3-Gun Rifle Review

The 3-Gun rifle on the pack for testing. The Magento Speed ballistic chronograph can be seen beneath the pack.

3-Gun Rifle Review

Our custom built 3-Gun AR15.

We recently headed to the range to test out our custom built 3-Gun competition rifle.  A detailed account of the build can be found in our article “3-Gun Rifle Build“.  A list of parts provided by Brownells is available at the bottom of this page.

Range conditions were less then ideal; 42F with a 25 MPH, full value cross wind and 35 MPH wind gusts.  Since the conditions were brutal for accuracy testing, we limited our shooting to 50 yards.

The 3-Gun rifle on the pack for testing. The MagentoSpeed ballistic chronograph can be seen beneath the pack.  Note: the leaves look stationary in the pic, trust us, they were blowing!

A DEA six dot cardboard target was placed at 50 yards and a laser bore sighter was used to align the Trijicon TR24 1-4X Optic.  After an initial zero was obtained, 5 round groups were fired from a pack on asphalt with no near rest (we are studs). Each of the five kinds of ammunition is listed in the table below.  Velocity data was recorded using a MagnetoSpeed barrel mounted ballistic chronograph.

Load Velocity Group size at 50 yards, 25-35MPH crosswind
PMC 55 Grain FMJ 2695 fps, sd 23 1.058”
Winchester 5.56 62 Grain OTM 3000 fps, sd 34 1.047”
Winchester 5.56 M855 62 Grain FMJ 3072 fps, sd 34 1.282”
Asym 77 Grain BTHP 2571 fps, sd 36 .979”
Federal Gold Metal 69 Grain BTHP 2618 fps, sd 13 .877”


We were actually quite impressed with the groups given the wind conditions.  All five test loads coming in around 2 MOA.  Granted, the wind effects on projectiles are far less at 50 yards, but the cold and wind certainly affect the shooter as well.  We plan to retest the rifle for accuracy at an upcoming date.  We are fairly confident this is a 1 MOA gun.

Even with the brutal wind conditions, we turned in a presentable target.  The Federal Gold Medal group on the bottom right is actually four rounds.  We plan on testing the rifle at 100 and 200 yards next time we head out.

Placing an cardboard IPSC target at 7 yards, we began to run a series of drills to test the speed of the rifle. For each drill, the shooter started at low ready, rifle on safe, muzzle below the belt, eyes on target.    We shot 5 2-shot drills with the optic on 1, 2, and 4 power.  We shot 5 Mozambique drills (2/1) with the optic in 1x, and 5 2-shot drills using the rapid transition sights.  For the drills shot with the rapid transition sights, the rifle started in the same low ready position; oriented vertically, requiring the shooter to roll the rifle into position on each presentation to utilize the sights.  Results are recorded in the table below.

Sight Drill Average Time
Trijicon TR24 on 1X Fire 2 from low ready .95 seconds
Trijicon TR 24 on 2X Fire 2 from low ready .93 seconds
Trijicon TR 24 on 4 X Fire 2 from low ready .98 seconds
DD Offset Iron Sights Fire 2 from low ready 1.10 seconds
Trijicon TR24 on 1X Fire 2/1 from low ready 1.29 seconds


The combination of parts provided a quick handling rifle, note the times above.  The 18″ White Oak barrel, FSC556 brake, Daniel Defense RIS II handguard and Geiselle Super Dynamic Three Gun trigger worked together to provide impressive times.  Keep in mind that we don’t point shoot and that each round was fired with a sight picture.

We were a little surprised at the negligible differences in times between the magnification settings on the Trjicon TR24.  While we expected to go fastest with the 1X setting at such a close range, we were surprised that the 2X was so similar.  The 4X did provide faster results then the rapid transition sights, however, the field of view was poor at best. The Trijicon’s red triangle reticle provided a fast sight picture.

As noted in the table above, the Dueck Defense rapid transition sights required an additional 0.15 seconds to deploy over the optic set on 1x. We believe this is a combination of rolling the gun to the left and the way the rifle points with it oriented on its side.  We noticed that the front sight tends to point a little bit to the left when compared to sights that are mounted at the 12 o’clock position.

The rifle functioned flawlessly.  We took the the time to photograph the WMD Nickel Boron bolt carrier group when we returned from the range.  The bolt carrier group had a light coating of oil on it before firing and was easily cleaned with a paper towel.  While there were a few spots that could have been touched up a little further with a nylon brush, it came remarkably clean with the paper towel alone.

The bolt carrier group when we pulled it out of the rifle.
Here is the bolt carrier group disassembled after testing.
This is the bolt carrier group after a quick wipe with a paper towel.

Overall, we are quite happy with the performance of our rifle.  Our closing thoughts are summarized below.

Overall Impressions:

  • The rifle was fast handling and accurate (considering range conditions).
  • Mechanical functioning was flawless.  Not one issue.  Everything worked as it should have.
  • The Trijicon TR24 is a fast handling scope and provides shooters with 1-4X magnification levels.   Targets at our local matches typically are under 300 yards and the 1-4X scope provides plenty of adaptability.  The scope was easy to adjust, by simply removing the turret covers.   The windage and elevation knobs were hand adjustable with tactile 1/4 MOA adjustments.
  • The Dueck Defense rapid transition sights only seem to be needed if you are shooting a stage that requires you to have your optic set at 4X.  If you have some intermediate range targets and the scope set at 2X, simply engaging the targets with the 2X optic may prove faster.
  • Magpul’s MOE rifle stock is a pleasant surprise.  The standard A2 stock is a bit long for 3-Gun and a lot of guys like running rifle length buffer systems.  The Magpul stock is solid and provides an outstanding cheek weld.  Additionally, the butt plate is angled like a collapsible stock.
  • While we don’t like the Magpul BAD on our “practical” rifles, it does speed up reloads and makes manipulation easier.  It definitely has a place on a competition rifle.
  • The WMD nickel boron bolt carrier group was easier to clean then a non treated bolt carrier group.
To build your own 3-Gun competition rifle, make sure you visit Brownells.  Below, the parts we used are separated by upper, lower and accessories.  To see how we built this rifle, click here.
Our custom 3-Gun rifle and groups.

Upper Receiver Parts:

Lower Receiver Parts: