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LaRue Tactical 3-gun – the Official post

April 14, 2009

My wife finally got the video from Larue uploaded to YouTube so here’s the Kelly Neal version of the weekend’s events.

First, Delia’s filmmaking magic:

The Larue match was a great time and had challenges not commonly encountered at other 3 gun matches such as support side rifle shooting and shooting ports requiring that the rifle be tilted 90 degrees one way or the other.  It also had a fully operational minigun, a prop rarely seen.  The match had a new and very accuracy-intensive scoring system adding 1.5 seconds for a C hit and 4 seconds for a D hit!  While it was not a walking bullseye match as some had feared, the shooter really had to aim!  The stages tended to be “big” with lots of skills being tested. A big thanks to the staff, Mark Larue and especially the evil mind of match director Greg Coker.

Due to weather conditions, not every stage could be filmed but I will comment on those that are.  Stage 2 was a rifle/shotgun stage requiring both slugs and shot.  The Texas star at the start of the stage really gave shooters shooting cylinder bore fits.  I highly recommend that 3 gunners have interchangeable chokes and some buckshot just in case (#4 is best).  I shot the star with 00 buck in an improved choke and wish I had put in my modified choke as I had some makeup shots. Next up were 3 poppers each of which activated a flying clay.  These were NOT disappearing targets as in USPSA and if any were missed, they added 20 seconds (!!) to the shooter’s time for each miss.  Normally I would have shot the three poppers and then gone for all three in the air, but not when upwards of 60 seconds in penalties were on the line. So I backed off and shot 2 poppers, 2 aerial clays, 1 popper, 1 aerial clay to be safe.  I then had to transition to slugs.  I screwed up the load, dropping the 4th shell but since there were only 3 slug targets, I just slowed down a bit to make them count.  The rifle part of the stage was out of a helicopter set on springs.  The close range targets were no problem but the long range targets were tough as the shooting platform kept moving.  Note the power change I did on the scope during the transition to prone.

Stage 3 was a shotgun/rifle stage.  The shooter had to engage a slug target from each box. I did it the chicken way and loaded a slug when transitioning requring an extra transition from clay to slug plate back to clay.  The best way was to start with 2 slugs in the gun loaded after the 1st five shot rounds.  That way you could finish with a slug from the 1st box and have a slug in the chamber when entering the 2nd box – BUT you could not miss or your count would be screwed up.  This does save a wide transition however. The rifle shooting was fairly straightforward.

Stage 4 was a 3 gun stage and one of my favorites of the match.  The shooter had to breach the door with a minimum of 2 rounds, shoot one clay and one slug target from the door (no slugs in the shotgun until door breach), transition to rifle which could only have 20 rounds, and then finish remaining targets with the pistol.  If all that was not enough, this was a target designation drill. Just before the buzzer, the shooter picks a mystery card with a colored symbol.  Targets with that colored symbol are NO shoots (worth 30 seconds in penalties!).  My card had a blue triangle.  You can’t hear it in the video, but as soon as I pick up the rifle I start saying “blue, blue, blue” to remind myself.   This was my last stage and I was leading going into it but one no-shoot would have knocked me into 2nd place. 

Stage 5 was another 3 gun stage and my 1st stage in the match.  It was cold and windy!  The shooter starts with a 9 rd. shotgun array, runs over to a pickup rifle (which has one dummy round to induce a malfunction), breach yet another door with a ram,  slings up their rifle, assaults the house and Texas star with the pistol, transitions to the rifle,  and finishes up on some rifle paper targets (whew!)  You have to break these stages up mentally and work through them.   Don’t forget to breathe and call your shots.   Note I don’t move at a pace faster than I can call my shots.  Special thanks to my nemisis Sgt. Robbie Johnson for the loving commentary at the end!  I love you too, man! 

Stage 7 was a drill-oriented stage requiring all 3 guns.  The shooter had to shoot the rifle support side from the barricade, transition to strong side on another part of the barricade, transition to shotgun and engage 2 clay and one slug from three separate “ports.”  Then transition to pistol, engage targets through one port, execute a mandatory mag change and then shoot the remaining pistol targets through one more port.   The really tricky part was the shotgun.  If you screwed up your sequence, you could get hosed as you would have a slug in the chamber when you needed a shot shell or vice versa.  My sequence was shot, shot, slug, shot, shot, slug, shot, shot, slug.  Notice I miss the button on my Benelli on my 1st attempt to chamber a round and have to repeat it.  Support side shooting is a big deal with guys like Kyle Lamb and Bennie Cooley.  I’ve found that a Nordic components 10/22 chassis is a fantastic way to cheaply work on my support side skill set.  I am very right eye dominant and have to close my right eye when shooting long guns support side.

Stage 8 was another drill-oriented 3 gun stage.  The shooter has to perform 4 Mozambique failure drills ((2 to the body and 1 to the head) with the pistol, transition to shotgun, engage clay birds and then end with one slug.  Then, transition to the rifle, perform some more Mozambiques with the rifle  and then engage 6 steel targets at 100 yards through a port set up to require that the shooter rotate the rifle.  The pistol shooting went ok.  I did fire a couple of unnecessary makeup shots (better safe than sorry!) The shotgun and close rifle was pretty clean as well.  I chose to shot “SBU” prone, rotating the magazine to the right and resting the buttplate on my bicep.  Most other shooters did the rollover prone, rotating the magazine to the left.  I prefer SBU as it is somewhat similar to a normal prone position that just sort of collapsed to the ground whereas the roll over prone is fairly unique.  Rollover does cause the cases to eject very close to the rifle’s ejection port whereas SBU sends them up in the air.   When shooting sideways hold off slightly to the magazine side.  So when shooting SBU as here, I held at 2 o’clock on the plate.  My 1st two shots were held too far off  but once I got the hold right it went ok.      

As for equipment, I shot a DSA FAL with a Leupold 1.5-5X MR/T and Sierra 150 Matchking handloads; my Benelli M1 done up by Triangle Shooting Sports with an XS express sight (the ultimate tactical shotgun sight!); and a CZ-USA Custom Shop Tactical Sport 9mm with 125 grain Zero bullets handloaded.  Everything worked great with no malfunctions.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike Darby permalink
    April 14, 2009 11:49 am

    Hell Kelly….. do you sleep with those guns under your pillow…..

    ….. he would if he slept.

    Well done mate you kicked ass and also well done to the lovely Delia, she is a natural. Tell her I said so…..but can Robbie claim any of the footage kudos ??

    ….. I would have been a half second faster though on the helicopter stage……

    • kellyneal permalink*
      April 14, 2009 12:26 pm

      It is hard to for the 3 gunner to sleep with guns under the pillow so we can’t sleep. Instead we practice support side shooting and SBU prone.

      You would have been 1/2 second faster in the helicopter because you would ave been shooting a whimpy mousegun not a manly 7.62 battle rifle which shook the whole choppa with each shot!

      Yes, the AMU (Robbie and Daniel Horner) did much of the filming.

  2. Ricky Venus permalink
    April 17, 2009 12:01 pm

    Kelly,

    Thanks for the “kind” words, hope you had fun!

    SGDM!

  3. Daniel Horner permalink
    May 3, 2009 8:20 pm

    Great site, and review!! Just wanted to drop in and see if you wanted a AR-10 for next year? Haha see you in Norway. Congrats again man!!

    Daniel

    • kellyneal permalink*
      June 16, 2009 9:29 pm

      Thank you, no. I’ll stick with the FAL.

  4. Griff Clipson permalink
    February 15, 2010 8:52 am

    The 2009 larue 3 gun was my first shooting competition. Although my skill level left something to be desired, hearing a pro break down the stages is a great after action report. I’m doing my homework and learning from my mistakes. Stage 3 for example, my shell setup was back asswards. Thanks for the Internet lesson, and see you guys in may.

    Any reason you preffer the fal to ar10?

    • kellyneal permalink*
      February 15, 2010 10:03 pm

      Hope the videos help. I am going to post one about getting ready for the 2010 Larue in a couple of weeks.

      Since I shoot for DSA, I shoot a FAL. That being said, I have become a real fan of the FAL. AR10s may typically be slightly more accurate but they are not as reliable. And my FAL is pretty damn accurate, especially with good bullets. It also has a pretty good trigger. I also feel that the FAL is slightly more “pointable” than the AR10. Either will work for Heavy Metal (as will the M1A).

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