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Zak's 2005 ITRC Report

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by Zak Smith, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Zak's 2005 ITRC Report

    As background, read the 2004 ITRC Report.

    The D&L Sports International Tactical Rifleman Championships (ITRC) is a "3 Gun" match unlike
    conventional 3Gun matches. This match has field courses from 1 to 2.5 miles long which must be
    finished in times from 45 minutes to two hours by teams of two: a bolt rifle shooter, and a carbine

    Dave Lauck's Small Arms Training Academy (SATA) is located about an hour north of Gillette, WY,
    basically in the middle of nowhere. Match stages were located there and on two ranches within an
    hour's distance.

    2005 was the second year Glenn Frank and I shot the ITRC. Last year he shot the bolt rifle and I
    the carbine, so this year we switched roles. Our training for this match was both team and
    individual practice at long distance, small targets, and regular cardio exercise.

    The Colorado front range 3Gun/rifle crowd fielded 5 teams this year, in addition to Burris, who sent
    a team from their plant in Greeley.

    Unlike last year, many of us skipped the sight-in the morning before the match itself. If a team
    wanted to verify rifles' zeros, they could set up a target on the ubiquitous BLM land near Gillette.
    Since we all had data printed for Gillette's altitude and typical environmental conditions and good
    solid zeros, it would likely have been a waste of ammo.

    In 2004, many of the teams were SWAT or military. Due to deployments, there were very few military
    teams this year, just a few from Fort Campbell. I thought I heard there were 32 teams, but only 30
    showed up on the final scores. This down about 15 from the number of starting teams in 2004, and
    down about 5 from the number of finishing teams.

    The match was divided into 3 courses. Each team shot one course per day.

    Instead of boring you with lot more of background, here are the stages. They were roughly similar
    to the stages in 2004, with some changes.

    Course 1. DL SATA

    The SATA range was the location for the high-intensity pistol/carbine stage. This course starts
    with approximately 400 scoring opportunities for the carbine followed by approximately 400 more
    pistol scoring opportunities in the shoot-house. Each hit on target was worth 1 point; there were
    no "bonus" or "high value" targets unlike 2004. Each target had to be engaged 4 times, except for
    pistol steel if knocked down. The team had 25 minutes to engage each of the two halves of the
    course of fire, so if they ran out of time on the carbine, it would not affect their ability to
    finish the shoot-house. The team could use a secondary carbine for this course in order to not
    "burn out" their good match barrel.

    The course started with the carbine shooter engaging several 100-400 yard arrays of targets from 5
    or 6 positions, running a total of maybe 150 yards. Once those targets were engaged, the team
    proceeded into the back of the pick-up truck. The truck drove past an array of full size poppers,
    which the carbine shooter engaged. Hits were still worth 1 point. When the truck stopped, the team
    ran over to the first of 3 platforms which each had 22 steel targets arrayed at about 100 yards.
    The suggested minimum round count for the carbine was 500.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    Due to dawn glare, we had problems locating some of the targets and timed out on the second to last
    platform. This lost us about 92 points. We started the stage with about 500 rounds preloaded in
    30-round AR15 mags.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    I then proceeded to the pistol shoot-house and ran it start to finish in 12 minutes, giving us 13
    extra bonus points (one per minute early). I ran past two targets and had two other misses. The
    recommended round count was 400. I shot 305 rounds.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]
  2. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Last year we had a limited number of 45ACP double-stack mags (about 7) and I had to reload them on
    the fly. This year we entered the course of fire with 450 rounds preloaded in Glock 19 and 17
    magazines. All my partner had to do was pick up the empties which I dropped every 3-4 targets. I
    carried a SAW-type pouch with approx 20 15 and 17 round Glock magazines.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    The shoot-house is a football-field size structure of walls, busses, and other props, with targets -

    both paper and steel - strewn throughout. The shooter had to pay careful attention in order to not
    walk past targets.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    Like last year, the carbine got extremely hot--

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]
  3. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Stage 2. Hoblit Ranch.

    This course was 1.5 miles cross-country with a time limit of 1 hour. Minimum round count 2 pistol,
    62 carbine, 59 rifle. The course had five stations with carbine and pistol targets at each. There
    was one pistol target at Stage 1. This was the most physically demanding course of fire, with the
    most rugged terrain. Carbine targets tended to be in arrays of 3-5, and rifle targets were
    generally grouped into strings of 2-4 with 10-50 yards between targets.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    We had pulled the 0630 time slot, so we shot each course of fire just after dawn. This was
    generally an advantage for temperature and wind, but it made locating targets in shadow difficult.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    Many teams including ours had trouble with station 1's rifle targets, but besides that, we shot well
    on this course with few misses. We finished the final station with 9 minutes to spare, and hit the
    +250/-250 point bonus target on station 4.

    The scoring on Stages 2 and 3 was: +40 per rifle hit, +10 per carbine hit, -20 per miss, pistol +10,
    pistol misses not counted.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]
  4. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Stage 3. Arvada Ranch.

    The helicopter was back this year. Each shooter was provided with 3 30-round magazines for a
    provided AR-15, and there were more targets opportunities per pass. Making hits, however, was much
    more difficult due to increased velocity and distance in the helicopter. The helicopter event
    was not scored as part of the "main match."

    The second part of Stage 3 was the field course. Minimum round count was 56 carbine and 79 rifle.
    Just like Stage 2, the distance was 1.5 miles and the time limit was 1 hour. The path was more or
    less down hill and followed a road, making it less physically demanding. But there was no free
    lunch. The targets on this stage were smaller and more difficult to locate, and the wind - at least
    on day 3 - was tricky.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    This stage had 7 stations. The rifle shooter had no targets until station 3, but at station 7, he
    had 25 rifle targets. Locating and successfully engaging 25 rifle targets on the last station was a
    challenge due to sheer number of targets available, and the heat caused by shooting 50+ rounds in a
    short period of time caused many rifles' point of impacts to "wander".

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    My partner shot this course with maybe only 6 misses. I had a harder time with the distant and
    small rifle targets, with tricky wind. Due to the pressure in locating the targets under time, I
    felt more harried during this stage and that contributed to some bad "presses." We finished the
    last target with about 90 seconds to spare.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]
  5. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Team on Team

    The Team on Team shoot during the afternoon of the last day involved the carbine shooter engaging an
    array of 5 targets at 200 yards, and then the rifle shooter engaging a 8" plate at 500 yards,
    running head to head against another team in single elimination. The catch was all weapons started
    unloaded and the team had to load loose rounds into the rifles or their magazines from a bowl!

    We were pretty dialed in, and we made it to the semi-finals, coming in 3rd place.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    About $50k in rifles???

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    Egg Shoot

    The final even was the 500-yard egg shoot, where each competitor got one shot at an "egg" at 500
    yards, and the winner would get a rifle at the awards banquet. We had just shot the team on team,
    and the wind was tricky, coming from 10-11'o'clock with 8-18 mph.

    Overall Results.

    30 teams finished the match. The high score was 5847 and the low was -2772. Glenn and I managed
    4826 for a 7th place finish (an improvement on 13th last year). Colorado teams placed 3rd, 6th,
    7th, 15th, and 16th. Chad Peterson & Kurt Kisch won.

    Glenn and I were in the 3-way tie for the helicopter event; three teams had 3 hits each. The prize
    was drawn at random and we didn't get it.

    The egg shoot was won by Tate Moots.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]
    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]


    Rifle: I shot a Accuracy International AWP in 308, 24" bbl, with the AI brake. The scope is a US
    Optics SN-3 3.2-17x44mm with the Horus H25 reticle. Ammo was Lapua 155gr.

    Carbine: Glenn shot a 24" Bushmaster Varminter with 50gr VMAXs from Black Hills. The scope is a
    Leupold 3-9 MRT.

    High Intensity Carbine: Glenn shot a Bushmaster Dissipater with a rail system installed and a TA11

    Pistols: I shot a Glock 19, and Glenn shot a 17.

    The tactic this year was to pack light, bringing only what you'll absolutely need in the 60
    minutes. But bringing back-up gear is a good idea.

    [​IMG] [ link to LARGER image ]

    Rest of pics here: http://demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/ITRC-2005
  6. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

    Awesome report. My wife and I have talked about doing this as a team once the kids are a little older. (her on long range rifle and me on carbine). It sounds like one heck of a match.
  7. artherd

    artherd member

    This is fantastic. Zak- a CHP buddy of mine and I might just make it to ITRC 2006.
  8. atek3

    atek3 New Member

    Awesome placing, do you feel switching to a cartridge with better drop and drift numbers will help your scoring at all?

    also how did you judge wind on the fly?

  9. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I do think that shooting a faster & higher BC cartridge would have helped, namely for those misses that were "just" off the target. On the other hand, it would have done little for misses due to brain fade.

    With regard to judging wind on the fly with no sighters... you make your best guess based on what you can see, feel, and what prior shots have done (even though they may have been from a different location and in a different direction).

  10. atek3

    atek3 New Member

    do you use a PDA or drop table?

    do you use laser or reticular range finding?

    have you considered getting a kestrel weather reader?

  11. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I use a data-card (tied to my scope ring) with 20 yard increments out to the max range, calibrated for the approximate density altitude I'm shooting at, which I can read off the Kestrel before we start the stage. A PDA is too much to screw around with when under a time constraint. Most of the data it can produce can be written on a 3x5 card, the main exception being accurate long range drop data for inclined fire.

    A good laser range finder is the way to go. Suggest a unified binoc / LRF unit if you can afford one-- makes spotting + RFing way easier.

    I do have a Kestrel 4000. I tend to use it most often for density altitude readings and ambient temp readings (for reload chrono data logging).

  12. waterhouse

    waterhouse Active Member

    Great report. Did you have a chance to see/speak with other teams about gear problems/failures as everyone did the courses?

    Honestly the most rugged use most of my guns and optics get is the walk from the trunk to the range, but i'm always currious as to how things hold up at high volume shoots like this.
  13. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member


    Follow the link at the top of the first post to the 2004 ITRC report. In 2004, I saw a lot more equipment failures, pistols, rifles, etc, some of which I detailed in that report.

    In 2005, I didn't see many (any?) equipment failures. This was probably due to lower turnout (fewer 1st timers at the match), and that the match director allowed a second carbine to be used on the high-intensity stage. Most teams brought a nice 18-24" accurate AR, and then basically a beater M4-type carbine. Last year, by contrast, the same carbine had to be used throughout, which meant smoking nice match barrels on the high-intensity stuff.


    ETA: The one major malfunction I know about at the '05 match was an AR15 whose fire control group got jammed due to the buffer retainer detent coming loose and falling into the lower. The shooter was able to field-strip the weapon, un-jam the FCG, and reassemble the weapon and get shooting again. A few hundred rounds later, I believe something else went wrong with rifle and he was reduced to single shot mode with his partner running the charging handle between shots. I don't remember what the root cause of the second malfunction was.
  14. atek3

    atek3 New Member

    how bad is it to run several hundred rounds through an AR super quickly.

  15. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    An M4 barrel will burst in less than 600 rounds fired full auto back to back, if I remember correctly.

    Read the 2004 report for the problems some AR15's had with heat. You basically don't want anything to be sensitive to thermal expansion. Set-screwed gas blocks or suppressor sleeves are notorious for moving, unless there is some physical block to movement. Barrel nuts can loosen if they aren't on right. Same deal for pistols... improperly installed sights may fall off. etc.

  16. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    Zak, I am curious how the barrel on the carbine held up this year for the blaster stage. I'm also curious as to how long the barrel you used in the 2004 ITRC lasted after that match?
  17. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member


    In 2004, I shot my JP rifle with the medium 1:8" 20" stainless barrel. During the match, it shifted several inches left due to the heat, but once rezeroed shot fine. When I sold that rifle last year, its new owner reported shooting sub-half MOA groups with it.

    In 2005, it was my partner's turn to shoot the carbine, but the match rules were also changed to allow the use of two carbines: one for the high-intensity and one or the long range. For the hoser stage, he used an old Dissipator upper that had been fitted with a rail system, and it ran 100%.

  18. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    SWAT magazine has an article on the 2005 ITRC in the current issue.
  19. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    Yeah, it was the SWAT magazine article that prompted me to dig this up. Any idea what the total round count was on the 2004 JP barrel when you sold it? I've gone to a SS barrel on my primary carbine now and I'm just trying to get an idea of expected lifespan for budget purposes.

    Also, was that sub-MOA at 100 or was he still seeing sub-MOA at longer ranges?
  20. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I don't remember exactly what range it was, I want to say 200? I will PM you with his info.

    I did not keep a round count log for the barrel, but I estimated when I sold it, it had 3-4000 rounds through it.

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