So I finally got around to attending a 2 day Appleseed clinic. In my two word review: Awesome Sauce.
For those not aware of Appleseed, here is your introduction:
We attended the Castlerock, WA shoot on May 15, 16th. It was about a 2.5 hour drive south, so I picked up my son early from school afternoon and headed out to beat traffic and to spend some quality Cabelas time en-route. It was sunny, warm and we were playing hooky from school and work. More awesome.
We stayed at a local state park and got there early enough to setup the van and watch a movie on the ipad before bed.
Day one we showed up early. The range was kind of a mess - the grass was unmowed and there was lots of crap strewn around - just some guys property that needed a bit of cleanup. But never mind that - it was $70 for the both of us, so we settled in.
The first thing we did was the safety briefing. It was thorough and I found that throughout the event they were spectacular about safety. I was very impressed with the focus on safety and the 6 steps to making a rifle safe were stringently followed.
Then we shot a few "make sure your sighted in" targets, followed by some "lets get a baseline" targets. Then they began introducing stuff in stages.
The instruction was very well done - more than I was expecting. They were thorough, they were specific and they gave great demonstrations. I'd heard that some had found this lacking, and it certainly wasn't here. Instruction is done by volunteers, and its probably dependent on the Shoot Boss to follow the curriculum as outlined by the Appleseed fellas.
We learned all the shooting positions, the sling use and the various things to making the shot. Sight alignment, sight picture, breathing, trigger control, follow thru etc. Very well done.
I brought two Marlin 22s. One was a Model 60 with a tube magazine and scope, and the other was a newly purchased Marlin 795 with detachable magazines and iron sights.
The tube was never a huge issue, but did require a bit of alteration of certain things to get it to work in a system obviously setup for detachable magazines.
The scoped gun was much easier to shoot - both of us traded off guns and I always did much better with a scope. We kept one unscoped for comparison and a challenge.
At the end of the day we did two AQT (Army Qualification Test) and I shot both well enough to get my rifleman patch before the first day was ended. I wasn't expecting that, but it was nice. I shot a 229, but screwed up one session and ended up losing from 5-10 points by putting 6 holes in one instead of five. So I could obviously do much better.
My son was struggling a bit more. He's 13 and the weight of the rifle was more of an issue for him. When he used the scoped rifle he did much better, and by the end of the second day he'd also shot Rifleman. I was pretty proud of him and saw him really working - the nice thing is that I saw him start to apply the steps to a good shot and it really helped him. And he was cognizant of this, which is also good.
It was sunny and hot both days (thank goodness) and we came home a bit burnt, worn out and very happy. Oh, and a few burns from hot shells.
I did take a few shots with my Kel-Tec Su-16 and did great, but I'm glad I saved the $$ and brought a 22 for the dirty work.
Overall, I was super impressed.
They worked in the historical stuff during our lunch break the first day - I love that stuff, and having grown up in Canada, it was nice to go over some stuff I might not be as familiar with. But I can tell you about the Hudson Bay Company, so nah nah.
No anti-government stuff. No anti-UN stuff. Just a bunch of well behaved gunnies having fun and learning to be better shots.
My boy got frustrated a few times during the two days, but we worked thru it.
Funny, but it ended up that the two guys on our end of the line all ended up being Mormons too, so we had a fun time making Mormon Militia jokes and making insider cracks. One of the guys brought his two younger daughters, and while it was a bunch of extra work for him (and something I specifically avoided in not bringing my second boy) they had fun too.
I'll probably do it again next year with my second son for sure.
The one issue was raining hot brass. Here is one that I laid on during prone shooting (and this is 3 days after the fact):
PS. I saw mostly Ruger and Marlin 22s. A Mosin and a some M1A 308 rounded out the rifles on the firing line.