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Thread: 3Gun- The Best Game Every Played

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    Business Member Range Rabbit's Avatar
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    3Gun- The Best Game Every Played

    3Gun The Best Game Ever Played

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    Recently, I've been posting about action shooting, including IPSC and IDPA. Those sports are commonly shot with a pistol, though some clubs use carbines. If you want to be a complete weekend-warrior, 3Gun is the game for you.

    3Gun combines the use of pistol, carbine, and shotgun to engage cardboard and steel targets for an unbeatable dynamic shooting experience.

    Like other 'practical' shooting matches, a typical 3Gun match is divided into several 'stages', each stage is a simple obstacle course of walls, windows, and assorted barriers arranged around an array of targets. 3Gun stages are typically shot on larger ranges to make the rifle stages challenging and safe; in Canada that's often 100 meters, while in the US the rifle stages can be 300-400 meters (that's yards for you 'Muricans).

    A typical stage might start with the your pistol loaded and holstered, your rifle in hand; for most shooters, that rifle is an AR15, but I've seen shooters with everything from a Garand to a VZ58, so anything goes. When the timer starts, you engage some distant steel targets with your rifle, the Range Officer behind you calling the hits. You're an amazing shot (in your mind), but have you been practising lying in the urban prone position, shooting through the letter-box at the bottom of a VTAC barrier? No, you haven't, so pinned 5-round mags are littered around your feet like goat bones in a dragon pit.

    After you've successfully hit all the rifle targets (or given up, depending...), you clear your rifle and ditch it onto a table, or into a carpet-lined barrel. You run forward and pick up your shotgun, an array of clay birds on short stands await you on each side, and you pulverize them with birdshot, pink mist blowing in the breeze. Like most people, you don't have much practice speed-loading a shotgun, so your reloads, off a shell rack on your belt or chest, turn into a gong-show of flying shells and comedic fumbles. You eventually shove enough ammo into your Benelli to finish the stage, blowing up the last couple of clays. The shotgun, unloaded, goes into another carpet-lined barrel.

    You draw your handgun and run further into the field to face an array of cardboard targets; perhaps a mix of USPSA torsos and IPSC octagons (IPSC people are more civilized, so their targets lack humanoid shape). Two rounds in each cardboard, and you're done... you look around nervously before holstering, the large stages commonly used for 3Gun could be hiding more targets. You probably got them all... The Range Safety Officer watches you unload, slide forward, and pull the trigger to prove your gun's empty. Wow, what a rush!

    All outdoor action shooting is fun, but 3Gun is some next-level gaming for two reasons: first, it's bigger, and sweatier, and dirtier. You're carrying heavier loads, three kinds of ammo, and the stages tend to be physically bigger and demand more movement. Secondly, even people who shoot a lot rarely practice reloading their AR or their shotgun, especially under pressure. Sure, you know how to put ammo in your shotgun, but once the timer starts, and you're rocking that brand-new BFG plate carrier with twelve shotshells racked on the front, your motor control goes up in smoke and you've got the whole thing on your GoPro. Like A Boss.

    If you like the idea of 3Gun, but your local club isn't putting on matches yet, there is still fun to be had; take your non-restricted battle-rifle (XCR, ACR, Tavor, ... Garand) and your shotgun, and have your own party on crown land. A home-made tactical barrier, a few clay target stands, and a handful of gongs are all you need to party in the back-country. Take extra time to examine your backgrounds, and make sure your rounds are hitting the hillside behind your favourite shooting spot. In action shooting, errant rounds are more likely to go where they shouldn't, so design your course of fire with safety first.

    If you want to shoot middle-of-the-pack in 3Gun, you're going to need to spend some money. A decent AR15 and a shotgun with a five-round capacity barely gets you started. That AR needs either an ACOG sight or a fast-switching 1-4 or 1-6 optic, and at some point you'll install a trigger from Timney or Geissele. Your shotgun (a Benelli M2 or M4, of course) will soon get a red-dot sight and a 10-round tube, maybe an oversized charging handle and bolt release.

    Or... you can just show up with your trusty SKS, an old Glock, and a borrowed Mossberg, and show everybody how it's done.

    See you at the range! Glenn.

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    Can the AR500 1/2” handle steel core ammo?
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    Great writeup!

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    CGN Regular doo925's Avatar
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    LOL Unfortunately, I can relate to this.... "Like most people, you don't have much practice speed-loading a shotgun, so your reloads, off a shell rack on your belt or chest, turn into a gong-show of flying shells and comedic fumbles". But damn, 3gun is soooo much fun. Thanks again to my bro-in-law for getting me into it.

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    Newbie W35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamermill View Post
    Can the AR500 1/2” handle steel core ammo?

    The ranges I go to for 3 Gun do not allow steel core, as it is hard on the gongs and cost to replace. It is also frowned upon for safety, as some of the shots are in close and can ricochet. Steel shot, shotgun, is also not permitted for the same reason.

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    Business Member Range Rabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamermill View Post
    Can the AR500 1/2” handle steel core ammo?
    Excellent question. I have several customers that have deliberately shot the gongs with milsurp steel core, without damage. BUT I had one customer punch two holes clean through a gong with some Soviet-bloc 7.62x39, and I was not able to identify it. I believe there are two kinds of steel core ammo, 'normal' and 'holy s**t', and I'd love to hear from shooters who can tell me more.
    Glenn.

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    CGN Ultra frequent flyer DT741's Avatar
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    Great write up about 3guns !!!


    Quote Originally Posted by hamermill View Post
    Can the AR500 1/2 handle steel core ammo?

    Short answer: YES

    Detailed answer: if your 1/2" AR500 gong is left free swinging and as a bonus you gave it a 15 To 20, it will remain damage free. I have a 3/8" AR500 gong at home that had almost a crate shot at it during the summer in this configuration and it shows little to no damage, similar to the same gong shot with 5.56. My 5.56 gong actually shows more damages than my 7.62x39 gong. Norinco corrosive 7.62x39 and Norinco 5.56 were used on those.

    Distance was always 100m and more

    If you dont let it swing, like poppers, you'll put huge pock marks in it or go right thru it, depending of the origin of your 7.62x39
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamermill View Post
    Can the AR500 1/2” handle steel core ammo?
    Yes. But so can 1/4" if you hang it properly. The more extreme the angle you hang your plate, the less energy is transferred to the plate, and the more energy is deflected away. Look at the ceiling baffles in a shooting range, typically hung at a 20-30 degree angle from the ground, this is an extreme 60-70 degree angle to the line of fire. You can shoot thousands of rounds of steel core without making a scratch. Flatten that angle out the other way, or in a worse case, a straight 0 degree to the line of fire, and the maximum amount of energy is transferred to the plate, and failure can happen as quickly as a single round.

    In some provinces the CFOs have mandated a minimum angle for hanging steel gongs on ranges. Ontario its 10 degrees, BC 20, etc. If you are concerned about ammo type or proximity, you should actually be going to a more extreme angle. If you hung your plates at 45 degrees you would significantly reduce the chances of ricochets coming back up range as well as reducing wear and tear on the plate. The downside to these extreme angles is that the target gets smaller from the shooters point of view, and squares start to look like rectangles.

    Any discussion on plate angle of course assumes that you are only shooting the plate while it is stationary, which goes right out the window if you are shooting a swinging plate, which most people do. Once again, hanging your plate at that more extreme 45 degree angle is far safer to shoot while swinging than something hung at 10 or 20.

    Quote Originally Posted by Range Rabbit View Post
    Excellent question. I have several customers that have deliberately shot the gongs with milsurp steel core, without damage. BUT I had one customer punch two holes clean through a gong with some Soviet-bloc 7.62x39, and I was not able to identify it. I believe there are two kinds of steel core ammo, 'normal' and 'holy s**t', and I'd love to hear from shooters who can tell me more.
    Glenn.
    Range Rabbit. If they were using SOVIET bloc 7.62x39mm, there is a chance that they were in fact shooting AP ammo, and not typical steel core. It would be a pretty interesting story to hear about how the person came into possession of such ammo, but I suspect that might be the culprit. There is a world of difference in terms of steel penetration power between commercial steel core, and AP ammo. The soviets developed a 30 cal AP round called the B32, and mass produced both 7.62x39 and 7.62x54R with it. It is hell on steel. If they have any left, a picture of the tip of the bullet would quickly shed light. A black and red strip of paint at the tip of the bullet usually denotes AP/API.

    Do you have pictures of the damaged plates? Do you still have them? You can usually tell from the damage whether or not the plate was penetrated by an object that was softer than the steel, or harder than the steel, by the way the plate failed. Send me a PM if you would like to know more.

    For everyone else out there getting into steel shooting, I HIGHLY recommend range rabbit plates. I just purchased a few a while back, they are well made, and great fun. And an important detail often overlooked is the Range Rabbit plates include a set of high grade bolts and washers for hanging the plate, which is vital.

    If you use low grade carriage bolts from the hardware store, your bolts will fail rather quickly if you get into high energy rifle impacts, or any direct hit on the bolt. I put about 700 rounds on my Range Rabbit plates last weekend alone, with at least 30 hits on those bolts, at least two of which were 12 ga slugs. Zero damage to the bolts, and the nuts still backed off with wrench no problem.

    I highly recommend adding some steel to your range set up, and I highly recommend Range Rabbit as your source for steel.
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