Zak's 2004 SMM3G Report


Zak Smith
March 16, 2004, 05:06 PM
Zak's Superstition Mountain Mystery 3Gun Match Report 2004 (SMM3G 2004)

I shot the SMM3G match for the first time last week. It was my second large match after shooting RM3G in Raton last summer. Skipping over all the overhead info you can get from , here's my perspective of the match.

I drove down to Mesa from Fort Collins CO on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. I stopped by TheWilderness in Phoenix and they fixed the velcro on my 5 year old belt for no charge while I waited. The hotel I was staying at was closer to Mesa than the shooting range, so I checked in there first, then headed over to Usery Pass Road and found the range.

After checking in, I started to review the stage booklet: 9 stages planned: two with long-range rifle targets to 300 yards, one stage of 20 slugs, one dark shoot house for rifle only, and many multi-gun stages.

Thursday afternoon turned from hottish to torrential rain, which put a damper on walking through stages and running the RO's, who were supposed to shoot the entire match on Thursday. I was in squad 17, and we started on Stage 8.


Stage 8. Pistol, Shotgun. "Loaf 'n' Jug"

In this stage, you start pumping gas into your car. On buzzer, you draw and engage four pistol targets, drop your empty pistol in the car, grab your shotgun from the trunk, and then engage 8 shotgun targets. Pretty straightforward, and no reloads needed. [ link to larger image ] ( [ link to larger image ] (

Stage 9. Pistol, Shotgun.

Start holding a rubber chicken at knife-point. On buzzer, engage a bunch of pistol targets while going through two tunnels. Then ground your pistol, grab your loaded shotgun from the outhouse, and finish the stage. There were I think 12 shotgun targets including 4 popper-activated flying birds. Using a single-stack .45, I had to change mags once. [ link to larger image ] ( [ link to larger image ] (

Stage 1. Rifle.

This stage was 18 rifle targets, with 15 of them in a dark shoothouse. It was quite dark inside, so it took 3-4 seconds for eyes to adjust so targets were visible. There was a fast strobe light operating in the house to disorient you. Start position was with your rifle on a table outside of the house, in your hands is a door battering ram. Upon signal, knock popper PP1 over with ram "entry device" pick up your rifle and enter the shoothouse.

The house was pretty dark. My rifle was set up with a TA11 ACOG. The tritium would not have had enough contrast through the reticle with the strobes and eyes still adjusting. I used 100mph tape to mount my surefire E2E on top of the TA11 so the target area was illuminated and the fiber optic system on the TA11 was lit. This produced an extremely bright reticle relative to the background light level. The flashlight made it much easier to discriminate shoot/noshoot boundaries.

My plan for this stage was well-rehearsed, but it went downhill fast 15 rounds into the shoothouse when an ejected case bounced off a barrel about 2-4" away and re-entered the chamber, causing a FTF on the next round. I burned some time clearing this in the dark.

The sighting system worked very well with the ACOG-mounted light. The only big change I'd make for the same situation again would be to cover the objective lens of the ACOG and just use the OEG effect (at 1x). [ link to larger image ] (


If you enjoyed reading about "Zak's 2004 SMM3G Report" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Zak Smith
March 16, 2004, 05:07 PM
Stage 2. Shotgun.

Navigate the maze and shoot the 20 slug targets once each. This stage had two flip-up target activated by pulling a "grenade" and a target/noshoot/target combination slider which moved right-left and left-right once across the back end of the range activated by a platform you step on. It moved at about 10 fps. Aiming at the leading edge of the target was the trick on those. [ link to larger image ] (

Stage 3. Shotgun.

This shotgun stage had 25 targets: clays, swingers, racks, and plates. From the start position, I shot the 8 close plates, then reloaded and shot the 6x plate-rack while moving "inside". A couple more targets and that side was finished. The right-hand side had a popper activating a swinger and a Texas Star. Load fast! [ link to larger image ] ( [ link to larger image ] (

Stage 4. Rifle, Shotgun, Pistol.

We shot this stage Saturday morning 7AM, in slow rain. By the time I was up, it was pretty much done raining.

Your pistol is staged downrange in the "helicopter." Your shotgun and rifle are staged on a table on the RHS of the range. You start on the left-hand side of the range with a knife. Upon the buzzer, you run through a short tunnel, stab T1 with the knife (1 A-zone or 2 B-D :D ), pick up your rifle ammo, and run to the barrier/table. Pick up your rifle and engage 20-50 yard targets T2-T11 with your rifle. Ground your rifle, pick up shotgun and engage 9 targets on the way to the helicopter. Ground shotgun, grab pistol, and engage pistol I think it was 8 pistol targets.

No pictures of this stage, sorry!


Zak Smith
March 16, 2004, 05:08 PM
Stage 5. Pistol, Rifle.

This was the first of two long-range rifle stages. In this one, you started holding a lunch tray and fork. On buzzer, drop them into a can, engage 4 close-in hoser pistol targets, and move into the "APC". There, engage 5 long-range rifle targets (1 @ 135, 4 @ about 240 yards). Exit the APC, move up the canyon engaging a bunch of close rifle targets, then at the bunker, re-engage the tar 5 rifle targets. This was a fun stage. The longer rifle targets were a nice challenge. On those 10 targets, I only fired like 3 extra shots.

This stage ended up being canceled because it was hopelessly behind schedule by Saturday night. There were 130-some people who still had to shoot it Sunday. [ link to larger image ] ( [ link to larger image ] ( [ link to larger image ] (

Stage 6. Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle.

This was the second long-range rifle stage. You started off in a "jeep" with your pistol holstered and your shotgun on the hood. On buzzer, engage I think 4 close pistol targets, ground your pistol. Move up the gulley engaging I think 12 shotgun targets. Up the hill, ditch the shotgun, grab your rifle, climb onto the shooting platform and shoot 10 long-range rifle targets through the port (prone). The rifle targest were from about 120 - 300, with the right-most 4 plates at about 300 yards. Again, I enjoyed the long-range portion and only had two extra shots fired at the 10 plates. The TA11 ACOG was perfect on these. The LaRue targets required you to "call" your hits and misses because of the delay for them to fall. [ link to larger image ] ( [ link to larger image ] (


Zak Smith
March 16, 2004, 05:09 PM
Stage 7. Pistol, Shotgun.

Start seated and "locked" in a "ore cart". Upon buzzer, grab pistol and engage four IPSC targets, then you could shoot two poppers and a Texas Star with either weapon. Finally, as you move the ore cart back with your feet, engage the rest of the about 12 targets through the ports in the tunnel with your shotgun, still seated. [ link to larger image ] ( [ link to larger image ] ( [ link to larger image ] ( [ link to larger image ] (


I don't think the results summary has been posted yet. I came in 72nd out of about 170 in the Tactical class.

General Comments

The drive to Mesa from Fort Collins CO was high speed but still long at about 14 hours. After running the prize table at 7pm after getting up to shoot at 6AM, driving straight through back to Colorado is hard. I stopped twice for short naps.

I didn't realize until Phoenix that Mesa's at about 1500' elevation. I'm used to dry cold weather at 5-7000'. Humidity and heat were a surprise. Remember to wipe down your worn blued guns before putting them away.

The TA11 ACOG was just about perfect for the long-range targets in this match, and it worked well in the shoothouse too. The only stage I used my JP short-range "hoser" sight was #5.

Keep a rail-mounted light in your 3Gun bag. It might come in handy in a dark stage.

Don't shoot with your ejection port right next to a barrel or wall.

The rest of my pictures are indexed here:


Zak Smith
March 16, 2004, 05:12 PM
Chris Sechitano has pictures here:

Mike Pelissier has pictures here:

March 17, 2004, 06:24 PM
Zak, thanks for the excellent report. Sounds like a fun match. A can't even imagine a 170 person bottle neck. :)

AZ Stats Chic
March 17, 2004, 06:44 PM
Zak... I read (most of) your post about our SMM3G match in Mesa, AZ. I am quite impressed with the depth of your script. I hope that you had a good time... sounds like it! I've been doing "stats" for this match for 7 years and also the Rio Salado Sportsman's Club "Desert Classic" since 1995. I've been posting on Brian Enos' chat forums for the past few years... and have found the High Road just recently ~ very nice.

Next year will be the SMM3G's 10th anniversary... Look forward to some great stages next year. Get your entry in early, as I do believe that we will be reducing the number of entrants (including sponsors) for next year's match.

AZ Stats Chic

send chocolate...

BTW... there was only a 131 person back-up on stage 5...

Zak Smith
March 17, 2004, 07:23 PM
AZ Stats Chic,

Hey, I think I did say there were only 130 backed up. :D

regards & thanks for all your effort at SMM3G 2004!


March 18, 2004, 09:38 AM
My mistake. I'm a match director for a little local 3 gun match. We only have about 50 shooters, so the idea of a hundred and anything backup up just boggles my mind. :D I don't know how you guys run matches that big, that is just impressive.

March 19, 2004, 09:34 AM
"The drive to Mesa from Fort Collins CO was high speed but still long at about 14 hours. After running the prize table at 7pm after getting up to shoot at 6AM, driving straight through back to Colorado is hard. I stopped twice for short naps."

14 hours....thats it?? Try the 30 hour each way drive from Detroit. Made it in 2 days. Left at 4:30 Monday AM, made it to Tulsa at 10:30 PM. Back on the road at 4:30AM .. home in Mich by 8 PM.... To a snowstorm!!! We`ll fly next year.

See ya next year,


Zak Smith
March 19, 2004, 11:42 AM
Vitaly Kryuchin was in my squad. He came from Russia to shoot this match (among other things).


March 19, 2004, 11:41 PM
Yeah, but did he drive from Russia?? :)


March 20, 2004, 01:06 AM
Welcome, AZ Stats Chic!

If you enjoyed reading about "Zak's 2004 SMM3G Report" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!