I attended my first Appleseed this past weekend. Appleseed is an all volunteer program developed by the apolitical Revolutionary Water Veterans Association to promote Revolutionary War history and marksmanship. We had 7 shooters and 4 instructors for the shoot which was held in north Boulder.
During the course of instruction and during lunch breaks, the instructors would tell stories of the events which unfolded April 19, 1975 and of the courageous efforts of individuals who were involved in the struggle for self governance separate from the British crown.
Safety was heavily stressed and the four safety rules were: (1) Always keep your muzzle in a safe direction, (2) Do not load until given the load command, (3) Keep your finger off the trigger unless the target is in your sights, (4) Make sure those around you follow the safety rules.
We started the day with a Red Coat which is a target to simulate the torso of a British regular at 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards and 400 yards in addition to target to represent Morton’s Shingle at 250 yards. Looking over my target I would have been bayoneted as my maximum effective range was less than 100 yards. All of the shooting over 2 days was done from 25 yards.
Shooting positions were discussed and all were based on using a USGI style sling (my nylon sling was useless for this and I ended up borrowing a sling and setting it up with cable ties). The prone and seated positions were based on a 1 point sling. The standing position could be set up with a 1 point sling or a 2 point “hasty” or “hasty hasty” sling.
The 6 points of shooting were introduced:
- Sight alignment – The relative position of the front and rear sights. This becomes consistent with a repeatable natural cheek weld (turkey neck, cheek weld)
- Sight picture – This is the position of the front sight relative to the target
- Respiratory pause – Pause for a half second
- Rifleman’s cadence – Firing relative to every breathing cycle
- Natural point of aim (NPoA) – You should not be muscling to place the front sight on the target, you should adjust your body so that your natural point of aim is maintained
- Squeeze the trigger – You should slowly squeeze the trigger and follow through. As you relax the trigger to the reset you should be calling your shot by checking the position of the front sight relative to the target
All of this is based on repeatability. You should focus your eye on the front sight and the target should appear fuzzy.
Prone position – Sling looped through support arm (hardware out), support hand looped under sling and supporting the rifle, with support elbow directly under magazine, support leg should be straight, trigger leg at 90 degrees to raise torso, pad of trigger finger on trigger, with the rest of the trigger hand where it needs to be to maintain trigger finger, trigger elbow where it needs to be to support trigger hand. Move hips at belt buckle or inchworm for NPoA adjustments.
Seated position – Sling looped through support arm, support hand looped under sling and supporting the rifle. Sit cross legged with trigger foot under support foot. Elbows should be resting just below knees. Scoot butt for NPoA adjustments.
Standing position – With 2 point sling attachment, put support arm through sling, wrap support hand and pull rifle straight down. Raise stock and have trigger elbow out like a chicken wing. Move rear foot forward/back or left right for NPoA adjustments.
Timed shooting was another aspect of the training based on the Army Qualification Test (AQT) to shoot 10 rounds standing at a 100 yard target in 2 minutes. Going from standing to seated to shoot 2 + 8 rounds (magazine change) at a 200 yard target (5/5) in 55 seconds. Going from standing to prone to shoot 2 + 8 rounds (magazine change) at a 300 yard target (3/3/4) in 65 seconds. Shoot 10 rounds prone at a 400 yard target (2/2/3/3) in 5 minutes.
Over the weekend my shooting improved remarkably. I am now effective at a 100 yards, but a far cry from earning a Rifleman’s patch (210/250 on the AQT).
While the historically confirmable facts of the revolutionary war cannot validate every story, the great personal sacrifice of the colonists was stressed upon us. We have an obligation to participate in our communities and to give a damn. Whether we remember the names Isaac Davis or date April 19, 1775 does not matter as much as civic participation.