View Full Version : Montpelier VA Appleseed, Oct. 8-9 ?

10-04-11, 23:17
I guess this would fall under the training forum....

Anyway, just curious if anyone here is going to this.
Have a neighbor that's been bugging me to go, and seeing as how certain other plans did not work out, I said F-it and signed up.
Outta be interesting....

10-12-11, 09:48
I will not be attending this but I have gone to several events and am working through their instructor program. Its a great non profit org that hammers into you the basics of riflemen-ship and a little US history. Let me know how you do on your first red coat :haha:

11-13-11, 13:08
Sorry for taking so long to update this. I'm just used to this area of the forum being sort of dead compared to the rest and I didn't realize anyone had replied.


Here's my first redcoat target:



Yes, this is target #1, first try ever- the neighbor that was goading me into going gave me a few to practice on before the event.
Now, to be fair, knowing my skill level I really didn't think I was going to hit anything once I saw the size of some of the targets. So I cheated a little.... these are 5-shot groups from a table with my grip-pod.
Hence the spread on the 100 yd. profile- I just blasted away. Once I realized I'd hit I was more careful. Although it still took 2 tries on the 200yd. profile to get where to put my front post.
I figured I'd put this up as I was so shocked I actually hit the targets on the first try- this target has litereally hung on the refrigerator at the house for over a month.
After the class I decided to goof off and try it again- with a pistol. It didn't turn out nearly as good....:p

Now on to what really happened at the class.....
I suppose this will be a sort of mini-AAR.

First off, the weather was great- a bit chilly in the morning (hence the pullover and hat in the picture below- I'm allergic to cold) but once the sun popped out it was perfect.
The range, Cavalier Rifle/Pistol Club (?) was real nice- I wish I'd had a chance to try out some of the other areas. We had approximately 20-30 shooters attending (guesstimate-never actually counted) from seemingly all skill levels- folks who I swear must have just bought their first gun, to some guys who run competitions.
The one thing I really liked was that they portray this as an event for everybody interested in shooting, and it showed- it was good to see some family units there- moms, pops, girlfriends and kids.

(Day2- Me in the tan pants and grey beanie)

As far as the instructors and historical portion go, Everything seemed to be in order. The instructors were all very friendly (I talked to one for a while after class ended day 2), and willing to take extra time to help you out, or review things with you. I even had one guy lend me a sling overnight so I could macgyver it onto my AR after realizing my VCAS wasn't going to work out. They were very safety oriented, although imho, a little too anal about some things, but I suppose with that number of students of unknown skill level present, better safe than sorry.

The historical part was very interesting (although I'm a history nut anyway so I suppose I was paying more attention than most) and goes over a lot of things I had never heard of from more conventional sources. In fact, the way some things happened, or have come to be portrayed was completely different.
Now, obviously I would have to go out and do my own research to determine exactly how accurate or trustworthy their sources were, but I didn't get the impression they were BS'ing, and the account was very fairly presented and non-biased.
I will agree that the presenter tended to get a little overly emotional about certain things, but it really didn't bother me.
Also, I ran across some rumors from a while back that this program was being examined because some people thought they were to militant and preaching the overthrow of the government, or some such. That is all quite simply rubbish. At no time did any of the instructors (or students) bring up anything of the sort. The only thing they did promote was what the event was designed to do- build an appreciation and respect for our current freedoms and what it took to get them, and to get involved in your local politics to be sure we keep them.

Now as far as class content and techniques, I'm personally a little 50/50 on this. I'm not quite sure how to put this, so bear with me:
Obviously this is not a Vickers/USTC/etc. type training class (at least what I've seen/read here), and I agree partially with the folks that say their techniques are a bit dated. I also felt that, for someone who already has a basic functioning grasp of the fundamentals, they would most likely be better served by attending another class as listed above, as I cannot see attending this sort of class over and over endlessly and expecting to learn something new, or to really hone/improve your skill level.
I also think that perhaps they might be better served by focusing just a little less on getting a "Rifleman" score on the AQT, or various positions/sling use, and maybe go even a little slower the first day and really harp on people's fundamentals. I may be wrong, but in this regard I didn't learn anything more than I got from watching the Magpul DVDs, and it didn't seem that any of the instructors critiqued me much on that, (even the times where I saw I did something wrong myself) which means A) I did something right, or B) they weren't looking for it. As I'm not an instructor for them I can't say- this is simply a (possibly perceived) observation.
Also, while I understand the reasoning behind it, I would really like to see how well this all works out at the full distances listed for the targets. I think we can all agree shooting a 400yd. sized target at 25 yds. is not the same as shooting a target at 400 yds.

What I sensed this class was geared towards is getting new shooters more involved and interested in this activity. This is the sort of event you'd bring a friend who's never shot before but has an interest, or a buddy who just bought his first rifle to, to give them a basic overview of how it all works. In this regard, I think the Appleseed program succeeds 100%.
For me personally it was a good, no-BS assessment of where I am at with my basic skills for minimal cost. And while I really can't think of any time I'm going to wrap a sling around my arm like a tourniquet, prone out and get NPOA on multiple [hostile] targets at 400 yds. or so, it's STILL another set of tools to put in the bag with everything else. Also, I will probably attend again because getting that damn Rifleman patch is now a personal matter after coming so close this time.:laugh:

Speaking of which, we had 10 or so folks get their "Rifleman" patch this event. As annoying as it was for me to pull out my old SOP (get super close but not quite there) I don't feel so bad as I shot irons with both my .22 on day 1 and AR for day 2- at least half the folks that made it used optics of some sort. There was one guy with a nice LMT piston AR and CompM2 that got some real tight groups.
Actually I probably would have made it, had I thought to sit out one or two rounds on day2 to calm down and re-focus. But.... hindsight is 20/20.

Last two pictures- My day2 Redcoat (3-shot groups, as usual this time) and best AQT of the event (190 pts. out of 210 to qualify- Just goes to prove that shooting from a bench, and shooting under time is two different things).
Overall, not to shabby a first try for a guy with almost zero formal training.....


06-23-12, 15:11
Got 'R done! :dance3:


As I mentioned in the above post, after my first Appleseed, I just "had" to get that darn patch.
I signed up for the ROC program they offer, and attended two more times- the above photo is from [after] my last class.
I switched to a .22 (more on that later) as I'm monetarily challenged, and continued practicing at home as well.
While I didn't get the quailfying scores as high as I wanted, I shot rifleman twice on the second day, along with an almost perfect clean redcoat, all with irons, so I'm happy enough.

Some final thoughts after attending three of these events:

As mentioned previously, my personal take on these events was, and still is, as a basic familiarizer class that will teach a new rifle shooter the basic skills, and at least give him/her a known skill baseline to work off.
A lot of people complain about the dumbass AR shooters that show up to the range with no plan other than to shoot dirt as fast as they can pull the trigger. A lot of other folk like to poo-poo these events because they're not up to par with other class types, or because they think they're to hard, or rigged a certain way, or what have you.
Don't get me wrong, there's a point there. Are these the be-all end-all of rifle classes? HELL no!
But if you think about it, as I mentioned previously, as a baseline to build better further skills on later, it's worth a new shooter going to. And let's be honest- it'll be a lot easier to get a training-resistant buddy to spend 70 bucks and a box of .22 ammo over a weekend.
I would be willing to bet that if you could get all the dirt shooters to attend just one Appleseed event, they'd become an endangered species very quickly.

Now, appleseed horn tooting aside-
There are two areas of the program that could still use a little improvement:

First, with the history portion of it, it could be a little more consistent, and better presented.
The first Appleseed I attended, the history portion was told VERY well- the instructor presenting it had the story straight, and provided a nice bit of above and beyond background to really flesh out the "hows" and "whys" of everything that happened.
Also, the manner in which it was presented was more along the line of almost a classroom, where the appointed teller of the story got up and "taught" the story in a more formal manner (does that make any sense?).
On the second and last times I attended the story was told by a few different instructors, in different manners and in varying attention to detail. What I mean by that is, the story was not as "fleshed out" in it's detail (and once or twice actually got a little mixed up), and was not presented as well- often the instructor[s] telling it were just sort of sitting around telling it as more of a story. This has a slightly negative effect, as it comes across as more of a "hey buddy here's a neat story I read in a book the other day", versus a "let me teach you how it really happened" as it should be.
Now, in all fairness, the instructors at these events were all super nice folk, and this is not meant to defame them in any way.
But this was a persistent issue and it needs to be fixed.
Honestly, what would work really well, is if they have the best presenter be appointed as the official teller of the history portion for ALL the events, to be replaced only in case of sickness or inability to attend.
Of course that's not to say that the other instructors should sit by silently- even at the first event, as well as the history portion was taught, some of the instructors had good information to add in that either added to the story further, or had even then been passed over.
But my point is there's got to be a consistent baseline for all the events.
And for the love of God- PEOPLE- when the instructor is trying to talk, SIT down SHUT UP and STOP CRINKILNG YOUR DAMN POTATO CHIP BAGS!!!!!!:shout:

On a side note, a really cool thing would be if at all possible, have the program supply each group of instructors with at least one era-specific replica musket and bayonet. It doesn't even need to be fireable (although that would sure be nice too)- just something to show/demonstrate with at certain points of the story, or even hand around to attendees that would, I think, really get the point across better for some things than just telling about it and having people who have never seen the thing use their imagination.
I know what they're talking about, but what about the guy sitting next to me who has no clue as the only guns he's ever seen were at the shop last week where he purchased the .22 he's now holding?

As a second thing, I know the ratio of instructors to attendees is of such where each person cannot get undivided personal attention. But at times, I think they need to figure out a way for an instructor to single out specific students that are having a hard time, and give them a little more than the usual pointers.
Instead of when downrange just passing by and saying "that's a good group" or "looks like you're jerking the trigger a bit", if you have people that this is happening to consistently, maybe during the next shooting relay, have the instructor sit down with that person while they shoot the target, and actually give them real time feedback.
This isn't a HUGE issue, but it is a consistent one, I think.
Especially for parents that bring young children, or mixed groups of shooters coming to the event together where some are skilled and others are new to the whole thing. What I see at times, is the skilled people, or parents, are intent on learning the material and shooting their best scores, and have a hard time (or don't want to- either way) splitting their attention between their own shooting and corralling their young'ins, or constantly having to help out their new guy/girl. So you've got a condition where you want the parents and skilled attendees to pull double duty and teach their own kid[s]/buddy under somewhat stressful situations, and about halfway through day 1, the kids are getting fidgety and bored and want to go home (which distracts and annoys the parents and others further), and the new people, if they aren't taking to the material are starting to get discouraged.
By taking a person individually even just for one or two shooting relays, I think this would improve the overall experience, and ending skill level for these people. Not to mention, especially for kids, there is often something different about your parent telling you to do something, and the intructor telling you....:p

Finally, a thought about firearms to use.

If you have a .22, use it. Having shot both a .22 and my AR at the first event, I really don't see the point of a fullsize rifle being used for only a basic 25 yard course, unless you've never shot your fullsize rifle and just want to break it in or get familiar with it.
Also, a word about the Ruger 10-22. Apparently this is the official appleseed rifle. If you intend to buy or use one, I have found two things-
One, the stock sights are stupid awful. At the risk of exacerbating this dreadfully long post, I'll leave it at that.
Get the Tech sights, or a scope, or Nodak sights, or something better then the accursed factory sights.
Two, the factory stock I'm sure was designed by satan himself. Or just a plain moron. Either way it too is dreadful in any position other than standing, with an awful cheekweld to boot.
Get a different stock ASAP!

End of book.
Long story short- if you have a friend that you can't get to a more serious training class, take him to one of these.
I even got my dad to attend!

Edit- I went through all my targets that I had saved from this event, and found 2 more from day 1 that I shot rifleman on, for an event total of 4, with each getting a slightly higher score as it went along. Yeah, I know- WHOOPEE- a GRAND total of 4. Whatever- you don't know! :laugh: