Project Appleseed — Marksmanship Skills for Americans - NSSF Let's Go Shooting

Project Appleseed — Marksmanship Skills for Americans

Project Appleseed is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization dedicated to continuing the tradition of teaching marksmanship skills just as generations of the past have done. This is to help ensure the tradition of the shooting sports continues, but it also serves another purpose. Project Appleseed reconnects Americans with the people and events of this country’s founding era.

Attending an Appleseed event is not an introduction to firearms in the classical sense, nor a beginners-only class. According to Project Appleseed’s Regional Coordinator Trey Dawson, “For the new shooter, we can teach you to use your rifle safely and also be able to hit your target. For the seasoned shooter, we can teach you to shoot more accurately — even out to 500 yards.”

Project Appleseed Students shooting Prone

Students Perfecting Shooting in the prone position.

Some may call Project Appleseed’s teachings “basic,” but a better term would be “foundational.” The skills taught at Appleseed are traditional American rifleman skills that have been unique throughout the history of this country. Project Appleseed’s accomplished American rifleman is capable of shooting a 20-inch target out to 500 yards or a milk jug at 250 yards. Such shooting is accomplished using a standard rack-grade rifle, surplus ammo and iron sights from field positions. This is what your forefathers were capable of and what Project Appleseed ensures its students will be able to achieve.

Classes teach the fundamental rifle marksmanship skills to allow the rifleman to be accurate out to 500 yards because this is the traditional “rifleman’s quarter-mile,” a measurement of shooting skill that has been part of this nation from its very first days. However, teaching the skills necessary to shoot at 500 yards accurately does not mean you have to have a 500-yard range! Classes typically shoot from 25 meters at reduced size targets that simulate larger targets at 100 to 500 yards. This proven technique allows the instructors more time to concentrate on the shooter’s mechanics with less time spent walking a long range to reset and score targets.

Project Appleseed Students shooting from seated position

A Project Appleseed instructor works with student shooting from the seated position.

Revolutionary War Veterans Association

Project Appleseed instructors are members of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA). Through Project Appleseed, the RWVA is committed to teaching two things: rifle marksmanship and our early American heritage. For example, in addition to teaching rifle marksmanship with the standard shooting positions of standing, seated and prone, the RWVA will teach the true story Paul Revere’s infamous ride on April 19, 1775. This is done for one simple reason: The skills and knowledge our founding fathers left to us are eroding in modern America. Project Appleseed and the RWVA believe that without deliberate action, these founding-era skills will be lost.

An Appleseed Event Near You

During Project Appleseed’s early days, the event participants were primarily men who were already seasoned shooters. Today the program has been empowered with an influx of women and youth shooters.

Wherever you are, a Project Appleseed event is likely quite near you — or one can be arranged to be so. Appleseed instructors will travel anywhere in the nation, bringing with them the proven Appleseed course to your range, club, farm or other suitable shooting space so that you and your neighbors can experience the program’s appeal in your own backyard. Find an Appleseed event near you.

Shoot the Gun You Want

You do not have to have nor are restricted to shooting a particular firearm in order to attend a Project Appleseed course. Any caliber from .22 LR to .32-caliber (8mm) is acceptable, just as are traditional bolt guns or the latest semi-automatic, either equally welcomed on the line. In fact, Project Appleseed recommends you bring more firearms if possible, but for those who want to save some money, Project Appleseed recommends shooting a .22 LR on the first day and stepping up to your larger caliber for longer distances on the second of the two-day course.

Project Appleseed Students shooting from prone

No matter what rifle you choose, the important thing is to ensure it works properly and is safe. Instructors can help if needed, but when possible the students should ensure they have cleaned, broken in (if need be), and lubed their firearm properly in preparation for their class ahead of time. How to prepare for a Project Appleseed event.

Few shooting classes will or can take a student from zero to 500 yards in the course of a weekend. Even fewer will ensure the students know as much about their American roots as they do their firearm at the end of a couple of days of shooting. For more information regarding Project Appleseed and joining or scheduling a class, go to


In this video, Former Army Ranger sniper team leader Ryan Cleckner describes how he cleans his rifle and lets you in on some tips and tricks.

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