A young lady dressed in Revolutionary War garb greeted us at the 2023 NRA Convention, holding a Brown Bess Musket. She was part of Project Appleseed, whose mission is to rebuild America as a nation of riflemen. Members of the project teach rifle marksmanship and American history to participants as young as eight. And one of their .22 rimfire rifle clinics was coming up near our home.
Upon registration for Project Appleseed’s traditional 25-meter marksmanship event, I decided my son Owen would need a .22 rifle well-suited for serious use on a multi-point regimented target range. As a boy, I spent many summers on the rifle range of our area Boy Scout camp. The .22 rifles used then were bolt-actions: Remington Model 37 Rangemasters or a few Winchester Model 67s. Based on my experience, I assumed bolt-action would be the rifle of choice at Appleseed. I selected the Ruger American Rimfire Compact .22 LR bolt-action repeater.
About the Ruger American Rimfire Compact Rifle
The Rimfire Compact has several range-ready features. For instance, the Ruger American includes two interchangeable compact-length-of-pull tock modules. These provide comb height options for scope or iron use. Its ergonomic synthetic stock is lightweight and designed for quick, easy handling. And the extended magazine release makes for smooth removal.
A really great feature for younger or newer shooters is the Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger. The pull weight can be adjusted between 3 and 5 pounds. And it includes an integral automatic safety lever. Plus there is an easy-to-operate tang safety to provide security.
Ruger Rimfire Specifications
Weight: 5.3 pounds
Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel length: 18 inches
Overall length: 35.75 inches
Length of pull: 12.5 inches
Front sight: Williams fiber optic
Rear sight: adjustable
I received the Ruger American Rimfire Compact the Wednesday before the Project Appleseed Clinic and did not have time to obtain a rifle scope. However, this offered Owen the opportunity to build a solid foundation of iron sight use.
The Project Appleseed 25-Meter Clinic
The Project Appleseed two-day program includes eight 15-minute history lessons about the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The majority of the participants were teens, along with a smattering of adults, who had attended previous Project Appleseed clinics. The history lessons were delivered in a simple lecture format but outdoors, and the teens really seemed to enjoy learning.
Saturday’s training began with a safety briefing and rundown of range operation, as well as a discussion of rifle marksmanship principles. The course looked like it would be challenging for Owen, as they were using mil-spec half-silhouette “Redcoat” targets. The majority of the line was also using customize Ruger 10/22s. There was only one other bolt gun, and nearly everyone’s rifle had scopes.
However, the range was professionally run by supportive staff who used impeccable safety protocols. Shooting started from the prone position, and one of the instructors brought over a sandbag rest for Owen to use instead of my tripod. He soon had the hang of handling the smooth operating Ruger bolt and applying gentle squeezes to the trigger. While the fiber optic front sight was vivid, it entirely covered the smaller targets. But Owen worked through the entire day using the Ruger American Rimfire and was getting solid hits on the larger Redcoat targets.
On Sunday, shooting took place from sitting, kneeling or standing positions. In the afternoon, one of the instructors allowed Owen to use his customized Ruger 10/22 with a scope. Owen was able to print tight groups on even the smallest of targets once he could clearly see them, ending the day on a very high note. Owen expended approximately 300 rounds of ammo over the two days and had a blast (pun intended) doing it.
How the Ruger Rimfire Worked Out
The Ruger American Compact Rimfire rifle is the best bolt-action .22 available on the market today, and Owen really liked it. He would have done much better had I mounted a scope on it. MSRP is $459. Other models are available with a threaded barrel and chamberings in .22 WMR and .17 HMR. For the next class we might have to try a 10/22.
Project Appleseed is for all shooters of all levels and ages starting around ages 8 to 9. Distance shooting events are available for those interested in centerfire rifle shooting out to 500 yards. We are looking forward to attending future Appleseed events.