Monday, April 20, 2015

The Patriot Day's Appleseed Shoot Boss Report

  Get up early Saturday morning, packing the Caravan for the Appleseed while brewing coffee. How much coffee does a Shoot Boss need to get over the 'what ifs'? Have everything including the prepared t-shirt box with stuff for handing out. Really I do have to fix the demonstration rifle's front sight and the holding of the green laser for NPOA, although when I demonstrated the effect of adjusting the relaxed body on each of the corner squares of the sighting squares I do thing they got it. Eat my breakfast on the move up the highways to the ferry boat, pull in just a bit early, pay my round trip and wait to load at six.

   The weather is beautiful this weekend, and I will stay in wonder of it all weekend, just perfect.  I get to the range, pull over and start adjusting things in the van, soon Tracey pulls up with the trailer and she opens the gate and we get started setting up.

   Nikki is back from college for the weekend with a friend willing to shoot, and Nikki will do all the demonstrations and coach her friend... since she wasn't signed up it was another indication of favor upon the event. We can only be so lucky. No strange twists in my COI, but as I was explaining to the crew, no one even knew the ferry would run, the Shoot Boss would show and how would they have done without me? The other Red Hat (full instructor) Nick would get a shoot box of material in clear containers to carry around just in case from a retiring instructor paulw.  Paul gave me his battle road maps and old Appleseed banner, and a flintlock musket with all the stuff (yes, even the powder horn, possibles bag, and powder and ball and flints and patches and tons of graciousness).  It was really good to see him again, many great shoots we had done together, will be praying for his continued success in his retired life.

   By keeping the instruction simple and less wordy, we got the second sighting square done in the morning and posted the Appleseed qualification target (AQT) for training on after lunch.  I gave a brief pre-April 49, 1775 history, Nick gave the First Strike of the Match, and Fixer the Second Strike.
Ball and dummy drill, then continued working on shooting positions, NPOA, six steps in making the shot. Good demonstration of transition commands and getting down into the prone position for the third stage of the AQT, with magazine change and four NPOA verifications and shooting in rifleman's cadence to make the time limit.  Then sitting position, and having the shooters do the sitting positions without being slung up with rifles worked pretty well. Fewer distractions. We would get our first Riflemen of the day with the two AQTs that followed all the training which would seem like the program is marvelous, but Andy and Alfie were shooters before they came to Appleseed, and Andy had done some serious rifle competitions in Enfield Competitions, and loves to shoot. We had two repeat Riflemen, Kevin is always looking for that two fifty score, and he really wanted to do it on a Red AQT, which we had this weekend.  Matt was still on, just not on every stage every AQT. Happens to the best of us.

   Final Redcoat target was much improved over the morning one, passed out the Homework packet of knowledge, the t-shirt bundles (three styles - change is). Told everyone to prepare for Sunday shooting, and the Memorial Volley. Range cleaned up quickly, many hands make work light and fast.

   Off to Bob and Tracey's place for cookout and bonfire! and sleep the wear away. Waking to coffee hot shower and breakfast, duck eggs! Bob and Tracey seem to do life really well and are so sharing I am always happy there. How do I get two great weekends in a row? 

    Back to set up, prepare and greet the shooters, second day, quick refresher training on everything, as bit too quick, but we back up and cover what was sped over, and the first Redcoat target goes pretty well, now we work on making the shots the same, repeatable. The groups should look very similar in each target engagement, the distance isn't changing, no wind.  Young Gabe gets some help adjusting into a loop sling, he has conquered the shot upon respiratory pause, now he needs the trigger control. Many of the shooters need working on the trigger control. I think the idea of the rifleman's cadence is sinking in, as more and more shooters are getting all their rounds shot on the transition phases. But they need to trust their NPOA more and not squeeze the trigger until at rest, all the bullet hole between targets are only zero point shots. 

   After lunch time Dangerous Old Men stories we prepare to fire the Memorial Volley fourteen rounds for fourteen names from that day two hundred and forty years ago. Not military precision but very good for a people in Liberty the volley roars as the names are read. Ralph had brought center fire rifles for the crew to fire, the only one not shooting was the Shoot Boss, Line Boss (me!). Imagine that was happening at the same minute in time zones across the country. That is cool.  I would cover the Known Distance training since Alfie had set up demonstration targets.  We shot peppermint, we had team shooting, 

   Bill gets a 210 a repeat rifleman, and a ceremonial wetting down with the Charles River water...
and we had Red AQTs to shoot before it was time to allow the shooters and their rifles one last time on the final Red Coat target of the day. We hadn't lost any shooters through the day, most of the instructors had an opportunity to shoot.

   Clean up, hand out of targets, business card and material to encourage future attendance at Appleseeds.  Hoping everyone would have a safe trip home and that they would tell everyone what a fun time they had.