Monday, July 12, 2010

Rifleman Boot Camp Completed!

What an exiting week! Jonathan and I were gone all day for 8 days in a row attending the Rifleman Boot Camp organized by the Appleseed project that was held in Rolla ND. We couldn't camp out there because of all the chores that need doing at home so we drove back and forth about 45 miles to the range. We started out shooting rimfire rifles at 25 meters and in two days all of the 9 shooters had scored "Rifleman" on the army qualification test at least once so we moved out to full distance. The main instructor for the boot camp wasn't able to get there until Monday night (we started Sunday morning) so the first two days were run by a different master instructor and we all learned a lot. That instructor was Don D. and he drove all the way from Kentucky to help instruct.

On Tuesday we sighted in our centerfire rifles at 25 meters (the closer set of cardboard targets in the picture above is the 25 meter line) and learned to tighten our positions and make our slings "as tight as humanly possible" to put it in The Guy's words. The Guy was the main instructor for the boot camp and kept us all learning. Nobody seems to know what his real name is because he goes by The Guy. He was kind of different, to put it nicely. He put us through a few drills like "ball and dummy" and helped me cure my flinch which started to be a problem after I used the bigger rifle for a while. Ball and Dummy is where another person (The Guy did it for me and was really good at it) helps the shooter by loading a dummy or a live round in a random pattern and watching the shooter to see that all the shots are fired "by the numbers". I was flinching for quite a few times and then he would surprise me with a live round when he thought I did everything right. My groups started out at about six MOA (inch and a half @ 25m) and after the drill, four out of five shots were in a 2 MOA group (half inch @ 25m). I even broke positions after two or three of those shots to put on a jacket and still the shots were good!
I can't remember what happened exactly on what day, but on one of the days we learned about bullet trajectory and reading the wind and the next day we went out to the full distances. Without changing our sights from the 25 meter zero, we moved to 200 yards and charted the MOA drop of the bullet there and then went out farther and so on. It confused me for the first day, so on the way home we looked closely at the targets and figured out the adjustments that I needed to make for my rear sight.

I will finish up the story sometime in another post.



David said...

I it sounds like you learned a lot! I have a Mozen Naget, or M44 rifle. I just got it last fall so have not shot it a lot I need to get a case of surplus amo and get better with the iron sights. It has a very nice adjustable rear sight that goes out to 1000 meters! I have never shot it this far yet but would like to try it if I can find a place to safely shoot. I would like to learn to shoot good with the sights but I am thinking of mounting a red dot sight for deer hunting as they tend to come out when it is getting to dark to see the sights. What caliber are the center fire rifles you shot at the camp? The M44 is 7.62 mm which is close to the American 308.

Peter said...

Hi David,

The centerfire rifle I was using was 7.62x39 caliber. I found that it was effective out to about 400 yards, but any farther than that and the bullet lost it's power and was affected by the wind.

I brought along my Mosin Nagant 91/30 to try out at the longer distances (out to 600 yards) and thought it was shooting pretty well. I didn't have enough time to do the adjustments so I held high on the target and made some hits with it at 600y. I put a scope on it with the ATI mount kit and that has seemed to work well. The iron sights that came on it worked okay, but it is hard to get a good consistent hold on such a small target! If you get a scout scope mount be sure to get a red dot scope that has a long eye relief or else you won't be able to see through it.

You should check out the Appleseed program's website ( and see if there are any weekend shoots in your area. If there isn't you could easily find a range (82 ft long) and they would send instructors to do the program at your range.


David said...

I looked on eBay and and found the ATI mount kit it seems to be a kit to change the bolt handle which I do not want to do with my rifle. I think I will get a Weaver rail scout scope mount. The sight I will put on is one from a neighbor, he had it mounted farther up the his gun so it should work.