Mar 11, 2012

Appleseed Rifles

OldNFO has a post up pondering a rifle for Appleseed. Being that I have been to more than a few, first as a shooter and then as an instructor, I figure I'm at least sort of qualified to make some comment.

The only rifles I'd say are not acceptable are single-shots. Beyond that, you're likely to struggle with either a pump- or lever-gun. With those out of the way, I'd suggest using what you're comfortable with. No matter what you choose, you're going to learn to run it fast and smooth.

If you take a walk down a firing line at an Appleseed, you're going to see a lot of Ruger 10/22s. They're relatively inexpensive, reliable, and can be accessorized pretty much any way you want. There will probably be a few AR-style rifles in any caliber - from .22LR up through .308. Maybe an AK or two. A couple bolt-action .22s or autos in other flavors. And if there's a real masochist on the line, a Mosin-Nagant. (Hint: go to the far end of the line from that guy.)

I have seen every single one of those rifles shoot a Rifleman's score. Yes, even the Mosin. (He set the forward handguard on fire during the second or third rapid-fire AQT in a row, and was shortly reduced to opening the bolt with a scrap of 2x4 until it cooled down. We pointedly suggested he swap rifles for a bit - so he dragged out a MN 91/44 carbine. Talk about clearing the line around him.)

I personally use a Savage MkII BTVS - it's a stainless heavy-barrel .22 bolt gun with an Accutrigger. Easily one of the most accurate guns I've ever shot, and it will punch one-hole groups at 25m (from a rest) using bulk-pack ammo. It's also HEAVY (nudging 8lbs empty without a scope, and closer to 9lb with the scope* and rings). MrsZ uses a Ruger 10/22 International.

One rifle that was just starting to show up on the lines when I chose to leave the Appleseed program was the Marlin 795. It's an inexpensive rifle - about $125 at most big-box stores - with the trigger to match, but it is accurate. It's also VERY light. Fitted with a scope or a set of Tech-Sights it's a perfectly acceptable Appleseed rifle.

No matter what you choose, make sure it has a sling (preferably a GI web sling), is at least on-paper at 25m, and that you have several magazines. Four at minimum, but five or more is preferable. If you don't have a .22 already, this is a great time to get one. For the price of a case of decent .223, you can build a complete Appleseed kit on either a 10/22 or Marlin 795, or be well on the way with an M&P15-22.

(* - Appleseed teaches iron sights, but don't feel bad about using a scope. My eyes just can't find those grey-on-grey targets at 25m with an aperture sight, so I use a scope.)


agirlandhergun said...

I somehow missed this post. Very helpful! Thanks!

agirlandhergun said...

Oh, I didn't miss just put it up:)