Above: Match winner SSgt Tyler Payne was using 6mm Creedmoor ammunition. Photo by John Parker.
Competing in the Open Division, SSgt Tyler Payne of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) won the inaugural Precision Rifle Series (PRS) Gas Gun match, held in February at CORE Shooting Solutions in Baker, FL. Payne finished the match with a raw score nearly 200 points ahead of the runner-up, Rhett Walters.
About his win, SSgt Payne said: “For the Gas Gun match held at CORE, I used a JP Enterprises LRP-07 chambered in 6mm Creedmoor, with a Vortex Razor HD Gen 2 4.5-27 scope. I was shooting the Berger 105 hybrid bullet at 2975 fps.” Next month, SSUSA will publish an in-depth interview with SSgt Payne in the digital magazine.
When PRS was developing their new Gas Gun division, the goal was to develop a game that emphasized leveling the playing field as much as possible between PRS Bolt Gun fans and Multi-Gun shooters. After attending the inaugural match, I think it’s safe to say they are well on their way to achieving this goal. The nearly 100 shooters that attended the two-day match would certainly agree.
For those jumping on the precision long-range bandwagon, these matches are designed for ARs (or any semi-automatic rifle) fitted with riflescopes shooting between 100-800 yards. Adding variety, the new series also incorporates pistol shooting that complements the main rifle aspect. Lines are being blurred, as precision shooting evolves into a tactical 2-Gun discipline that requires a broad base of fundamental skills.
PRS Gas Gun competitors are separated into three different divisions—Tactical Light for .223 Rem. rifles, Tactical Heavy for .308 Win. and Open for everything else up to .30 cal. By far, Tactical Light was the most popular division. The most popular ammo choices for Open Class were 6mm and 6.5mm Creedmoor.
According to Match Director Ryan Castle, “About 65 percent of shooters at this match competed in Tactical Light. The remaining 35 percent was split pretty evenly between Open and Tactical Heavy.”
Gas Gun competition
Match winner Payne remarked, “This match had a lot of similarities to 3-Gun, which I’ve been shooting for 11 years now. With targets out to 800 yards, limited rounds and 30-second penalties, the match gave you the opportunity to go as fast as you wanted but really forced you to be accurate. Training for PRS has given me enough discipline to make my shots count and 3-Gun has taught me how to be efficient ... Having to slow down with a gas gun and make my shots count was very foreign to me."
Match Director Ryan Castle really stepped up to the plate for this first ever PRS Gas Gun match—his job was to oversee 16 stages, including some with shooters moving into multiple positions to engage targets at up to 800 yards, and others with pistol shooting added to the course of fire. Creative stage design is a hallmark of PRS, and the Gas Gun Series is no different. The four stages that integrated pistol had competitors begin by engaging pistol targets, then moving on to their rifle, which they have already loaded and oriented downrange. This element, inspired by Multi-Gun competition gives the new sport an added dimension, one that is sure to be replicated.
Castle has been involved with the PRS since its inception as a competitor—now he runs six matches a year. He mentioned, “Logistically, this match was much different to run, as opposed to a standard PRS bolt gun one. Due to the higher round counts and closer firing distances there is more wear and tear on the targets. We also had to be careful that we were setting up a match that would be fun for both .223 Rem. shooters, and the people shooting the whizz bang fast 6mm Creedmoor.” Recently, Castle was hired by 3-Gun Nation to administer their new long-range program, 3GN Precision.
Another cool aspect of this match were the attendees, many of whom were military and law enforcement snipers from four different Special Forces groups, two federal agencies, as well as several state and local law enforcement departments. Regarding these competitors, former PRS Director Shawn Wiseman said, “You guys are the main reason we wanted to start this Series and it was awesome to watch you guys shoot. Thank you for the job you do, laying your life on the line each and every day so we are free to enjoy events such as these.”
Match winner Tyler Payne shared a tip for prospective precision long-range competitors: "Usually at matches with a Gas Gun, you get as many shots as you want to take, so having to slow down was difficult. If I had any pointers for someone wanting to try this type of match, it would be to get out and confirm your data as far as you can. Don’t trust your ballistic apps. Other than that, ask questions, watch the experienced shooters and have fun!”
There were some beautifully customized rigs on display during the match. I observed several Armalite, Falkor, GA Precision, LaRue, JP Enterprises and Seekins rifles. Most, if not all were topped with high-end optics—Bushnell, Kahles, Leupold, Nightforce and Vortex with 5 to 6x zoom the most prevalent riflescope choices.
The prize table at the awards ceremony included products from Langxang Tactical, Falkor Defense, Leupold, Knight’s Armament, Nightforce, Kestrel, Gemtech, Lone Star Armory, Seekins Precisions, Adams Arms, Trigger Tech, Badger Ordnance, Superior Ideas Steel, Magneto Speed, Armageddon Gear, Radian and Barrett.
Want to learn more about precision long-range competition? Check out these articles:
- 5 Ways to Maximize Your Precision Rifle Budget
- 3-Gun Nation taking Bold Steps in Precision Long-Range
- Armageddon Gear: Made in the USA
- How to Prevail at a PRS Gas Gun Match