both new and experienced shooter is pointed out, taught, and later drilled in live fire practice. Three basic positions are taught... off-hand, seated/kneeling, and prone. In each position, sling use, natural point of aim, breathing control, and sighting are all brought into play. The basic skills of a rifleman.

Appleseed is a wonderful event for families. Fathers, mothers, grandparents, and kids... they all work together and learn together. Even an old Marine, having world class training in his past, benefits from the refresher course. For young people fairly new to shooting, building this foundation now before poor habits set in.... invaluable.

These young men received special awards, and applause from the group. Both were marked by burns from hot shell casings landing on them, yet each maintained perfect composure and muzzle discipline. The young man to the right has (for the next few days anyway) a perfectly recognizable shape of a 5.56 casing on his arm. I have never envied anyone a burn before, and should I ever get a tattoo.... it would be of that mark. Well Done young men, well done!

Range Boss Greg Harbaugh, having driven from hours away just to volunteer at the shoot... took special pains to enliven the historical aspects of the Appleseed event. He brought with him a Pennsylvania Long Rifle, and donned some costume to go with it. Using the students attention, he explain the differences between rifle and musket, and what it meant to the American militia.

Then... he loaded and fired that flintlock smoke pole, and invited others to try it as well. Yes... the 'Ol Fat man happily lined up with the kids for this one! I'm proud to report... a big cloud of smoke and one less Red Coat soldier.

Bragging time.... the image above is Greg awarding my rifleman's patch. The first AQT (Army Qualification Target) of the second day, I scored high enough to win the patch. Yes.... that is me smiling. Don't get all excited, it doesn't happen often.

And..... as Michael-Angelo Laffredo demonstrates.... there apparently is some weird tradition in Appleseed. If a shooter scores rifleman with exactly '210', he is baptized with water from The North Bridge, a central part of the history of April 19th. It's at the North Bridge where a group of American Militia routed an entire company of British soldiers, simply by employing their marksmanship skills.

Above, we see Mal inundating... er... 'annointing' 'Ol Carteach with said water, which bore a striking resemblance to freezing cold ice water straight from the cooler.

That's Appleseed. Do it.... you won't be sorry. Carteach's word on that.


Hartley said...

Congratulations! I avoided the soaking by shooting a 211 - but you did good, especially on the first AS - I had to go back a second time, and with a much-upgraded 10/22.

I assume they are putting the arm on ya to become an IIT..:-)

Kris said...

Great report!

I taught at an AS here in Michigan over the weekend. Had 28 enthusiastic shooters, with about 1/3 of them being kids, and about 1/4 women. All that you say above I've found to be true at all the shoots I've been to. What I especially liked on this one is that the local Scout troop served lunch and many of them shot. They soaked up the history and many parents/Troopmaster want us to come in a do a set of History presentations for their Citizenship Merit Badge. Huzzah!

Earl said...

That is a great report, and I notice that you have caught all the important stuff of Appleseed and the RWVA, thank you.

Make sure you widely proclaim the wonder. For it is the best possible weekend refresher for remembering what makes America different from Washington, DC and merry old England.

Many, many thanks for attending and spreading the word.

Old NFO said...

Well done Sir! :-)

. said...

At the end of day one, my scores were steadily deteriorating. I decided to analyze the problem, understanding that hitting the target was the primary goal.

Two issues...

The M&P 15-22 quite literally despises being captured by a sling. Even with the forearms spacer removed (Subject of a future post) and the barrel free floated, the slightest uneven pressure on the forearm made for unhappy groups. The sling had to go.

Then... my eyes. By the end of the first day, the four hundred yard targets simply vanished into a blur. I was targeting with a blurry aperture, a slightly less blurry front post, and a totally blurred target. Even aiming at the center of the blur didn't help, a sit faded in and out.

On day two, I shot sans sling, but with the iron sights removed and the Eotech remounted. My scores shot up dramatically. Even so, I only just made rifleman on the first AQT, and never again the rest of the day.

You can bet I'm going to get some AQT targets and go through my rifles till I find one that lets me shoot it well every time, as long as my ability holds out.

If I need to build one, so be it.

ZerCool said...

My Appleseed rifle was (is?) a Savage MkII bolt-action; one of the target models with a free-floated heavy barrel. It is far and away more accurate than I am, but I can generally keep my groups to "ragged hole" at 25m with the sling.

I've never seen groups from the M&P15-22 from a locked-down rest; I'm actually pretty curious about what kind of mechanical accuracy it really has. I still want one, and hopefully it'll be my next purchase. Someday.


Hartley said...

We must both be with fading vision, because your experience mirrors mine - except I went with a Trijicon reflex sight on my AR on day 2, and the 6 MOA dot was not small enough.

Second time around I had a scope on my new(er) 10/22, and other than malfs with the ammo I used, everything went well - spending a month and a half doing prone position every day (not shooting, just stretching) made a huge difference.
I've also put Tech sights on my olde 10/22, and it's waaay easier to shoot accurately than the "Firesights" that were on it before. Your images 3236 & 3238 show them well.

How'd you get a red AQT? Ours were all grey (and hard to see).

An excellent report - a real boost for Appleseed, and they deserve it..:-) History can be real fun, can't it?

Justin Unbounded said...

Thanks for the report. I've heard a lot about Appleseed but have never read a report from someone who has attended. It looks like a lot of fun and it's definitely a skill-building event I will want to attend.

og said...

So: I want to do this. I can put my hands on a tackdriving 22 boltie. I own an OK boltie. I have a (new to me) homemade AR. I also own a decent m1 carbine. The 22 sounds nicely cheap, but the only 22 auto I have is a Speedmaster (Tubefeed) Is it worth buying a conversion for the AR, or springing for the Ruger 'Appleseed" rifle?

. said...


Several of the stages call for ten rounds in 55 seconds. A bolt action puts the shooter at a BIT of a disadvantage, if he's not fairly smooth with it.

Figure anything you can shoot 300-400 rounds out of over two days, and can reliably put ten rounds into an inch at 25 meters in 55 seconds. Take into account, part of the 55 seconds will include transitioning from standing to seated or prone.

It should be able to take a shooting sling, have decent sights that suit your eyes, and be rapidly reloadable. Several stages call for loading 2 and 8, so involve a reload under the clock.

ZerCool said...

Og: either learn to run the bolt well (you will!) or consider a new auto. A 10/22 if you like Legos, or a Marlin 795 for half the price and a whole lot fewer accessories.

I don't know if they do the cadence drill anymore; when I was shooting and then instructing it was a great way to get people to stop fussing for the perfect shot and take "good enough". Ten rounds, starting with one minute, then 50 seconds, 40 seconds, 30 seconds, 20 seconds...

It's entirely possible to put ten rounds into a one-inch square at 25m with a bolt-action rifle in 17 seconds. BTDT. One young man I was shooting with did it consistently in 13. ;-)

drjim said...

Wonderful report. I'm looking forward to going as soon as my work schedule firms up some, and I'll know what days I can take off.
Planning on going to the shoot on a Friday, and leaving Monday to recover!
My wife will be going with me just for the experience, and to hear the history.

Tango Juliet said...


Anonymous said...

I fully support the Appleseed Project" and anything that will introduce folks to shooting.
-One trivia comment on Paul Revere: read the rest of the story about his one attempt to actually enter the war in an active role. It didn't turn out too well... but that doesn't take away from what he DID accomplish.
-Anonymous due to lack of choices.

Ishkabible said...

Anon: Blogger does not allow blog authors to chose those categories.
I'll note.... one of the choices is 'Name/URL', which allows the commenter to enter any name they wish. Witness the 'Ishkabible' I use for this comment (My father would be proud!)

Corvette said...

Great report and glad you enjoyed your weekend. As an AS IIT, your report is right on. Can I link your report in the Appleseed forum? We would love to help spread your observations. Again, glad we met your expectations.

Corvette (AS forum name)

Carteach said...


Share anyway you wish. That's what it's for!

I hope to make the next clinic, at least on Saturday, and lend a hand. Not sure what I can do, but I'm sure there's something I can pick up and help with.

Hope to shoot a few AQT's of my own as well. Be nice to better that 210 score :-)

Thomas said...

Hey there,
A 2014 update from xsquidgator on the RWVA forum. I met you at the coffee table at the 2012 Gun Rights Policy Conference in Orlando, don't know if you remember me (one of many bald short guys who were there). Your posts about Appleseed got me to finally get around to going to my first one. It's taken a while, but I,be worked up to IIT3 and am hopefully within a couple of months of trading the orange hat for a red one. I just wanted to say thanks again for the great writing you do and particularly for your eloquent prose about Appleseed. You got at least one person to 'get off the couch'!

Carteach said...


I applaud your efforts! I believe you have chosen a worthy path.

Thomas said...

Yet another 2014 update from xsquidgator (two comments up from this one). I just this last weekend passed my final progress check and got my red hat. Thanks, Carteach, for inspiring me to get going and to get to an Appleseed! No fooling, this post of yours is what finally got me to go move beyond my comfort zone and go give Appleseed a try, I wouldn't have done it without seeing what you wrote about AS. Thanks and keep it up!

Carteach said...

Thomas, that may be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me here on the blog..