Appleseed is well worth the effort

This weekend was the long awaited Appleseed rifle clinic in Ramseur, NC. I have been planning one going for quite a while now. I bought my 10-22 rifle with money made by selling the Gunwalker T-Shirts, and decided to fill it full of aftermarket parts to turn it into a Liberty Training Rifle. After that, it was just a matter of making time to go. Since Chris and Heather of Arma Borealis moved to South Carolina, they suggested that we make it a blogger group and go to the Ramseur range, the home range of the Appleseeds.

In the end, we had 8 people.
Chris and Heather of Arma Borealis
Arms are the Mark of a Free Man

Appleseed is a lot of work. You’re going to spend a lot of time on the firing line, shooting at some pretty small targets. The concentration necessary to do well is pretty wearing, but in the end, it will be worth it.

That’s me receiving my Rifleman’s patch from Walter. This is the third test (AQT) that I shot, and I scored 232 out of 250. Minimum score to pass is 210. I shot it again twice on Sunday with Bob Reynold’s AR-15 and scored 225 both times. I think that once you get the hang of it, it gets easier.

Out of our group of 7, we had 4 people qualify Rifleman, Me, Mr. Knightbane, Heather, and Bob Owens. Chris shot a 209 several times, but could never find that last point to put him over the top. Mrs. Knightbane made progress, but will need to return to shoot some AQTs, and Arms are the Mark of a Free Man just need a few more tries to get it.

If you get a chance to go to an Appleseed, go. It’s a good time, especially if you bring some friends with you. Pay attention to the rifle requirements. It is certainly possible to shoot a bolt action rifle, but you will be much happier with a 10-22 and a bag of ammo.


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8 responses to “Appleseed is well worth the effort

  1. Congratulations on making Rifleman, Sean.

  2. 232 would make you a Marine Expert shooter. I’ll look forward to an AAR, specifically how much snapping-in time did you get?!


  3. Backwoods Engineer

    I was there. I was the one wearing the Gunwalker T-shirt, and brought my daughter.

    Don’t think it’s as easy to get Rifleman as Sean makes it look. I had no prayer of making Rifleman Saturday, for several reasons.

    Believe me: if you ever plan on going to an Appleseed, DO NOT bring a military-surplus rifle that uses fixed box magazine, or a tube-fed lever action. The Army Qualification Test that Appleseed uses is not amenable to these. You NEED removable magazines, preferably ones that can hold at least 13 rounds. You also need the USGI sling that is removable from the butt end of the rifle. If you do not have this, you WILL NOT be able to practice the positions taught at Appleseed.

    Also, the physical demands of the various positions, while trivial for young fit guys like Sean, are formidable for those of us who are older and have injuries. Transitioning within seconds from sitting to standing to sitting in the exact same position, or prone to standing to prone, was quite difficult for me, and was the point at which I decided I would not be able to get Rifleman.

    I wish I had known “the drill” before driving an hour and a half each way. Here’s what I would have done if I had known: get the “Quick and Dirty” AQT target from and practice it. Fred is the founder of Appleseed, and that target is what they use. Practice shooting the target at 25 yards, in the 2 positions (sitting, standing, prone). Then, when you get to Appleseed, you will be able to take the additional instruction for “natural point of aim” and “transitions” and add that to what you know.

  4. They covered the sitting positions again on Sunday because they didn’t do a perfect job covering it on Saturday. You are not required to sit at all to do the AQT. Some people will shoot the first two standing and the next two sitting at a bench or prone. They realize that people have injuries or just physical limitations. I spoke with Iron Pony about this in frustration before I also took off for the day. I have injured the nerves in my legs so badly over the past 25 years (I’m only 34) that even the slightest irritation to my sciatic or peroneal nerves can completely cripple me for a year or two. I cannot sit cross legged, cross ankled, or put my legs under me without risk to these nerves. At this point, my shooting isn’t even at a level to consider trying the AQT IMO so we’ll get to that later.

    I had talked with other people who had gone to appleseed shoots, read lots of things on the forum, and NONE of it prepared me for what awaited me Saturday. I was told we would spend all day Saturday shooting prone at the sighting in targets and that Sunday would be the AQT. I shot 28 rounds before we went to the AQT. My gun was not sighted in. I hadn’t been able to shoot at all standing or sitting. The instructors would see I was having trouble with my sling but before they could help me, we had to “circle in” again and they would try to catch me the next time. On the way over to me, someone else had trouble and they’d stop and before you knew it, the 60 seconds were up and it was time to circle in again. By 14:00, I was not in a teachable mindset anymore and had to leave the range.

    If I had known prior that it was going to just be minor instruction on Saturday and just drill the rest of the afternoon, I would have shot up until lunch, put my gun away, and just watched and would have come away with more. Later in the afternoon, I came back and did work on learning how to shoot prone while they ran the AQT. Sunday went much better and I got all the instructor time I needed. I still never shot in any other position but prone while everyone else ran the AQT but this was all about me, not them. It took about two hours to get me shooting a consistent pattern enough to then correct my sights. Natural Point of Aim was anything but natural for me. We had to mess with my sling a lot and I still am not happy with it but at the end of the day, there was significant improvement, I shot my redcoats at 200 yards AND made the head shot. When I write up my review, I’ll post pictures of my before and after targets. My only experience with rifles coming into this was going to Girls with Guns at Range 37.

  5. @Bob: Thanks

    @PM: “Snapping In” is dry firing at targets, right? Not much. We were using cheap .22lr ammo, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to do a lot of dry firing. We did some “Ball and Dummy,” but mostly we just spent the time shooting at the targets.

    @BWE:I wondered where you went. Yes, it would be difficult to shoot with a bolt action rifle. You brought a Mosin, right? That would have been torture. I can’t recommend the Liberty Training Rifle enough. Get a Ruger 10-22, and add the recommended parts. That sling is a MUST. It turns you from a decent shooter into a great shooter by making you incredibly stable. I had another blogger say that he’d rather shoot with a sling in the prone that off a bipod on a bench and I thought he was crazy. How could prone be more stable? It is.

    I hope that you’ll be able to get a proper rifle and come back. I’m not sure about the “young and fit” anymore. I’ve got 40 lbs still to lose and I’m 42 years old, so how young and fit I am is dependent upon how you look at it. But the positions are a bit awkward at first. Once I figured the seated position out, it was easy. Before that, it was impossible.

    Hopefully you will have gotten your membership and a “Rifleman Opportunity Card” so you can keep going to Appleseed shoots for free until you shoot Rifleman. You’ve already paid, you might as well keep getting the training.

    Here’s a link for the Liberty Training Rifle parts list.

    The only things I added to that list are a Volquartsen firing pin and a Volquartsen extractor. They come as a set

    You’ll spend a bit of money, but you’ll love the results and you’ll save a lot of cash on ammo costs. Make sure to get 6 total mags, 10 rounds each. I have the 25 rounders, but didn’t use them all weekend.

  6. Congrats to you for the qual and good advice for people coming in fresh. It was a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to shooting with you again soon.

  7. Congrats on getting your rifleman patch – those are EXCELLENT scores!

  8. Thanks. I’d be going back this weekend to start working as an instructor in training, but I’m stuck working.