Shotgun magazine capacity for SAPSA 3-Gun shooting.

 

Problem Statement

 

Practical 3-Gun shooting is growing in popularity in South Africa. It is well known within the sport that magazine capacity is extremely important for practical shotgun matches, due to the extremely long time it takes to reload a shotgun, compared to pistols, revolvers or rifles. This leads to the spiralling increase of costs, as competitors strive for ever-longer shotgun magazine tubes, and / or shorter shotgun cartridges (typically 50mm loaded length).

 

All of the above drive costs up, especially due to the poor availability of these components. It is increasingly time consuming, difficult and expensive to import shotgun parts from the USA (due to their export restrictions on South Africa), and the availability of short shotgun ammunition in South Africa is erratic, at best. This ammunition is expensive, when it is available.

 

The following proposal is aimed at levelling the competitive playing field for practical shotgun in much the same fashion as the USPSA has done quite successfully. It is formulated from economic considerations, based on the predominance of commercially available shotguns, components and ammunition.

 

Current Situation

 

South African practical 3-Gun competitions are currently limited to the Open and Standard divisions, primarily due to the size of the field.

 

The 2004 IPSC rules place the following relevant restrictions on the shotguns used in these divisions.

 

Open Division (Appendix D1)

 

7

Magazine length restrictions

No

8

Detachable magazines

Permitted

9

Magazine capacity restrictions

No

 

Standard Division (Appendix D3)

 

7

Magazine length restrictions

Yes (see note 29)

8

Detachable magazines

No

9

Magazine capacity restrictions (initial load)

Max of 9 rounds loaded

Max of 8 in the case of Rule 8.1.1.2

 

Note 29:            The maximum round capacity of the gun is restricted and the gun will have exceeded this capacity if it can be loaded with 10 x 70mm (2¾ inches) rounds at any one time.

 

Rule 8.1.1.2            Loaded (Option 2): magazine filled and fitted (if applicable), chamber(s) empty and the action closed.

 

An IPSC interpretation of these rules on 8 May 2004 goes further

 

(3)            Appendices D3 - Standard Division & D4 - Standard Manual Division.

The number of rounds that can be loaded on the initial load, and the maximum number of rounds the gun can hold in total at any one time, is restricted in Standard Division (Appendix D3) and Standard Manual Division (Appendix D4). The restriction is set based on guns chambered for 70mm (2¾ inches) cartridges. This restriction is to be further interpreted as being based on cartridges with an unfired maximum overall length of 57mm. The unfired length of any cartridges or dummy rounds used to test this criteria is set at 57mm (2.24 ins) with a tolerance of + 2mm / - 0mm.

 

It is clear from this interpretation that a legal shotgun for Standard Division could be one that has an effective free magazine capacity of 8 x 57mm + 56mm = 512mm. However, should a competitor purchase 50mm long cartridges, he will be able to load 10 rounds in the magazine (10 x 50mm = 500mm, with 12mm free space remaining. This is clearly not the intention and simply advantages those individuals with significant financial resources.

 

Similar cases and considerations can be made for the Open Division, where competitors with substantial financial resources can gain a significant competitive advantage over the rest of the field, by means other than their shooting ability.

 

The USPSA Solution

 

The USPSA have implemented a simple solution to the Practical Shotgun magazine capacity dilemma. Their solution is cost effective and easy to manage and does not require any modifications to existing equipment.

 

The USPSA Open Division (US Appendix D1)

 

7

Magazine length restrictions

No

8

Detachable magazines

Yes

9

Magazine capacity restrictions

Max. of 11rounds loaded,

Max. of 10 in the case of Rule 8.1.1.2

 

The USPSA Standard Division (US Appendix D3)

 

7

Magazine length restrictions

No Yes (see note 29)

8

Detachable magazines

No

9

Magazine capacity restrictions (initial load)

Max. of 9 rounds loaded

Max. of 8 in the case of Rule 8.1.1.2

 

The small, but significant, difference from the IPSC rules can be clearly seen from the changes indicated in red. The effect of these rules is that any competitor can use any available shotgun magazine or magazine tube, or any available ammunition, in any combination, as long as there is no more than the limited number of rounds loaded in the shotgun at any point during the match.

 

Implementation of these rules is not difficult or problematic for the USPSA. Correspondence with the USPSA president, Michael Voigt, on the matter yielded the following replies.

 

Q1.    What is not clear from reading the USPSA rules is what penalty is imposed for loading too many rounds?

[Michael Voigt] Additional rounds in Limited would move a competitor to Open. Additional rounds in Open would be a disqualification from the match scores.

 

Q2.    Is the capacity restriction just at the start, or any time during a stage? If the latter, how is it enforced?

[Michael Voigt] Any time during the stage. ROs keep track pretty well. If you shoot more than 9 rounds without reloading in Limited (11 in Open) … your squad mates will point it out in a big hurry!

 

Q3.    Did you implement the different (local) USPSA rules with the “express consent of the Regional Directorate and the IPSC Executive Council”?

[Michael Voigt] Yes

 

Q4.    The quotes above refer to rule 3.3.1 of the 2004 IPSC rules. Did USPSA get the consent to implement the round-count limitation or did you do this despite IPSC?

[Michael Voigt] USPSA has a special approval for our divisions.

 

Request

 

The NGPSA Practical 3-Gun shooters request that SAPSA discuss and debate the issue as soon as possible, with the aim to formally approach IPSC, requesting special approval for implementing these local rule changes in South Africa.