View Full Version : What rifles are common for 3-gun matches?

March 21, 2002, 01:08 PM
Right now I've got the pistol and the SG covered but I don't have a rifle. I've owned an AR-15 and while it was fun to shoot, it was a pain to clean and I'm not overly impressed with the .223 round.

I've not shot a 3-gun match before so I don't know what is typically seen at one. I'm on a tight budget right now so the M1A Scout that I'd really like to have is out of the question. So is the HK91.

I'm thinking of either the CETME or an AK clone. I like the .308 round but I've heard that the quality on the CETME's can be spotty. I haven't heard much on the AK clones. I've never fired a FAL, but they don't seem to fit me very well when I shoulder one in the gun shop.

Any input or suggestions?


March 21, 2002, 01:42 PM
3-Gun is the domain of the AR15. They probably account for 95% of the guns used in 3G. There's an occasional AK, Garand, or Rem 700 but they're the exception.

Jim Watson
March 21, 2002, 05:05 PM
Well, you have eliminated most of the better known auto rifles. From what I have seen, you would be better off with an M-1 carbine than an AK.

Mike Davies
March 22, 2002, 12:09 AM
Is there a minimum rifle caliber in the IPSC 3-gun matches? Would an M1 Carbine be allowed? We're limited to 5rnd magazines in semi-auto rifles, except the M1 Garand. It's the only semi-auto rifle in Canada that is exempted from this rule; it can still use an 8rnd enbloc clip, so to my mind, would be a favourite for this sport. Or a Winchester '94...:D

March 23, 2002, 09:08 AM
Is there a minimum rifle caliber in the IPSC 3-gun matches?

No, but the minimum power factor is 160 to make minor.

Mike Davies
March 23, 2002, 11:11 AM
Thanks...a minimum 160PF shouldn't be a problem with an M1 Carbine, even with 110gr bullets. Do you see many M1 Carbines at 3-gun matches? It would certainly be an easier 'rifle' for me to shoot than my M1 Garand, despite Canada's 5rnd max. magazine capacity law in semi-auto's...

March 23, 2002, 06:55 PM
Here in Utah, the matches are put on by UDPL (Utah Defensive Pistol League) which is actually an IDPA club. Great matches. Probably my favorite kind of match so far. The next one is on the 30th, and I'm trying to decide between taking my FAL or my Vepr. :)

From what I've seen at this local club, there have been a surprising number of AK type guns, followed closely by ARs, and a smattering of M1a's, SKS, & FALs. There have also been Galils (used by one of the best shooters I have ever seen). Not used in the match, but pulled out afterwards are the local SWAT cop's MP5s.

I'm not sure why the AK is so popular, but the last 3 gun I went too was on new years day, and it was dang cold, and snowy. But most of the ARs seemed to run just fine.

The AR has the advantage of low recoil and quick mag changes. Also the match rules required the shooters to start with the safety on. This also gives an advantage to the thumb safety vs. the clacker type.

I haven't noticed very many .308 shooters. Most of the stages required 3 shots on each target, with multiple targets. Of course this is easier to do at time with a .223, 5.45, or 7.62x39 than a .308. (Though in the rules, those of us shooting .308 shouldn't have to shoot the target 3 times, thats why we use .308 to begin with. :) )

For me personally I own a Bushmaster, a FAL, and a Vepr. I haven't had the best experience with reliability in my Bushy. I used the Vepr last time and did pretty good (score wise). But my FAL is my favorite rifle, and the one that I am most likely to use in a real life worst case scenario.

I think that any of the major rifles should work just fine.

March 24, 2002, 02:38 PM

I've only shot a half dozen or so 3 Gun matches so I'm probably not the definitive source for your answer, but I have not seen anybody shoot an M1 carbine. I've heard of people shooting Garands and considered trying it myself just for kicks (so to speak...), but I never tried it.

USPSA now has a manually operated rifle division which is intended for bolt guns I suppose. It's limited to 5 rounds in the gun so that might be an option for you too.

Navy joe
March 24, 2002, 09:48 PM
Today I saw an M-1A, FAL, M-1 carbine and a buttload of ARs, my own included. The AR's shined in the 20 target paper round, 40 shots total at 20-30 yd max. Fast shooting and hi-cap. The only handicap was during steel with full size poppers at 30 and 50 yds, several stubborn ones needed some encouragement in rapid fire to drop. Problem seemed universal for almost all the shooters though so the game wasn't affected, good learnnigs for re-assessing your target. The M-1A dropped the steel like a bad habit, the only problem being that the tactical Ted operator took about 10 shots to connect with a 50 yd popper. Not exactly the rifle's fault. The .308s look to need a good muzzle brake to get back on target quick. for your options, get an AR, they're not that bad or get an AK clone.

Jorah Lavin
March 24, 2002, 10:15 PM
I might be attending a three-gun sometime soon, well before I can afford my Garand, so it would mean I'd default to my Marlin lever gun in 30/30... would I likely be allowed to use it?


March 25, 2002, 07:47 PM
I won a 3-gun match on Saturday, shooting an M1 Carbine. One guy shot a SKS, and everyone else (11 shooters) had an AR. I'm no awesome rifleman, and I managed fifth of twenty-some at the match before that (included four shots on 180-yard steel). The M1 is certainly up to anything short of REALLY long shots.

Navy joe
March 25, 2002, 09:09 PM
Jorah, I don't think you'd be laughed off with the 30-30, just get good with it. I was shooting a 56 year old pistol form an Uncle Mikes nylon holster at three gun yesterday and didn't get laughed off. I am seriously considering shooting a match with my M-44 carbine. Just get good speed reloading and loading on the move. One course was 40rd and the other 23, so you will be a busy reloader. Can you direct load that things chamber? Blackwater isn't too far away, hopefully they're going to try another 3-gun this fall. You should make plans for it.

March 26, 2002, 10:27 PM
Look for these things first then make the choice. 1 you want reliability. 2 an easy mag change. 3 High capacity is a good comfort. The 223 will put things down when placed correct but, if not it will not be so forgiving. The old major and minor power deal. An AR is still a good choice for the three above. M1A is a good choice but a quick mag change aint there. Think about the full deal like mag availibility, parts to enhance and ammo. I would stick with the AR.