Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I attended an Appleseed event last weekend, and frankly was a bit overwhelmed by it. This organization supports basic training in riflery mixed with a generous dollop of American history from the early days of the revolution, going into some detail as to what motivated rthe rebellious colonists and at the same time demoralized the British army.

It was a 2-day event that specialized in, but was not limited to .22 rimfire rifles and how to get the most from them. I was not a participant. My sometime student was the official attendee. Both of us learned a lot.

For myself, I listened to the lectures on history and the mechanics of shooting and refilled magazines. Paula did all the shooting. The shooting tips covered everything everyone had ever taught me from the Boy Scouts to the present.What I noticed most was that I did a lot of things so automatically that the thought that anyone would ever do anything else doesn't cross my mind. This does not help when you're trying to teach someone, so I'm glad Paula got the breadth of exposure she did.

Which is not to say it couldn't have been better. Paula had gotten enthusiastic about this a couple months ago, and finally bought her own rifle for the event 2 weeks before.She has shot my rifle and a couple of loaners, but not this one. For the record, she got a Savage model 62F from Wal-Mart. This is a magazine-fed semi-auto. Her first shots through it were the day of the event when we tried it out to check the sights. For me it put 3 holes in the target that could be covered with a dime about 1" high and 1" to the right at 25 yards.This with the very basic iron sights the gun comes with and my mediocre eyesight.. For her, not so much. For the record, I like this gun. It's light, easy to handle, and shoots quite accurately.

1. The Savage company is unaware that anyone would ever want to put a magazine into their rifle without turning the gun over and pulling the release out of the way first. The mags fit with the precision of a Swiss watch, and need to be installed with watchmakers tools.
2. The gun doesn't like ammo with large hollow points and squarish nose profiles. The pointy stuff works much better. We figured this out on day 2.
3. Throwing ammo into a plastic snap-cover food container really speeds up the loading and ammo handling process. Probably not such a good idea to mix ammo from 3 different sources into one container though. Makes it hard to notice which ones don't feed right.
4. Paula is right handed and left-eye dominant. On day 2 she switched to left handed shooting and the groups got noticeably smaller. Loading the close-fitting magazines however.... This is going to take some practice.
5. The trigger on the brand-new gun is a bit scratchy. O.K. it's a bit more than a bit scratchy. This may smooth out later, or it may smooth out after I've had a chance to polish some of the mating parts therein.
6. Being under a time constraint on some of the stages, when coupled with trying to remember a long set of brand new instructions, plus otherwise minor malfunctions makes for a frustrating time. The sequence is:
a. Start from standing with 2 magazines, one with 2 rounds, one with 8.
b. drop to sitting, kneeling or prone, depending on the stage.
c. Load the 2-round magazine. Try again. Turn gun over and load magazine. Turn gun back over and assume the proper position.
d. Sight target and gently squeeze trigger.
e. Reach over gun with left hand and jack a round.
f. Sight target and gently squeeze trigger.
g. reach over gun with left hand and release the safety.
h. Sight target and gently squeeze trigger. Hear satisfying bang.
i. Forget that at this point you're supposed to change mags, repeat step h.
j. Repeat step f. Note no bang.
k. Remove magazine and replace with 8-round mag, see step c.
l. See steps d, e, and h.
m. Repeat step h until pulling the trigger gets you a quiet click. Unless you get a blunt-nosed hollow point. Savage mags are as tight inside as they are outside. Clearing a round jammed into the feed ramp is not easy. By the time you get it cleared, your time is up.

At the end of step 6, the ladylike demeanor is pretty much gone.

Still, by the end of day 2, all the BNHP ammo had been quarantined and her qualifying score had nearly doubled. She's going back. The qualifying target has a potential best score of 250. If you get 210 or more you get the coveted rifleman patch. This is harder than you'd think. Paula thinks it will take 2-3 more Appleseeds to get her Rifleman patch, but she will get it. Instilling enthusiasm. I love it.

Early on I made a concerted effort to quit trying to give advice. After all that's what the organizers are there for. This is also harder than you'd think.

I will have to formally attend one of these myself.


jed said...

I've been of a mind to attend one of those myself. I don't have a .22 with a detachable box magazine, but I've been thinking of using the SKS and stripper clips. I'd have to practice with those. Don't think I have enough 7.62x39, but that's cheaper than .556. An inventory check is called for. And a better rear sight for the SKS too.

I suppose it might seem comical, initially, to shoot it with my Marlin lever action, but I doubt the effect would last.

Billll said...

Gun type really doesn't matter except for the price of the ammo. There wewe 3 people there who shot it with .223 AR's, and 3 that used tube fed .22's. I saw at least one .22 boltie, magazine fed and a lever gun as well. I don't have an accurate round count but I'm guessing it ran to 4-500 rounds.

You need a military-style sling as well as they go into the 3 different variants on that topic too.

jed said...

I had gotten the impression, from a bit of reading, that it'd be easier with a quick reload capability. I also noticed that their website links to a particular type of sling. Well, I have 3 Whelan slings. Yet another thing to ask them about, should I sign up for one. The website states 500 rounds.

Cincinnatus said...

I've found in teaching hunter education that you have to be careful with beginners, especially younger ones, not to "overcoach".

Don't try to fix everything at once. I usually just pick the problem that is causing them the most frustration - them, not me - and fix that.