California Governor Jerry Brown Signs Bill Banning More Handguns
California Governor, Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1964 removing the “single-shot”
California Governor, Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1964 removing the “single-shot”
On 10/22 day, we asked our Facebook followers to share a picture of their Ruger 10/22. The Ruger 10/22 is known for its versatility and with a wealth of aftermarket parts, you can take a simple varminter and turn it into whatever you want. And, as you can see, that is exactly what our Facebook community did!
Camo-dipped shotguns and rifles—from either the factory or after-market—are popular with hunters. Camo-colored guns are practical when you need to stay hidden. However, graphics on any gun goes beyond just the practical. If you want a more eye-catching and customized gun in a sea of black, hydroprinting or hydrographics is for you.
Everyone knows the names and usually the stories of John Browning, Samuel Colt and Gaston Glock. However, the name William (Bill) B. Ruger is usually not spoken in the same breath as those weapon designers—that is a mistake.
Working together with Lyman, Adaptive Tactical releases the feature-rich synthetic AdTac™ RM4-SE Ruger 10/22 rifle stock with adjustable M4-style buttstock. The pistol grip holds the integral TacTRED™ monopod creating a stable shooting platform.
I know gun owners who have unique pieces. I regularly see rare and beautiful firearms lining gun cabinet walls that would feel more at home at a museum than in a buddy’s gun safe. However, with as much time as I’ve spent collecting firearms, I’ve noticed some common denominators the majority of gun collectors have on hand. While they may not be rare gems, they certainly fill their role as useful tools quite well. A new shooter would do well to purchase one of each.
The Ruger 10/22 is one of, if the not, the best semi-automatic rimfire rifle in the world. It is a reliable and accurate little workhorse and every shooter from the youngest to the oldest can operate and enjoy the Ruger 10/22.
TAPCO displays their Interfuse rifle accessories and furniture for the top popular rifles, the AR-15, AK-74, Ruger 10/22, and the SKS so that you can see how the complete system looks on your rifle.
So you decided to jump on the black rifle bandwagon, huh? Or you read CTD Mike’s post about one gun to rule them all. Either way, you’ve decided you’re Team AR-15. Well, good for you. You could do much worse than a CMMG carbine. CMMG is a newer company that has just somewhat recently joined the AR-15 market. They make all the components to their rifles in-house, with the exception of custom rifle orders, in Missouri. The CMMG is an accurate and reliable rifle. It has a 16-inch chrome moly vanadium steel HBAR barrel with an A2 flash hider, a forged A3 upper receiver, and holds 30 rounds of 5.56x45mm NATO. Don’t freak out, this ammo is easy to find. It is compatible with .223 Remington, which may sound more familiar to you. The CMMG mid-length carbine includes a Magpul MBUS folding rear sight. All of us here at Cheaper Than Dirt have Magpul MBUS folding sights. We trust ‘em and know they are good. Another bonus of the CMMG rifles is their M4 feed ramps, which don’t always show up on rifles at this price point. They also have a MIL-SPEC fire control group, MIL-SPEC 0.250 diameter take down pins, and a MIL-SPEC ribbed reinforced stock. I promise you, these are all really, really good things. The CMMG AR-15 rifle is a great value.
I’m pretty sure you have heard of Glock. But you may have been scared off by the price. Well, the S&W M&P is a direct competitor for the Glock, at around 100 dollars less. I shot the Glock 19 and I really do like it, but when it comes to brand loyalty, I’m a S&W girl. The 9mm round is completely manageable, especially with the 4.25-inch barrel on the M&P and with three interchangeable palm swell grip sizes, you will find one that is most comfortable for you. These guns are smooth, easy to operate, and comfortable to shoot. The S&W M&P 9mm comes standard with a proven safety features, a polymer frame, a stainless steel slide and barrel, and Novak Lo-Mount carry sights. It comes with a 10-round magazine, but you can buy magazines that will hold more rounds. Those ridges under the gun’s barrel are an accessory rail, which means you can add a flashlight or a laser sight to the M&P. The American-made M&P is a perfect first gun, because it works well for your personal defense gun, your target gun, and is an excellent competition gun if you ever decided to start shooting matches.
The very first gun that I owned was a revolver. So were the next two after that. I love revolvers. They are easy to use in times of stress, function 100 percent of the time, and are just straight up fun. For a first time shooter, the revolver is a wise choice, there aren’t a ton of internal parts to malfunction, it’s easy to clean, it is easy to load and it is easy to shoot. Don’t let the .357 Magnum caliber scare you away either. The .357 Magnum caliber is the second caliber I ever shot. Ever. Surprisingly the S&W Model 686 won’t kick your butt. The 4-inch barrel and large stainless steel frame make this revolver easy to control. It holds six rounds, fires in either single or double-action, and has comfortable black rubber grips. The sights are easy to see, with a red ramp front and a white outline rear that is adjustable. The S&W model 686 revolver is 9-5/8-inches overall and weighs 40 ounces. CTD Mike used to own one and he said it is a very, very fine gun. When I told him I picked this one he had said it was a good choice. The wistful look on his face showed me was a little sad that his is long gone now.
I know we push the Ruger 10/22 a lot, but it is only because we love it so. And I’m seriously shocked that we haven’t yet convinced you to buy one. In fact, it is my number one recommendation for a first time shooter. Instead of listing a bunch of boring specifications and features, I’m going to list some of the wonderful things we have said about the Ruger 10/22 in the past:
Seriously. Get one now.
Alexander Sturm and William B. Ruger established the Sturm, Ruger & Co. in 1949 to make .22 Long Rifle semi-automatic pistols, so you know that Ruger knows what they are doing when it comes to rimfire handguns. Introduced in 2004, the Ruger Mark III pistol was the first .22 rimfire pistol to have a visible loaded chamber indicator. Shooting the Ruger Mark III is easy and fun. It has hardly any recoil and is accurate. It will eat most ammo without a glitch and has good-feeling grips. The Ruger Mark III Standard has a 4.75-inch barrel, holds ten rounds, and has plenty of safety features to help you feel secure. The black synthetic checkered grip fit not only in an adult male’s hand, but is also comfortable for women and younger shooters. Ruger makes this gun in the United Sates.
When I was a kid, I always wanted a cool secret room somewhere in my house where I could open a vault door and have a bunch of guns and ammo absolutely dripping off the walls inside, like I had seen in “Commando” or pretty much any of the James Bond movies. Even as an adult, I look at Travis Haley’s gun room with open jealousy. Few of us can afford the luxury of a well lit room lined with hundreds of rifles, but we all want to have our own little armory. So what would be the best choices, the highest value, for a basic but well stocked gun locker?
First we are going to need a pistol, and since its our first one it needs to be a jack of all trades. Concealable, comfortable to shoot, accurate, reliable and durable, chambered in a caliber that is affordable yet still offers good stopping power, and of course, it can’t be too expensive. No sweat, right? That’s a pretty tall order, and my choice is the “3rd generation” Glock 19. Now that’s a squat, ugly little gun. Its polymer frame is topped by a square chunk of dull grey slide, its trigger has that weird little integrated safety lever, and lets face it, the Glock is just… ordinary. Ordinariness is actually a benefit though, because accessories for the Glock cost less than any other quality pistol out there. Holsters, magazines, spare parts—all cost less than the Glock’s competitors.
The sheer volume of Glock doodads produced in order to satisfy all the law enforcement agencies, militaries, and civilian shooters that have adopted the platform means that you can get Glock stuff for less, but that doesn’t make the Glock a “cheap” gun. It is frankly the most proven handgun of all (and with that, millions of 1911 fans now hate me). The 3rd gen Glocks work and work and keep working, shooting straight and true, no matter what, every time. I prefer the mid-sized model 19 because it is small enough to be easily concealed yet holds 15 rounds of 9mm ammo, and its practical accuracy in the hands of real shooters is excellent. Who cares how mechanically accurate a firearm is if ordinary shooters can’t accurately and quickly send rounds downrange in the real world? Full metal jacket 9mm is affordable to practice with, yet the round is absolutely deadly when high quality hollowpoint ammunition is used (P.S. I’m a Speer Gold Dot man). The Glock 19 does it all and does it well.
Since I’m talking about how great it is to have a versatile gun, you know a 12 gauge pump shotgun is going to be on the list. Unlike semi-autos which can be finicky about which loads they like, a pump doesn’t care if you are shooting full power 3 inch magnum slugs or the cheapest #7 birdshot practice rounds you could find. The variety of ammunition you can put through a 12 gauge is staggering. Depending on ammo you can hunt everything from small birds to large deer. You can shoot sporting clays for fun, or repel home invaders with a devastating barrage of lead. To maximize this versatility, I might consider one of the “combination” packages that come with a long barrel for hunting and also include a short barrel for home defense. Both the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 are excellent shotguns for the money, you won’t waste a dime choosing either of them. There are tons of accessories available to customize them and they both offer legendary durability. The value per dollar spent is off the charts.
Now we need a rifle. To teach yourself marksmanship, to hunt small game effectively, and to have a great time for as little money as possible, start with a .22 LR. And is there really any choice here? It just has to be a Ruger 10/22. A lot of the things I said about the Glock 19 apply to the Ruger as well. There are untold thousands of fouled, dirty, gummed up 10/22s out there with shooters rapid firing cheap ammo through their aftermarket 30 round magazines, terrifying soup cans and ripping up Shoot-N-C targets all day long. It doesn’t cost much to get into a 10/22, which is probably why so many folks customize them with the money they have left over. There’s almost no recoil with the 10/22, so even relatively cheap scopes will live on them forever without breaking. No matter how many guns you eventually get, the 10/22 will still be a favorite for pure shooting fun. I sprung a few extra bucks for the factory cold-hammer-forged heavy barreled version. With quality ammo, its accuracy is truly impressive.
Lastly, if your state allows it, it is your duty as an American citizen to own an AR-15 rifle. The AR-15 isn’t perfect by any means, but the versions being built today reflect over fifty years of refinement since Eugene Stoner developed the original. Again, the best word to describe the AR-15 carbine is “versatile.” For any given situation, yes there is a better rifle than the AR-15— for example, if you had to shoot accurately from an extreme distance, you would want a precision bolt action rifle, or if you have a bunch of close range targets you would want a sub machinegun. But real life isn’t a video game where ammo weighs nothing and you can carry 6 weapons and a red crowbar around all the time. The US military needs one standard rifle that can get the job done anywhere in the world, in a variety of tactical situations, and in all weather. The AR-15’s flexibility makes it the continued weapon of choice, especially in carbine form with some 1913 picatinny rails added and a quality red dot optic.
We are living in the golden age of the AR-15 right now. Think about it for a moment: the free citizens of the most powerful nation on earth can buy that nation’s military issue weapon for themselves, and not only that, they have a huge variety of brands and configurations to choose from to suit their personal preference. If you’re on a budget, you can get an AR-15 for as little as $600 or so, but if you can hold off and save for a little while longer, you can get an amazingly good do-it-all rifle for somewhere between eight hundred to a thousand bucks. To buy an AR-15 that is as close as possible to what Uncle Sam’s finest go to war with, go with the Colt 6920. If you feel bad that it doesn’t go full-auto like its brother the Colt M4A1, take one of our boys who just got back from Iraq or Afghanistan to steak dinner, and ask him how often he used full auto on his military issued carbine (hint: the answer is ususally “never”). If you prefer the latest piston-driven operating system technology, the Ruger SR556 is an excellent value as well. I could (maybe should) write a whole blog article about which civilian AR-15s are my favorites, but the bottom line is that CTD has no less than 198 different listings for AR-15 rifle variants actually in stock right now. Buy one, learn to shoot it, and know deep in your heart that you are truly an American.
Now that you have these guns, you need at least six magazines for each of them, slings for the rifles, a holster for the pistol, a red-dot optic for the AR-15 and a cheap scope for the 10/22, at least a thousand rounds of pistol and rifle ammo, at least 250 rounds of 12 gauge ammo for the shotgun, did I mention that the shotgun needs a sidesaddle… uh oh. I think my credit card just melted! Seriously folks, when it comes to prioritizing where your money goes, buy the firearm, the magazines, and the ammunition first. They are the items under constant political attack, so get them while you can. Slings and red dots and holsters aren’t likely to be restricted in the future, so those acessories can wait just a little while longer.
Since its introduction in 1960, it has continuously represented one of America’s finest rimfire values. It has a 19″ Micro-Groove rifled barrel, a cross-bolt safety, manual bolt hold-open and a patented automatic “last-shot” bolt hold-open. The tubular magazine holds up to 14 Long Rifle rounds. With features such as its sleek walnut-finished hardwood stock and a precision-crowned muzzle for enhanced accuracy, it is easy to see why the Model 60 continues to be one of America’s best-selling rifles. The Model 60 is well suited for small-game hunting and vermin control, as well as for serious but low-cost target practice while preparing for hunting with larger rifles. The relatively large ammunition capacity is adequate for casual recreational target shooting, plus the low price and ease of handling makes it well-suited as a first rifle by young hunters just learning to use a semi-automatic rifle.
Few auto loading rimfire rifles have endured the test of time and the marketplace like the Browning SA-22. It stands alone as one of the first auto loading rimfires, and one the most desirable rifles ever made. The SA-22 was one of the last of John M. Browning’s designs, and his genius shines through in every feature. The slim, stylish forged steel receiver and slender barrel takes down into two compact units without tools. The SA-22′s tasteful engraving and select walnut make it an object of lasting beauty and enjoyment. Owners enjoy these rugged rifles both in the field and as heirlooms. The SA-22 is a takedown autoloader with a bottom ejection. The rifle has a scroll design, and a polished, blued finish. The front sight is a gold bead, and the rear is an adjustable folding leaf. Browning drilled and tapped the barrel to accept a scope mount. The tubular magazine holds ten rounds, and loads from the butt of the gun. No other auto loading rifle has the character or beauty of the Browning SA-22.
The Model 597 is easily the most advanced autoloading rimfire rifle ever built, and the most technologically advanced breakthrough in autoloading rimfire rifle technology in 35 years. The difference starts with the proprietary bolt-guidance system, which features a unique set of twin tool-steel guide rails for better stability, feeding reliability and greater out-of-the-box accuracy. The bolt, hammer, and sear of the Model 597 all feature an exclusive nickel-Teflon plating for smooth, dependable operation and an ultra-crisp trigger pull. To assure reliable, long-term accuracy, Remington also incorporated a unique positive-locking, permanently rigid barrel attachment clamp. Receivers are grooved for standard rimfire mounts and tapped/drilled for Weaver-style bases. Completing the breakthrough design are an innovative last-shot “hold open” magazine feature and Remington’s patented, easy-to-use staggered-stack magazine.
Whether your idea of fun is chasing after small game, serious marksmanship practice, or just plinking around, you’ll find a new best friend in these perfect go anywhere, do anything kind of rimfire .22s. Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos (CBC) manufactures the Model 702 in Brazil, and Mossberg imports the rifle under their name. It is essentially the CBC Model 7022 restyled to Mossberg’s specifications and previously sold under the MagTech brand name. The “Plinkster” name was previously applied to a different .22 semiautomatic rifle made and sold by Mossberg. “Plinking” is a popular term for informal recreational target shooting. It is available with many combinations of barrels and stocks, from synthetic to maple stock, and from chrome to blued steel barrels. The blued barrel is 18 inches long and the chrome barrel is 21 inches long. Mossberg modeled the bolt and receiver design after the Model 70 variant of the Marlin Model 60, but the ejector, firing mechanism, and feed system are different. Perfect for hunting or target practice, the Plinkster gives its owners maximum value for their dollar.
The Ruger 10/22 is an American classic. Simple and robust, its durability and reliability are legendary. This is the standard, classic configuration 10/22, featuring a hammer-forged 18.5” barrel, crisp single action trigger, extended magazine release, and hardwood stock. The rear iron sight is adjustable and the front iron sight features a gold bead insert. Ruger grooved the receiver for standard rimfire rings, and drilled and tapped it for a scope mount. A Weaver style scope base is also included. This 10/22 comes with a removable ten-round rotary magazine that fits flush with the stock, but it will accept factory and aftermarket high capacity magazines, including 50 round drums! With a bit of oil on the bolt and high quality .22 LR ammunition, your finger may get tired from pulling the trigger, but the Ruger 10/22 will still be ready for more!
Not everyone can shoot powerful centerfire guns. For a person with wrist damage, even a mildly recoiling 9mm service pistol would be too much. A person with little upper body strength would be hard-pressed to handle an AK or an M1 carbine, though they feel very light to most shooters. Shoulder damage would make recoil of a .223 feel excessive. Many turn to rimfire guns as the best alternative, counting on landing a greater number of hits to make up for the lower power of the round. Is that prudent?
Let’s look at the home defense application first. The reduction of power from the oft-recommended 12ga or 20ga shotgun to a .22 rifle is drastic. A typical .22LR bullet weighs 40 grains, same as a .30 caliber #1 buck pellet. A single round of buckshot contains 16 of them, more than a typical rimfire magazine. Penetration is very similar at 10″ to 14,” with 40gr hollow points expanding to about .30 caliber in gelatin when fired from rifles. While rifle bullets retain velocity further downrange, that’s irrelevant for the typical in-house defensive use. Due to insufficient penetration, 30-grain varmint rounds are less effective against human size attackers.
By this comparison, we can expect a magazine dump from a sporting semi-auto .22 rifle to have an effect similar to a single shotgun blast. A rimfire rifle has no muzzle flash and much less pronounced report compared to a shotgun. Given the minimal recoil of such rifles, good practical accuracy is actually quite typical in home defense situations. For the same reason, diligent practice is possible even for those who cannot handle the recoil or the weight of the bigger rifles.
The down sides to using rimfire used to be the reduced reliability of the ammunition, the awkward rimmed cartridge shape for autoloaders and the limited magazine capacity. Fortunately, these problems are now largely imaginary. Let’s consider them one by one.
“Everyone knows” that rimfire ignition is less reliable than centerfire. That is certainly evident with bulk ammo. Some brands and lots may have a misfire every 20 rounds. This lack of reliability is most certainly not an issue with the higher grade cartridges. A CCI competition shooter has recently reported a million rounds fired without a single misfire. While not up to a million rounds, I’ve had zero malfunctions over tens of thousands of such defense-oriented types as CCI Mini-Mags and Velocitors, or any of the Eley-primed types.
Rimmed cartidges are indeed rather tricky to fit into magazines. Fortunately, we’ve had well over a century to perfect the feeding devices. Straight box magazines can hold up to a dozen, tube magazines up to 18, curved box magazines up to 32. They all work fine. Some people prefer the smaller flush-fitting box (or rotary in the case of 10-22) magazines, others like the higher capacity and the additional leverage at reload time afforded by the extended models. Rimfire drums can hold 50 rounds but keep only the few rounds in the feed tower under spring pressure. The remaining 40-odd cartridges are supported by the individual cogs. That solution drastically reduces the friction inside the rotary magazine and also eliminates possible deformation of the unjacketed lead bullets. 275-round pans for the American 180 submachine guns remain a less practical curiosity. The plus side of the rimmed design is the simplified headspacing which permits looser chambers and thus greater tolerance for fouling.
The sporting background of the traditional rimfire rifle makes it a bit challenging to operate under pressure, especially when reloading is required. Fortunately, a large number of rimfire clones of fighting rifles are now available. These mimic Sig 556, AR-15 and SU16 carbines in all but the caliber and the weight. Most use polymer lower and sometimes upper receivers to shave off a pound or two of weight, with almost another pound saved by the lighter ammunition. These guns have familiar oversized controls, accessory rails and tend to be fairly robust. When recoil is a concern but weight isn’t, rimfire conversion kits become an option.
Peter Grant, a friend who has trained many handicapped shooters, favors .22LR in very few cases, mainly when centerfire is just not an option. He said that the low cost of the ammunition and the minimal wear on the shooters allowed his trainees to hit a rolling ping-pong ball reliably after expending hundreds and even thousands of rounds in practice. Three of his students used laser sighted rimfire pistols to fight muggers, all with the same outcome: dead thugs had their faces cratered by multiple .22 slugs. With the same rounds being notably more energetic when fired from rifles, there’s no doubt that they can be adequate for self-defense. A 12-gauge shotgun or a centerfire rifle may be the choice for most Americans, but the lowly rimfire rifle is far from inadequate. In many cases, it gets pressed into defensive service simply by being closer at hand than a dedicated fighting rifle. In any case, it’s worth knowing what it can and cannot do in combat.
So a few days ago, it was October 22. 10/22. Get it? The Ruger is so loved that I thought today I would honor it with some wonderful accessories. Whether your Ruger is a year old or 11 years old, it deserves awesome gifts. Don’t have a 10/22 yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Read our Ruger 10/22 facts and then browse our selection of 10/22 rifles.
Load a ton of rounds super quickly without hurting your thumbs! Before Ruger came out with the much-awaited BX-25 magazine, we all had Hot Lips mags. You totally need the BX-25 mag, but don’t throw out your old magazines. This little handy guy helps you load 50 rounds. Just give it a shake, insert it into your magazine, and crank it full.
It is a highly rated product and works exactly like it says. Reviewer CTD Ben says, “This is a cool little gadget. Shake, turn, and load in half the time. No more dropping single rounds, no more sore thumbs.”
I couldn’t say it better myself!
Like it? Want it? Buy it! Item: 23975
If your Ruger 10/22 has been really good this year, you need to get it this ProMag Archangel Marauder folding stock. It will look like the very cool H&K G36 rifle that we cannot get. The drop-in stock only weighs three pounds and it has a faux suppressor to fit 18.5-inch barrels. It also comes with sights and accessory rails.
Like it? Want it? Buy it! Item: 2-PMAAM1022-01
Rifles need lasers, too. The LaserLyte rear sight laser fits the 10/22 with dovetail rear sights. Originally designed to be pistol lasers, they are small and lightweight, but still offer a range of 500 yards. It has a pulse mode as well as a constant-on mode. Lasers on a Ruger 10/22 aren’t that silly. The Ruger 10/22 is so customizable, why wouldn’t you put a laser on it? Max Slowik over at www.guns.com says, “put a laser on your 10/22 “because you f*****g can.”
Like it? Want it? Buy it! Item: SCP-713
You’re gonna need to feed your Ruger. Federal bulk pack is an excellent choice for cheap ammo. We all know how quickly ammo can go, especially .22, so buy in bulk so you don’t run out. The Federal Premium Champion Target has a 36-grain copper plated jacketed hollow point bullet and a muzzle velocity of 1260 fps. Not only is it good for plinking, but it’s good for varmint and small game hunting as well.
Like it? Want it? Buy it! Item: 2-FE745
CTD Dave is getting this barrel for his 10/22’s birthday. He says it will cut your groups in half! The Adams & Bennett barrel will improve your accuracy. It is an 18-inch, heavy bull barrel that features a match chamber and a recessed target crown. No gunsmithing required for installation.
Like it? Want it? Buy it! Item: RGR-014
National Hunting and Fishing Day is just three days away. Do you have a plan for your family to fish, hunt, shoot, or spend time outside? If not, you still have time to plan something fun for everyone. Here are my suggestions to get yourselves outdoors!
If you are going hunting or fishing, or even a little bit of both, take this seat along with you. Its contoured design gives you a comfortable shooting position, or keeps your butt off a muddy and rocky bank. There are four 12-gauge shell holders, which also double as a place to prop your fishing rods. The attached nylon strap means you free up your hands to carry your gun, tackle box, and fishing rods.
I like MTM Case-Gard because they are a part of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Heritage Fund, Inc. whom helps preserve the shooting and hunting heritage by donating part of their sales to the organization.
Like it? Want it? Buy it! Item: 42449
The Ruger 10/22 is one of the top-selling, most-favored rifles in America. Any kid, or new shooter for that matter, would be proud to call the Ruger 10/22 their very first rifle.
With a variety of accessories, the Ruger 10/22 “grows” with your youngster, is easy and cheap to shoot; even the most experienced shooter has hours of fun with this .22 LR rifle.
Archery is an excellent way to introduce a kid into outdoor sports. I started in archery at summer camp, before I graduated into riflery. It teaches patience, hand-eye coordination, and builds confidence. The Barnett Sportflight bow has a 25-pound draw weight and a soft-touch grip. The package includes the bow, two arrows, a finger tab, an arm guard (necessary. Believe me. I know! Ouch!), and an adjustable sight.
Like it? Want it? Buy it! Item: 55044
This basic emergency kit is perfect to take out with you on a camping trip or hiking, especially if you want to teach kids or a newbie to basic survival skills such as navigation, starting a fire, fishing, and trapping. The kit includes 19 tools to help in a survival situation all packed in a water bottle. Easily packed into a backpack, this kit is a great start in learning survival skills.
Like it? Want it? Buy it! Item: CAMP-349
Most of our shipments make it out the door the same day if you order before 4 p.m. Monday thru Friday. We offer overnight and two day shipping, so you are not too late! The point is not exactly what you do for National Hunting and Fishing Day, but that you do something. We love our sport, let’s pass it on and preserve it! What are you going to do? Tell us your plans.
“America was once a nation of riflemen, which meant much more than just being men with rifles.”
Over the course of the Memorial Day weekend, I heard this phrase more than once while attending my first Appleseed. During the two days of shooting and immersion in Revolutionary War history, I felt a renewed sense of what Memorial Day is all about. The experience also sent me in search of a few answers. First I’ll share my shooting experience.
I have not done any significant shooting in over 20 years. Other than barely putting 100 rounds through my brand new rifle while sighting it in, I found myself a newbie in the game. My targets confirm that what I thought I knew about shooting all went out the window over my 20-year absence.
Day one began with a classroom briefing of safety lessons and range commands. Normally the organizers share a little Revolutionary War history before heading to the range. However, this is Texas and every indicator shows this is going to be a hot summer. This weekend was no exception. So in the interest of keeping this group of women from melting into their shooting mats, we saved the story telling for later in the day. Oh yes. I forgot to mention, this weekend was for women only—a “Ladyseed.” Through hard work the DIVA-Women Outdoors Worldwide organization (DIVA-WOW) made this women-only weekend happen. Lauren LeCren, this event’s organizer, shared with us that, “frustration is common but the instructors will help you work through it” —and they do. They are amazing people with infinite patience. The instructors demonstrated this throughout the two days.
Down on the range, we first learned how to use a GI sling. I learned a sling is not just for carrying your rifle. Oh no. It is also to keep your rifle snug into your shoulder and keep your support hand locked and steady. We started with a test: shooting at Redcoats or, as I would learn over the weekend, the Regulars. The Redcoat target is a target with four graduated-sized—100-yard, 200-yard, 300-yard, 400-yard—red head-shoulder silhouettes, and a 1-inch square simulating a “head” at 250 yards. This target measures your current effective range with a rifle at 25 meters (82 feet). From the prone position we had to put three shots into each head and one shot into the square. I managed to get three shots into each of the 100- and 200-yard Redcoats, one shot into the 300-yard Redcoat, three shots around but not in the 400-yard Redcoat, and didn’t even hit the paper on the 250-yard “head.” As I recalled my earlier shooting days, after a few rounds not only were my groupings tight, but they were usually spot on. As we shot more rounds through the 25-meter drill targets, my groups were consistent, but not hitting what I was aiming at. I could feel my own frustration level starting to rise. I was getting hot; the sun was in my eyes; the sweat was rolling down my face; I couldn’t get comfortable in the prone position. BREAK! Saved by a classroom break where we started learning about the significance of April 19, 1775.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world.” This unique experience begins to unveil itself through the story telling of the events unfolding on April 19, 1775. Appleseed, is on a mission to “wake up the average citizen’s inner American” and “transform him into the rifleman he is supposed to be” based on historical events. In 1775, “America was a nation of riflemen, which meant much more than just being men with rifles.” A rifleman is more than just a skilled marksman. Paraphrasing Col. Jeff Cooper, A rifleman is also ready and willing to use his rifle for its intended purpose—to defend life and liberty against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen.” This theme plays out through any weekend with Appleseed. Hearing the stories about those who gave so much over the course of events on April 19, 1775 sparked a nerve, deep inside that gave me new insight to my own feelings about Memorial Day. I digress. I’ll return to this revelation later.
After lunch and another history lesson, we went back to the range. This time we worked on shooting from a seated position. You could shoot indian-style with your legs crossed; you could shoot with your legs extended and ankles crossed; or you could shoot with your knees drawn up to your chest allowing your elbows to rest on them. The last posture I found to be the most comfortable for me. I was much more comfortable; but still missing what I was aiming at. One of the instructors spent some time helping me to re-adjust my sight. At first we went way off, but quickly learned the sight only need a small adjustment. After that it was up to me. My shooting improved slightly, however it was still not meeting my own expectations.
We retreated once more to the classroom for a final story. I admit today the stories all kind of run together. The one that sticks out most in my mind was that of a young girl, whose name escapes me now, who ultimately helped the Colonist win one of the final battles on April 19. The Colonists, holed up in a house, were starting to run low on black powder. The young girl insisted she could make it to the barn to fetch more powder and get back without any trouble. The men were adamant that they would not allow her to run into harms way. As dusk started to fall, she pleaded with them again to make the run. This time they relented and let her go. They cracked the door open just wide enough for her to squeeze through. She ran across the yard, narrowly escaping the crossfire. She filled her apron with as much black powder as she could muster. Upon her run back, she stumbled and fell just short of the doorway. The men knew death was imminent. She managed to get back up and make it safely back into the house, apologizing for having spilt some of the powder in her fall. There was no need to apologize, as the powder she did return with was more than enough to ensure a successful battle. I left the classroom in a profound silence. Would today’s children commit such an act? I wonder.
Then next day started bright and early. Down on the range, we began the day again testing our skill shooting at Redcoats. After yesterday’s dismal showing, I resigned myself to being happy to just hit the paper. I reminded myself I was there for the history, and to learn shooting technique, thus laying the foundation for better shooting days ahead. Can you imagine my surprise when I discovered that I had shot the 250-yard head? I was the only one that morning to do so. What a thrill!
Next we did some more 25-meter drills and began working on transitions. Shooting while standing; standing to sitting; standing to prone; and prone. It was a rigorous workout for which I was not prepared. My knees hurt; my elbows hurt; my eyes hurt. I hung in there just as the Minutemen of 1775 hung in there. My morning shooting was definitely improving. At this point all shooting is timed and running on a schedule of sorts. This is to test your muster and simulate the Army Qualification Test or AQT. My first AQT scored 99. While this may sound good, it rates me as “unqualified.” To qualify as a marksman, your score must be between 125 and 169. To be a sharpshooter, your score must be between 170 and 209. To score the Rifleman patch, you must shoot a score of 210 or better; consistently. Out of the 23 women who signed up, only one shot expert and made Rifleman.
The remains of the day played out similar to Saturday, with frequent classroom history lessons and more shooting. The most enjoyable part of the day for me was partnering up with 12-year-old Kerighan. We took turns shooting at The Quick ‘n Dirty AQT to earn an accumulative score. What fun! I could not have asked for a better partner. Even though we didn’t win, let alone place, I totally enjoyed the experience. I am planning to challenge myself again in October when it’s not quite so hot. Maybe I’ll become a Rifleman, too.
While originally intended as a day to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, Memorial Day now encompasses honoring all Americans who have died in all wars. Over the course of the weekend I found my feelings running deep in regards to what the Memorial Day weekend is all about. I was overwhelmed with emotion. Why not honor and remember those who fought for our land and freedoms so long ago too?
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