Summary Performance (points):
Day 1, AQT1
Stage 1: 50 Stage 2: 50 Stage 3: 50 Stage 4: 48
Day 1, AQT2
Stage 1: 49 Stage 2: 50 Stage 3: 50 Stage 4: 49
Day 2, AQT1
Stage 1: 49 Stage 2: 48 Stage 3: 50 Stage 4: 50
Day 2, AQT2
Stage 1: 48 Stage 2: 49 Stage 3: 50 Stage 4: 48
Day 2, KDAQT1
Stage 1: 48 Stage 2: 48 Stage 3: 39 Stage 4: 47
Day 2, KDAQT2
Stage 1: 50 Stage 2: 49 Stage 3: 49 Stage 4: 48
My average points for each stage (including the really uncharacteristically poor KDAQT)
Stage 1: 49
Stage 2: 49
Stage 3: 48 (if you throw out the 39 the average is 49.8)
Stage 4: 48.33333333333333
My average group size (extreme spread) in MOA for each stage were as follows:
Stage 1: 9.80
Stage 2: 4.22
Stage 3: 3.76
Stage 4: 2.60
My total mean radius in MOA for each stage is as follows:
Stage 1: 2.71
Stage 2: 1.39
Stage 3: 1.37
Stage 4: 0.98
My average deviation from point of aim to mean point of impact in MOA for each stage is as follows:
Stage 1: 1.28
Stage 2: 0.98
Stage 3: 0.75
Stage 4: 0.64
I have heard Appleseed instructors say that the full distance AQT is easier than the 25 meter course. I can’t say that I agree. I just think that they are different. The short course is busier with more targets and natural point of aim changes. It’s a bit more of a time crunch.
What the short course does for the shooter is that the bullet holes are huge in scale to what the targets actually would be at a distance. There’s a lot more leeway to touch the line with the edge of the bullet hole that is disproportionally huge on the reduced size targets. The inside width of the 5 ‘ring’ on the full distance target is 17″. At 400 it is approximately 4.06 MOA. The inside width of a reduced 400 target for the 25 meter distance is approximately 1.06”, which at 25 meters is approximately 3.70 MOA. The difference is that at 400 yards a .224 bullet hole will give approximately .06 MOA extra wiggle room (1.5% of the widest part of the 5 ring), while at 25 meters the bullet diameter gives approximately .78 MOA more wiggle room (21% of the widest part of the 5 ring).
In the long course the easy part is that there’s only one target per distance. It takes a lot of stress off in the rapid fire stages. I think it also helps keep the concentration sharp in the slow fire prone stages. In the standing stage, something about the target being so huge seems to help psychologically.
The difficulties of the long course are mostly solved by having a ballistic computer. The “standard comeup” portion of the Appleseed instruction is wholly insufficient for someone who wants to do well. There’s just too much variance between different systems to justify having people memorize stuff that in all likelihood doesn’t apply to them. An instructor could come up with pert near the actual comeups for several shooters over a few minutes with a smart phone and a free app at lunch. Wind could really mess with people with gusts and lulls over the rapid fire courses, but I was fortunate to be shooting on a very calm day.
Where I actually was at a disadvantage at in the full distance course was at the 400. Unlike stage 4 in the short course, there is no forgiveness with the edges of the bullet holes touching the lines. Even a .30 does not have the same magical huge bullet hole effect as it does with a reduced size target at 25 meters, and I was shooting a .223. I simply could not escape the mediocrity of my load under those circumstances.
Before the shoot I approached shooting a 250 as something that would be a combination of skill and luck, something along the lines of, “I wonder if I might shoot a 250 today.” Previously, even getting into the 240s was not a given. What I saw this time after tracking my performance, is that my average simply is higher. There wasn’t much deviation in my scores. Now I see that all I need to do is to raise my average performance a bit and that the 250 score will be an inevitability rather than a stroke of luck.
Part of my learning was just getting to experience some ‘zen’ moments with my rifle. It just seemed as though I could watch through the scope and maintain attention as the shots broke. As each shot broke it was pleasant to watch the crosshairs move through recoil. The breathing, the relaxation, the trigger press, the shot breaking, and the scope movement in recoil just seemed to be moving along nicely in an integrated act. No need for any input or effort from me.
The AR is turning out to be a wonderful gun to drive. I think it came down to the better handguard to sell me on the AR. It also has helped the the barrel, while not a laser, is reasonably precise, consistent, and that the rifle has been exceptionally reliable. This is a gun that I can shoot comfortably all day long.
I think that one of the things that helped me learn through the weekend was increasing my round counts over and above what the course of fire called for.
I have a good time. The format of the shoot allows for people of extremely varied skill levels to improve their shooting. I’ll be back when I’m ready to shoot a 250.