Letter Re: My Experience at the RWVA Mingus, Texas Shoot

Hi James,
I wanted to share my experience at the Revolutionary War Veterans Association’s Mingus, Texas Appleseed Army Qualification Target (AQT) [high power rifle] shoot last weekend (10/28/06-10/29/06), held at the excellent Tac-Pro Shooting Center. For those that don’t know, RWVA is an organization that promotes/teaches Americans marksmanship skills using military rifles and ball ammo. A fine gentleman known as “Fred” (of Fred’s M14 Stocks fame) spearheads the Appleseed Project. They have begun holding Appleseed shoots at different ranges throughout the country with the intent of teaching shooters how to improve their marksmanship using an Army Qualification Target. Fred gave a motivating speech about what some Revolutionary War veterans sacrificed during the first shots of that war, reminding us that, at the time, those resisting were English subjects. It was no small laugh when the owner of the range introduced himself and made light of the fact that he was English! (I digress) The AQT target is one sheet of silhouettes scaled to represent the appearance of 100 yard (1 silhouette – 10 shots fired while standing – Stage 1), 200 yard (2 silhouettes – 5 shots each from a sitting/squatting position – Stage 2), 300 yard (3 silhouettes – firing 3 rds into the first two and 4 rounds into the last – Stage 3) and 400 yard (4 silhouettes – 2 shots each fired at the first two silhouettes, 3 shots each for the latter two – Stage 4) when posted at 25 meters (81 ft.). When many shooters read about the program they scoff at the fact that the targets are “only” 25 meters away. I assure you that the scale of the target makes the task and scoring quite the challenge, as no shots are fired from a bench! The grading is based on minute of angle calculations which take into account the distance represented. When I registered ($70 – a bargain) I listed my experience as “rusty” and I had no idea how right I was! My highest AQT score was just over 100 for the entire weekend (far below the Rifleman standard of 210), but the instructors constantly reminded us “A Rifleman always persists”. The 3rd and 4th stages were what were bringing my scores down. The value of the program is you get a real world perspective on how you would perform with your equipment when firing at actual targets distanced at the actual yards the scaled down target represents. You spend the day with like-minded individuals. There were a variety of military rifles present. I was especially impressed with one shooter who made a near perfect Stage 1 100 yard 10 shot score (standing). I got acquainted with a number of shooters from my area and have tentatively planned to get together with them for more AQT practice. The instructors/range officers were very professional, courteous and made hard work seem like fun. I came home sore, sun roasted, a bit dehydrated, exhausted, and a little frustrated with my performance. However, I was armed with the knowledge needed to improve my scores and more importantly improve my skill. I encourage anyone reading this to not make excuses – make the time to attend an RWVA Appleseed event. It is one of (if not “the”) the best bargains in firearms training you will find. Kind Regards, – M. Artixerxes