Friday, December 16, 2011

My thoughts on multi-gun rifles

I've been getting a lot of questions on rifles for multi-gun shooting lately, and I thought maybe this will help some of you make more intelligent decisions based on my experience.  I've been shooting 3 gun and multi-gun since the early 90s so I have seen a lot in that time.

-.223 or 5.56mm? There is a difference but it is negligable.  Don't worry about that.
- The AR-15 platform is most popular and there are more options available, but if you are really hung up on a SCAR or something else it may work, although they are typically more expensive.
- A flat-top receiver is important for getting a scope mounted well.
- 18" seems to be the best barrel length, but 20" is good and 16" does work if you're not shooting past 300 yards.  Stainless is supposed to be more accurate than chrome lined, but does not last as long.
- Piston or Direct impingement?  Piston guns are supposed to be more reliable, but in my experience DI guns work perfectly, so I don't see spending the money.
- Quad rails or handguards, stocks, grips?  All whatever fits you and pleases you aestetically except I really recommend that your handguard be free-floating. (does not touch the barrel)
- Most stock AR triggers aren't bad, and they are easy to upgrade later.
- There are many good brands of ARs out there.  Colt, Rock River, DPMS, S&W, Remington and Stag are reasonably priced.  There are much more expensive ones too.  If money is no object I suggest the JP enterprises.  If you have $1200 or so to spend then the Stag Model 3 looks like it is pretty well set up for multi-gun right out of the box.  If you find a nice deal on something cheaper it as easy to upgrade your rifle later.  The two keys in my mind, because they are expensive to change later, are barrel length and the flat-top upper receiver.

Rifle optics:
- You are allowed one optic in Tac Ops, the most popular division, and you want to get the most out of it.  So you want a variable power scope.
- 1x-1.5x power on the low end of the power range. True 1x power is really nice on close targets.
- 4x-6x power on the high end.  4x is usually enough out to 200 maybe even 300 yards.  6x is better out to 500.
- I like a pretty plain reticle.  All that Ballistic reticle, or ranging reticle stuff gets confusing.   Mine has a regular cross-hair with an illuminated dot in the center.  Keep it simple.
- I like adjustable turrets.  When the targets get far (out past 250 yards) and small I like to adjust rather than hold off.
- The least I would spend on a scope is about $275.  For that kind of money you can get a Nikon M223 1x-4x and I have one on one my rifles.  I like it and would not be afraid to use it out to 300 yards.  It has a plain crosshair reticle with a dot in the center (not illuminated) and adjustable turrets.  It is accurate and durable.
- In the middle you have some Leupolds, Meoptas, Trijicons, and Vortexs that all cost several hundred dollars but are popular in action rifle shooting.
- At the top of the line is the Swarovski Z6i.  $2200 new.  I paid $1600 for a used one (they're around).  This is the one.  It is a 1x-6x power scope with a daylight visible illuminated reticle and adjustable turrets.  I don't think there is a better scope at any price.  I would buy another one tomorrow if I had to.  I'd go without food if need be to buy one.  And that's not just my opinion.  At the last major multi-gun I attended almost half the scopes were Swarovskis.

- The popular choices here are Larue Tactical and Warne.  There are some other good mounts around but the important thing is that the front extends out over the barrle a little.  This allows you to mount your scope forward and get a proper eye relief.

These are my opinions and I'm sure there are some different thoughts.  Be sure to comment.  I'm interested to read what you have to say.


Anonymous said...

should have lights too:<)

Howard C. Thompson said...

Lights are for Zombie hunters and not competition guns.

Bryan C. said...

A good muzzle brake can help a lot. There are many to choose from including JP, Battlecomp, PWS, KAC, AAC, etc... For competition a full out brake makes sense over something like a battelcomp.

I found a Z6i for ~$1500 this week! It has incredible glass and the reticle is spot on.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps some comments on 223 ammo?

Do I really need to tool up for 223 reloading to be competitive, like I do for pistol uspsa?

Gary S said...

Opinions on ammo vary. I personally use the cheapest crap I can find for any thing out to 50 yards, and then switch to Hornady 75 gr BTHP Training, in a steel case, and can consistently tag 10" plates at 400 yards from a supported prone, with my DPMS 20". Of course, that doesn't happen on match day....