My Liberty Rifle: Work in Progress

Last fall I attended a local Appleseed event. One of the things the Appleseed Project emphasizes is what they call the “Liberty Rifle”.

A liberty rifle is essentially an adapted 22 caliber long rifle focused on training with the use of iron sights.

I had been planning to buy a Ruger 10/22 for this event. But I wanted a particular model. I had eyed it at Walmart for several months. And wound up convincing my father-in-law to pick one up. About 3 weeks later I came up with the money to purchase one of my own. But apparently Walmart had changed distributors and no longer carried the model. I finally found the distrubor and a dealer who could get it.

Why did I want this specif model? Because it had a longer 22″ barrel.

My intention was to purchase a set of Tech-Sights for the 10/22.  These sights provide an aperture sight similar to many military sights. The rear Tech-Sight does not mount in the rear dovetail slot, rather it is screwed into the scope mount which is further back on the rifle. This provides an elongated sight radius for greater accuracy.

However, by the time the rifle arrived it was too late for me to order the Tech-Sights.  I bought some cheap TruGlo fiber optic sites which I found to be sub-par. They didn’t provide much adjustment options. (Now did they provide all the replacement and alternate tubes that I am used to with the Hi-Viz brand fiber-optics.

For my birthday back in March, my wife ordered me a pair of the TS200 Tech-Sights for my Ruger 10/22. I haven’t had the opportunity to try them out at the range. But I expect them to perform well; having used them on another rifle during the Appleseed event I attended.  What I am really excited about is that I replaced the front post with a Hi-Viz AR post. This now gives me the advantage of both the aperture and fiber-optic sights.

Rear Aperture Sight

Front Sight with HiViz Fiber-optic AR post
(Don’t you just love that glow!)

Advertisements

The Appleseed Project: Day Two

The second day was mostly review followed by additional practice; with a lot of focus on NPOA.

We once again started out with an initial assessment target. I must confess, my results were not so good. I only managed one hit on the 100 yd target.  However, my groups showed a somewhat different picture. All my shots were correspondingly low.  By over-laying it over another target it fairly corresponded to three hits at the 100 yd target, three on the 200 yd, couple of near misses at 300 yd. And a possible head shot.  So there was possibly the evidence of improvement.

Afterward we mainly drilled using the modified AQT targets.  The course of fire  for these were fairly standard.

  1. 5 shots from standing, on one large silhouette
  2. 10 shots on two medium sized silhouettes (5 on each) from sitting/kneeling position after transitioning* from a standing position. This involved a magazine change after the first two rounds.
  3. 10 shots on three small silhouettes (3 on 1st, 3 on 2nd, 4 on 3rd) from a prone position after transitioning* from a standing position. This two involved a magazine change after the first two rounds.
  4. 10 shots on 4 silhouettes from a prone position at relaxed pace using Rifleman’s cadence.  (2 on the first two, three on the the second two.)

* All transitions required rifles to be unloaded and magazines on the ground. The range master would call “fire” and we would transition from standing to the required position. Picking up and loading our magazines only after the transition.

A score of 210 was required for designation as a “rifleman”.  Four students earned a “rifleman” mark, and received a patch designating them such. I was not one of them. I saw gradual improvement throughout the second day, and was happy to see that I had made significant progress.

The culmination of the weekend was a final shoot on the “redcoat” target. On my final target I managed three rounds on the 100 yard target and three more on the 200 yard target. I only managed one hit on the 300 yard target. However, for the first time I was now “effective” at a given range – two even.  And I was only an inch off from the 400 yard target and the head shot.

Not bad for a guy who suffers from computer programmer eyes. And has difficulties seeing the smaller silhouettes on the target even with glasses.

Additional Notes:

Throughout the weekend I had a number of technical issues. These mostly fell into two categories. Failure to fire and faulty magazines.  On Saturday I had only a couple rounds that failed to fire. On Sunday I had half a dozen.   Which is not uncommon in a bulk box of budget .22LR ammunition.  As for the magazine issues –  I only had one magazine for the 10/22 and had to borrow a few. The result was two factory ruger magazines, and two generic 30 round plastic magazines.  The latter had a habit of falling out.  But they were easier to remove during magazine changes.

I also had the opportunity to use a borrowed 10/22 equipped with the Tech Sights.  I found them very affective. And I believe my perfect sights would be Tech Sights equipped with a fiber-optic front post.

It is my plan to attend additional Appleseed events in the future with the goal of achieving a “rifleman” score.  Down the road  I may even consider pursuing instructor certification with the RWVA.

Those who attend an Appleseed can join the RVWA and become eligible to participate in the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). Qualifying for purchase of surplus rifles such as the M1 Garand.  So if you are looking for a means to participate in CMP purchase. This may be an option for you. I believe membership in RWVP is $20/year.

For those wondering about the cost.  The basic Appleseed weekend course is $70/person. However, it is free for women, those under 21 and those in the military.

Things I plan to do differently:

  • I hope to have Tech-Sights equipped on my rifle. (If I can equip it with one of these fiber optic front posts – all the better.)
  • Steel lipped magazines that do not fall out.
  • Staple gun
  • Speed loader

I greatly enjoyed the tie to American history.  And I was glad that there were no overtones of “militia” or this being for the purpose of preparing for a future revolution.  In fact, it felt more akin to my days of yesteryear with the Boy Scouts of America. What they did do is tie the 2nd Amendment to the 1st Amendment. They explained that our Founding Fathers gave us a third option. Instead of tyranny or revolution, we have the option to apply influence within a Republic.  They encouraged us to train and hone those skills as well. That we need to be skilled with our 1st Amendment as well as our 2nd Amendment. Something I strongly advocate and that is an vocal point of the Six-Percenter Project that I have supported.

We advocates of the 2nd Amendment must also be equally skilled marksman with the tools of our 1st Amendment.

Final reflections

The Appleseed Project is an excellent “First Step” to rifle marksmanship.  If you have training and skill already, you may still find it a useful tool for improvement – if not, maybe you should consider volunteering as an instructor.  If you’ve been on the fence wondering if you should attend an Appleseed in your area, let me encourage you to jump and go for it!

—-

Appleseed: Day Zero

Appleseed: Day One

Appleseed: Day Two

The Appleseed Project: Day Zero

Last weekend was spent at the Elstonville Sportsman’s Association in Manheim, Pennsylvania.  I was participating in my very first Appleseed.

For those unfamiliar with Appleseeds; they are rifle marksmanship courses provided by the Revolutionary War Veteran Association (RWVA).

To quote the RWVA on the purpose of the Appleseed Program.

“The Appleseed Program is designed to take you from being a simple rifle owner to being a true rifleman. All throughout American history, the rifleman has been defined as a marksman capable of hitting a man-sized target from 500 yards away….This skill was particularly evident in the birth of our country, and was the difference in winning the Revolutionary War.”

DAY 0: Prep

Appleseeds actually require a fair amount of equipment. Nothing outlandish, but there are a number of items they recommend you bring.

Obviously, you will need access to a rifle and a box of ammo. It’s rather hard to be a rifleman without a rifle.  Safety protection for eyes and ears is also a must.

There was a fair variety of rifles at the Appleseed I attended. But it is interesting to note that 80%-90% were chambered in .22LR.  The fact that expending nearly 500 rounds in 2 days is rather costly with any other caliber is a strong influencing factor.  At least half of the rifles I saw were based on Ruger’s 10/22 platform. Though there were a number of other .22LR, including a couple of folks utilizing a tube magazine on day one. Including the gentlemen next to me. On the second day he was using a 10/22.

Most of the 10/22 rifles were equipped with Tech Sights which replicate peep hole style battle sights.

http://www.tech-sights.com/

Having just received my 10/22 on Thursday (special order as I wanted the longer 22″ barrel). I did not have the means to equip my 10/22 with Tech Sights.  I found that I had much difficulty keeping my eye focused on the stock front sight. Which is black with a little brass pip.  The curse of the computer programmer – bad eyes.  Not being able to pick up Tech Sights locally I visited a semi-local BassPro shop and purchased some fiber optic TruGlo sights.

I have used fiber optic sights in the past and find them very helpful in getting focus to lock onto the front sight.  The TruGlo sights are fairly simplistic offering very little opportunity to adjust the aiming point.  Nor do they offer the modularity and replaceable fiber optic inserts that the Hi-Viz sights on my Ruger MKIII provide. But they were a significant improvement over the stock sights.

My next favorite item of equipment was the foam pad I picked up from Walmart.  This helps save the knees and elbows. I also brought a tarp as the ground was rather damp from morning dew.

A lot of the training provided at Appleseed involves the use of a GI style web sling.  I did not have one, but was able to borrow one from an Appleseed instructor.

A full list of items Appleseed recommends a student bring can be found here.

Friday night I was packed up, ready to go, with as much of the recommended equipment as I had readily available. (A staple gun would have been a nice addition. But I had already purchased one gun that week and I am not sure I could have swung a second one by my wife – not even a staple gun.)

For more info on the Appleseed Project visit Appleseedinfo.org or read my next couple of blog posts.

—-

Appleseed: Day Zero

Appleseed: Day One

Appleseed: Day Two

Published in: on November 28, 2009 at 8:42 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,