Why Half? I only survived day one and it was frustrating as hell yet an amazing learning experience. Allow me to narrate.

Mistakes were made, by me of course. Those mistakes lead to a very tired, in pain and frustrated idiot who made the one rational safe choice and decided he would stop before things got worse. If you are planning on attending, make notes and do not make the same mistakes I did.

Right after the initial briefing on both why Appleseed, range commands and security to be obeyed, we got to shoot out first target to establish our baseline and use it to track our progress at the end of the event.  So it is with great deal of embarrassment I present you my base line target shot at 25 meters.

Yup, I sucked that bad with a rifle. After that, we were introduced to everything from sling use (eye opening, at least for me) , the six steps of firing a shot to the prone position. And then we shot with this new acquired knowledge. The results are below.

Green was my first group after the initial instruction. I was helped analyze what I was doing wrong and proceeded to shoot a second group circled in blue. After more feedback and corrections, I shot the third group (red circle).

That was me! On prone, with a sling and the proper teaching on an open mind. I was jumping inside my head of sheer joy wondering what marvels of shooting I could have next… and shit happened.

As you can tell by the groupings, Point of Impact was a bit to the right and high of the Point of Aim and right after the third group, we went on to receive a very comprehensive and easy to understand teaching on how to sight your rifle. How good? I finally understand Minute of Angle and the Clicks, damn it!

So, according to my calculations, I needed 10 clicks down and 22 clicks left to zero the rifle and here is where comedy of errors begins. Appleseed asks you to know your equipment and to bring the instruction book if you have it. My scope is Gibson’s and I could not find an iota of information other than were made in Japan under contract sometime in the 80s. But we all know anyways that one click is 1/4 MOA, right? That is what 99.5% of scopes work, right? So I translated the results to the scope and shot a test group… not a hit on paper. WTF?

I think we shot another just to be sure I was no hallucinating and again, no hits recorded on paper. The instructor tells me to go back on the clicks to regain the “normal” and work from there. And what I did was fuck up #2: rather than go back 22 clicks to the right, I did 22 clicks to the left again. The result again was obvious: nothing on paper. The instructor stapled a couple of targets to the side of working target and glassed it while I shot again. This time he discovered that: 1) I had clicked the wrong way and 2) there was a high chance that the clicks on my scope represented 1/2 MOA and not 1/4 MOA by how far of center I was.

By this time, Screw Up #3 makes its appearance in the form of Failure to Eject/Extract. About every 4th shot, the case would not come out or eject partially (even after a bore snake cleaning) and I did not have a spare rifle (Make a note, take 2 effing rifles with you as Appleseed recommends) We managed to get the sights almost right, but the class needed to continue so thy had to remain slightly off. I did not care much by then.

Why I did not care? Because I was in pain. My knees, my elbow and my back were flaring fountains of physical suffering and that started to affect me and my shooting. Yes, I had a mat, yes I had elbow pads, but I am not a spring chicken anymore and that stuff was not enough. In fact my left elbow is swollen as I type this. Mix pain with rifle malfunctions and I was royally pissed at myself and that was not the best attitude to have.

The Appleseed instructors had loaner rifles, but I made the decision to simply stop and avoid making a safety booboo. I was a Safety Officer with IDPA long enough to know how shitty a combination like that could be and decided to take myself out rather than being the asshole who had major safety violation. I stayed a couple of more hours watching and learning (The Three Strikes of The Match was a very compelling narrative) and then I left for home and a night with Motrin

So what did I learn? Holy crap! A lot for not even one full day of the Project. My groups improved like crazy and that on itself is half the battle. The little booklets you are given when you arrive: Project Appleseed Guidebook to Rifle Marksmanship is an amazing resource which I plan on keep using. I would suggest you get one even if you are not planning on going.

The instructors were also keen in telling us that every shot teaches us something even if we miss and they are right.  I had several “missed shots” so here are the things I will change:

Going to get hard shell elbow pads. I used some nice cushioned soft pads, but they simply moved around when I was not paying attention. And yes, I was on a mat, specifically the Appleseed mat which is a nice one, but we were laying on bluestone gravel and you still could feel that crap. I will probably add a piece of camping sleeping pad just for added cushioning in case the next ground is as bad and to save on knee caps because I can’t wear frigging kneepads which you should also get just in case.

I will chug Motrin before the event rather than when I get back home. If it takes the edge of the pain enough to concentrate better, it will be an improvement.

Spare Rifle: I am in the market for another Ruger 10/22. If you are in Middle Tennessee and have one to you want to part with, let me know and see if we can come to an agreeable transaction. I will also be hitting pawnshops to see if there is one somewhere because sure as shit, I can’t find one in the local stores. The rifle I have now will get a full disassembly and deep cleaning to see if the extraction problem ends. But I am scalded enough I will also probably order an  extractor and install it.

Interestingly enough, my two failures were covered in the recommendation by Appleseed How to Prepare | Project Appleseed (appleseedinfo.org) which shows they really know their stuff because they have dealt with idiots like me before.

So although I did not finish and got all the knowledge and training I could get, I don’t feel I wasted my time at all because I learned and improved my accuracy. And as sure as heck I will go back for another event as soon as I get my crap together, I want to see how much I can improve and learn.

PS: Yes, I know I sound sort of “rambly” but I am still processing  and analyzing what I experienced and what/where is next.

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By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

17 thoughts on “Half Appleseed AAR: I need more Motrin.”
  1. My first pistol shoot was an absolute disaster… and I was 24….. I feel ya pain Sir. 10/22s like CCI Stingers.
    The nice thing is you LEARNED and thats what counts. I enjoy your “rambly” posts. Keep at it

  2. Just as general experience, if I’m adjusting a scope and calculate something like 22 clicks to get it centered, I’ll go half or even a quarter of that first. Then shoot another group to verify that the point of impact moved in the correct direction and by the correct amount. Why?

    Cause I once, long ago spent many hours and several boxes of bullets cussing and adjusting only to later determine that there was a problem with the scope base and that it shifted every shot. I was chasing a moving problem.

    Also, most scopes have a limit to their travel. If you moved it 44 clicks, you may have over-traveled and damaged it? Anyway, food for thought. Ruger 10-22’s are tack drivers when set-up correctly.

  3. Appleseed events looks good. I need to do this, but I’d rather the 2-day event for an old fogie like myself as well. Good tips you added. Doesn’t appear to be any more 2-day events scheduled for TN for a while so I’ll have to keep an eye out.

  4. Ive never done appleseed, but can you use a shooting jacket? I dont think id reccomend hard shell elbow pads, i think they would slide to much defeating the purpose of the sling and a solid, unmoving, repeatable position. A shooting jacket has extra padding on the elbow.

    And isnt it amazing how different it is shooting with a sling then without? I went the opposite direction from nra small bore to more tactical shooting and it was very different at first!

  5. I did Appleseed September 18-19 and at 70 y.o. my experience was much like yours, however, I did the whole 2 long stress-filled frustrating days. I now have, now healing, 2 abraided elbows (note to self, next time elbow pads). I was tired, sore, and frustrated Sunday night. My high score after the 2 days of instruction and shooting was just shy of 1/2 of the required 251. BUT I shall return. I intend to rebuild my 10-22 to target specs I.E. a new KIDD trigger, a bull bbl, a pistol grip stock, remount the scope, and lots of range time between now and the spring. I am trying to compensate equipment upgrades for my age. Maybe it will work – maybe not, but one thing is for sure I will have fun doing the build, and then shooting Appleseed again in the spring.
    The 2 big questions for the AAR is
    1)Did you have fun?
    2) Did you learn new stuff?

    I did carry a spare rifle – my 10-22 TDT (take down tactical ) and the integrally suppressed front end accessory – it never left the truck tho
    I lost my 2nd 10-22 takedown to my wife. She shot it a few weeks ago and now well – – – it is her favorite new rifle.


  6. I did an Appleseed 10 years ago. I had a problem with my point of aim wandering but I never tried to adjust the scope. Over the course of the weekend, my groups tightened up, but I didn’t get the Rifleman badge. Nobody in our group of 10 or 15 did, including a guy who had qualified for it before.

    A few weeks later, I was looking closer at my gun, looking for improvements and found that the rear scope mount had somehow gotten out of the rail on the gun, so the scope was just supported at one end. Kind of floating. I can imagine it moving a minute of arc or two every shot.

    I never went back, but I should do that. I felt like I learned enough from the class but that’s all decayed away. That class was a two hour drive from home. Now they have them at my club, about a half hour away.

  7. FTF/FTE – I had that on my first Appleseed – infuriating.

    Buy several types of ammo and test them in your rifle from a bench. My 10/22 loves CCI standard velocity. Never tested the stingers mentioned above. Other brands have more open groups, but the standard velocity is tight.

    Take everything you learned this time, and practice it with dry fire at home. Safely, of course. Especially practice the 6 steps (all of which I cannot remember now 😉 )

    Here’s my stupid from one of my Appleseeds – we were on the line ready for one of the timed sections. I’m so eager, I hear a call from the RTO and I begin the course of fire. I hear shouted, “CEASE FIRE! CEASE FIRE!”.

    “Who fired?!”
    “I did, sir…”
    “No. I thought you called fire.”

    I felt like an idiot, and listened more carefully after that.

  8. “,,,we were laying on bluestone gravel and you still could feel that crap. I will probably add a piece of camping sleeping pad just for added cushioning in case the next ground is as bad and to save on knee caps because I can’t wear frigging kneepads which you should also get just in case.”

    Might try a hefty piece of cardboard too. Coupla sides from a refrigerator box doubled up would do nicely. It allows me wrench on a car in gravel all day long with nary a twinge to the knees, elbows or back/head. Might look a little silly bringing it in, but I’m sure with a little knife-work and some duct tape you could make a folding base to go under your pad and level out any pokey gravel.

    Just a thought.

  9. For the little bit of time you spent there, you figured out IMC and tightened your groups significantly. Success.

    As others have mentioned, figure out what ammo your rifle likes (which is a bit surprising, cause the few 10-22s I have handled eat just about everything), and get your gear and such sorted out so you are comfortable on the range. I would also suggest spending some time in standing, kneeling and prone (with your rifle) ahead of your next shoot to get your body acclimated. Dry fire while prone, practice the 6 steps, etc. That way when you show up it won’t be a shock physically.

  10. Miguel,
    Congrats on making a tough call that appears to have been the right call for you on that day.

    I did an Appleseed in Hollywood (the one in your old state) a few years ago and we used carpet sections under the shooting mats. The carpet did a good job of keeping the mat from sliding and buffering the few rocks and concrete.

    It was a literally eye-opening experience that finally convinced me to get contacts. By the end of each day, my eyes were so tired that I had trouble seeing the sights and target clearly enough to shoot the groups I shot in the morning. Now I have scopes on them.

    Like Jonesy, my 10/22s eat anything (even the Remington “Golden” crap) but each one really likes to shoot diff ammo. One of them likes CCI standard velocity but does well with CCI Stingers. The other one likes Federal. It was fun practice doing the “research” to figure this out.

  11. Hey Miguel
    I had never heard of Project Appleseed prior to you starting this thread. I have since attempted to sign up for events in CT

    I have a few questions I was hoping you could answer here or start a new thread if others have answers
    The latest event offered is a 1 day event 9.5 hours long. Do you recommend that or should I wait for a two day event?

    The event is in February which is usually the coldest harshest month in CT. Would I be better off waiting for a spring event due to amount of range time outside?? Concerned a out instructor rushing lessons to get out of the cold

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