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This is Zak's first person account of the 2004 Rocky Mountain 3Gun Match.


First, you might want to check out my report from the 2003 RM3GM. It has details about the NRA Whittington Center and contains a full report of all of last year's stages.

Wednesday Arrival

I arrived at the NRA Whittington Center at about 2pm on Wednesday and checked in. Raton has had much much more precipitation this year than recent years, so the whole environment was transformed by the flora compared to last year. Strong thunderstorms rolled through the Whittington Center every day of the match around 4-6pm, and temperatures were moderate to cool, as opposed to the sweltering heat of last year's match.

The general outline of the match was: 8 stages, three Thursday, three Friday, and two Saturday. There were 16 squads of approximately 8 shooters each. Each squad shot one time slot, and had one time slot's worth of downtime before the next stage. I was on squad 8, starting on stage 8. Some others in my squad included: Curt Monnig (Trijicon), Ron Adams, Darrell Humphrey, John Sternberg, Kelly Neal, and Stewart Lewis.

In addition to the main match, there were two side-matches: the machinegun match run by Alan Samuel of MachinegunTours, and a long-range precision match run by Mike Kolar.

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Stage 8: Shotgun.

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We started off on stage 8 Thursday morning at 7:30AM, after the shooters' briefing. There were five shooting positions from which a 40-50 yard IPSC-target-sized steel plate had to be engaged with slugs. There were four plates to engage first, and then 16 other clay pigeons throughout the course. No slugs could be loaded into the shotgun until the four small plates were engaged. Unless the shooter was careful to load slugs and engage the targets in the right order, a lot of birdshot would have to be racked out to select load slugs.

My strategy was to load a slug into my Benelli's tube with one pigeon left to shoot before the slug target, so that I wouldn't waste any rounds. It's also faster to load one into the tube than to rack a round out and load through the ejection port. My run went according to plan with no misses and no loading screwups. Once I was done, the RO was temporarily confused by my engagement order and tried to give me a procedural on the grounds that my 5th shot was a shotshell at the next set of pigeons instead of either shooting a slug at the slug plate or shooting the shotshell into the berm. I had load a slug into the tube after the 4 small plates, then engaged on pigeon in the next array, and then shot the slug into the large slug plate. In the end, there was no procedural because there was officially no order besides that the slugs could not be loaded until the first four small plates were engaged. My time was 85.48 clean.

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Stage 1: Rifle.

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Stage 1 was the "long range" rifle stage with the furthest flash target at about 320 yards. The course of fire was four shooting positions, with two or four targets to be engaged per position, for a total of 14 required hits. Three of the four positions were most often shot from prone, while the #2 position was shooting from over a tree limb. Shooters were stopped if they hit the maximum time of 180 seconds. This stage require that the shooter know where to aim at the distant targets for make hits, and that he could handle poor shooting positions. After running down the trail to the last shooting position, most people were sweating and breathing heavy which doesn't make distance shooting any easier. My time was 131.10 clean.

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Stage 2: Shotgun

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Stage 2 was shotgun only. We shot this in the afternoon on Thursday, and rain was threatening. The course of fire was straightforward. Shoot four plates before crossing a fault line, and then engage 20 pigeons, and finish up with two slug targets at 20 or 25 yards. The main things on this stage to remember were to not walk past any targets and to keep loading. Light rain started just in the middle of my run, which had no misses and was reasonably fast. 69.98 clean.

Back in the Coors Event Center, where all the sponsors were set up, I unexpectedly saw MSTN -- I hadn't heard they were going to be a sponsor. I have discussed 6.8SPC stuff with Paul before; I finally met him in person and had dinner with he and his wife.

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Stage 3: Pistol & Shotgun

The start position was seated uprange on a "toilet" with a roll of TP in your hands. There were 9 pistol targets to be engaged going up the hill until you reached your shotgun. There, you picked up a backpack, grabbed your shotgun, and finished going up the hill engaging 18 shotgun targets along the way. My time was 77.03 clean.

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Stage 4: Rifle

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Stage 4 was the medium-range rifle stage with targets out to 190 yards. There were four flash targets visible from each of the five positions, for a total of 20 targets. Each position could be shot prone with some support (rock or sandbags), and the first position could also be shot from tree limbs. There was a total of 40-60 yards of running between the positions. My time was 121.35 clean.

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Stage 5: Rifle, Pistol

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Stage 5 was the "CQB" stage, with three "buildings" with very small ports. Each of the 23 targets had to be engaged from within the confines of a building. The rifle was used for the first two buildings, and the pistol was used for the last building. The houses were cramped which made using a full 20" AR15 or even a longer FAL a challenge. I used the technique of holding the stock above my arm/shoulder and just pointing it. Many of the targets could only be seen from the very small ports. While engaging the first set of pistol targets, I had a foot outside the door, and the RO yelled "foot fault" or something like that. I pulled my foot in and re-engaged the two targets to "erase" the procedural. 52.70 clean.

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Friday night Stewart Lewis and I had dinner joined by John Sternberg and one other gentleman whose name slips my memory.

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Stage 6: Escape and Evade.

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This fun stage started with you in a chair across the table from an Iraqi "interrogator". Upon the start signal, you grabbed his revolver and shot him twice at contact distance (with blanks). Then you grabbed a flash-light and his AK47, and entered the dark-house to locate and neutralize two shoot targets (while avoiding three or four no-shoots). You left the AK in the dark-house, ran back out, and grabbed your pistol to fight your way through 18 targets to the heli-pad for your departure. I was a little slow on my pistol targets because I wasn't confident in my hits, but I had almost all 2x A's. I re-engaged one target because I saw no holes, and dropped a mag on my reload. 50.44 clean.

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Stage 7: Excess Baggage.

This was a straightforward short-range pistol hoser stage with the exception that you had a weighted briefcase chained to the wrist of your choice throughout the entire run. The 20 or so targets were from contact distance to about 10 yards, with a swinger/no-shoot activated by a popper at the end. 43.10 + 1 FTN for 48.10.

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I shot my Benelli M1S90, my SV 40 "Limited" pistol, and my JP CTR-02 in 223.

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Results & Prizes

The prize tables were very well stacked this year, with over 50 guns on the table.

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I had an excellent match, really placing higher than I expected. In the end, I came in 25th of 100-some in Tactical. I scored a CavArms polymer AR15 lower receiver and a Matt Burkett training DVD. Thanks Matt & Shawn!

Taran won Tactical. I think Matt won Open.

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I was surprised to see MSTN there, and they brought some neat gear:

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I highly recommend not backing one's vehicle halfway off a ditch so that the left rear wheel is no longer touching ground. Although it was tilted 30-35 degrees over and had to pull myself back into the driver's seat, I was able to drive out in 4L with minimal damage:

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Last year I wrote that I thought RM3G was "to become THE premier 3Gun event" -- and I believe it has. The stages are well-debugged with no gimmicks, the scenarios are practical and "solve to the problem", the terrain is unmatched. The mix of long & medium range rifle, shotgun, pistol, and combo stages is ideal.

My squad had 9 people, and most squads must have had 11 or less. With that few people, and everyone working hard, even though each squad was allotted 90 minutes to shoot each stage, we finished most in 45 minutes to 1 hour. This ensured the match stayed on schedule and no backups occurred. The downtime built in to the schedule (shoot one, sit one) kept shooters from being rushed, and allowed time to regroup, eat, talk to the vendors, fix broken guns, and hang out.

I'll say it again, RM3G is THE 3Gun match to shoot.

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Team Shoot:

The Team Shoot was started under threat of torrential storm. One pistol shooter, one rifle shooter, and one shotgun shooter comprised a team. The shotgun shooter shot 8 steel, then the pistol guy shot a bunch of steel, then the rifle guy engaged three distant flashers, and one those hits were made, the shotgun guy made two 40-60 yard slug targets. Stewart, John, and I came in 9th of 20 in Tactical with a 39 second run.

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Good Pics and Report!

I was the monkey RO on Stage 4 .........................and I never saw the camera (Or I would have staightened out my left pants pocket so the DI would not scream at me!).

You are doing a great service to all the people who want info on this match, and as a shooter I thank you. Please continue to post your review on this and any other match. Hey, I might mention that you happen to not suck as a shooter either.......LOL!

On a side note: This guy Alan Samuel of MachinegunTours.com has to be the coolest guy in the universe. If you get a chance contact him to set up a machinegun shoot in your area, do it! I have not had the opportunity to get off with an M-60 in years and he was the man that hooked me up at this match and it was a blast. Thanks dude!

And Zak, you too!


Monkey RO from Stage 4

(Guy Hawkins)

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Zak, nicely done - shooting and reporting.

I met some very nice people and witnessed some very good shooting! Everyone followed the rules and not try to "game" it, testing/showing off their skills in good faith (no one received the 60 seconds "Un-Sportman Like Conduct" penalty ;) ) Running up and down that ridge at Stage 1 Hamburger Hill a.k.a "Heart Break Ridge, a.k.a. Mosquitoes Ridge - you name it, three days in a row was quite tiring, but have to say I enjoyed it.

We also got rid of a few rattle snakes.


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good report......the match was great.....blane and company know how to do it! you will have to forgive me on the Stage 8 thing (hell, I don't even remember it).......it is hard enough to get up for a 0730 squad. I am glad you shot well on that stage. If I remember right there where VERY few people that blew past any pigeons. But a few that shot birdshot at the SLUG plate and thought it was a SLUG hit, which then they had to load another and gong the IRON HAIRY!

Take Care

Garret Hawkins

Stage 8 range nazi RO!

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Thanks for shooting with Guy and I on the Team shoot........It was a blast and we could not have had a better teammate!

If any of you guys out there was to shooting FULL auto stuff.......ALAN is the man!

Take Care


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Garret and Guy,

You guys were great to shoot with also. We came in second in the team with a 26 second time and it if you watch the video there wasn't much we could have improved on.

On my website I have posted videos of:

Stage 5 shot with my 60 and Shawn from Cavalry Arms

Stage 5 shot with a M-16

Stage 5 shot with an M-60

Stage 6 shot with an M-60

Team Shoot video of Team MachineGunTours (Garret, Guy and Myself)

250round single burst out of the MG-42 into the hillside


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Great report! It was a pleasure talking and shooting with you. Thanks for asking me onto the team shoot, we didn't do bad considering the company.

I shot the match poorly, no excuses. The air was very thin and I had a lot of trouble. It showed me just how out of shape I am. Even with breathing trouble I had a great time. Excellent match.

I saw the milky way for the first time! :D:o

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