… (continued) it was time to get ready for Appleseed. We all started showering, dressing, eating breakfast and packing up for the range around 6 a.m. By 7 a.m., we were caravaning down to Range 11 of the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center. Eaglescouter and NorCal22Gal brought their huge car full of gear, BaldDragon drove a smaller car pulling a nice trailer-o-stuff, I had my trunkful of necessities and Jules drove her cute SUV chock full of goodies.
Range 11 was very nicely set up for us when we arrived: the weeds had been cut and the target stands and backers were already up, as were some popups. As we began to unload and set up our supplies, the Range guy pulled up and dropped off his two kids, Lorenzo and Sidney, who would be shooting with us that day. Lorenzo, Sidney and I were all put to work by NorCal22Gal drawing target numbers on the target backers and posting squares and Redcoat targets. Jules was checking shooters in and I grabbed them as they proceeded to the firing line with a plea: “Do you guys feel like helping me out this morning?”
The resounding answer was “Yes!” Lorenzo and Sidney formed a target mounting team, as did myself and Jeff. Steve and another man formed a target numbering duo, even ponying up their Sharpies when our Sharpies died. The work went a lot quicker with such a good group of Riflemen and Riflewomen willing to help out. As we finished up, more people were pouring into the range and laying out their shooting mats on the line. Lorenzo, Sidney and I went to go get ourselves a place in the shade before they were all gone!
After set-up, check-in and spot-getting, we all circled up at the far end of the range around a bunch of tables and chairs under a pavilion. There we heard our welcome and did some housekeeping such as identification of 9-1-1 dialers, first-aid givers and the teaching of our safety rules and line commands.
Then began the part we all were waiting for: the part where we all go bang! We shot at our posted Redcoat targets in our strongest position, using the knowledge we brought with us. This was our baseline for the day. I did not clear the Redcoat, not even close. Then, began the day of instruction and implementation.
Personal triumphs of the day include:
- Increasing my AQT score by 36 points.
- Improving my prone position by finally being able to get my support elbow under the rifle.
- Improving my stability in prone and sitting by learning how to use the loop sling. In my first Appleseed, I used the sling in hasty only.
Some of the many accomplishments of others include:
- Sidney shot a rifle! This was her first time.
- Sidney out-shot her brother Lorenzo, winning the prized opportunity to use the sexier rifle on Sunday.
- Darryl cleared the afternoon Redcoat.
- Darryl’s son scored Rifleman.
Lunchtime found us circled up under the pavilion again where Eaglescouter enthralled us with a rendition of the events leading up to the events leading up to the Revolutionary War. This made the Strikes make a lot more sense to me! Then, NorCal22Gal and BaldDragon took turns telling the First, Second and Third Strikes of the match that ignited the Revolutionary War.
After lunch, we shot some more. And as in we did pre-lunch, our shooting was interspersed with instruction on shooting positions, sling usage, Rifleman’s cadence, the six steps to firing the shot and lots, lots more.
This shoot went a lot more smoothly for me than did my first Appleseed. Partly because it wasn’t my first Appleseed and so I knew the range commands and what ammo to prep. But also because the instructor crew at this shoot had great experience, training and put in many hours of preparation to get it running this well.
Mike taught me how to use loop sling and even loaned me his Marlin when mine died. Eaglescouter worked with me on my prone position and L!ppen encouraged me and kept me smiling through the day, even when I was tired. Mike’s other half, I forgot her name, paired up with BaldDragon to keep the woefully under-trained left-hand side of the line together. NorCal22Gal was our Shoot Boss and Jules our Line Boss.
I was very blessed to have the spot on the line that I did; I was the cross-over rifle. The Line Safety Officers on the right and left both checked my rifle and both were there for me when I needed anything. I received double the love.
Closing ceremonies found NorCal22Gal awarding Darryl’s son his Rifleman, and recognizing our youth on the firing line with Youth Patches. Then, BaldDragon challenged us to become better Americans and passed out copies of the constitution. He also explained to us the Civilian Marksmanship Program and gave us CMP catalogs. After the usual Saturday benediction, something special happened. BaldDragon began talking about someone to be honored that day.
Someone who went to her first Appleseed.
Then scored her Rifleman’s score.
And then kept going.
At each point she thought, okay, I’ve pushed myself very hard and I’ve made it to here and here is the farthest I can go. But at each point, she realized she could reach just a bit more and a bit more. Until finally, today, after Shoot Boss in Training her second shoot, BaldDragon was here to present her with her green Shoot Boss hat.