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"This is a field match!"

In late 2005, five Rocky Mountain practical shooters started Colorado Multi-Gun as a vehicle to put on physical and technically-demanding practical multi-gun matches. With roots in the old Soldier of Fortune (SOF) and Rocky Mountain 3-Gun matches, and experience at various other non-standard field-style matches, the current trajectory should be no surprise. As one of the founding members of Colorado Multi-Gun, I am pleased to announce the successful completion of the 2007 Camp Guernsey Multi-Gun Invitational.

This match had a lot of challenging carbine shots from 100-330 yards. Zak engages seven hanging plates on Slant Sniper.
Shortly after our 2006 Practical Rifle Team Challenge, we were introduced to an opportunity to run matches at the Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center (CGJTC), a National Guard base about 80 miles North of Cheyenne on I-25. Camp Guernsey comprises 43,000 acres -- that's over 67 square miles -- of training area, along with a full complement of reactive military target and simulation systems. The CGJTC is used to running military units through live-fire field exercises, so running multi-gun stages throughout the natural terrain was no problem. For those of you who have shot the Rocky Mountain 3-Gun match at the NRA Whittington Center, CGJTC makes NRAWC look like the Aurora Gun Club.

The Invitational was an individual multi-gun match designed to test a competitor's skills shooting long-range rifle, carbine, and pistol to their effective ranges at practical targets in the natural terrain. One of our goals was to make it possible to hit every target shooting standard-issue military weapons systems: an M4 with an Aimpoint CCO; an M24 (.308) sniper rifle; and a Beretta M9 (9mm) pistol. But make no mistake, we also wanted this to be a tough and physical match. Rifle targets ranged from 70 to 700 yards, carbine targets from contact distance to 330 yards, and pistol targets from zero to 75 yards. To simplify divisions and scoring, we mandated that the carbines and pistols be of a "Tactical Division" configuration-- in other words: only one optic and no bipod on the carbine, and a regular Limited pistol. This also put anyone shooting standard military weapons on equal footing. For the long-range rifle, the rules were "anything goes" with a maximum caliber of .338 Lapua Magnum and muzzle velocity limit of 3200 fps (to reduce steel target damage).

You know this isn't a square-range match when you need a military escort leading your convoy through the impact area, and you see vehicles like these scattered everywhere.
Attendance at the Invitational was intentionally limited to ensure we could run the lengthly and complex stages to take advantage of the terrain and facility. This enabled maximum time limits of eight minutes (480 seconds) on two of the most difficult stages.

For those of you who are used to shooting on square ranges, or even a well-known field match such as Rocky Mountain 3-Gun in Raton NM, let me try give you a peak into the experience of shooting at the CGJTC. Pulling up to the main gate of the base, you are greeted by an armed guard and signs warning that all vehicles are subject to search and there is a 100% I.D. check. Your heart beats fast for a second when you realize that you have a bunch of guns and 1000 rounds of ammunition in the car; but it's okay, the guard knows you're here for the Colorado Multi-Gun event, so you proceed to the barracks and settle in. Travelling to the North shooting area where all but the night stage will be held takes about 30 minutes- ten minutes on a small highway with a "tracked vehicles only" dirt-trail next to it, and another twenty minutes on the dirt road that leads into the heart of the training area. You pass range guards and signs that warn "Warning: Military Property- No Trespassing," and you're reminded of the Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) briefing you heard the night before (and part 2). This place runs on big-boy rules.

The Invitational is one of the few matches that allows the .338 Lapua Magnum, Ari T. hammers targets on the Slant Sniper stage.
After a brief meeting at the Range Support building, squads split off. The entire Northern training area has a cease-fire while two squads proceed across the artillery impact area and ensconce themselves safely in the two Northern sniper ranges. Once those two stages are shot, another global cease-fire is called while the four squads cross over the impact area again. The match web-site warned that four-wheel-drive vehicles with high ground clearance were required to travel between stages. But it didn't warn that all travel had to be in convoy with a military escort, to ensure no shooters got lost in the impact area. This is a totally different experience than driving 40 yards to the next stage at a conventional IPSC or 3-Gun match. But these logistical challenges pay off in a yield of fantastic stages set in breathtaking geographical features. And let's not forget the destroyed military vehicles littering the entire training area-- targets for weapons much larger than what we will employ during the our match.

Shooters brought a variety of equipment for this match, however, some clear trends emerged. The most common pistol was a 9mm Glock or SV/STI. Almost everyone used an AR-15 of some sort for the carbine, with a low-magnification fixed or variable-power scope such as the Trijicon ACOG or TR21. Most shooters brought a bolt-action rifle for the long-range targets, with a variable-power tactical scope, chambered in .308, .260 Remington, or .300 Winchester. One shooter shot a .338 Lapua Magnum AI-AWSM, and several shooters used AR-10s chambered in .308. Laser range-finders were not needed, since long-range target distances were given in the match booklet. No ancillary equipment was allowed during the course of fire besides regular three-gun gear and a sole rear "beanbag" for the long-range rifle. With physical multi-gun stages, a secure holster and carbine sling were both required.

The 17-inch MSTN Comp-Tac upper fitted with a TA11 ACOG was an ideal carbine setup for this match.
I shot my standard three-gun carbine and pistol. The carbine is an AR-15 with a "Comp-Tac" upper built by Paul Ertsgaard of MSTN, featuring a 17-inch Krieger barrel with a rifle-length gas system and PRI float tube, tipped with the MSTN "QC" Comp muzzle brake. It's topped with the Trijicon TA11 ACOG, a fixed 3.5x optic with a fiber-optic and tritium-illuminated reticle. The trigger is a JP "tactical" single-stage with the four-pound hammer spring, and the stock is a Magpul M93B. Since this match had some stringent accuracy requirements, I shot 75-grain Black Hills ammunition. For pistol, I shot my SV double-stack 9mm built by Benny Hill of Triangle Shooting Sports.

For the long-range precision rifle, I ran my Accuracy International AWP which has been fitted with a 25.3-inch Satern barrel chambered in 6.5x47 Lapua by George Gardner at GA Precision. The Invitational was the second match for the 6.5x47 Lapua AI-AW, and I knew it provided ballistics more or less similar to .260 Remington. Both of these short-action 6.5 mm calibers blow .308 Winchester out of the water and provide external ballistics that meet or beat factory 190-grain .300 Winchester Magnum loads.

For long-range ammunition, I shot my own hand-loads which use a 123-grain Lapua Scenar bullet (BC 0.545), just over 37 grains of RL-15 powder, in brand new Lapua 6.5x47 brass and a BR4 primer. These give me 2930 fps and hold half-MOA or better out to 1000 if I do my part. My data charts are printed with the minimum amount of information for simplicity and to reduce human error when under stress in the field, and tied to the forward scope mount ring.

Shooting the 123-grain Lapua Scenars from his Accuracy International AW rechambered to 6.5x47 Lapua, the author only had one rifle miss in the match.
My AI-AW is topped with a Schmidt and Bender 3-12x50 mm PMII scope, with a P4-Fine reticle demarcating half mil increments, and matching 0.1 mil-rad knob clicks. The most common scope is a Leupold VXIII or Mark 4, followed by Nightforce, and most have top-end magnification in the 14 - 17x range. I prefer the smaller size, larger exit pupil, and wider field of view of the 12x maximum on the S&B. I also shot the match using a .308-caliber sound suppressor. Even though they add weight and make offhand shots more onerous, suppressors act as good muzzle brakes and reduce blast almost entirely.

Scoring for this match was time plus penalties, with each stage contributing match points to the overall final results. Paper targets required one A-zone hit or two hits anywhere to neutralize. Hanging steel targets required one hit called by the RO to score, and dropping steel plates for pistol had to fall to score. Failures to neutralize for carbine or pistol incurred a 10-second penalty. Failure to engage (target not shot at at all) was 10 seconds. Competitors could shoot as much as they wanted to, to hit carbine and pistol targets, however, they could only shoot a maximum of two rounds at a long-range rifle target. A long-range rifle target missed on the first round but hit on the second incurred a five-second penalty, while an un-hit long-range rifle target incurred a 20-second penalty. For each stage, the shooter with the best score received 100 match points, and everyone else received a percentage based on the ratio of the scores.

Before finishing up with rifle, Drake Clark (MAGPUL) engages the final six carbine targets on the Mk19 stage.
The match started with everyone shooting the Night Stage Friday night. This was held on CGJTC's Modified Record Fire (MRF) range. This will be familiar to anyone in the military in the last 20 years. For the rest of us, the MRF range has pop-up targets from 25 meters out to 300 meters. Each shooter has a lane of targets which are engaged when they pop-up. A hit on the plastic target will "knock" it down and the computer will remember the total number of hits after 40 target presentations. The is the Army military qualification course. Since this was the night stage, we taped a cyalume glow-stick on the front of each target; shooters were allowed no artificial illumination. Once the command was given to engage upon presentation, each shooter waited in the dark for a green spot to show up in his lane, and then engaged it until it disappeared. Chuck Ward, a former Army Infantryman won this stage with 32 hits, using a S&B Short Dot optic on his 20-inch AR-15.

The match progressed with four full-on field stages on Saturday. Stage one was the held on the Mk19 Range, and was for carbine and rifle. The shooter started just back from the ledge of a drop-off, engaged five hanging steel plates down in a gully at a range of 60-80 yards, then range up along the ledge engaging six IPSC targets along the way at almost point-blank distance. Thirty yards away was an Army CUCV (Blazer), where the final six carbine plates in the valley were engaged. The carbine was grounded on top of the CUCV, and the long-range rifle was retrieved from the CUCV and three short-range rifle targets were engaged from about 150 to 250 yards. Eric Miller, an accomplished Three-Gun shooter and founding Colorado Multi-Gun member won this stage with 60.77 seconds.

The Gully was a fast and furious run-n-gun stage stretched over about 70 yards. The shooter had to stop four times to engage a 75-yard pistol target.
Stage two was the Pistol Gully. This stage for pistol only traversed a windy, dry stream-bed for about 75 years, with 13 IPSC paper and 17 steel plates along the way. A 75-yard steel IPSC plate had to be engaged four times throughout the run, and was a tripping point for many shooters who were too amped to up get good trigger presses. Stage two was won by Pueblo Police Officer Eddie Rhodes with a time of 61.06 seconds.

Stage three, Slant Sniper, was the first of the really tough rifle/carbine stages. As indicated, this stage took place on CGJTC's slant-sniper range, which has lots of distance and some steep incline available. The shooter started within arms' reach of the starting post, aimed in with his long-range rifle at one of the five rifle plates spread from 470 to 690 yards. After engaging these five rifle targets, he retrieved his carbine, slung it, and ran 30 yards down a path engaging five IPSC paper targets and four steel plates with his pistol. At the final position, there were seven hanging steel plates for carbine spread from about 250 to 330 yards away, at the base of the hill. This course of fire was challenging due to the steep downward angle of the carbine shots, and the very small size of the carbine plates- some were only three by five inches. Although the long-range targets were tricky due to wind conditions, the carbine shooting was what ate up time for many shooters on this stage. IPSC Champion Henning Walgren won it with a time of 143.77 seconds and incurring an additional 50 seconds in penalties. Nobody shot the Slant Sniper stage without being penalized for some misses.

The last stage of Saturday was stage four, Sniper One. Shooters on Sniper One started by engaging three long-range rifle targets at 465, 500, and 615 yards, then running about 50 yards down a rocky hill carrying both rifle and carbine to the second shoot position. From here, they re-engaged the three rifle targets, then transitioned to the carbine. There were fourteen steel carbine targets spread out in the valley down-below approximately 50-150 yards away, some large, and some very small. With those targets engaged, the shooter ran another 50 yards down the ridge to re-engage the same fourteen targets again from a different perspective. Again, carbine shooting proved to be the way to "lose" this stage. Keeping track of which targets had been engaged while having trouble hitting the smaller targets was confusing to many. I won this stage by shooting it clean (no misses or penalties) in 212.92 seconds.

On Sniper One, Chuck Ward re-engages the three long-range targets from position two.
Sunday's stages were simpler, but still not something you can shoot at a regular three-gun match. The first was the CPQC, a close-range course utilizing military pop-up targets. Starting 25 yards back, the shooter engaged pop-up targets as they appeared for 40 target presentations. After that string, he proceeded forward to the 15-yard line. From here, he engaged another 40 pop-up targets as they appeared with only ten rounds of carbine, transitioning to his pistol for the remaining 30 engagements. Finally, at the zero-yard line, he engaged all 40 pop-up presentations with his pistol only. This was the first time the CGJTC's CPQC range was used for training or competition and some bugs were evident in the scoring computer, however, Mike Dowd won this stage with 102 hits.

The last stage was the Convoy, where shooters engaged 23 possible pop-up targets along the military convoy training course while riding in the back of a HWMMV driving at 20 mph. This stage demonstrated just how difficult it is to hit targets at 60-200 yards while moving at what most consider to be a slow speed. The average competitor shot about 90 rounds during this 50-second run. John Sternberg and Trapr Swonson both had seven hits on this stage, tying for the stage win.

This was quite simply a very hard multi-gun match. The two "sniper" stages had time limits of eight minutes each-- that's 480 seconds of shooting. Sniper One saw about half the shooters time out while still engaging the 28 carbine targets. The match had enough hard shots with each weapon that shooters had ample opportunity to tank a stage by wasting way too much time on a couple difficult targets. With a station altitude of over 4500 feet and daily temperatures around 100 degrees, being physically fit and able to keep focus all day was key.

Here is one shooter's "cheat sheet" for Slant Sniper, which shows his elevation corrections.
Throwing together a carbine or rifle a few days before the match almost assures difficulties or failure at a match of this type. There is a level of organization and experience required to make first-round long-range hits with a precision rifle. Even with the carbine, a solid zero and knowledge of trajectory is required to hit small targets at 100-300 yards.

Since ranges were known, most shooters made a "cheat-sheet" of dope values to dial for the long-range rifle targets, to consult while transitioning target to target. Another strategy is to shoot targets in an order to minimize elevation dial adjustments, or to dial to an intermediate target's elevation and then use the reticle to hold over and under for the closer and further targets on the stage. To simplify my sight picture, I dialed the dope values for every long-range target (except on Mk19), and concentrated on using the reticle for windage hold-off.

As one of Colorado Multi-Gun's major matches of 2007, we put together a pretty good prize table including: two rifles courtesy of Sabre Defense; a couple AccuPoint scopes from Trijicon; thousands of dollars off on Sierra bullets; a bunch of Magpul gear; a complete piston-operated AR-15 upper from POF; and two sets of body armor from Point Blank for the high LEO and Military shooters; many $150 certificates from Cavalry Arms. Cavalry Arms also donated an excellent set of EMT medical gear.

In 2006, Colorado Multi-Gun ran the PRTC; in 2007, we took advantage of a new opportunity and ran the Invitational instead. What will 2008 bring? It's too early to tell just now, but you can bet it'll involve some hard practical shooting in a fantastic field setting. Hope to see you out there!

                       STAGE POINTS .......................................    TOTAL
 1  SMITH, ZAK         95.72   74.85   98.80  100.00   87.25   57.14   84.38   598.14
 2  SWONSON, TRAPR     71.91   70.16   88.22   39.70   82.35  100.00   90.63   542.96
 3  WALGREN, HENNING   61.18   73.99  100.00   65.84   97.06   57.14   81.25   536.46
 4  SAMUEL, ALAN       90.03   77.30   62.25   45.46   90.20   71.43   96.88   533.54
 5  DOWD, MIKE         51.34   66.13   70.57   50.25  100.00   71.43   96.88   506.59
 6  CASANOVA, ADAM     66.00   68.29   81.40   54.98   90.20   85.71   59.38   505.96
 7  ALLISON, MARK      66.05   46.83   59.43   48.90   85.29   57.14   87.50   451.14
 8  MILLER, ERIC      100.00   93.59   86.40    2.18   94.12    0.00   62.50   438.79
 9  BRANDT, DAVID      63.25   56.46   60.85   44.69   84.31   71.43   50.00   431.00
10  EARNEST, DANIEL    59.80   77.02   84.36   45.79   88.24   14.29   56.25   425.74
11  DELENA, GEORGE     69.87   50.43   60.48   26.58   89.22   42.86   84.38   423.80
12  KOLAR, MIKE        51.68   47.48   75.37   33.79   85.29   57.14   71.88   422.63
13  WARD, CHUCK        45.56   25.24   55.37   39.99   80.39   71.43  100.00   417.98
14  STERNBERG, JOHN    64.65   42.96   51.27   38.23   85.29  100.00   34.38   416.78
15  FIELD, MICHAEL     34.57   75.58   43.63   43.14   88.24   28.57   96.88   410.60
16  OCHS, STEVE        54.44   48.27   68.37   25.92   84.31   42.86   81.25   405.42
17  CURLETT, MIKE      53.73   50.53   41.18   30.91   89.22   42.86   90.63   399.05
18  RHODES, EDDIE      53.25  100.00   46.89   36.99   93.14   14.29   53.13   397.68
19  MOWERY, GARY       44.71   65.22   85.21   53.12   85.29    0.00   62.50   396.06
20  MOSIER, DAVE       76.28   57.13   38.11   30.66   91.18   28.57   68.75   390.68
21  TSIKOUDAKIS, ARI   39.69   46.94   67.84   35.59   96.08   57.14   43.75   387.02
22  CASANOVA, JAMES    51.17   79.10   64.22   25.94   87.25   14.29   59.38   381.36
23  CLARK, DRAKE       45.58   36.81   40.37   24.91   82.35   71.43   68.75   370.19
24  O'NEILL, JAMES     44.42   36.60   86.52   38.04   75.49   14.29   71.88   367.23
25  CUMMINGS, HUNTER   41.20   28.29   38.50   35.43   79.41   28.57   87.50   338.90
26  BLAND, MICK        51.41   34.91   35.23   32.77   86.27   14.29   68.75   323.63
27  WRAY, JOHN         31.92   21.64   69.42   25.94   71.57   42.86   53.13   316.47
28  MORGAN, GRANT      45.30   42.30   41.15   29.45   89.22   28.57   37.50   313.49
29  STURM, STEVEN      40.92   48.80   36.22   28.12   82.35   42.86    9.38   288.65
30  PETRIE, CHRIS      27.01   36.17   39.33   25.64   69.61   42.86   18.75   259.36
31  WERTH, DEREK       43.41   28.15   31.77   23.56   71.57   57.14    3.13   258.72
32  McCUMBERS, CHAD    34.36   41.99   38.36   24.75   85.29   28.57    3.13   256.46
33  NEALON, SHAWN      34.26   38.73   61.79   29.85   86.27    0.00    3.13   254.04
34  FANKHAUSER, LISA   20.63   39.41   39.15   27.07   71.57   28.57   18.75   245.14
35  NOON, SHAWN        24.98   32.21   32.03   23.16   61.76   57.14    6.25   237.54
36  CARLTON, VICKI     22.51   38.80   35.81    2.18   78.43   14.29   40.63   232.64
37  CARRUTHERS, CHUCK  40.31   56.76   33.70   33.27    0.00    0.00   65.63   229.66
38  JUAREZ, JUSTIN     37.52   30.74   43.02   25.05    0.00    0.00    9.38   145.71

Henning Walgren's Match Report
Rest of DEMIGOD LLC's Invitational photos


Smith racks a 6.5x47 Lapua round out of his AI-AW and prepares for the next target on Slant Sniper.

Shooter Chuck Ward engages pistol targets on the way to position two, where he will engage the final seven carbine targets.

Shooters appraise target location and general conditions on Slant Sniper.

The author hits the middle of the three close-range rifle targets over the CUCV on Mk19.

Five rifle targets are visible starting at the "T" in the road, while there are seven carbine targets starting at the curve (bottom left) and proceeding up/right.

Shooter John Sternberg shot the 130-grain JLK at 2970 fps in his 6.5x47 Lapua rifle.

The author advises Drake Clark (MAGPUL) on target location.

Daniel Earnest engages carbine targets on the run on the Mk19 stage.

The author put masking tape on his watch and wrote stage dope corrections on it for speed.

This shooter engages the five long-range targets on Slant Sniper.

Shooter engages small targets on Slant Sniper with his carbine.

The author uses a braced but awkward position to get more height for some targets on Slant Sniper.

Mike Dowd racks in the next round while engaging long-range targets on Slant Sniper.

Magpul's Drake Clark uses this DPMS .308 semi-auto to engage long-range targets on Slant Sniper.

Ari T. adjusts the magnification on his 5-25x56mm S&B PMII to more easily find targets.

Hitting small targets at 300 yards was difficult with the 1x Aimpoint, but possible.

Shooter Chuck Ward prepares to engage long-range targets on Sniper One with his Surgeon Tactical .260 Ackley Improved.

Ward proceeds down the hill with both rifle and carbine to the second shoot position on Sniper One.

Derek engages targets on Sniper One with his Remington .308

Magpul's Drake Clark engages close-range carbine targets on the move to the final shoot position (CUCV) on Mk19.

Smith engages close-range targets through the TA11 ACOG on Mk19.

John Sternberg engages the final carbine targets on Mk19.

Drake Clark pauses while running through the Pistol Gully to engage the first set of targets.