WIN THIS RIFLE! Introductory 3 Gun Rifle Build
4/8/2019Primary Arms Staff7/6/2020 1:22 pmwww.primaryarms.com
This Giveaway has ended. Congratulations to our winner, Frank S. in Virginia! You can view all current and past giveaways on our giveaway blog page.
So, you finally took the plunge and made it to your first 3 Gun match. You didn’t come in first place, but you were able to overcome your nerves and successfully complete each stage under the pressure of the timer and the watching eyes of competitors that have been doing this for years. However, you learned that they aren’t there to judge you, just to have a good time and get some wins under their belt and are more than happy to teach new shooters, like you, along the way. We hope that our first article, Getting Started in 3 Gun, got you to this point and we would like to continue this 3 Gun journey with you. If you read our first article, we highly recommended that you use whatever rifle you have on hand. Or make some really nice friends that will let you borrow their high-end, multi-thousand-dollar gear. Whichever route you chose, you caught the bug and now your itching to get to your next competition and want something better than a bone stock AR-15 but aren’t quite ready to throw down for a $3,500+ custom built rifle. This article is aimed to help you build a rifle in that sweet spot that is both highly competitive and won’t have your significant other gasping at your credit card statement. Oh! Did I mention you have a chance to win this exact rifle and side-step the whole awkward explanation of where all your money went? Check the end of this article for details.
3 Gun AR-15 Rifle Build Parts List:
*Cost of each part is subject to change
Before we get into the nitty gritty of every component and their importance. I just wanted to say that none of these parts are absolutely necessary and can easily be swapped to your preference if you want to bring the price down slightly or even get some more expensive parts (We mostly just wanted to put together an awesome parts list, so we could give you an awesome rifle). This is the best part about the AR platform. Nothing is set in stone and anything can be swapped at your leisure when a new product comes out or you want to set up your rifle for different types of competitions. This is simply a guideline of our favorite parts and accessories that we believe will help you build a competitive 3 Gun rifle without going way over the top with expensive accessories that may only provide marginal performance increases. Of course, the gun doesn’t make the shooter, training is by far the most important but that is a topic for another article. Let us know through Instagram, Facebook, or email if you would like us to tackle training tips and tricks related to competition. But I digress, lets get on to the fun stuff.
The Trigger - Shoot Fast
The trigger is, by far, the most important component of a 3 Gun rifle. If you only have enough room in your budget for one expensive part, the trigger should be the first part on your mind. There is a large variety of trigger manufacturers that we like to use in our rifles such as JP Enterprises, Elftmann, and Timney but one trigger stood out to us for this build. The price-to-performance ratio with the CMC Match Grade Single Stage 2.5lb Trigger is what made us seriously consider it. At half the cost of the other 3 Gun competition triggers, this trigger offers an extremely light pull that breaks consistently and cleanly with a short reset all in a drop-in trigger package. 3 Gun is all about speed and transitioning from target to target and the single stage design means there is less time that the trigger is in motion allowing you to pull that trigger as fast as you can. Of course, you still must hit the target, but that part is on you. Not one single component will make you more accurate, but the culmination of precision-made parts gives you the ability to take full advantage of your rifle and score the hits you need in a timely manner. If the trigger is the most important part of the rifle that you interact with, then the barrel is the most important part of the rifle that the bullet interacts with.
The Barrel - Shoot Straight
Most 3 Gun stages are over so fast that you don’t really have the time to heat up your barrel to the point of diminishing accuracy. Nevertheless, you want an AR-15 barrel that has a rigid profile to soak up that heat and vibration to fully eliminate the potential of your shots stringing when you get to the last target of the stage that extends out 200 yards. That’s why we chose the Ballistic Advantage Ops 12 Performance Series 18” Barrel with SPR profile. When choosing a barrel for your build, you can’t always go by material specs. You can have a barrel machined from 416R stainless steel but if it is machined poorly then you aren’t going to be able to hit the broad side of a barn. Ballistic Advantage is one of our favorites because they take the time to properly spec and QA their barrels throughout the manufacturing process. This leads to a product that will send a bullet down range exactly where you are aiming. Well, at least once you’ve set up a proper zero.
The Scope, Mount, and Offset BUIS - Shoot Effectively
To get you on target, we chose our own Primary Arms SLx6 1-6x24 First Focal Plane Rifle Scope with ACSS Raptor Reticle and combined it with the Aero Precision Ultralight Mount to ensure it holds zero. LPVO’s are the de-facto style of optic for 3 Gun competition giving you red-dot like capabilities at 1x and the ability to zoom all the way out to 6x for the stages that require it. With first focal plane functionality, your dope will be consistent at every magnification level allowing you to quickly switch between near and far targets. However, we included 45° offset iron sights from Troy Industries to give you extra options on how this rifle can be used. With this setup, setting the optic at 4x and leaving it can be beneficial. This magnification level is more than enough for most of the distances you see in 3 Gun while not being so zoomed in that you can’t find closer targets. The offset BUIS can be used for the really close stuff, so you don’t have to waste time adjusting the magnification and instead simply cant the rifle 45° and blast away. Another popular and affordable accessory is a throw lever that lets you quickly crank that magnification from the highest to the lowest setting and can really improve your transition time from near to far targets. With either setup, you can get on target much faster and let the trigger do the rest. So far, everything we have mentioned is about shooting fast, shooting accurately, and decreasing the time to getting on target. What about staying on target?
The Muzzle Brake & Gas System - Shoot Flat
Remember when I said the most important quality of a 3 Gun trigger is speed and that it is the most important part of your rifle? Well it still is, but if you don’t have a properly tuned gas system with an effective muzzle brake, everything after your first shot is subject to your ability to hold the rifle in the same spot. Hold on, I’m not saying your weak, I’m just saying that a couple degrees of elevation change at the muzzle can result in hitting outside of the A-zone at distance and when you are trying to shoot fast, that muzzle rise can add up. The SureFire ProComp is designed to direct gas outward to minimize recoil and keep your rifle flat for those follow up shots. However, the ProComp is only one part of the equation.
While an adjustable gas block from Odin Works, or JP Enterprises is the go-to option for most professional 3 gunners, we chose to keep it simple with a standard low-profile gas block. We did this for a couple of reasons. First is reliability. An adjustable gas block will greatly reduce felt recoil but will put your rifle right on the edge of being under gassed and any slight change can prevent your rifle from fully cycling. Murphy doesn’t care how much you clean your rifle, test it with a variety of ammunition, or any other pre-match prep you do. Once that start timer beeps, anything can happen to prevent proper function and your time goes straight out the window. With a non-adjustable gas block, you get the peace of mind that there will always be enough gas pressure to cycle the bolt through all kinds of dirt and debris. Barring a serious mechanical failure. Secondly, we found that with an 18-inch barrel, rifle length gas system, and rifle buffer system, this rifle shoots exceptionally soft. Combined with the two chamber, concussion inducing muzzle brake at the end, this rifle is going to stay where you point it no matter how fast you can pull the trigger. We’re not saying never use an adjustable gas block, we’re just saying the Sons of Liberty Gun Works gas block is consistently reliable and the perfect match for this specific rifle setup. Consistency is key and that extends to the person holding the rifle as well.
The Fixed Rifle Stock - Shoot Consistently
The difference between a collapsible and fixed rifle stock may not seem like a huge deal when building a 3 Gun rifle, and in the end, you could probably run a carbine stock just as effectively. However, fixed stocks do offer some advantages in terms of competitions. We chose the Magpul MOE Fixed Rifle Stock because it is rock-solid with no rattle, lightweight, and most importantly it ensures your cheek weld is consistently in the same spot every time you bring your sights up. The addition of a rifle length buffer and buffer spring also add to the soft recoil impulse.
Everything In Between
We believe the products listed above are where you want to spend most of your budget when building an introductory 3 Gun rifle. However, we included some additional aftermarket components to really round out this build. We included the BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle Mod 4B with the medium sized latch that makes it easier to quickly charge the weapon under stress. The latch construction is also designed to direct force through the 7075-T6 aluminum body to prevent the possibility of breaking or bending. Moving to the receiver set, you don’t really need anything fancy, any reputable manufacturer will do, and Aero Precision is the perfect blend of quality and affordability. Arguments about whether the forward assist is necessary aside, we chose the slick side upper because we have confidence that the Expo Arms BCG won’t have any issues going into battery and it will slightly reduce weight. Also, the fewer roll pins, the better.
An important component that hasn’t been mention yet is the handguard. Just make sure you go with a free float model to ensure you won’t have any accuracy anomalies when bracing against a barricade. While it’s not the lightest weight handguard out there, we specifically chose the SOLGW EXO2 15” handguard because of its inherent durability and really balances the rifle out. Once we got this rifle fully assembled and in our hands, it became apparent how rock-solid this build really is.
We had a lot of fun putting this rifle together and are really excited that we get to share it with you guys. We hope that it gets put to good use and taken to some competitions and maybe even get some wins. Or at least some finishes. That’s not the important part, what matters is that it gets you out and participating in the shooting sports. Whether it is hog hunting, competition use, or just time spent at the range. Alright fine, I will shut up now. Here is the legally required verbiage that details how to win this rifle.
How to WIN THIS RIFLE!
You have up to 5 chances to win this rifle, so pay attention! Visit our Giveaway landing page and follow the instructions to have your entries counted. The giveaway ends April 30th, 2019, at 11:59pm CDT. Winner MUST be legally able to posess a firearm and pass a federal background check. Winner is responsible for any FFL transfer fees. If the winner is unable to meet the requirements necessary to take ownership of the firearm, the winner will be granted the total value of the prize package, $1,874.52, in cash. Exclusions do apply, no purchase is necessary. For full contest terms and conditions, click here.
Even the pros lose a detent or roll pin from time to time...