Shelley ran the patch through the bore one last time to make sure it was clean. Jack to her left was checking the same in his rifle. "Not bad for the first day." Jack commented. It was still dark outside and they were preparing for the influx of students to their class.
"No, most of them managed to hit the backstop at least." Shelley frowned. "Although a few of them are already decent enough, at least at 25 meters."
The marksmanship training program at Freedom Camp 7 was based on a modified "Appleseed" program of instruction to get give everyone a foundation to build on, and shake the rust off of anyone who might need a rundown cruise. Anyone who volunteered had to go through the two day course. Day one and two were air rifle to get position shooting down. Days three and four transitioned to rimfires. Anyone who hadn't qualified to move forward after day four was sidelined over to the "subgun, pistol, and grenade" training pipeline, and those who qualified to move forward began the "precision marksman" course.
A mix of rifles, from Norinco M14 clones, Parker Hale C3 surplus sniper rifles, and various "varmint" bolt action rifles, were used in training "precision marksmen." The ammunition was standardized to 175 gr HPBT in 308, and 75gr HPBT in 223. These were available from the European market and readily loaded to "match standards." As Jack handed out rifles to students who had paired up Shelley began the inbrief.
"Welcome to introduction to precision rifle" Shelley said. "I don't care how good a shot you think you are, how good a shot you actually are, or whatever qualifications you had before coming to this course. You will participate or you will be dropped. You will stay focused or you will be dropped. You will learn all the material or you will be dropped."
The last student picked up his issue rifle, a Remington 700 PSS topped with a Bushnell Elite 10x mildot scope.
"You just spent four days with practically unlimited ammunition to train on. We are not here to pull triggers just to pull triggers, we are here to make sure that you can make each and every shot count." Shelley continued as she began passing out blank dope books. "You have been issued a rifle, you will carry your rifle everywhere. It is big, it is heavy, and it is your responsibility. You won't get to fire it for at least two days, if you have a problem with that, quit now."
As the last student took her dope book Shelley finished, "If you have a problem with math you might as well quit now, we wash out more students in the first two days than we ever do during the shooting portion of training. Any quitters?"
No one volunteered to quit. "Ok kids, here is what we will cover over the next two weeks."
The program of instruction build on Air rifle and "Appleseed" days 1 through 4.
Day 5: Introduction to exterior ballistics. Effects of gravity, wind, and atmospheric density were explained in agonizing detail for eight hours. Clean cold bore shot. Fouled cold bore shot. Issue blank "dope book".
Day 6: Mil dot range estimation. Students took a "nature walk" with an instructor to various firing positions and calculated the shot based on distance, angle, atmospheric conditions, and weapon systems.
Day 7: 5 rounds issued. Confirm 100 meter zero. Intro to weapons maintenance. Wind call exercise and range estimation in the afternoon. Any student with ammo left over can carry it forward.
Day 8: 15 rounds issued. Confirm zero at 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 meters. Any student with ammo left over can carry it forward.
Day 9: Hide selection and construction. Urban and rural. Practical exercise using entrenching tools. 2 rounds issued, 400 meter shot. Any student with ammo left over can carry it forward.
Day 10. Shooting practical exercise. 1.5 miles between shooting positions, shots from 250 meters to 600 meters. 5 shots total. 10 rounds issued. Any student with ammo left over can carry it forward.
Day 11. Exterior ballistics review. Weapons maintenance review. Prep for phase one culminating test.
Day 12. Culminating test of all subjects covered. Students failure equals drop from class. 10 rounds issued, unknown distance engagements 100 to 600 meters, 5 shots. All "ammo carried forward" must be turned in for extra points on the test or expended on targets.
Day 13. Phase 2. Ghillie suit construction. Introduction to the stalk.
Day 14. Stalking.practical exercise, dry firing solution.
Day 15. Stalking practical exercise, dry firing solution.
Day 16. 700, 800, 900, 1000 meter engagements, 7.62 systems only. 20 rounds issued.
Day 17. Stalk to engage targets at unknown distance. 4 rounds issued two targets
Day 18 Stalk to engage targets at unknown distance. 3 rounds issued.two targets
Day 19 Stalk to engage targets at unknown distance. 2 rounds issued.two targets
Day 20. Graduation.
"Ok, now that we've covered the syllabus, anyone want to quit?" Jack asked the class. "No? Ok any questions before we get started?"
"Yes Sir." A young man asked, a whisper of a beard growing on his chin. "When will we cover incorporating into a unit of action?"
"Good question." Jack replied. "But you won't get that here. Right now there are multiple classes going on here at FC7, there is even one called "Battle Tactics" that unit of action leaders are going through right now to figure out how to used different skills and assets on the battlefield. As part of their graduation they have to plan, and execute, a synchronized and harmonized plan of action. You are here to learn how to be a good cog in the machine so that when one of the guys with a 40 pound brain gives you a support mission you can execute to perfection."
"And don't think that if you graduate this course you'll be ready for action." Shelley smiled. "Each student will only get to pull the trigger 61 times in this course, so at the very most you will have 61 shots recorded in your dope book." Shelley pulled out her one inch thick binder. "This is my dope book for when I shot competitively. I have engagements out to 1000 meters every 25 meters with 6 different loads."
"Will we get to keep our rifles?" Another student asked.
"No." Jack responded. "We have a mix of rifles and scopes here to represent a cross section of what you would find in the field. When you get adopted into a Unit of Action they will be responsible for arming you with an appropriate weapon system."