This Memorial Day weekend, I spent my time honoring America’s veterans by laying face down in the Nevada dirt for three days straight. It was awesome! It’s called an Appleseed (see appleseedinfo.org). Below you’ll find a brief synopsis of my time in Gardnerville, shooting redcoats and learning about the Revolutionary War and the founding of America.
Hosts: Featherblue and Mrs. Featherblue were both very kind. They always had a smile on their faces. Mrs. Featherblue took a lot of pictures of the event. Hopefully she’ll put them online as us shooters were so busy we didn’t have time to take pictures of our own. Thank you Featherblue and Mrs. Featherblue for opening up your property and your lives to us.
Shoot Boss: Chris_H.
Instructors: LayloPro, DesertDog, Arashi, Trebleshooter (IIT3), Pineappleshot (IIT), RangeRat (IIT), Switchbox
(IIT3), as well as Bobbi & Zach, 2 brand new IITs.
The aforementioned staff were all very helpful and professional. I’d like to give special mention to Chris_H for helping GB with his sight picture and me with my sight adjustment, DesertDog for loaning us slings and coaching us so effectively, Pineappleshot for his skill at demonstrating positions and skills so clearly, LayloPro for his story-telling skills and great smile, and Trebleshooter for reading my targets and helping me with positions.
Facility: The drive to the range was a long one. It’s a shame we don’t have any ranges here in Reno which would work for an Appleseed. The last portion of the drive was a graded dirt road and a rocky dirt road. We took GB’s truck. I don’t think my car would have made it up and around that steep, rocky, curvy dirt road. The range was gorgeous! And well set-up Thanks to Featherblue and Mrs. Featherblue for letting us use your land and for putting so much work into getting it ready
for us. The facilities were primitive: one over-used port-a-john. If money were no object, I’d like to have three there: male, female and accessible. But we made do with what we had.
Fellow Shooters: Every single one of my fellow shooters were a wonder to be around. What an excellent group! Special mention goes to the following folks: David was really helpful when I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing. He offered gentle advice and corrections and was great to be next to on the line. Logan, Sam and dad were a joy tobe next to as well. The dad who drove up from Sacramento was a pleasure to shoot with as well. Daniel and dad let me look through their spotter’s scope and always knew the math answers.
My Equipment: I brought a Marlin 795 SS and a Mosin-Nagant 91/30. The Marlin shot beautifully all weekend, even as dirty as she was. I didn’t have time to clean her each night. The sights were easy to use at 25 yards and at 100 yards. The automatic bolt hold open feature and the easy in and out mag made my timed portions easier on me. It was easier for the staff to tell if my mag was in or not when they were checking the rifles. They seemed to have a hard time telling by sight if the safety was on though. I brought 550 rounds of Federal ammo purchased at Walmart and I used nearly all of it. I didn’t end up
shooting the Mosin.
GB’s Equipment: He had a Ruger 10/22. He had mag trouble, many jams and his sights were a pain to use. For his next Appleseed, he wants to add Tech Sights to his rifle. He also brought his Mosin, it’s shorter than mine, and he too didn’t shoot his Mosin.
Day 1: A lot of new information was presented very quickly. I learned a new set of range commands, new body and sling positions, trigger pull, breathing and much more. The fast pace left me unable to incorporate new skills into my shooting tactics. For example, we would circle up and learn 3-4 new skills and then go back to shooting. I listened as hasty hasty, hasty and loop sling positions were presented, but only ever used hasty because I had no time to figure out how loop worked. I was on the far end of the firing line; I couldn’t hear the range commands. I was 2-3 steps behind the shooters who were close enough to hear the range commands.
Day 2: Around mid-day Chris_H figured out that GB was using the wrong sight picture for the type of sights GB had on his rifle. GB’s accuracy improved dramatically after that. The instructors worked together to repeat all range commands. I didn’t have to guess what I was doing anymore! This made me very happy. They saw something that needed to be done on Day 1 and did it on Day 2.
Day 3: The laid back pace gave me a chance to incorporate the skills learned this weekend into my shooting technique. This was the first day I didn’t feel rushed and pressured; this was the day when the instruction from Days 1 and 2 finally made sense to me! LayloPro noticed my prone position had improved swimmingly. And DesertDog didn’t have to remind me to quit jerking the trigger anymore. I had the opportunity to switch guns and try for some longer distance shooting, but I decided to stay with my Marlin at 100 yards and really focus on using everything that I had learned so far.
Words to future first-time Appleseeders: Expect to be left behind. Expect to be overwhelmed. Expect to be frustrated. It’s normal, it’s not you. Have fun anyway and remember you can practice these skills at home, at your range and at your next Appleseed. It does get easier if you can tough out that first very steep learning curve you have to go through as a new Appleseeder.
To see pictures or read the experiences of my fellow Gardnerville Appleseeders, see the official After Action Report and comments on it www.appleseedinfo.org’s forum. The direct link is: http://appleseedinfo.org/smf/index.php?topic=14112.0.