I have severely tapered off on my postings. Part of it is due to a shortage of good material (when God smiles on your life you find few things to comment on) and part of it is due to finding a good use for some of my free time: Appleseed. About 2 years ago I dragged wife and son to something I had read about called Appleseed. I had been planning on going for awhile and had purchased a Mossberg 702 Plinkster for the task. Well, taking the wife meant that she had to have something to shoot and that Plinkster just felt good to her. (Jump ahead 2 years and that rifle has moved into a leopard print case that matches her range bag and I no longer think of it in terms of "MY" rifle.) My son was going to use my grandfather's Remington 552 (tubefed rifles are not the best choice we would discover) or the CMMG conversion in an AR. That left me struggling with what to shoot as that pretty much emptied the gun safe of anything remotely usable. Father's Day was at hand and I was blessed to be ready to make my next rifle purchase. I ordered a CZ 452FS in .22WMR. Having decided to go .22WMR, I started shopping for ammo and found a deal that I wish I could repeat. 900 rounds of FMJ bulk packed for $89.00. Had I known what a good deal this was, I would have at least doubled my order. At around ten cents a round even with the addition of shipping that is untouchable! The lowest grades of .22WMR run fourteen and the better can go as high as forty cents. The upside was that I had a new rifle that had a detachable magazine. The downside was I was going to do timed stages with a bolt action rifle.
I purchased the slings available from Bass Pro Shops since I had read that a sling was essential to getting the most out of an Appleseed. Other than sighting in I had not fired this rifle and had not shot alot of any long guns in over 30 years. I thought I was ready. I was somewhat mistaken.
Appleseed teaches the 3 primary shooting positions, standing, sitting/kneeling, and prone. It teaches the use of the military sling, primarily the loop sling for sitting and prone and the hasty sling for standing. In my college days I had shot rifle on an ROTC range. I do remember shooting prone. I do not remember slings. Somewhere along the way I had been introduced to wrapping one's arm in the sling to tighten up the slack. I had a sling on my hunting rifle. I would learn that I knew almost nothing about the sling and the benefits from using it correctly.
I did the best I could with my sling. Not being a mil-spec sling, it left much to be desired. Once when I really tighteened it down, the plastic buckle broke. I honestly do not remember how I tried to use it as a loop sling but do remember needing to wrap my arm twice to take up the slack. (At my second Appleseed some months later, I would have a eueaka moment when I used a mil-spec sling. It was "Oh that's how it goes!" ) I was shooting decent groups struggling to understand sling technique. My wife, already a competent shooter was improving steadily. My son struggled with equipment issues, the 552 started jamming so he switched to the AR with the converter. We later discovered that the conversions commonly lack the accuracy (4MOA) necessary for Appleseed. It had some feeding isuues at first too. For him it would be a frustrating weekend. Learning NPOA (Natural Point Of Aim) was the key to my weekend. I was not a bad shot to start with. NPOA brought my repeat shots to the same place, Groups got smaller. We ended the day with our first AQT followed with a Redcoat target. A few fliers kept me from the necessary score.
A good nights sleep and Ibuprofen prepared us for the second day and I opened with a clean Redcoat target, a good omen. Later in the morning as I approached Doug, the senior instructor with a target to be scored he asked me "Do you know what I see? I think I see a Rifleman score." When he had a chance to score the target a bit later, I discovered I had scored 216, indeed scoring Rifleman. I would manage to do so again a few more times that day. My wife was tightening her groups through the morning, then when it looked like she too would score Rifleman, her scores fell off and her groups opened up. It was a mystery right up until her scope fell off her rifle. There would not be enough time left for her to sight in again once it was reattached. Her Second Appleseed would be her first Rifleman score instead. My son would be on a borrowed Ruger 10/22 with only limited success.
It was more than shooting, there was history too. I am a history nut. I was hooked.