Long-range rifle training.
1000 yards and beyond.
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The best outlaw 3-Gun sets a new standard.

The Rocky Mountain 3-Gun Nationals (RM3G), is the best conventional 3-Gun match in the country due to use of geographical features in stage design, facilities, and stage difficulty. After some management problems during the 2006 match, JJ and Denise Johnson took over for 2007, and boy did they do a great job. This year's match made exemplary use of the natural terrain and geographical features of the NRA Whittington Center with complex and challenging stages that involved significant movement.

JJ warned that RM3G 2007 would be a "big boy" match with challenging long-range rifle engagements. He wasn't kidding. This year's match had two stages with rifle targets between 300 and 400 yards (in addition to a bonus target at 495), and another 4 stages with rifle targets from 100-250 yards. While this is outside the comfort zone for many 3-Gun rifle shooters, they are natural for the wide-open spaces out here in the West. Of the eight stages, only two were single-gun stages (one rifle only, one shotgun only), and one stage was all three weapons. In general, stage design was straightforward, however, not easy, and every stage except #2 involved significant movement- on average about 50 yards. Whenever there is this kind of movement, a key strategy is to shoot smooth while on the move.

Stage 1. Pistol, Rifle. Starting with a slung rifle, engage 18 pistol targets while running up and around hill. Once finished with pistol targets, ground pistol and proceed to engage four rifle flash targets at 125 - 200 yards from both sides of a barricade. The key to this stage was to shoot the pistol targets efficiently, while on the move, and then not lose any time engaging the rifle targets.

Stage 2. Shotgun, Rifle, Pistol. With all three guns staged at two closely-separated shooting positions, engage the three targets for each weapon from each position. Pistol targets were large plates at 40-60 yards. Shotgun slug targets were at 75-100 yards. Rifle targets were flash targets at 300-400 yards. This stage had the most difficult shots of the entire match. The long-range rifle targets at 300-400 yards were targets on a flat field which made spotting misses to make corrections difficult. The shotgun slug plates at almost 100 yards were challenging for many. Most people could make the pistol shots, however, after getting rushed or flustered, there were a lot of shots that went low left. Many people timed out on this stage while shooting the long-range rifle targets. For time management, it made sense to shoot this stage starting with your "best" weapon and ending with your "worst"-- which meant, for most people: pistol, then shotgun, then rifle.

Stage 3. Rifle. Engage 12 close-range rifle targets while running down a trail in the woods. At the bottom, engage five long-range rifle targets (220-360 yards) from each of two bunkers. The bonus target at 495 yards could be hit once from either position for a -30 second bonus. The second of the long range rifle stages, the trail run in the beginning of this stage was not much but a distraction and a way to get your blood pumping. Most shooters could shoot all the close-range rifle targets on the move, on the way to the first bunker, in about 10-15 seconds. The crux of this stage was efficiently making hits on the long-range rifle targets, and then making the bonus at 495.

Stage 4. Shotgun. This bird-shot-only shotgun stage had 30 targets along a "V" shaped shooting area which required at least 60 yards of movement. Targets included two activated trap throwers and two activated bird flippers, along with a bunch of dropping steel plates and stationary birds. This stage involved a lot of loading, shooting on the move, and a few spots where the 9-round limit of Tactical left few alternatives to simply "standing and loading."