Category Archives: Game On

Antelope Chili

Chili is easy to make and using the sweet tasting meat of antelope adds to the overall flavor. The prep on this dish is less than 5 minutes, but it tastes like hours of preparation were involved. Great for large gatherings, it’s also good as leftover. Compliment it with a small garden salad, a slice of corn bread and honey butter and this meal will go a long way.


1 1/2 pounds ground Antelope meat
2 cans Chili Beans
1 can Kidney Beans
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 (46 ounce) can tomato juice
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tblsp. Chili Powder
1 Tsp. Tobasco Sauce
1 pkg. Chili Seasoning



In large pot, brown the ground antelope meat. If there is any fat, drain off, if desired. I leave it as there’s so little, what there is adds flavor. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve with corn bread or corn muffins, shredded cheese, chopped onions and sour cream

Shari is a former national shotgun shooting champion, international competitor, Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation director, NBC Olympic commentator, business owner and 2001 Shooting Industry Award winner.

Women Shotgunning

Women’s Guide To Shotgunning DVD

Shooting champion Shari LeGate provides all the information needed for any lady to get started in shotgun sports through her new DVD, Women’s Guide To Shotgunning.

Shari shares her experience from a woman’s perspective and takes viewers from trigger to target with plenty of stops in between. This video will help women of all ages learn and enjoy shotgunning sports.

>> Click Here To Order Your Copy Today!

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Dissecting The 3-Gun Game & Equipment

Part III: The Shotgun.

Since I’ve been a lifelong clay target shooter, you’d think the shotgun stage of 3-Gun would be my favorite. But this type of shotgun shooting is not even remotely close to what I grew up with.

For starters, the shotguns used are dramatically different than those used for trap, skeet and sporting clays. In those types of traditional shotgun games you see a variety of guns in different gauges—over/unders, side by sides, single shots, pumps and semi-auto’s—many with beautiful custom wood and high-end engraving.

But in 3-Gun it’s all semi-auto—except for Heavy Metal, where it has to be a pump action. None of the guns have fancy walnut or engraving. Remember, this is a run-and-gun game. When you’re done with the gun, you throw it into a barrel. As in the other stages, the shotgun event is about speed—how fast you can load and acquire the next target.

A good, reliable semi-auto is the only gun used, but the same principles apply when looking for a shotgun to use in 3-Gun as in the other games. That would be good fit, a smooth action, how easy and fast the gun can be loaded and most importantly—how well it points. And it’s mostly a 12-gauge deal. You can go smaller, but you’ll be at a definite disadvantage.

Recoil-operated and gas-operated are the two main actions. Each come with their own pros and cons. Recoil-operated shotguns are the most reliable—a huge advantage in 3-Gun. Malfunctions cost time and points. The downside is they have more of a kick and tend to cycle slower than gas guns… at least the older long-recoil guns do. Gas-operated actions have less kick and muzzle rise, allowing you to acquire subsequent targets faster. But the chance of a malfunction is higher—usually a product of “load sensitivity” and neglecting to keep the gas system clean and free of carbon buildup.


Browning’s A5 Stalker in dead-stock factory trim requires little in the way of modification,
except for installing an extended magazine and opening up the magwell.


Tes and Shari both prefer the reliability of the recoil-operated A5 Stalker. Recoil may be
stouter than a gas-operated gun, but neither shooter found it objectionable.


Pro shooter Tes Salb loads her Browning A5 while negotiating a shotgun stage.

I’m probably going to take heat for this next statement, but the cycling rate of a semi-auto shotgun is not all that important when it comes to 3-Gun competition. If you’re fast enough to outrun and outshoot the cycling rate of your shotgun, you don’t belong in 3-Gun. You belong in the Olympics.

There are a lot of brand options in 3-Gun. Benelli, Mossberg, Browning and a few more manufacturers are all making semi-auto’s specifically geared for the game. Knowing I was giving up recoil for reliability, I tried a number of inertia-driven guns and borrowed a Browning A5 Stalker with a 26-inch barrel from another shooter.

When I first shot the gun, I was prepared for a heavier kick and more muzzle rise and was surprised when I didn’t get it. The felt recoil was minimal. So, I checked my ammunition. We all know a shotshell’s payload and powder charge plays an important part in recoil, and I was sure I was shooting a light load—not what I wanted to shoot in competition. But that wasn’t the case. Plus, the gun wasn’t all that heavy, which again surprised me because I expected more recoil from a relatively lightweight gun.
I’m a snobbish shotgun shooter and I believe a gun needs to be custom fitted, so I checked with the owner of the gun and was even more surprised when I was told it was stock—no modifications had been done except to open up the mag well and add an extended magazine.

But the A5 Stalker moved and pointed as if it were custom. When I shot 1-1/8-ounce, 3 dram 7-1/2 loads, my perception of felt recoil was minimal. I was able to get on target quickly and accurately. Conventional shotgun shooting requires pointing, not aiming. But when running and gunning—and not being able to take the time ensure a good mount—point of aim is a critical factor. For me, the Browning A5 Stalker was ideal.

There is much more information on the 3-Gun game than I’ve been able to give in this 3-part series. To cover it all would take up an entire issue. It’s a complicated game and an addictive one.

But if you love to tinker with guns and gear, this is the game for you.


Bare-bones must-haves include belt, magazine carriers, extra pistol and
rifle magazines and your choice of shotgun shell caddies.

Absolute Necessities

Peripheral gear for 3-Gun is plentiful and you can spend a lot of money getting what you think you’ll need. You don’t really need all of it, but there are a few must-haves—not including the very basics, like eye and ear protection and, of course, the guns and ammunition.

Shooting Belt: Not only will your belt carry a fully loaded pistol, but it’ll be carrying a lot of extra magazines and extra shotgun shells, depending on the stage you’re on. So a sturdy belt capable of holding a lot of weight is vital. Comfort is key as well. While you’re negotiating the stages, wearing a belt that slips or doesn’t fit right is distracting. I tried a few different types before finding Safariland’s Equipment Locking System, which is the most popular. Featuring two rows of pre-cut holes running the full length of the belt—so the ELS Receiver Plates can be attached in different locations and angles—the belt was everything I needed. The Receiver Plates are used for attachment of the other accessories.

Holster: More than an accessory, a holster is mandatory and there are rules that must be adhered to. The holster must cover the triggerguard completely. This is for pure safety, so the gun doesn’t accidentally discharge during the draw or while being reholstered. Retention is another factor. You’ll be running pretty quickly through stages, kneeling down, standing up, moving in, out of, and around obstacles. So your pistol must be secure. If it falls out of the holster, you’ll be disqualified, but more importantly, it’s dangerous. The make and model of your gun will determine the holster used.

Pistol/Rifle Magazine Carriers: Most handguns come with two magazines, but you’ll want a lot more for this game. Four or five more are needed and, believe me, you’ll use them. For the rifle, one or two extra will do. There are a number of polymer magazine carriers available. Most are designed for a specific magazine type.

Shotgun Caddie: This is a vital accessory and you’ll probably need more than one. The shotgun stages are all about speed, not just in the actual shooting but in the loading as well. Which caddie you use depends on the loading technique you’re most comfortable with. The most popular technique is dual loading—when you grab two shells that are stacked vertically and load them into your gun in one smooth move. The faster you load, the faster you can shoot. No matter which type of caddie you choose, speed only comes with practice. I spent many an evening practicing loading with dummy rounds.

Baggage Cart: Competing on the USA Shooting World Cup team gave me the opportunity to see the other shooting sports. The rifle event was always interesting. But what really fascinated me were the “little red wagons” the rifle competitors used. Yes, Olympic rifle shooters have so much gear the use baggage carts to haul it all around. So it is with the game of 3-Gun. Since each stage typically requires the use of all three guns, leaving equipment/ammunition back in the car and going back and forth to get it is not an option. You have two choices for carrying equipment. A backpack-style range bag long enough to carry both long guns and most of your gear is one option. But lugging around 40 pounds of guns and ammunition on my back all day does not enhance my shooting. There are several different types of carts, so it’s basically personal preference. Those Olympic rifle shooters knew what they were doing.

When it comes to accessories, take your time. You can spend a lot of money on stuff you won’t need once you fully understand the game… and it’s money you could have spent on more important things—like ammunition.
By Shari LeGate

A5 Stalker
Maker: Browning
One Browning Place
Morgan, UT, 84050
(801) 876-2711

Action: Short-recoil semi-auto
Gauge: 12
Capacity: 4
Chamber: 3 inches
Choke: F, M, IC tubes supplied
Barrel length: 26 inches
Overall length: 51-5/8 inches
Weight: 7 pounds, 7 ounces
Length of pull: 14-1/4 inches
Drop at comb: 1-3/4 inches
Drop at heel: 2 inches
Sights: Fiber-optic front on rib
Finish: Matte blue barrel, matte black receiver
Stock: Black synthetic (Dura-Touch armor coated)
Price: $1,629.99

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Wild Game Goulash

There are some dishes that taste as delicious as fresh when severed as leftovers. This Wild Game Goulash is that type of dish. When first served, right out of the oven, the flavors have all come together for a mouthwatering goulash. But after it sits in the refrigerator, the flavors become even more pronounced giving it an even more distinctive zest.


1 lb. Ground wild game meat (Buffalo, Venison, Elk or Antelope)
1 pound. Macaroni
2 Tsp. Olive Oil
1 Small onion- diced
2 Garlic cloves – diced
1 4 oz. can Green Chili’s
1 14 oz can Diced Tomato
1 14 oz can Tomato Sauce
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper



Preheat oven to 350º. Fill large pot with water, bring to boil and cook macaroni. While macaroni is cooking, in large frying pan, heat olive oil. Add onion & garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Do not let garlic brown. Add wild game ground meat and continue to sauté cooking meat. When meat is cooked. add green chili’s, diced tomato and tomato sauce to mixture and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.

When macaroni is cooked, drain water and add meat mixture. Stir thoroughly. Pour into 10 x10 glass baking dish. Spread cheddar cheese over entire mixture. Evenly sprinkle parmesan over cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350º for 30 minutes.

Serves 6

Serve with salad

Shari is a former national shotgun shooting champion, international competitor, Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation director, NBC Olympic commentator, business owner and 2001 Shooting Industry Award winner.

Women Shotgunning

Women’s Guide To Shotgunning DVD

Shooting champion Shari LeGate provides all the information needed for any lady to get started in shotgun sports through her new DVD, Women’s Guide To Shotgunning.

Shari shares her experience from a woman’s perspective and takes viewers from trigger to target with plenty of stops in between. This video will help women of all ages learn and enjoy shotgunning sports.

>> Click Here To Order Your Copy Today!

Click Here For More Recipes

Round Steak Wild Game Marinade

Round steak is not my favorite cut of meat. Typically, it’s tough even after tenderized and there’s not a lot of flavor. Didn’t seem to matter whether it was Venison, Buffalo, Elk or another type of game, the round steak was not a cut of meat for me. But I seemed to always get quite a bit of that cut from the meat processor, so not wanting it to go to waste, I found a way to enjoy it.

Even though, most meat processor’s will already have tenderized the meat, I suggest tenderizing a bit more. This amount of marinade is enough for two medium sized cuts.

I used Buffalo for this dish and grilled the meat after marinading it for about 2 hours, but any wild game round steak will work.


1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
1Tsp. Celery Salt
2 Chopped Green Onions – Optional



Mix well. Add meat and marinade mix in zip lock bag and marinade for 1/2 to 1 hour. If you can marinade longer, that’s even better.

Shari is a former national shotgun shooting champion, international competitor, Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation director, NBC Olympic commentator, business owner and 2001 Shooting Industry Award winner.

Women Shotgunning

Women’s Guide To Shotgunning DVD

Shooting champion Shari LeGate provides all the information needed for any lady to get started in shotgun sports through her new DVD, Women’s Guide To Shotgunning.

Shari shares her experience from a woman’s perspective and takes viewers from trigger to target with plenty of stops in between. This video will help women of all ages learn and enjoy shotgunning sports.

>> Click Here To Order Your Copy Today!

Click Here For More Recipes

Sherry-Roasted Dove

My grandmother was Bohemian and she made some of the best dishes. Of course, it was a lot starches, such as dumplings, noodles, gravy, creamed sauces and such, but it was all delicious. When she could get some fresh dove, the meal was a treat. Whenever I make it, I think of her. Over the years, I’ve tried a few modifications to it, but I always come back to her recipe. No matter what I add or change, it seems her recipe was the best. It’s so easy to make, but tastes like I worked hours on it.


14 – 16 dove breast
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup Chopped Green Onion
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cooking Sherry
1/4 cup chopped Parsley



Pre heat oven to 400ºF. Wash and pat dry dove breast. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a sealed ziplock bag. Shake bag to blend ingredients. Add dove and shake covering dove thoroughly in flour.

Pour oil into heavy roaster coating the bottom. Place dove in oil and back until brown, about 10 minutes. Add onions, water and sherry. Cover. Bake until tender, basting occasionally. Sauce will thicken. Add parsley to gravy just before serving over noodles or rice.

Serves 8 – 12

Shari is a former national shotgun shooting champion, international competitor, Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation director, NBC Olympic commentator, business owner and 2001 Shooting Industry Award winner.

Women Shotgunning

Women’s Guide To Shotgunning DVD

Shooting champion Shari LeGate provides all the information needed for any lady to get started in shotgun sports through her new DVD, Women’s Guide To Shotgunning.

Shari shares her experience from a woman’s perspective and takes viewers from trigger to target with plenty of stops in between. This video will help women of all ages learn and enjoy shotgunning sports.

>> Click Here To Order Your Copy Today!

Click Here For More Recipes

Fusion Duck

Duck has always been the first pick for me if I see it on a restaurant menu. As a dark meat, people have a tendency to shy away from it, but it is very flavorful. This recipe came to me from my friend Marsha, who’s husband is an avid duck hunter. Not only is this a tasty dish, it’s very easy to make, but looks and tastes like hours were spent on it.


2 large or 4 small ducks cut into quarters or 4 large duck breasts.
½ cup Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper
2 Tbls. Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
1 medium Onion sliced ( slice from top to bottom not rounds)
1 ½ cups Apple Juice
¼ cup Soy Sauce



Combine flour, salt and pepper in ziplock bag.
Add the duck and shake, making sure the duck is thoroughly coated.
Heat oil in large pad. Add duck and brown on medium to high heat.
Remove duck from pan and drain off oil if any remaining.
Turn heat to low. Add onion and sauté for three to four minutes.
Add apple juice and soy sauce to onion and stir gently.
Place duck meat in the mixture and simmer for *1 ½ hrs. Do not cover. The sauce will thicken and cook down. If necessary, add more apple juice mixed with a little water.

Serve over rice or on the side.

*If using duck breasts, reduce the cooking time to approximately 1 hour or until tender.


Shari is a former national shotgun shooting champion, international competitor, Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation director, NBC Olympic commentator, business owner and 2001 Shooting Industry Award winner.

Women Shotgunning

Women’s Guide To Shotgunning DVD

Shooting champion Shari LeGate provides all the information needed for any lady to get started in shotgun sports through her new DVD, Women’s Guide To Shotgunning.

Shari shares her experience from a woman’s perspective and takes viewers from trigger to target with plenty of stops in between. This video will help women of all ages learn and enjoy shotgunning sports.

>> Click Here To Order Your Copy Today!

Click Here For More Recipes

Dissecting the 3-Gun Game & Equipment

Part II: The Rifle

For someone like me, who has spent their entire shooting sports career shooting games with very defined guidelines, rules, regulations and governing federations, 3-Gun is a test of my patience and frustration level. I’m not saying I don’t like the game. On the contrary, I love it and enjoy shooting it every chance I get.

But why this game is so complicated to dissect and explain is because unlike the other shooting sports where there are governing bodies to administer things, 3-Gun has no single entity to manage and coordinate the rules and events. A couple of organizations have taken the lead, such as the United States Practical Pistol Association (USPSA) and the International Multi-Gun Association (IMGA), but even those two groups vary in their definitions and guidelines. However, the lack of a governing body hasn’t hindered the growth of the sport and there are many organizations, groups and gun clubs hosting 3-Gun matches. As a result, the rules for this game vary from competition to competition, with each event host applying their own rules.

The good news is there are some central factors, such as the divisions or categories a shooter wishes to shoot in, but even those have slight variations from group to group and range to range. But breaking down the divisions is a start to determine the guns and gear needed. Keep in mind, these are the very basic fundamentals for the 3-Gun divisions and I recommend checking with the organization hosting the match.


Shari shoots a stage at the Brownell’s Lady 3-Gun Match with
shooting the Armalite M-15 3GN in supported position.


Tommy Thacker, 2011-2012 3-Gun National Champion, now President of Armalite, Inc.
was instrumental in the design of Armalite’s new M-15 3GN competition rifle.

3-Gun Divisions

Open: Optics are allowed on all three firearms with unlimited rounds in the magazines. Compensators and porting are allowed on the shotguns and rifles. There are almost no restrictions in this division.

Limited: Only the rifle is allowed optics with only one optic allowed and it can’t be magnified (iron sights or red dot). The shotgun can be a semi-auto or pump action and there is an 8+1-round maximum limit with no detachable magazine. The handgun can have no optics or porting and the magazine can’t exceed 141.25mm.

Tactical: Has the same requirements as Limited, except the rifle optic can be magnified.

Heavy Metal: Aptly named, as this is the large caliber division. The rifle must be 7.62×51 or larger with only iron sights. The handgun must be .45 ACP or larger with no optics or porting. The shotgun must be a 12-gauge pump-action with iron sights and no porting.

In gets a little more confusing after the basics, as there are categories within divisions. For example, in Tactical there’s Tactical Optics and Tactical Irons. In Heavy Metal, there’s Heavy Optics and Heavy Irons. Some groups have only three divisions. So, before jumping into the 3-Gun game and buying equipment, be sure to research thoroughly the divisions and organizations you’re shooting in.
Once you decide what division to shoot in, what match and what organization, get a copy of the rules. The rules for 3-Gun matches vary from competition to competition, so I suggest going to the club or organization hosting the match for the rules. And finally, watch a match. Get a feel for how things take place.

There are multiple stages in 3-Gun competition with each stage being held on different bays. The number of stages depends on the match organizer. Again, there is no pre-set number, but the stages will combine rifle, pistol and shotgun. But having said that, all three firearms are not always used in every stage. A stage could use only the pistol and shotgun or the rifle and shotgun or any other combination of firearms. But one thing is guaranteed. All the stages are completely different. The only consistent format is the targets will be a combination of steel and paper and, in some cases, moving clay targets.

Combining how fast you complete a stage and how many hits you have determines your final score for that stage. However, in this sport, time is added to your final score as a penalty. Penalties are not “engaging” a target, meaning it was never shot at or missed completely, hitting a no-hit target, which is usually a white cardboard cutout and is typically placed at a very strategic angle close to the target you need to hit. And lastly, hitting a target, but not in the defined area. All this adds to your score for that stage. Then, all the stage scores are combined for a total score, which determines your overall placement in the competition. Check the rules of that match for scoring procedures as like everything else in 3-Gun, they vary from match to match.

So, you’re probably thinking, I’ll take my time and be sure to hit all the targets, but shooting slow and methodically will take time and add to the score. Conversely, just throwing rounds down range and not hitting targets adds to the score as well. Finding that happy medium between fast and accurate is what makes a successful 3-Gun shooter.


The M-15 3GN rifle easily get on target and stays on target in an unsupported position.

The Rifle

Stages vary in 3-Gun competition. Sometimes you’re standing or kneeling in one place shooting at multiple targets, or you’re running and gunning. A light, fast and compact rifle is essential. The most commonly used rifle used in 3-Gun is the .223 AR-15 in the Open and Tactical divisions and the .308 AR-10 or M1A for the Heavy Metal division. I decided to try Armalite’s new .223 M-15 3GN competition rifle for my first foray into 3-Gun.

Very seldom am I lucky enough to pick up a long gun right out of the box and be able shoot it without a lot of adjustments. The M-15 3GN was such a gun. At 6.9 pounds without the scope, it’s a very manageable weight and is well-balanced rifle for speed and accuracy.
Light guns are easily over controlled and can be whipped around, particularly if they’re not well balanced. Though the M-15 3GN is light, I was able to get on target quickly and stay on target even in unsupported positions because the gun is so well balanced. And for a lightweight .223, there was minimal felt recoil. Granted, part of that could have been I was in a match, adrenaline was high and I wasn’t really focused on feeling recoil. But there have been many instances with a shotgun where every shot felt as if I’d been kicked by a mule.

This gun is designed for competition and Armalite did an outstanding job in balancing the weight of the gun with its capabilities. Tommy Thacker, President of Armalite is a former 3-Gun shooter and a National Champion of the sport. There’s no doubt he spent time with the Armalite designers making the M-15 3GN exactly right. Knowing what’s needed from a gun during competition, knowing the abuse it will take and knowing how shooters will treat it makes all the difference in the design.

As a shotgun shooter, I am comfortable with long guns, and I even became comfortable running/moving with a loaded firearm, but I was very uncomfortable throwing it into a big plastic trashcan, which is required in 3-Gun competition. Taking any gun and aggressively dropping it or tossing it into a barrel is just flat against my nature.

One very important thing to mention when it comes to shooting any 3-Gun event is safety is paramount —the Number One priority of everyone. Because this is a run-and-gun game where people are moving as fast as possible with a loaded firearm, everyone from range officers to competitors to spectators are very cognizant of where their gun is pointed and the position of their body in relation to the targets engaged. Safety is constantly emphasized and enforced.

Which brings up another aspect of 3-Gun competition. You will eventually be disqualified for a safety violation. It happens to everyone I’m told, experienced pros and novice shooters alike. Usually for not putting the gun on “safe” after dropping it into the barrel or “sweeping” during a course of fire. Nothing to be ashamed of I’m told. Sitting around telling the story of how you were disqualified is a rite of passage. I haven’t been disqualified yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

The many variances and lack of strict conformity has contributed to 3-Gun competition’s popularity, and the game is definitely an adrenaline rush. As exciting and thrilling as it is to shoot it, it’s also an exercise in patience to understand all the nuances, but in the end… it’s well worth it.

Coming Next: 3-Gun Part 3—The Shotgun
By Shari LeGate

M-15 3GN
Maker: ArmaLite, Inc.
P.O. Box 299
Geneseo, IL. 61254
(309) 944-6939

Action: Semi-auto,
Caliber: 5.56mm, .223,
Magazine: 30-round Magpul PMAG,
Overall Length: 34.5 to 35.5 inches,
Weight: 6.9 pounds,
Barrel: 18 inches, stainless steel,
Rifling Twist: 1:8-inch,
Muzzle Device: Armalite Tunable Brake,
Upper Receiver: Forged, 7075-T6 aluminum flat-top, M1913 rail,
Lower Receiver: Forged 7075-T6 aluminum,
Finish: Anodized aluminum upper/lower receiver, manganese phosphated steel barrel,
Stock: MBA-1 Lightweight, adjustable for length of pull and comb height,
Handguard: 15-inch aluminum key-mod,
Charging Handle: Raptor ambidextrous,
Trigger: Timney 3-pound single-stage,
Price: $1,599

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3-Gun Part 1

Lets Look At The Handgun.

Competitive shooters are mostly purists. They shoot one discipline and work to excel in that one game. To become a dominant force in any game, it’s necessary to focus all your energy and ability on that one discipline. Very seldom, you see a high-power rifle shooter partake in a Silhouette match, or a Skeet shooter competing at Trap. But in 3-Gun competition—well that’s a different game and the shooters are a different breed. If you haven’t heard of 3-Gun competition, you haven’t been listening. Three-Gun Competition is the fastest growing shooting sport right now.

So, if most shooters are purists, why is this shooting sport growing so quickly? If you’ve never shot a 3-Gun competition, it’s easy to ask the question, but once you’ve stepped out on the range of a 3-gun event and actually shot in a match, you’ll understand the appeal. This game will challenge even the most experienced of shooters. However, there is a lot to this game. The guns, the gear, the targets, the strategy.

Three-Gun is exactly what its name says. Three different guns used in the same course of fire—a pistol, rifle and shotgun. Most shooters use a 9mm semi-auto handgun, but there are .38 Super’s and .40 S&W’s, depending on the division. The rifle is an MSR (a modern sporting rifle, usually built on an AR-platform) with a barrel length between 18 and 20 inches and a 30-round magazine. The shotgun is a semi-auto with extended magazine tube and interchangeable chokes. Both shotshells and slugs are used.

And that’s just the guns. Let’s talk gear. Without a doubt, this is the most gear-intensive game I’ve dealt with. In Olympic rifle, shooters hauled their gear in little wagons there was so much and the same holds true in 3-Gun. Some shooters use specifically designed 3-Gun bags carried on their back. All three guns, all the ammo, magazines, holsters, shell carriers, etc., but those bags can weigh up to 70 pounds or more. That’s a lot of weight to carry around all day. I swore I would never use a wagon, but that was before I came across 3-Gun.

Three-Gun competitions consist of numerous unique and different stages. Each stage is set with a mixture of targets—paper, steel and clay. There is no set number of stages or a regulated consistent course of fire in. It’s up to the creativity of the course designer, which is what makes the game so challenging. Each stage usually requires the use of all three guns, and the most important factor is speed. How fast you can shoot through the stage is the key and oh… one other thing: hit all the targets.

Economy of movement is essential. Whether it’s in the draw, in the reloading of magazines or shotshells, in the transition from one gun to the next or in the amount of steps it takes to get into position. All are strategized and scrutinized. Seconds matter and each second is taken into consideration. If turning right instead of left to engage the next target saves a half second, turn right. Missing one target might force a reload and seconds are wasted. A sloppy reload is a disaster. After watching some of the top 3-Gun shooters, I would say the mantra for 3-Gun is: The smoother you are, the faster you are and the slower you look.

Now, I covered many 3-Gun competition’s over the years, personally know many of the pro-shooters and have shot parts of the event at different times, but I never actually entered and shot an entire event… until the Brownells Lady 3-Gun Pro-Am Challenge a few months ago. Deciding to shoot this event, I looked through my gun safe determining what I had and what I would need. I’ve accumulated a lot of handguns, rifles and shotguns over the years, but none of my handguns would work for this competition. So, I saw this as an opportunity for a new gun.


Nighthawk gunsmith Brian Chaney is breaking the internal edges of
the frame, which enhances the trigger’s crisp, clean feel.


Shari’s competition 1911 starts as a jumble of parts and
each is fitted by just one gunsmith at Nighthawk.

The Handgun

This game requires a lot of equipment and getting into it can be a bit expensive, depending on the type of guns and gear you choose. Manufacturers are making guns and gear just for 3-Gun competition. Companies such as FNH USA, Smith & Wesson, Glock and STI and numerous others all make guns for this event, so it boils down to how much you want to spend. However, in 3-Gun, the handgun is the most used, so you need a good quality pistol accurate, reliable, fast and easy to make safe.

In trying to pick up precious seconds, competitors are always seeking to tinker with their equipment. Quicker draws, faster ways to reload are always on top of everyone’s mind. For my first competition, I used a Nighthawk Custom 1911 9mm Dominator. I knew I needed a gun customized to me, and in today’s market, where handguns come off an assembly line like candy, I didn’t want to have to spend the extra time and additional dollars customizing the gun to me and the game.

I called Nighthawk Custom and we started the process by finding out what the intended use of the gun was and they proceeded to build it specifically for that purpose. In 3-Gun, where a slight equipment anomaly can add a few seconds and drop you from the top 10 to the bottom 100, a handgun built specifically to you and to what its use is—notice I didn’t say “for”—can make a world of difference.

After my initial order, I received a call from Bryan Chaney, the gunsmith who was building the gun asking me question after question. Am I right-or left-handed? What was the size of my hand? What kind of shooter was I? (I did confess I was a career shotgun shooter and pistol was not my specialty.) What type of competition was I using it for? What type of sight do I prefer? What ammunition will I be using? So many questions, but as Bryan explained to me, he was fitting the pistol to the person.

It takes about a day and a half to build a gun and at Nighthawk I found it’s one person who takes the gun from start to finish. It was like having my own personal gunsmith. With this gun, Bryan thinned the front frame strap and mainspring housing for me so I would have more control. An additional extractor was added, finished and tuned and a “Blended Falcon 1-Piece Magwell / Mainspring Housing Combination was added. I opted for a black adjustable rear sight with red fiber optic front.

Bryan knew I was using the gun in competition and didn’t want anything to affect it’s performance. Before it was sent out, he shot it, running 2 to 4 magazines through it. When the gun arrived, I noticed Bryan’s initials on it. Nighthawk gunsmith’s take pride in building their guns and the one’s they build become a part of them. If anything is needed, it comes back to that gunsmith. If I had questions or concerns, I could just pick up the phone and call him directly. When I shot the gun for the first time, it was smooth and soft. I had a gun ready for me and for 3-Gun.


Shari LeGate on a stage shoots her Nighthawk Custom 1911
9mm at the Brownells Lady 3-Gun Competition.

Just Do It

I had my equipment and was now ready to make my debut into 3-Gun. Showing up at any event for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you truly don’t know what you’re doing (and I didn’t). But having the courage to show up and give it my best effort was half the battle. No one laughed and pointed fingers, quite the contrary. I was welcomed by competitors and range officers alike, and everyone offered help and advice.

This is a fast game and requires a lot of thinking ahead. I have new respect for 3-gun shooters. It’s not a game for the faint of heart or pocketbook, but it’s a game that will give you a taste of all the disciplines. Be forewarned though, patience is a virtue here. The sport of 3-Gun is easy to learn, but difficult to master. I have a long way to go, but after shooting it for the first time, I’m hooked. I can honestly say—I’m no longer a purist.

Footnote: There is much to explain about the game and gear of 3-Gun, and getting it all in one column would have taken up way too much space. So this is a 3-part series. “Three-Gun Part II—Dissecting the Game & Equipment: The Rifle” will be in my next column.
By Shari LeGate

Nighthawk Custom
1306 W. Trimble, Berryville, AR 72616
(877) 268-4867

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Sporting Clays

This nearly 100-year-old game
is still A CHALLENGE.

Sporting clays is usually described as “golf with a shotgun.” Well, I play golf and I shoot sporting clays and the only two things these games have in common is they both use the word “course.” They are two completely different sports, played completely differently. Now, I have shot golf balls with a shotgun in some exhibition shooting events, but it wasn’t on a golf course and the golf ball was pretty much destroyed after being shot. But it was one of my longer golf drives.

To put it simply, sporting clays is clay target shooting and that statement is the only thing simple about this game. Originally designed to simulate hunting, it was first introduced in England in the early 1900’s by British shooting schools so their students could practice for upcoming driven-bird hunts. Given the competitive nature of the Brits, they created the other British Open, England’s premier sporting clays competition, which was held shortly afterwards in 1925. Officially introduced in the United States in 1980, sporting clays was embraced by hunters and target shooters, and over the next several years became the fastest growing shooting sport in America.

A typical course design is 10 to 15 stations, each designated with a shooting cage to mark where the shooter will stand. There are one or two clay target trap machines at each station. A shooting squad consists of up to six shooters. A round of sporting clays is 100 targets with usually 5 to 10 targets thrown at each station in pairs and in singles, depending on the targets, the number of stations and the landscape. The pairs can be presented three ways; a true pair—two targets released from different machines simultaneously; a following pair—targets released sequentially from the same machine or on report—the second clay target released on “report” meaning after the first shot is fired. There is no consistent distance or direction in this game as opposed to the known distances and directions of the other clay target games.

Targets can be as close as 15 yards and go out as far as 70 yards with a variety of different types of targets used. The main types of targets used are the “Standard” domed targets, which are 108 millimeters in diameter and a “Middi,” which is a bit smaller at 90 millimeters and creates an optical illusion of distance during flight. Then there are the specialty targets including the “Mini” at 60 millimeters in diameter and the “Rabbit” and “Battue,” which are the same size in diameter as the Standard target, but flat with no dome. Now, think about golf: Fourteen clubs, 18 holes, one ball—no comparison.

Since sporting clays was created to practice bird hunting, the target presentations throughout a course try to imitate hunting scenarios. Shooters will see targets crossing in front of them simulating birds flying by, targets flying straight up as in rising ducks, targets coming towards them like driven pheasant or going away like you see when a hunting dog flushes a bird. There are targets thrown from towers, targets arcing high and even targets rolling across the ground as in a rabbit running. Targets can come from any area and any distance as long as it’s safe. Back to golf—one direction, one ball.


The DT11 from Beretta leads the way in guns used by sporting clays shooters. The premium-grade,
Steelium Pro barrels offer durability and better ballistic performance and a stock you can tailor
to your specifications. The receiver of the Beretta DT11 (below) has been beefed up to distribute
more weight at the hinge pin. Beretta’s detachable trigger system is as elegant as it is practical.


However, just because this game simulates hunting doesn’t mean a field grade hunting gun or field grade ammunition is used. On the contrary, guns and ammunition used in this game don’t fit any exact standard and are customized to the shooter with all sorts of accessories. Even though there really is no one gun of choice, many gun manufacturers have designed guns specifically for this particular game making it a matter of personal preference.

Topping the list is the Beretta DT11. The DT, which stands for detachable trigger is touted as the firm’s top-of-the-line over/under competition shotgun. Used by many pro shooters, it’s showing up at a lot of local shoots as well. Built around a vault-tough cross-bolt action, it’s 3mm wider than it’s predecessor, the DT10, making it stronger and more durable. The trigger breaks at 3-1/2 pounds with little or no creep.

An interesting feature of the DT11 is the forcing cone. At 480mm (18.9 inches), it’s extra long, which practically eliminates shot deformation, and helps reduce felt recoil and muzzle jump. Barrel length varies, depending on the shooter, but it ranges from 28 to 32 inches. Fans of the DT11 brag about its reliability and durability, putting hundreds of thousands of rounds down range without a glitch.

But this is a game of variety and the guns used by sporting clays shooters come in a wide variety as well. Krieghoff showed up as a close second to Beretta, followed by Blaser, Perazzi, Zoli, Caesar Guerini and a smattering of others. Most of these guns are customized to the shooter with fitted stocks, forearms and barrels with the main difference being personal preference.

As with the shotguns, ammunition is just as varied, but here there is some regulation. Shot size can be no larger than No. 7-1/2 and no smaller than No. 9. However, very seldom will 9’s be used unless the target is almost close enough to touch. No. 8’s are used for most of the shots with 7-1/2’s used on the specialty targets

A 1-ounce shot charge in a 12-gauge is really all that is needed, even though some shooters prefer the “big boomer” using 1-1/8. All that does is knock you around and is really unnecessary. But an important aspect to ammunition is velocity. I always preferred a faster load, shooting 1,350 fps, but again it’s personal preference. A great sporting clays shooter—Jon Kruger—shoots a very slow load at 1,180 fps and he’s one of the best shooters there is.



A variety of targets are used, but the Rabbit and the Mini are specialty
targets used specifically for sporting clays, adding a whole new dimension
to the game not seen in other clay target sports. Photo: White Flyer

There’s a lot of variables in sporting clays which is what makes it so interesting and difficult for the shooter and there’s even more decisions and accessories other than guns and ammunition.

A big part of the sporting clays game is the interchangeable choke. Years ago, shotguns came with fixed chokes and that was the end of it. Not in the world of sporting clays today. Because of the varying distances, being able to control the shot pattern diameter at different yardages is a very important aspect of this game. A huge selection of chokes is available for all shotguns, some directly from the manufacturer and some after-market. Chokes are a science unto itself, but the accompanying chart from Briley Manufacturing breaks it down as simply as possible.

As you can see, this is a complicated, extensive game and it would take more than just this one column to explain all the equipment and nuances along with the sport. Many organizations and clubs hold events, promote the sport and can help you navigate through it. The Nationals Sporting Clays Association is the dominant organization promoting the sport and conducts the National Championships. Just recently, a new organization was formed with the support of the NSCA, the Professional Sporting Clays Association, whose goal is to showcase the sport with more mainstream coverage by televising a professional competition tour.

No doubt, the “golf with a shotgun” campaign is a marketing strategy designed to bring more folks into the sport and peak interest. But, the challenge of sporting clays comes from the plain, simple fact you will rarely see the same type of target presentation, even if you go back to the same range. Which is unlike any other shooting game or the game of golf. The landscape changes, machines are tweaked for a different angle or the shooting position itself is moved.

Sporting clays was created to simulate hunting and this game requires a fine balance between the good instinct field shooter and a clay target veteran. It’s not a game I would suggest starting your clay target journey with. The consistency of known shots, like those in trap and skeet are better to learn on. But then, didn’t we all start out playing goofy golf?


Olympic-level sporting clays coach Dan Carlisle improved Holt Bodinson’s game
in five minutes. A good coach will help your shooting every time. Briley’s Sporting Clays
Choke Chart (above) breaks down what chokes to use on specific targets and distances.
Courtesy: Optimum Performance Shooting School

By Shari LeGate

MAKER: Beretta
17601 Beretta Drive, Accokeek, MD 20607
(800) 636-3420

Action: O/U
Gauge: 12
Chambers: 2-3/4 and 3 inches
Choke: Extended Optimachoke tubes
Drop at comb: 1-1/2 inches
Drop at heel: 2-3/8 inches
Length of pull: 14.7 inches
Barrel length: 30 or 32 inches
Rib type: 10mm to 8mm, tapered
Sights: Mid bead with Bradley-style front bead
Trigger: Adjustable drop-out
Finish: Blue and satin nickel
Retail: $8,050

5931 Roft Road
San Antonio, TX 78253
(210) 688-3371 or (800) 877-5338

Optimum Performance Shooting School
P.O. Box 826
29354 McKinnon Rd., Suite A
Fulshear, TX 77441
(800) 838-7533

11152 Westheimer Road
Suite 902, Houston, TX 77042

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Olympic Double Trap

It’s A Lot Tougher Than It Looks.

In 1964, Italian shotgunner Ennio Mattarelli won the gold medal in trap shooting at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. With that medal and a then relatively unknown type of shotgun, Mattarelli and gunmaker Danielle Perazzi changed the face of international trap shooting forever. Shooting a custom designed 12-gauge shotgun, Mattarelli’s record in Olympic Trap has never been broken—198×200.

Four years later at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Perazzi and Mattarelli would again make history. The high altitude, thin atmosphere and excessive heat called for some drastic changes and alterations to the gun that brought them fame and success in 1964. Mattarelli and Perazzi remodeled the gun, producing a new shotgun with an unprecedented tall rib to overcome those challenges.

They determined that by keeping the head in an upright position, the high rib took the shooter’s line of sight away from the heat wave coming off the barrel. Without the barrel or heat haze interfering with the shooter’s vision, it became easier to judge speed, angle and distance more accurately. Combined with the guns high-combed stock, the high rib lowered the gun in relation to the shooter’s shoulder, so perceived recoil was much less as the barrels were more in line with the shoulder. To be honest, the gun kicked as much as any other gun in foot-pounds of energy, but because the barrels were in line with the shoulder, the recoil came straight back for seemingly softer recoil, creating less muzzle jump and making an easier transition to the second shot. That redesigned gun has become a legend in trap shooting—the MX8—named for Mexico City, 1968.


Josh Richmond breaks target 1 on his way to a medal shooting for the US Army Marksmanship
Unit. Photo: Kevin Neuendorf, Director, Media & Public Relations, USA Shooting

The MX series uses a Boss locking system that includes detachable triggers, a 1-piece CNC-machined proprietary blend of steel actions, single-selective triggers and aerodynamic ribs. The receiver weight is evenly distributed so it keeps the weight low, compact and inside the shooters hands, which allows the gun to move naturally and neutrally.

With the exceptions of the St. Louis 1904 and Amsterdam 1928 Games, shooting has been in every Olympics since the first modern games in 1896. Starting with rifle and pistol, shotgunning was added in 1900 and over the years has evolved into the three disciplines shot in the Olympics today: Trap, Skeet and Double Trap. The most recent addition to the shotgunning games—Double Trap—was first shot at the 1996 games in Atlanta, Ga.

Fast forward to 2012 and Perazzi’s MX series still dominates the Olympic shotgun shooting arena. At the Olympic games in London, 12 of the 15 medals awarded in the shotgun shooting competitions went to competitors shooting a Perazzi. It’s easy to see why this gun is the choice of champions and chosen by the shooters who dominate a shooting game most people pay little or no attention to.

Olympic Double Trap is not a well-known game, and it’s not practiced by many in the world, much less in the United States. But in world ranking, out of the top five competitors, three are Americans. All three are members of the United States Army Marksmanship Unit stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. And all three achieved their world ranking and won medals shooting a Perazzi MX series shotgun.

Americans excel in this obscure Olympic sport, ranking 2nd, 4th and 5th in the world. Olympic Double Trap is not an easy game to understand or shoot—there were only 31 competitors at the 2013 USA Shooting Championships. Even though there are less than a dozen serious competitors in the United States, the training and dedication it takes to succeed is just as intense as in sports where competitors number in the thousands.



Olympic Double Trap is very specific in the distance and angles of the targets.
In Olympic competition, all competitors must have the same targets (right) to
comply with the Olympic doctrine of “fair and equitable” for all. Clay targets
from different schemes of Olympic Double Trap as they are thrown from a ground
level bunker trap (below). Photos: Charlie Dean,

Designed to combine the skills of skeet and of trap, two targets are thrown simultaneously with one shot taken at each target. Shot on an Olympic Trap (ground level) layout, where 15 machines are used, Double Trap uses only the three c enter traps (traps 7, 8 and 9) throwing two at a time. Trap 7 is angled at 5 degrees left, Trap 8 is straight and Trap 9 is angled at 5-degrees right. Different combinations of two from the three traps are called “schemes.” The targets are set to travel a maximum distance of 55 meters (180 feet) and the height of the targets at a 32-foot distance is 11 feet for the center target (trap 8) and 10 feet for both left and right (traps 7 and 9). It seems complicated, but it’s really pretty simple.

The course of fire will use A, B and C schemes in each round instead of fixed schemes. The schemes are thrown randomly, the shooter will receive the same number of pairs from each scheme at each station. Each round of Double Trap consists of 30 targets, made up of 15 simultaneous pairs. A standard event is five rounds for a total of 150 targets. There are 6 competitors on a squad with a shoot-and-move format so shooters can’t get into a rhythm. Ammunition is limited to 24 grams and a shot size no greater than 7-1/2 is all that is allowed.

When the two targets are released in either Scheme, A, B or C, the shooter moves on the flash of the target, shooting it as quickly as possible to make the transition move to the second target. There’s definitely a science to this game and the American trio of USA shooters Josh Richmond, Jeff Holguin and Glenn Eller have got the science down to the millimeter.


Jeff Holguin (left) and Josh Richmond on the medal stand at the
2014 World Cup USA in Tucson, Az. Photo: Kevin Neuendorf, Director,
Media & Public Relations, USA Shooting

The Shooters

Staff Sergeant Josh Richmond is ranked 2nd in the world, just a few hundred points behind Russian shooter Vasily Mosin. At 28 years of age, Richmond is the current National Champion and has won 26 medals in 9 years, 12 of which are gold. Shooting a Perazzi MX2005 with a 32-inch barrel, his length of pull is 15-3/8 inches to accommodate his 6-foot, 2-inch frame and his rib is an incredible 25 millimeters high the entire length of the barrels. His hold point to the target is parallel with the ground. The high rib, he says, pulls the barrel below his eyes so he can see around it and watch the target emerge from underneath the barrel. His gun patterns at 60/40 and even if it looks like he spot-shoots the first target, he doesn’t. There’s gun movement to the first target, but you have to look pretty darn hard to see it. He admits he never sees the first target break, he just shoots at the flash, because if he takes the time to watch the first target break, his timing is off for the second target and as he puts it, “You’re just chasing your tail at that point.”

Ranked 4th and 5th respectively, Eller and Holguin have won their share of medals with Eller winning Gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and Holguin finishing 4th just out of medal contention. Both shot with a Perazzi MX2005 with high ribs and high combs. In the 32 events since the ’08 games, this elite trio has won 21 medals in 32 events.

Originally designed for single trap in 1964 by Perazzi and Matarelli, the high rib/high comb has become the norm in Olympic Double Trap. Combined with a receiver of perfect balance and weight distribution, the MX series has become timeless in its design and handling. There are no other gimmicks. Yes, other guns have high ribs and combs, but the Perazzi gunmakers believe the less there is, the more pure the relationship between the shooter and their firearm. They can add what machines can’t—passion and soul to a game and a gun. Just ask the three most successful shooters in the world.
By Shari LeGate

MX2005 Double Trap
Maker: Perazzi
Importer: Perazzi USA
1010 W. 10th St.
Azusa, CA 91702
(626) 334-1234

Action type: Over & Under
Gauge: 12 gauge
Rib type: 5-position adjustable with a Point of Impact range of 50/50 to 100 percent
Choke: Modified and Full or with interchangeable chokes (by request)
Capacity: 2
Barrel length: 29-1/2, 30-3/4, or 31-1/2 inches
Stock dimensions: Custom stock dimensions available on request
Length of pull: 14-3/4 inches
Drop at comb: 1-1/2 inches
Drop at Monte Carlo: 1-1/2 inches
Drop at heel: 2-3/8 inches
Overall length: 49 inches
Weight: 9 pounds (approximately)
Finish: Blue or Nickel
Sights: White front, metal mid bead
Stock: Turkish Walnut
Price: $13,185

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