It doesn't matter how many years of competition, hunting and training you have under your belt. You're always a newbie somewhere.
Last month, Texas State Tactical put on a match to benefit the Texas Police Association. Held at the Copperhead Creek Shooting Club, this one-day event was billed as a "Precision 3-Gun Match." My trusty MR-10 and I were in attendance.
This match format has been gaining in popularity. The shotgun is dropped from the standard 3-Gun trio and replaced with precision rifle. This one day event broke down into two divisions, both based on your precision rifle—bolt gun or gas gun.
This was only my second match outing with the MR-10. I'll admit it; I'm still in the learning stage for all this precision shooting stuff. 3-Gun is old hat for me, so the pistol and carbine portions of the match didn't faze me much. The precision shooting was the real learning experience, so that's where I'll focus.
Here's how it all played out.
My .260 LRP-07 was my first choice for this event, but I really wanted to log more time on the MR-10. So, I opted to swap my Burris XTR II 2-10 scope over to the MR-10 last minute.
I'd shot the Competition Dynamics Steel Safari at JP's Blue Steel Ranch a few months before. In the 90-100° heat, my 15x scope just magnified the mirage and now Texas was in a warm spell. Mirage would be a big factor again, so with shots limited to 700 yards at this event, the 2-10x power range seemed appropriate.
The MR-10 was in good working order, and I still had 100 rounds left over from my last practice session. That was enough for sight-in and some light practice with enough rounds left for the match.
The only issue was that I still hadn't shortened the rounds to function 100% in my mags. They fit, but the tips dragged on the front end and hampered proper feeding.
On match day, this would cost me about two seconds for every round fired. That's because I had to run my finger in the action to push down the back of every round before chambering.
Not a performance killer in this case, but tedious nonetheless. Lesson learned for next time.
For my carbine, I chose my trusty CTR-02. As always, it performed flawlessly, even with the ancient JP aluminum carriers from one of the first runs. Just goes to show, if you keep them well-oiled, they will last a long time.
For pistol, I used my G34. Still stock except for the trigger job and sights, it still shoots better than a Glock should.
The precision rifle parts of the match offered quite a bit of variety.
The stages required offhand shooting of the precision rifle at 5-7 yards. Targets consisted of the "A" head box of a standard IPSC target. Given that, I needed to know my sight offset for that distance. Luckily, it was nearly the same as an AR, and I am quite used to working with that.
Another precision portion included a variation of "know your limits." This consisted of 1.5" circles at 80-85 yards from various unconventional positions. Each miss was a 10-second penalty with only one shot per target, eight in total.
The longest precision stage had the requirement that your gun or gun-related equipment be in contact with a deuce-and-a-half trailer. Manage that how you like, but you had to be in contact with the ground.
This stage also had A-zone head boxes at 25-30 yards plus three more long-range targets in the 600-700ish range. The farthest was a 10-inch gong—the only one you could get a decent dust call from any miss you might make.
The final precision stage was from an elevated platform with four targets at 300, 400, and 500 yards each. The pesky little MGM prairie dogs were frustrating for many at 300, and some good shooters timed out on this stage. All precision stages except the trailer and "know your limit" stages also incorporated pistol as well.
The pistol shooting was mostly close-range work, but there was an accuracy aspect to every pistol section. If you could run a pistol accurately, it would benefit you greatly.
One of the stages had an IPSC target covered up halfway by a no-shoot at no closer than 25-30 yards. This frustrated many, leading to plenty of misses and no-shoot penalties.
I chose to go for headshots since the no-shoot was nowhere near it. I fired two rounds with a called potential miss, then fired a third shot for good measure. This left me with two solid upper A-zone hits and one C-zone.
The elevated platform stage had targets covered up with no-shoots as well. These were twenty yards away, so accuracy ruled there as well.
My last stage for the day was all pistol, but again, accuracy was your friend. Skinny 4" x 8" plates were arrayed anywhere from 10-25 yards depending on where you chose to engage them.
The carbine portion of the match was nothing difficult—some offhand C-zones at 60-80 yards and some in-your-face paper. There was also some shooting from a VTAC barricade, utilizing a specific port, followed by paper at 40-50 yards. Then, it was off to the races for some close hosing.
After getting put through my paces by the precision shooting, this carbine work was a nice break. It was, by far, the easiest aspect of the match.
Biggest takeaway: I really need to shorten my loads in future. During practice, I'll make a point of running them through the mags at speed so I'll be confident they'll feed. Poking a finger into the mag with every round will not happen again.
The MR-10, while still rather new to me, shoots amazingly well. Its weight made it not too cumbersome for the offhand shots but steady enough when needed. The trigger breaks very cleanly and allows for both surprise precision trigger breaks and controlled snap shots.
If you are wanting a turnkey rifle that is amazingly accurate, well-proportioned and utilizes a well-thought-out design, the MR-10 is the gun for you. I look forward to spending more time with it this year year shooting more long-range matches.
I've paired it up with my new Burris XTR II 3.5-15x, which I think it will be a great combination. If you want to see for yourself firsthand, look me up at a match I'll gladly let you check either of them out.
The Burris XTR II performed perfectly. 10x on the top end was more than enough for target acquisition and spotting hits and on targets.
If you are in the market for a long-range, big game hunting scope, this is what you need. 10x is really all you need for ethical shots on game. Plus, having the availability of 2x on the low side is definitely helpful when you're walking to your stand or hunting in low light.
On the elevated platform stage, the wind was causing me to miss just wide left of the target. Being able to see the bullet impact on the soft dirt was easy, though. I simply corrected by holding right edge and went clean after my first two misses.
On that stage, I also decided it would be faster to dial an initial sight setting and then hold for all the other targets. Using the hash marks on the reticle allowed for a perfect run after adjusting for the wind call.
On the offhand shots, having the ability to dial magnification down to 2x made those shots very doable. Not only that, the clarity of the glass actually allowed me to see my hits and verify the needed upper A-zone hits.
The scope is destined to go on my long-range hunting rifle—a custom .338 Win Mag that's my go-to gun for western hunting. I don't think I'll be disappointed.
My personal bonehead moment came on the "know your limits" stage when I forgot to check my elevation dial. So, I shot the 80-yard targets with 14 MOA dialed into the scope from my previous long-range attempt... D'oh!
As I broke each shot and didn't see holes in the white backer, I just thought I was shooting clean. Each shot broke with the crosshairs exactly where they should have been. Imagine my dismay walking up to find a "clean" target, but not the kind I expected.
Oh well—a lesson learned this way is sure to stick with me in future. Even with my boneheaded move and wasting two seconds with every precision shot I managed a 4th place finish. All-in-all, a respectable placement.
While it pushed my comfort zone, this match was great practice with the precision rifle. Overall, it was a quick, fun event for a good cause—glad I went.