I promise I will give you all an honest-to-God after-action report, but that will have to come after typing has stopped hurting; until then, you can read the official-ish one here.
Better Half qualified as a Rifleman on Sunday, shooting a 211, 212, and 227, each score with a different rifle due to equipment failures, and hit the Redcoat target shingle every single time; I qualified as a Rifleman on Saturday, shooting a 210, then a 223, 227, and 233 on Sunday, and managed to clear the Redcoat target on Sunday. Evidence will be forthcoming as soon as I take pictures. Commenter Lynn H. also qualified on Sunday, shooting a 222 and 223 as well. Apparently 40% of the shooters qualified, which is either close to or legitimately a record of some type. (Max possible score is 250, qualifying is 210.)
Oh, and this was only the third time Better Half has ever fired a rifle, and the second time she was behind her rifle. No one is "too" inexperienced for Appleseed, though knowing how to run your rifle is kind of a necessary requirement (they just do not have the time to cover it).
I got in WizardPC’s pants.
Testing your rifles beforehand by shooting ~500 rounds of the ammunition you use at Appleseed in no way guarantees that the rifles will actually work on the firing line.
Yes, both our rifles failed. My homebuild consistently refused to strip the second round in the magazine (we would load, make ready, aim, fire, and then I would go click, have to re-cycle the slide, and everything was peachy after that; I am running a Wolff extra-power spring), occasionally had the bolt stick back after shooting, and occasionally nosed a fresh round into the bottom of the chamber, binding things up; while Better Half’s Magnum Research… well, it found pretty much every failure it could. Stovepipe, failure to extract, double-feed, double-feed with stovepipe, bend the bullet 30deg off the casing while trying to load it, bend the bullet 30deg off the casing while in the magazine. I assume replacing the extractor might fix some of that, but it is not like the existing extractor is that old, and I do not believe MR uses stock Ruger extractors. I wonder if this is warranty-claim-able…
These repeated failures were tremendously frustrating, but you cannot let it get to you, otherwise your shooting will go to hell.
Know which target you are shooting at. It does not matter how well you shot your neighbor’s target, and your neighbor might be a bit annoyed.
Get a good sling. This can be hard, and does not include most slings found on Amazon (it did not include mine), so hopefully your shoot boss will bring some to sell like ours did.
Make sure your optic is set up to be usable at both standing and prone positions; hint: your head will be in different positions on the stock.
Keep trying. Better Half shot every single Army Qualification Test and Redshirt target, and progressively improved on every one, despite having rifles drop out.
Take a lot of padding. The shoot took place in a (thankfully) covered firing line with a concrete floor, and not only was said concrete hard, it was quite cold. We took remnants of carpet large enough to stretch from past our elbows in prone to past our knees, and then some cheapie $7 sleeping bag mats from Wal-Mart. It was not enough; thanks to a mild case of pectus excavatum, the bottoms of my left ribs are about ready to kill me, and Better Half’s arm joints are no happier. I cannot imagine how WizardPC (on a comforter) and Oddball (on a fleece blanket) survived.
A huge "Thank you!" to all the orange- and red-hats and the green-hat responsible for this whole shindig.
If you have not been to an Appleseed event yet, you are cheating yourself out of a lot of good instructing and an interesting look at the instigating actions and decisions of the founding of our nation; it may be a bit like trying to drink water out of a firehose, but eventually some of it will sink it, and you will become a better rifleman.
And that is what it is all about.