Greenfield Center gun club event links marksmanship with history

Mark Rosenzweig attempted to set the scene that faced the American colonists back on April, 19, 1


Mark Rosenzweig attempted to set the scene that faced the American colonists back on April, 19, 1775, at Lexington Green in Massachusetts.

The rebels were staring down some British Redcoats whose commander called out, “Lay down ye rebels.” The colonists began to retreat with their rifles in tow.

“They were walking away, dragging them when — BANG! — a shot rang out. That was a shot heard around the world,” Rosenzweig told the participants Sunday in Project Appleseed held at the Saraspa Rod and Gun Club.

About 50 people took part in the weekend event, which combines the teaching of history with marksmanship training in a commemoration of the battle that started the American Revolution.

Rosenzweig served as “shoot boss” for the event and was responsible for safety.

Participants took marksmanship tests, firing 40 rounds at a target in four minutes from a variety of positions — including standing, sitting, kneeling and prone — with the goal of hitting a target at a distance of either 25 yards or 100 yards. All are trying to achieve a score of 210 or higher on the Army Qualifying Test to achieve rifleman status. A perfect score is 250. Nearly all the participants were firing .22-caliber ammunition.

During breaks, they learned about history from speakers and viewed artifacts, including a Revolutionary War-era rifle.

A total of 130 Project Appleseed events were held in 49 states this past weekend, including seven in New York. This is the fourth year locally for the event, which is an initiative of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association.

Valerie Doane of Clifton Park recently bought a new rifle and wanted to improve her marksmanship. She became interested in shooting after accompanying a friend to the range. “It’s a good safe, sport and they’re very safety conscious,” she said.

This is the fifth time participating in a Project Appleseed event for Johnny Griffin of Schenectady, who was trying to raise his marksmanship score from about 180 to the 210 level. He said shooting requires following set procedures, including lining up the target, getting the target in your sights, changing the magazine properly and synchronizing breathing.

“There’s a certain cadence to the whole thing,” he said. “Everything has to go right.”

Dina Spinelli of Colonie said she wanted to become a better marksman and learn some history as well. “It’s amazing what they don’t teach you in school,” she said.

She said she didn’t realize that people fought so many battles nearby.

“We should know their names and understand why we have the freedom we have and make sure we’re ready to fight if we need to,” she said.

People as young as 12 years old can participate in the event. Fifteen-year-old Andrew Dennis of Watervliet said he enjoyed a visit he took to the Saratoga Battlefield. His history classes just give a broad overview.

“It doesn’t cover the battles,” he said.

Gary Mosher of Rotterdam, state program coordinator for Project Appleseed, said learning about history is meaningful for people.

“None of these are stories. None of this is made up.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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