Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Monday, March 14, 2005

2005 Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun

In case you've been wondering where I've been and why I haven't been posting lately, I've been "competing" in the Dillon Precision SMM3G Match in Mesa AZ, a three-day match which has become perhaps the largest in the country.

Hosted at the Rio Salado Sportsmen's Club Range (Dan Furbee, match director), the match consisted of 10 stages requiring mastery of pistol, riotgun, combat rifle, and combinations of these.

Dan Furbee's minions crafted stages with a great deal of imagination, including real and simulated helicopter bodies, bunkers, armored personnel carriers, buildings, and a spacious junker Ford LTD. The funniest was Stage One "Invasion of Privacy" (above) where the shooter begins lying on his back on a "bed" gripping the handcuffs on the bedpost. At the start signal, the shooter gets out of bed, grabs his shotgun and engages four slug targets, leaves the building and engages 16 "clay" targets with birdshot. My starting position is designed to get my fat old body off the bed in one motion, instead of two. Yes, that is a dollar bill stuck in the mannequin's bra. A shooter learned on the first day that actually locking the cuff to his wrist was bad for his stage time, since it took them close to an hour to locate a key.

The coolest prop was the helicopter body you had to capture with your riotgun, clear more targets from the rear window, then move to the front and whack the rest of the bad guys with your pistol. It would have been more fun using the machinegun. but the astute observers among you would note that it's a .30 machinegun with belt of .50 BMG ammo stuck in it.

I was a bit slow clearing the steel reactive targets because I was using a 20 gauge shotgun and, well it's not true when they say you don't need to aim with a shotgun. That's my little gat in the middle of the second picture. Next year, I'm going back to 12 gauge! The long "space guns" were used by those in "open class." The manly Remington pump (front) was the choice of one of our "Heavy Metal" class contestants.

Parking was convenient to most of the stages, but for stages involving all three weapons, it was nice to have a wagon to haul guns and equipment. That's my John Deere-green garden wagon on the middle. Others ranged from the little Red Flyer wagon to the ATV-drawn trailer brought by some folks from San Angelo TX.

Wagons are nice, but what made the match experience so great was being on a great squad. Squad 13 was the most helpful and energetic group I've ever squadded with. After each shooter was cleared, we'd swarm out and reset, retape, or re-clay about a target and a half each on average. It was the only time I'm manned a squad that liked each other enough to hang around for a squad portrait. It included some cops and a machinist (lifetime Marine) from CA, some out-of-state semi-pros and good ole boys, and a few of us locals.

Dan Furbee (right) and Bob Lamarca (Assistant Match Director, center) hosted the Shooters' Banquet Saturday night, an enjoyable event with a great buffet and raffle. I didn't eat much because match nerves and dehydration had been wrecking havoc on my gag reflex, but I sampled some great food and had a beer. First off, they held the ticket raffle for a #12 of 25 commemorative Ruger 10/22, which was won by Debbie Ferns, author of "Babes with Bullets," and a denizen of the Pima Pistol Club in Catalina where I used to shoot once in a while.

The dinner ticket raffle shelled out everything from a Springfield XD to knives, very nice shooting glasses, to SMM3G 2004 caps from last year. I was surprised to win the Second Prize, a North American Arms .22 LR mini-revolver. Score! Now, if my .45 doesn't come back from Ed Cameron in time for Buy a Gun Day (April 15th), I'll count this little baby! Hey, ACE, I've got an LFR!

Final match day was Sunday and it wasn't much different from the rest, I made mistakes, I was slow, and I was having the time of my life! My shooting buddy Jon was leaning forward in his game, trying to catch the leading shooter in the Military subcategory. I didn't lean forward until the last stage, which naturally turned out to be my worst stage. I'm not a lean-forward type of shooter and probably never will be without a lot of practice and athletic training...and losing a lot of weight...and learning to plan and memorize moves through complicated stages.


After the match, they set up the sumptuous prize tables for Tactical (shown above), Open (the Space Guns), and Heavy Metal (.30 rifle, .44 or bigger pistol, and 12 gauge). Down at the far end of the Tactical prize table, I snapped a shot of what would probably be the only thing left by the time I walked the line:

Well, it turned out that I was right. I turned out to place 9th from the bottom of 180 Tactical shooters...but I've been 10th from the bottom twice before, so no surprise. What is cool is that eight shooters in my class sucked worse that I did!

Jon placed 70th and still managed to bring home some nice schwag. Although he selected some Dillon reloading accessories, since Dillon is a local vendor for us, he can cash it in for other fine Dillon products. He'll probably use it to get enough 1911 .45 magazine holders since he's got a Major Jones to try Heavy Metal next year! They did have a nice prize table:

If my Ed Cameron .45 comes out soon enough to get some good practice in, I might join him, but I'm going to have to sell off some of the collection to get a decent .308 battle rifle (Springfield M1A would be nice). Even though one guy shot the match with a Garand (don't know how well he did, but I heard the old guy was deadly on the long range stages), mine is just a range toy and I'm not risking my thumb to get really good with it at the fast pace required for high round count stages.

By the way, my own prizes weren't too shabby, considering my low standing: 200 moly-coated .40 Billy Bullets (for whenever I get back into reloading), a box of 50 Armscor .40 S&W rounds (my caliber when shooting my Glock), a pair of mini-binoculars, a 10th Anniversary SMM3G travel mug, a certificate for a training video ($60 value), a Hornady Hodgdon Powder baseball cap, a Bushmaster T-shirt (my baby!) and Bushie sticker for my range box, a combo .45 bushing wrench/stabbing dagger (heh!), a reloading manual, and a signed Jake Plummer rookie card(!) from Pinnacle Press.

By the way, this is not an advertisement for the SMM3G. The match filled up in less than three weeks of registration. I do not want to miss out on next year's match because dozens of extra people decided to flood this one. What I'd like is for folks out here to learn what it takes to make a great 3-gun match and make more of them! What say you, 3-gun clubbers out there? Don't disappoint me! Put on a good match and I'll patronize your community's hotels and restaurants, enrich your club with match fees and raffles, and sing your praises on my blog!

Go forth and multiply!

This is my entry to the Carnival of Cordite this week.


  • At 7:43 AM, Blogger Heartless Libertarian said…

    Just a quick question: are mag-fed shotguns like Saigas allowed in 3-gun? And are they division limited (ie, Open only)

    I'd love to do 3-gun (if i could find the time and a babysitter) and I've got a hankering to do a pistol grip conversion on a Saiga shotgun.

    If I had to do 3-gun right now, my battery would be a stock AR-15A2, Remington 870, and probably my HK USP tactical.

    Oh yeah-does an AK qualify as a .30 for Heavy Metal?

  • At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Crikey, makes me wish I had moved out to AZ when my parents did.

    I will be out there around christmas. I am going to try and get together with "One In a Row" for some shotgun lessons for my wife (and touch up for me). Any interest in getting a blogger shoot set up for the Christmas time frame???


  • At 11:38 AM, Blogger Cowboy Blob said…

    HL, yes, there were several stickmag-fed riotguns there, as well as at least one drum-fed gun! I think anything more than 8+1 capacity is restricted to Open Class, though, so you're hurtin' if you don't have the other Space Guns to go with it.

    AKs count for heavy metal, but unless yours is one of the rare ones that can hit accurately at over 200 yards, I'd leave it at home...or you can spray and pray.

    Kirk, unless a pre-Xmas blizzard strikes the East Coast before I head out there, I'll be burning the Yule log with the folks back home. Time and Mother Nature will tell.

  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger Army Wife said…

    Husband will be jealous........and he will weep over his Blue Press catalogue.....

  • At 10:57 PM, Blogger Cowboy Blob said…

    Correction: 7.62X39 falls below the Heavy Metal standard of 7.62 NATO or bigger, so AKs can compete, but not in Heavy Metal.


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