I recently conducted a spread test using the three included choke tubes (Full, Modified and Improved Cylinder) on my Mossberg 930 JM Pro (24″ variant) to see exactly where the shot was hitting and how far the spread was at set distances. I tested distances at 5, 10, 15 and 25 yards. I was hoping to see what the most reliable tube was for 3-Gun matches where bird shot was to be used. I plan on testing 00-Buck and Slug ammo as well in the near future.
The ammo used for this test was Winchester 12GA 1 1/8oz 7 1/2 shot.
I shot my first 3-Gun-Type Shooting Competition today. I say “Type” since it was more or less a fun shoot at a local-ish range (2 hours away) that was not an official 3 Gun Nation match for score, though this range is a 3GN registered club.
I was looking for a low-key, no stress event to get my feet wet, have some fun and soak in as much information as I could. Unfortunately this range would not allow photography or videography, so there will not be any accompanying range images with this article.
For firearms I shot my slightly modified (stippled, with 10-8 Performance Sights and a Glock Triggers “The Guardian Duty-Carry” Trigger System) Glock 19, a “Frankengun” AR-15 built around a Rainier Arms Billet Ambidextrous Receiver Set and a stock Mossberg 930 JM Pro shotty. I had the AR’s scope, a Vortex Viper PST 1-4x dialed in tight before hand, but had not had a chance to shoot the JM Pro before the match…so it was basically new in box with a fresh coat of oil. (Not something that I recommend you do.)
For my equipment belt I had borrowed a buddy’s set up that is built around a Safariland competition belt, a stripped down ALS holster, some TACCOM Qualoads, and a single pistol mag and single AR mag carrier (from unknown manufacturer). Again, it was borrowed.
The Qualoads worked as designed, but I need to look around for something a little more secure as shells would fall out occasionally. My twin/dual reloads were satisfactory, but need improvement and I am not yet there with quad loads. I would definitely go with additional pistol and rifle mag pouches as my pockets were at times stuffed with extra magazines depending on the stage. This may not be a big concern in a sanctioned 3GN match, but with a COF that was all handgun and with one that limited everyone to 6 rounds in each magazine, they started to add up.
I did not go without some sort of malfunction on one or multiple guns on any given stage. I am chalking the problems up to ammo on the rifle and shotgun and problem TBD on the Glock.
The Winchester Universal Game & Target 7 1/2 shot that I started with gave me numerous malfunctions in the first course of fire (COF) in the JM Pro. Another helpful shooter advised that his 930 did not like steel heads/rims and he provided me with some brass headed Suprema 8 shot to finish out the day with. The Suprema worked out great without another malfunction in the shotty.
As for the .223 ammo I was using, the Atlanta Arms remanufactured ammo that I was shooting caused way too many malfunctions to mention and really hurt my times. It is what I had the most of on hand for boxed .223, but I also had two boxes of Gorilla Ammo 69gr Sierra MatchKing OTM in my bag and the rest of the match was flawless with that ammo.
Lastly, the Glock 19 had a lot of problems. At first I thought that it may have been too dry, but some added lube did not remedy the single shot problem that I was having. The gun was clean, so fouling was not a problem. I have yet to break down the gun to armorer level, but I think that it may be an extractor issue. Once the gun is back together I will run some quality ammo through it to ensure that the Speer ammo I was using was not a bad batch. I guess it is just a sign to upgrade to a G34.
The courses of fire were fun, yet challenging. There were initially 5 COF, but one had to be cut out due to Hunter Education being taught on one of the lanes. Only 2 COF involved all 3 guns, while 1 was all handgun and the other was all rifle. That was a little disappointing, but nevertheless challenging.
Prior to the match, I was advised by a friend to have some sort of jogging stroller to haul my gear/guns around with me. Unable to find a reasonably priced stroller on short notice, I re-purposed my golf pull cart with some 3″ PVC pipe to haul around the shotty and the AR. It worked out okay, but still had to haul the ammo bag around. Not the end of the world, but still a PITA. Will work on a more substantial solution for the next match.
Overall, it was a great experience for my first semi-competitive shoot, especially since I was not stressed about my times and was there to get my feet week.
Here is to much more practicing, training and improving on times.
Was very pleased with how the 69gr .223 Sierra MatchKing OTM Gorilla Ammo shot this morning. 50yd zero and the grouping is 20 rounds at 100yds with two volleys of 10 rounds about 20 minutes apart.
I prefer the 50yd zero since that is our duty zero for our patrol rifles and the rifle is zeroed at 50 and about 215yds with about a 2.5in rise above zero around 100yds, hence why the rounds in the bottom image appears high.
This ammo performed flawlessly without a single FTF or FTE, even on a dirty AR with a few hundred rounds through it since the last cleaning.
I also shot some Gorilla Ammo 55gr and 77gr rounds this morning and though they did not perform poorly, the 69gr came out on top for my specific rifle that has a 18″ 1:7 barrel.
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