Team PWS-FNH jumped out to the early lead in the Colt 3-Man 3-Gun Team Series by winning the first of the two-match series here recently.
The two-match series combines scores from Topton and the second match, to be held at West Virginia’s Peacemaker National Training Center in July. Title sponsor Colt as come through this year with a substantial cash payout, offering $15,000 towards the prize table. The first place team will receive $3,000 per member, with the rest of the cash awarded among the other top two teams, with second place receiving $1,500 per person and third place receiving $750 per person.
Lancer Systems has donated three Super Comp rifles, while Noveske donated three rifles, FN contributed three FNS pistols and Benelli kicked in six Super Nova shotguns to the prize table. With many additional sponsors donating great prizes as well, this promises to be the biggest and most valuable prize table in the 3-Man Series’ history.
This year’s event started off fast and furious, with the super squad beginning a rolling thunder stage in which teams shot more than 60 shots in less than 20 seconds. Team PWS-FNH, consisting of Tommy Thacker and Greg Jordan of PWS and Larry Houck of Team FNH USA, got a stage win with a blistering run of 13 seconds.
Stage two was a relay, where each team was forced to choose who shot the rifle, pistol or shotgun. Before you shot your designated firearm, however, each member had to hit eight pistol shots at 35 yards. Then each shooter engaged paper or steel while moving downrange, then running back to tag a teammate to complete their portion of the course. Last year’s winners, Team Colt-Noveske, consisting of the Colt’s Clint Upchurch and Noveske’s Rob Romero and Jansen Jones, won this stage by not only shooting fast and accurate, but clean as well. Although all the targets were under 30 yards, this stage proved difficult for a number of teams that added penalty points to their scores by missing shots with the rifle or pistol.
Stage three required each shooter to start with eight shotgun targets before running up range to a table in order to engage static steel with the pistol. After completing the pistol portion of the stage all three teammates retreated again to a wall from which they had to engage five hanging steel targets with the rifle at a distance of fifty yards. Team PWS-FNH won the stage, with Colt-Noveske coming in a close second. The Benelli-Lancer team of Ben Fortin, Jeremy Parker and Katie Harris placed third.
Stage four was a chase stage in which a team member shot, tagged a teammate, then ran to another bay to shoot again, while the second teammate engaged their targets and then tagged the next teammate, repeated until each team member had shot one gun in each bay. This stage put pressure on each teammate, as they had to finish their portion of each bay before the next person could begin. Team PWS-FNH again came in first on this stage, with Colt-Noveske trailing a close second only a second behind.
This stage also required shooters to make some tough rifle and pistol shots that cost many teams penalties. Team Lancer, consisting of Dean DeTurk, Chad Drewery and Doug Koenig, had the fastest run of the match—64.64—until DeTurk dropped an upper scoring zone rifle shot, costing them a 10-second penalty and dropping them to fourth on the stage.
Stage five was another rolling thunder stage where all three shooters shot at one time. Once again this stage had 25-yard small, rifle targets that caused problems for most of the field.
The final stage feature long-range rifle, with a 200-yard limit due to the range facility. Match Director Dean DeTurk utilized small targets to fully challenge the teams’ long-range ability. First, the competitor was required to engage two B/C Zone steel off-hand, unsupported, then engage five, six-inch steel squares from a barricade. The final challenge consisted of four MGM Colt speed plates from the prone position.
Though it might sound easy, several teams struggled on this stage to place 11 shots at 200 yards from three different positions in under 80 seconds apiece. Team PWS-FNH won the stage in a time of 130.98. Team Lancer placed second with a 140.12.
Ultimately, it was Team PWS-FNH that jumped out to the early Series lead with a win in the first match, cruising to victory by shooting fast and consistent, but also by turning in the cleanest match of any team in the competition. Colt-Noveske finished second, followed by Team Lancer.
As teams loaded up and got ready for the drive home many were astonished with the number of misses and mistakes they made on what seemed like easy stages. It is difficult to tell why: Was it because it was one of the first major matches of the year and people were still shaking out the cobwebs of a long winter, or was it the pressure of having to perform under the watchful eye of your teammates, in what is usually an independent sport, we may not know. What is clear, is that many teams will be looking for redemption at Peacemaker National Training Center in July, when tens of thousands of dollars in prizes are up for grabs. You can bet teams will be ready to lay it on the line and go for broke in an attempt to go home with some great prizes.
Image courtesy 3 Gun Nation