Monday, July 14, 2014

My last Appleseed at Port Townsend, WA....

  I had perception problems before I ever showed up. Only two instructors signed up for the Appleseed until just a couple days before it happened. So I had my thought process in only two of us, only two of us -- and paulw and I would have made it happen, safely and to standard, but that was where my mind locked. I had heard Jay would be there, home court for him, but he hadn't signed up. Kimber Custom mentioned he was coming if given permission - luckily he got it. So we had three fully qualified, and one still learning IIT1, all eager to have a great Appleseed and my mind was still locked into lack of instructors...

  I want to blame the decided lack of Shoot Bosses and instructors on the trail in the state of Washington. I am sure that Rizzin could describe the feeling better, being often the only Shoot Boss and instructor at the little ranges and venues. But when I look at the list of Shoot Bosses, Instructors and IITs I try to think about where I saw some of them last... have they dropped out? moved to California? just having some scheduling issues or whatever.... as I told a shooter as he told me his problem with his performance, don't start off by practicing your excuses, and neither should I. I hadn't adjusted and wasn't going to overcome my mental block until I was slapped up side of the head by hearing Ben tell me that he hadn't driven four hours to watch a two and a half hour Earl show with a shooter as a bad demonstrator, use what I had or he was going home. BAM! That helps unlock my mind.

  So we settled into total participation, paulw and Kimber Custom adjusting and loaning equipment, all the instructors going down to teach talking targets, shrinking groups, and Jay monitoring the line while we were down on the target line or instructing the shooters. Lots of raw talent on the shooters side, and some completely new to what we instruct. I did not get two scored AQTs on the first day, but one was enough and the heat and sun were taking it out of the shooters. All three strikes told, paulw had provided the Battle Road banners, Kimber Custom demonstrated the Brown Bess with bayonet, and described the loading and functions, paulw had his flintlock rifle. We got the last Red Coat target of the day shot, cased rifles and cleaned up told everyone how to prepare for the morning. Said goodbye to the father son team that had another engagement on Sunday (until their next Appleseed).

  I went out with the crew to eat at Doc's on the end of the road in Port Townsend, good food, remember it is tourist season and you will pay, but it is good food.  Talked about the good and bad, needs improvement while we guzzled ice water and appetizers, then dropped the paperwork into the wind and ate heartily.  Table cleared and shadows lengthening with the cooling breeze sat and talked some more. Then I took Jay up on his offer of sleeping on his boat, where Kimber Custom had spent Friday evening. I don't recommend watching All is Lost by Robert Redford before sleeping on a moving boat, but really this one was solidly moored and after talking with Kimber Custom I fell deep into sleep for three to four hours before getting up to see the moon over the marina. There are also hot showers available on the shore and they take the kinks out.

  Day two, I was the Shoot Boss, allowing (encouraging?) the other instructors to take over. They did all the Dangerous Old Men stories, Kimber Custom had his one round drills for sharpening the transitions and reloading the second magazine - I think that it made a difference to most of the shooters and their AQTs, The shooters with the most problems were trying to fix everything each shot or forgetting important steps variously and not consistently.  More dry practice and study is called for. I will have to recommend not using aiming point devises, not for marksmanship.

  One of the RSOs that has been observing our Appleseeds made sure there are now dry camp grounds for shooters and instructors with the clubhouse bathroom facility. So the club is supportive, kind of, I am still mift about no photographs without written permission. But really, they do want shooters and events and like that we haven't been a real burden.

  Had one jammed case that got caught by the locking lugs on the AR bolt, had to take the rifle off the line to get it cleared and functioning again. Didn't know there was a Safety Table, went to what looked like one, was directed by an excited Club RSO to the proper one. Then I disassembled the AR, cleared the case, and reassembled, check the bore, ran a function check and put the rifle in a range safe condition and got it back to the line where if functioned just fine the remainder of the day. What I was amused about was how certain and quick my hands were on the AR, I will never buy one nor own one, but I was carrying one and teaching about it too many years to have anything but sure comfortable familiarity with it.

  We ended up with a repeat Rifleman with a few higher than 240 scores.  And a totally new Rifleman with a 235 and a 210 score. As hot as it was we still had many shooters with very high scores (knocking on the door) and with some practice and study will be earning that patch at another Appleseed.  Of remarkable note, or notable enough to remark about this Appleseed had the best final Red Coat target of the four shot. Usually everyone is too tired and wanting to get home, but this time they really settled into it and performed as well regulated shooters should.

  Pack up, say good-bye and drive on home - finding the other instructors chiming in on Facebook posts that they made it also.... Facebook has arrived.

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