Monday, May 05, 2008


With a gracious host by the name of Shootimus Maximus, the Revolutionary War Veterans Association hosted one of their fine Appleseed training shoots near Three Forks, MT this past weekend. There were about thirty people there, including a half a dozen ladies and one lady marksmanship instructor. Men, women and children, young and old, veteran hi-power shooters and neophytes, all learning new tricks and losing bad habits together under the Big Sky. The weather was beautiful, considering it was 17 degrees when I woke up at home on Saturday morning, sunny and in the 70's. Maybe spring has actually, finally, arrived in Montana.

As with any Appleseed, a great many people learned a great many things. Even this old dog learned some new tricks, as always. The first trick was not to depend on pimping out my weapon in lieu of practice. I had the old Garand topped off with a new scout scope and mount, and shooting some sweet re-loads that left one ragged hole at 25 yards when fired from the bench. They did pretty good for me on the standing and sitting positions at the Appleseed, too. Then I discovered something one can't by sitting at the the prone position, I could not get a cheek weld, or even a chin weld, with the stock of my rifle. I actually scored better from the sitting position than the prone. If only I had PRACTICED shooting from field positions like I should have I would have known that ahead of time and added a cheek pad to the stock. I have done so now, cleverly closing the barn door now that the horse is gone.

I suspected one other lesson, that the doctor confirmed today. I need (expletive deleted) EYEGLASSES! Geez, ya turn forty and poke one eye out with an S-hook on a broken bungee cord, and the next thing you know you're falling to pieces.

This does, however, give me great hope that I will do much better at the NEXT Appleseed I attend, for I will be attending every one I get the chance to. It seems when shooting aperture sights, I could get great groups on the 100 and 200 yard targets but the 300-400 yard targets made my groups explode all over the paper. Now I know why even when I did my best to keep that dim fuzzy blur atop the front post I still couldn't hit it.

Still, a good time was had by all. Our hosts were most gracious in hospitality and in letting us all use their private land as a range. One of the guys, Smilin' Dan, who attended the week-long Appleseed Boot Camp prior to the weekend shoot showed us all how much benefit he got out of his training. Using an open-sighted M1A, he got snuggled down in the prone, dialed in the dope on his rear sight, and put 3 or 4 (it was hard to tell at that range) out of 20 shots into a man-size silhouette target at 980 yards!

I sure hope the RWVA has another Boot Camp at a time and place I can attend. Maybe with my new glasses, even I can learn to "bang the gong" at a thousand yards. For now, though, I am relegated back to "Cook" status.

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