most accurate out-of-the-box .45?


June 20, 2011, 04:32 PM
Hi all:

I'm looking to buy my first centerfire handgun. I have been shooting 22's in bullseye competition for a few months now and want to add a .45.

My question is: are there any .45's that out-of-the-box can shoot accurately enough for bullseye competition? If you're not familiar with the bullseye guns, the best ones will shoot a 1.5" group at 50 yards from a machine rest.

Ideally I'd like to find a sub-$1000 gun that could be my starting point. I don't need high capacity as bullseye only uses 5-shots at a time. Accuracy is my biggest concern. Second is having a great trigger. I would like to have a pull around 3lbs that is very consistent.

Or would I be better off just buying a used bullseye custom gun from someone for around $1500 bucks? How much 'refreshing' is necessary on these guns and how often? I plan to put a lot of rounds through whatever I buy.

All your thoughts appreciated!

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June 20, 2011, 05:25 PM
I think that your price limit is a very limiting factor. I've been a big fan of the .45 ACP for a very long time. I've owned and shot a countless number of handguns chambering the round. I'd have to say that in my experience, the most consistently accurate, out of the box, .45 has been the Sig P220, full size. I've owned quite a few of them and they all shot very well.

Of course, a nice 1911 will exceed the performance of a P220, in terms of ergonomics and accuracy, but only after you've done some upgrading. With some, all it took was a good trigger job and the addition of a few amenities, and on others it takes some barrel/slide work in addition to the trigger work. One of the amenities that I'm referring to is having the area under the trigger guard relieved to allow you to get your hand higher up on the grip.

Personally, I'd go the route of getting something like an STI Spartan and then doing the work to it as finances became available.

June 20, 2011, 05:26 PM
You might get lucky, but I do not think you will find a manufacturer or custom smith that will guarantee 1.5" from a .45 for under $1000. Th extra work that goes into a gun to GUARANTEE such definitely adds to the price.

June 20, 2011, 05:36 PM
In the Sub $1k bracket, I would think Colt Gold Cup would be a good starting point. I don't know if it will meet the 1.5" @ 50 yds criteria though.

June 20, 2011, 05:42 PM
Kimber makes it's standard Kimber a 5" barell. The target version..I just bought, was $800 otd. New! At 33 feet, I keep 2" groups with 5 shots! The Range Officer is another beginner target gun. That gun is doing great in sales and they are hard to find! I believe they are selling for less than $800. My Les Baer isn't THAT much better to justify the difference in price. Les Baer does guarantee 3" groups at 50 yards however! The up to me! Practice, practice, practice!! Money, money, money!!!!:uhoh:

Get R Done Guns
June 20, 2011, 06:13 PM
I really doubt that any sub 1000.00 dollar handgun will guarantee 1.5" groups at 50 feet!
That being said a custom 1911 in les Baer or nighthawk etc would more fit that bill! But then your talking 2k plus.

Try a colt gold cup for around a grand and you will have to do work with it from there. It's a good start but it will still need work. Nighthawk and Wilson and les Baer will give you what you are looking for "out if the box"

June 20, 2011, 06:27 PM
New, 1.5" @ 50 yards, for a grand? Sorry, ain't happening.

June 20, 2011, 06:39 PM

Kimbers have great sales but honestly I never see them on the Bullseye line. I can't think of a single person that uses them.

To get the 1.5" at 50 yards is an extra that companies such as Rock River used to offer (now focusing on their rifles, unfortunately, and don't make make their pistols anymore although they still provide full support for all of them out there.)

The Les Baer offers a 1.5" package but as others have said, new they will run a pretty penny.

They Colt gold cup has historically been the starting point for smiths to accurize for Bullseye but there have been companies like Baer that have come along since then over the years to offer some competition.

Also, I imagine you are looking for a wadcutter pistol rather than a Service Pistol? The Service pistol set up for hardball shooting, rather than wadcutter, and is frequently the ultimate goal for Bullseye shooters to receive their Distinguished badge. (most properly Service pistols will shoot wadcutter bullets but by Rule can't have the modifications frequently found on non-Distinguished set-ups; mainly beaver tail and of course no red dots.

Because the 1911 can certainly do up to 50,000-75,000 rounds before a barrel is worn out, I would go for a Bullseye gun that has been used if you are stuck at the $1,000 barrier. (They as a rule don't seem to lose too much value however.)

As a rule, you mustn't accept any gun that can't hold 3" at 50 yards. That is the minimum. For a smith to claim 2" or tighter like 1.5" it is beginning to get towards really high end. I have seen 7/8' groups from a 1.5" guarantee gun but they are pretty unusual.

I would recommend at your price that you have to try and find a really really good deal for a used Rock River, Les Baer, or Gold cup, but whatever it is it must be a BULLSEYE gun.

Regarding the trigger: by definition the trigger will be sweet if it is a bullseye gun.

With $1500 you can get an excellent used gun from one of the above somewhere without too much difficulty.

The amount of upkeep is really quite minimal.

June 20, 2011, 06:52 PM
Under $1000 look at the following:

Used Colt Gold Cup 1911s
CZ 97B
Used Semi Custom 1911s

If you are looking for that kind of accuracy you will be looking at a used gun until you get to the $2500 range.

June 20, 2011, 07:21 PM
I really doubt that any sub 1000.00 dollar handgun will guarantee 1.5" groups at 50 feet!

Didn't come with a guarantee, but I have at least half-dozen that do so.

June 20, 2011, 07:41 PM
This Les Baer wadcutter has to be the most accurate M1911 I have owned or shot. It is un real tight and the trigger is a dream.

Probably over your budget.

This weekend I finally was able to zero my P220 with its new adjustable sights. The gun shot low with factory and I bought a set of meprolite sights.

I am absolutely amazed at how accurate this P220 was once I got it zero'd.

The single action trigger is heavy and has creep, it would be hard to shoot this well Bullseye style.

I don't know who can do trigger jobs on the thing.

One option, buy something tight, a Kimber, a Springfield, and take it to Camp Perry during the National Matches. The Marines were still using M1911's on their Pistol Teams and I had them do a trigger job on my Kimber. They will do this for FREE! and I loved the results.

Sean Smith
June 20, 2011, 08:30 PM
If you want a .45 ACP for bullseye competition - not just jacking around at the range with your buddies - you aren't going to get anywhere with a <$1,000 production model. Like cavman said, you need a gun that was purpose-built for the rules of the competition you're shooting.

June 20, 2011, 11:29 PM

I feel your pain. I'm an old bullseye shooter, from many years ago, I shot with the Oregon State Military team for a number of years in the 80's. We were issued some pretty nice weapons, hand fitted .45's and Smith 41's. The .45's we were issued were really tight, and made of the hardest steel I have ever seen in 1911, they were hand fitted Colts, probably 1950 vintage.

1.5 inch groups at 50 yards is a pretty tall order, even among race guns, this is very good accuracy. I have a Smith M 52, and I beleive, they were only required to shoot a 2" group at that range.

There are a lot of parts moving around in an automatic when she pops off. It takes about .0006 seconds for the bullet to exit the barrel in a 5" barreled 1911. This isn't a long time, but parts do start moving. There's quite a dynamic of getting everything from bullet and barrel stuff, to finding a recoil impulse that your gun likes. Even if you had the tightest 1911 ever made, you're still going to have to develop a load that shoots well in it. This is where it gets interesting.

It has been said that a well fitted barrel goes a long way toward accuracy in the 1911, provided other factors aren't too far out of whack like trigger pull. The slide fit, while a factor, has been said that it doesn't affect accuracy as much as the barrel fit.

Here is my $389 project, a milspec Springfield. I have only done a couple of things to it. One, I installed an overtravel stop on the trigger, second, I installed a tighter fitting barrel and bushing. The slide to frame fit has always been a little sloppy, however, fitting the barrel tightened it up a bit because of the tight hood and recoil lug fit.

So anyway, I had the Springfield apart one evening, and just for grins, tried the barrel out of a standard Kimber for fit. Both the bushing and barrel fit the springer tighter, so I swapped them. The Kimber will get a Kart barrel later on.

I used some low-heat filling compound in the recesses of the barrel locking lugs to precisely fit it to the slide, kind of like how you fit a Kart EZ-Fit barrel. It's pretty rock solid, going into battery with just a little over-center click, there is no vertical play when in battery, and the slide stop positively engages the locking lug. Kind of a poor man's match gun, like I said, I've got less than $400 into her, and she's shooting about 1" groups at 25 yards (if you subract my error)

Anyway, here's some pictures of the groups I get out of her, she won't shoot every load into a tight grouping, but when you feed her something she likes, she'll shoot an inch or so at 25.

My error given slight unsteadyness of rest, and eyes, etc, etc, is probably 1" to 1 1/2". So subtract standard deviation of this error from the mean radius of what shows up on the target, now we're looking at the accuracy of the gun, much better than I can shoot.

Anyway, here are some pictures.

Interestingly, the target on the upper right is with a leaded bore from firing hotter rounds during load work-ups. The bottom targets were the subsequent targets after firing 3 or 4 jacketed rounds to clean out the lead.

You might consider a resonably good 1911 with pretty tight slide and adjustable target sights. It may shoot very accurately right out of the box with the right load. If you still want better accuracy, you might consider hand fiting a barrel like a Kart for a couple hundred bucks. I know that's not "out of the box", but dollar for dollar, it may give you the best performance.

Good luck.

June 21, 2011, 12:29 AM
Mas Ayoob was getting .75" - 1.25" groups at 25 yards off-hand with a Springfield RO. He was more than impressed with the RO's accuracy.

June 21, 2011, 07:43 AM
That's for all the reply's. Yeah, I know that the 1.5" group at 50 yards is a pretty tall order and that the custom bullseye smiths charge extra for that. I guess I was just looking for a way to get in the door and not be tremendously handicapped by an inaccurate pistol.

Can anyone tell me why non-1911's don't ever make the cut for accuracy? Just curious; I'm surprised that no one has been able to make a gun that has better inherent accuracy. I'm very impressed with what a number of .22's out of the box can shoot. Why is it that the .45's have such a hard time with accuracy? Is it because of the moving barrel? Why don't we see alternative designs like the Beretta's PX4 rotating barrel locking-scheme in .45? Would it be any more accurate? What about a gas-operated system? Too low pressures with the .45?

Thanks again for all the replies. Looks like I'll probably be saving up some more and go for a used bullseye pistol around the $1500 mark that I know is a good shooter and the owner can point me towards what loads it shoots well. BTW, I'm not interested in going Distinguished at this point, so a wadcutter is what I'm looking for. Gotta start somewhere, right? I just wish the difference between a good .22 and a good .45 wasn't such a financial chasm...

June 21, 2011, 10:05 AM
Being an old retired bullseye shooter for many years prompts me to ask the following question. With all this talk about 1.5'' groups at 50 ft, how many shooters can actually fire this size group standing using a one handed hold.
It takes several or more years shooting many thousands of rounds yearly to be that profiicient. I've been there and know what it takes. BTW, the Colt Gold Cup both in 38 Spl and 45 ACP served me well for many years. Both were more accurate than I could shoot them.

June 21, 2011, 10:26 AM
1.5" at 50 yards is as has been mentioned, a group that is not common, even with Bullseye guns. However, if you don't have one that is at least 3" at 50 yards you will make shooting a 100 nearly impossible (unless you have an unobtainable 0" wobble ! :)

Here is a link from the encyclopedia of bullseye that talks about this.

The size of the group of the gun plus the size of the individual's wobble really says how well one can say with certainty if the shot went to "there" because of good/poor technique, or by random chance.

Also, I have never heard of testing done at 50 feet or even 25 yards. Bullseye guns are tested at 50 yards.

June 21, 2011, 10:28 AM
loadedround: I understand that I am not proficient enough to hold the X-ring at 50 yards with every shot; hardly. I am at best an 800 shooter right now. But everyone I have talked to about the subject of 'how accurate is accurate enough for bullseye' has told me that a 1.5-2" group from a machine rest at 50 yards is what is required to have a pistol you can have full confidence in and know that when you shoot a flyer, its *your* fault and not the pistol's. Right now my .22's are more accurate than I am, and I would like a .45 to be the same, that way I *know* that its me and not the gun when I can't hit the X-ring.

BTW at 50 *feet*, I can shoot a 1.75" group off-hand with my .22's.

June 21, 2011, 10:43 AM
I'm happy that you can see the target, (much less the 1.7" x-ring) at fifty yards.

June 21, 2011, 11:35 AM
Hands down my Glock 30 has been the most accurate firearm I have carried. She takes all kinds of ammo without a hickup and accepts the g21 mags. I have shot and carried a lot of different firearms but find the G30 to be my favorite and thus my edc. I am amazed at how accurate it is every time I go to the range.

June 21, 2011, 11:36 AM
doc: how far do you shoot and what kind of group sizes are you getting with your Glock?

Get R Done Guns
June 21, 2011, 11:41 AM
If you are as dedicated as you sound then do it right the first time. The pistols people have mentioned in the custom 1911 are going to hold value well. So when you are done you can get most of your money back if you need it. It costs a pretty penny but really is a one time expense. If you buy one of the best then you know it will do it's job and the rest is up to you. I'm sure there is prize money and if you can win because you have one of the best pistols then you can pay yourself back from that! Good lick in any decision you make!

June 21, 2011, 11:42 AM
I am a chl instructor so I spend my time at 3,7,15 yards using a B-27 targets. I can punch the center out of the 10 ring at will at 3 and 7. At 15 I have to concentrate a little more but it is easily more accurate than I am.


To be honest - I also carry an American Classic Commander on occassion. While it shoots just as accurate, I find the Glock 30 to be more what I consider a every mans gun vs a 1911 you may have to put in some time to ensure that everything works as you expect and may have to make some adjustments to ammo used and/or some internals (springs, magazines used, grips etc.) I have no issues trusting the American Classic Commander but just prefer the Glock 30 for round count, and size.

June 21, 2011, 11:49 AM
Colt Gold Cup

June 21, 2011, 11:53 AM

June 21, 2011, 11:53 AM
doc: remember, this is not a carry gun for me, this is going to be a dedicated target pistol. The G30 seems like it would not be ideal for this purpose, primarily because of its small frame. That said, I have seen statements by Mas Ayoob that he is getting 1" groups with the G30 at 25 yards, which is pretty impressive. Still, that would translate to at least double if not more at 50 yards.

June 21, 2011, 12:01 PM
I understand - but if I am using this as a dedicated ccw then IMHO it would serve well as a target pistol. I have very high demands of my weapons and will download one in a second if it does not perform up to my standards... quickly. The G21 magazine adds a little extra grip if needed. For me I carry using 10 rounders (short mags) and find no difference in performance when compared to the longer g21 mags giving more realestate for gripping.

I make no claims to being a marksman but for me it is more than accurate for target use. If I am taking out the 10 ring at will using what I consider combat timing (mulitple shots in a very short period of time) then it will do even better when you slow down or put her in the hands of a marksman.

When I first started looking at the G30 it was Ayoobs reviews in magazines and websites that lead me in that direction. Could not find one to shoot locally so I bought this one on blind faith and have been more than happy.

June 21, 2011, 12:07 PM
Witness elit match maybe the K2 and the lowest prices.

June 21, 2011, 12:15 PM
Doc: Then 10-ring for CHL is 100mm x 150mm I believe. For comparison, the closest distance for bullseye is the 50' B2 slow-fire target which has a 22.86mm diameter 10-ring (rapid fire B3 target is a 45.7mm diameter 10-ring). I think we are talking different standards for accuracy. Bullseye is also shot one-handed.

June 21, 2011, 12:18 PM
If you're going to go Glock, why not get the full size G21? Compared to the subcompact G30, the 21 offers a better purchase for your hands and a longer barrel and sight radius.

I've also heard good things about Ruger's new .45, the SR1911.

Sean Smith
June 21, 2011, 01:44 PM
Pro tip for some of the folks here: giving advice on a subject you don't know anything about doesn't make you look any smarter. For instance, suggesting a Glock as a bullseye competition pistol proves that you shouldn't be giving advice about bullseye competition pistols.

June 21, 2011, 01:45 PM

You asked why .22's are inherintly more accurate than 1911's, the answer is that they have fixed barrels.

I'm an engineer, so sometimes I get way too analytical for my own good.

OK, 1911 dynamics, say you're shooting a 200 grain boolit at about 800 fps, it takes about .0006 seconds for the bullet to travel the distance of the barrel, this includes a bit of accelaration time in the first couple of inches of bullet travel.

The recoil of the bullet imparts an impulse of about 4000 inch ounces per second upon the gun, of which the slide and barrel are free to move rearward. This impulse gets the slide and barrel moving rearward at about 200 inches per second. In the .0006 seconds it takes the bullet to exit the barrel, both barrel and slide have moved rearward about 1/10 of an inch. During this travel the barrel can be moved around by several things, mainly the recoil lug as it drags along the slide stop pin. The front of the barrel can move around a bit if the barrel bushing isn't tight. You're launching a 200 grain projectile from a 20 ounce platform (the weight of the barrel and slide), and it definately moves around before the bullet leaves the bore, rubbing a few things on the way.

Now the .22 LR, here the barrel is fixed, and the dynamics have less disturbance on barrel movement before the bullet exits. OK, the physics: Lets say a .22 generates 15,000 PSI in firing, this imparts a force of about 700 pounds on the bolt face for an effective .0004 seconds. If the bolt weighs say 5 ounces, this gives an acceleration of about 72,000 feet per second squared. Acting over the .0004 seconds this gives the bolt a rearward speed of about 28 feet per second. So it also has moved about 1/10" in the time the bullet exits the bore.

Now, what does this have to do with barrel movement in the .22, almost nothing. The bolt is pretty free to move rearward, and its mass is very small compared to the rest of the gun, so even though it is rubbing on the rails and hammer and such, it doesn't affect the barrel much.

The barrel of a .22 does move a bit, but since it's fixed the mass of the gun makes it very steady. Just as a rough estimate, lets say the barrel in a .22 has an effective mass of 25 ounces (this roughly takes into account rotational inertia of the frame and barrel geometry, and free travel of the bolt). Using the same impulse calculation as on the 1911, the .22 barrel has moved less than 1/50" of an inch as the bullet leaves the muzzle. And since the .22 barrel is fixed, it's movement is more consistant than a floating barrel which bumps around a bit as it unlocks.

The accuracy of a .22 is probably more dependant upon the quality of the bore and rifling and the condition of the crown, while the 1911 has way more things going on before the bullet is sufficiently downrange to be beyond the effect of the machine that launched it.

Oh, and your other question, about 1911 alternatives, there are plenty of autoloaders that shoot very accurately. Smith made the model 52 target pistol (I beleive they can still be had from the custom shop in 9mm), Sig makes the 210 series. I understand the CZ 75's are very accurate. I had an EAA Witness (CZ clone), that was very accurate. I also have a stock Browning Hi-Power that shoots 1" to 1 1/2" groups at 25 yards with cast boolets (I shoot most of my pistol targets at this range).

Bullseye used to be shot with revolvers predominantly, they are incredibly accurate, usrally right out of the box, but then we're back to the fixed barrel thing.

Sorry about the way boring post, like a friend of mine says, "always leave em wanting less".

June 21, 2011, 02:00 PM
GotLead: thanks, I am an engineer by training as well and I figured as much about the fixed versus moving barrels as to the accuracy issue. I guess what surprises me in that in the .22 arena, one can find many dedicated target pistols of exceptional quality (Pardini, Hammerli, FWB, Walther SSP, Benelli) which have incredible grips and extremely low bore-lines. Yet when one looks to buy a .45 for bullseye, the only route seems to be a 1911 worked over by a well-known smith specifically for bullseye. There does not seem to be a market for accurate .45's that depart from the traditional 1911 design. This leaves me confused. One might think that a unique design such as gas-operation or rotating barrel (ala PX4) might prove to be superior to the traditional 1911. I have nothing against 1911's, I'm just surprised that no one has improved upon the design in terms of accuracy. Is this because of the legality/unpopularity of .45's in European countries (which tend to manufacture the best high-end .22's)?

Sean Smith
June 21, 2011, 02:26 PM
There are a lot of reasons why 1911s dominate bullseye pistol shooting (among other shooting sports) in the US.

Super-accurate .45 caliber guns with light single-action trigger pulls are very much a niche market, so you aren't going to see a major gun maker do a clean-sheet design just so they can sell 50 guns a year that group fractionally tighter at 50 yards than an old bullseye 1911. There is no real money in it.

Pistolsmiths who already know how to make a 1911 that wins bullseye matches have no incentive to branch out into accurizing another design when almost all their customers are used to shooting the 1911 and the 1911 has a much bigger pool of aftermarket parts to work with.

Shooters who trained on the 1911 have no incentive to re-learn how to shoot with a different platform unless the accuracy gain is huge, which is pretty unlikely.

June 21, 2011, 02:58 PM
Sorry about the way boring post, like a friend of mine says, "always leave em wanting less".

I loved your post. I have technical questions on stuff and hope someone of your caliber can help point me in the correct direction when I post them.

There are a lot of reasons why 1911s dominate bullseye pistol shooting (among other shooting sports) in the US.

Super-accurate .45 caliber guns with light single-action trigger pulls are very much a niche market, so you aren't going to see a major gun maker do a clean-sheet design just so they can sell 50 guns a year that group fractionally tighter at 50 yards than an old bullseye 1911. There is no real money in it.

Pistolsmiths who already know how to make a 1911 that wins bullseye matches have no incentive to branch out into accurizing another design when almost all their customers are used to shooting the 1911 and the 1911 has a much bigger pool of aftermarket parts to work with.

Shooters who trained on the 1911 have no incentive to re-learn how to shoot with a different platform unless the accuracy gain is huge, which is pretty unlikely.

How true. You know a lot depends on the game. Bullseye shooting is a game that goes at least as far back as WWI . The military set the rules around the service pistols of the era and since it is a game, it carried on long after the M1911 was out of service.

Today, at Camp Perry you can still shoot in the service pistol category with a M1911. And the M1911 has to be ďGIĒ configuration. There are allowances for better sights, but it is now the NRA description of what GI configuration. I know it means no beavertails.

A bud of mine was forced to remove his hex head grip screws and replace them with slotted screws. The line judges told him it was not a service pistol with hex head screws. I agree with my bud that the rules had some loose screws.

So, if you are looking for a bullseye accurate 45 ACP, it is going to be based on M1911ís for historical reasons, for accessories, for gunsmiths.

From budís who shoot bullseye, the M92 Beretta is displacing the 45 ACP. Less recoil seems to be the reason.

June 21, 2011, 03:56 PM
From bud’s who shoot bullseye, the M92 Beretta is displacing the 45 ACP.

You still are required to shoot .45s in NRA Bullseye sanctioned matches if you plan on competing in all three stages (.22rf/centerfire/.45). If the op has to stay around a thousand dollars and still wants a pistol capable of competing at the typical fifty yard, slow-fire distance, I'd look for a used Series 70 Colt Gold Cup or a used Smith & Wesson Model 945 in good condition. You minimally need a 1911 pistol, chambered in .45 ACP and having open sights to participate in at least one event at Camp Perry and other ranges.

June 21, 2011, 04:56 PM
From budís who shoot bullseye, the M92 Beretta is displacing the 45 ACP. Less recoil seems to be the reason.

The M9 becoming more numerous on the line during the Distinguished Service pistol shoots and the President's 100 for a couple of reasons. One is that it is the Service pistol being used in the Services, and the military guys will more likely be using them.

Another reason is that the 9mm can be made a little more precise as well compared to the .45 acp.

However, accrurizing the thing has proven to be a real bear and requires a lot of modifications. David Sams in Centerville, VA is probably the #1 guy out there to make a 9mm shoot worth a hoot. but, like mose smiths of his talents they run about 12-18 months wait.

However, although the Berretta is becoming more often seen, I see them at most 1-5 out of a 100

June 21, 2011, 04:58 PM
It's been quite a few years, but if I remember correctly, bullseye consisted of 3 matches, .45, centerfire, and .22. A lot of competitors used their .45's for the centerfire match as well, consequently needing only 2 guns. Some competitors used a third gun, usually in .38 special for the centerfire. Two of the more popular ones were .38 special 1911's and Smith & Wesson M-52's.

And if you wanted distinguished, you also shot a leg match with .45 ball (change out them wadcutter springs boys!). Some competitors had specialized ball guns, tuned to shoot the ball ammo. Consequently, another gun.

I remember marveling at the contents of some of the competitor's range boxes, from the spotting scopes, to perhaps 6 or more highly accurized 1911's, M-52's, M-41's and Supermatics, a person could have a $10,000 bill into one of these boxes. This is where I saw my first Smith M-52. I was absoultely drooling over the deep mirror blue finish, and the comfort of the grips.

You know how you get an idea stuck in your head and it doesn't go away, well the 52 was like that for me. One day there she was, a dash nothing, perfect, unfired in the gunshop for a hundred spot less than a grand. "You're not going to actually fire that thing are you?" Yup.

I'm still looking for that bullseye .45

June 21, 2011, 05:03 PM

Are you stuffing your own ammo?

Sean Smith
June 21, 2011, 05:28 PM
I remember marveling at the contents of some of the competitor's range boxes, from the spotting scopes, to perhaps 6 or more highly accurized 1911's, M-52's, M-41's and Supermatics, a person could have a $10,000 bill into one of these boxes.

That sounds like a friend of mine who was a high-level bullseye shooter. He also had some kind of really rare .32 caliber Sig (I think?) target pistol that was apparently made from the Lance of Longinus or something, ancient customized Colt National Match guns in .45 and .38 Special, and a bunch of others besides. :eek:

June 21, 2011, 06:34 PM
got_lead: no I am not reloading at this point. I am planning on buying handloads from a local or from Brian Zin's new line, and hoping to find something factory that's cheap to practice with. I am reluctant to also commit the capital for handloading as I only would be using it for this gun (the .45, obviously can't reload .22's) at this point in my shooting progression. I do understand the wad guns need a fairly specific load. Is there no factory loading that would suffice?

[btw, nice evangelion refererence from sean!]

June 21, 2011, 08:07 PM
I would say a highend 1911.

Even my Colt Combat Elite is a pretty damn accurate pistol.

I shot a buddies old Remington Rand Type I 1911 a while back, and I was hitting pretty close to what I was aiming for with it old school sites and all. It surprised me how accurate it was being an old service gun built in either late 1942, or early 1943.

Get R Done Guns
June 22, 2011, 01:00 AM
Colt Combat Elite +1 is a great accurate gun. Give you the target to prove it to!

June 22, 2011, 01:28 AM

It has been my experience that the best accuracy is obtained by tuning the load to the gun. As a rule of thumb, what shoots well in one gun will usually shoot well in others, however, this is not always 100%. One of the loads that shoots well in my Springfield 1911 (200 gn cast RNFP with 4.3 grains of Titegroup) also shoots well in my XD. I found a good 9mm load that shoots a 1" to 1 1/2" group from my Hi-Power also shoots well from a 6" Luger, however, it does not do so well in my 226. The 226 shoots better with slightly more powder, and this load doesn't shoot accurately in the Hi-Power.

I really don't know how loads interchange between similar guns, say 2 or 3 different 1911's. My guess is that they would share similar charactaristics, however, one gun preferring a .1 or .2 grain charge difference over another. My Smith 52 for example gives me the best accuracy with 2.3 grains of Bullseye behind a 148 grain cast WC, while the accepted conventional load for this gun is 2.5 or 2.7 grains of BE, these loadings open my groups up about an inch at the 25 yard line over the 2.3 grains.

I remember when I first started loading, I was about 19 or 20 years old, and had loaded some ammo for my Marlin 30-30. I had been meticulous about the charges, seating, case prep, etc. For the load I had selected the one highlited as "Accurate" from my Lyman reloaders handbook. For the occasion, I mounted a 4 power scope on the rifle and headed to the range. How could it be anything but perfect? I shot a target at 50 yards, 5 rounds printed into abour 4 inches. OK, barrel needs to foul in. I shot 5 more, ant then 5 more, no better, I was very disappointed. Later that week I was at the gun counter at GI Joes lamenting my disappointment, and a gentleman asked me if I was just getting started reloading. I said I was and related the story of my 30-30 reloads. He said I should tune the load to the gun, starting a couple of grains low, then working up in .2 or .3 grain increments. He said the first groups may be loose, then I should see a tightning trend, continuing to tighten until the smallest group was obtained, then as the load progressed heavier, it would open up again. I kind of didn't beleive this would happen, but in desperation, it was worth a try. So I did as he suggested, started low, and worked up in .2 grain increments.

And so I headed to the range to try this work-up. viola!! Just like he said, the groups at 50 yards went from 4 inches down to 1/2", then opened up again as my loads went over this sweet spot. Every centerfire I own, rifles and pistols follow this same pattern. Some are more inherently accurate, and some take more work. Sometimes you get lucky with factory ammo, sometimes it only shoots mediocrely.

Typically with non-tuned ammo, I expect 3 to 4 inch groups at 25 yards out of most pistols, both automatics and revolvers. With load tuning this can be reduced to groups of 1 1/2" or less.

The revolver has perhaps an edge on inherent accuracy because of the fixed barrel, and can be made to shoot a little easier than the autoloader. For automatics, if the gun is tight, you can get a 1 1/2" group, if the gun is tight, yes I said that twice. Most new auto's lock up pretty tight, Sigs, CZ's, XD's, Brownings all have pretty good lock-up right out of the box. 1911's can go either way, their reputation will preceed them. Old military imports, parts guns, etc, can be pretty loose, and shoot accordingly.

Anyway, you seem to be in the same boat as me, looking for a 1911 that has match grade potential, for less than a second mortgage on the house. Popular opinion seems to favor the Springfield Range Officer, as a pretty tight gun for less than $1000, I am also looking at some of the S&W 1911's, the ones I have looked at seemed pretty tight.

It too bad we can't hit the range together to work on bullseye, I'm always looking to try to improve my shooting.

i loves my gun
June 22, 2011, 01:29 AM
glocks are accurate but not that accurate, if its gonna be dedicated to just that, then why not just wait save up some more money and get the real deal...

June 22, 2011, 07:25 AM
The SA Range Officer is a no frills Trophy Match, basically. The Trophy Match is a bullseye gun. They guarantee 2.5" at 25 yards but realistically, you'll get around 1.5 to 2.0" at that mark for the TM and now I am hearing the RO.

Some claims here are very misleading. Before anyone can say their gun can do bullseye required groups at 50 yards, you need to shoot the gun off bags at that distance or you're misleading the poster into possibly making a poor purchase for his needs. Good groups at 15 yards can easily break up into shotgun groups at 50 yards.

That said, many posters with bullseye background have given good information. You'll have to pay more than 1K for the 1.5"/50 yard gun. And that is with good match softball ammo. Professional bullseye smiths go through great, I mean great pains to get a gun to shoot into 1.5" at 50 yards from a Ransom Rest. Those are sometimes 10 shot groups. If you are starting out, as you say you are and looking for a reliable, reasonably accurate gun, look around for a clean, used, unaltered Springfield Trophy Match or a Wilson, Bear or Brown used 1911. You could even get the SA RO and have a good 1911 smith fit a good barrel and do a trigger job for you. That will get you there in just about $1,000 and you'll have a competitive gun until you can scrape up the cash for a well built bullseye gun. In this case, with honest sales, you'll get what you pay for.

June 22, 2011, 09:01 AM
HK USP Elite. It was made to be accurate... nothing but accurate. Last I saw them at CDNN they were going for $899!

i loves my gun
June 22, 2011, 04:02 PM
i got an elite in 9mm, it takes names

June 22, 2011, 05:13 PM
What about a FNP45 Tactical? Isn't it suppose to be a very accurate pistol out the box? I have no experience with one.

Ala Dan
June 22, 2011, 08:35 PM
I will have to second the opinion of my internet friend Tony Angel; as
my old West German SIG-SAUER (not to be confused with SIGARMS), is a fine
tact driver. And it just maybe me, but I can shoot it better than I can my much
more expensive Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special~! Guess I need more practice
with the Baer, uh~? :uhoh: :scrutiny: ;)

Sean Smith
June 23, 2011, 07:46 AM
This thread is the perfect example of why you shouldn't ask the internet for advice. Some of these suggestions are so dumb they're Beyond the Impossible.

June 23, 2011, 07:56 AM
Well I have pretty much narrowed my list down now:

-Clark, Les Baer or other name-brand-smith wadgun I can find used for ~$1500
-Colt Gold Cup Elite
-Colt Gold Cup National Match
-Colt Combat Elite

I know this is probably going to run up into the $1300-1500 range unfortunately, but its like they say, you only spend once for quality.

Don't worry, I have learned enough about bullseye to not buy a Glock. ;)

June 23, 2011, 08:24 AM
Check in some of the range postings or in used gun lists. Sometimes you'll find a good example of those guns available and unmolested.

Retail on a Baer Wadgun is $1890. Add $300 for the 1.5" accuracy guarantee. You could call Joe Chambers, Jerry Keefer or Greg Derr and see what they could do for you. They are bullseye 1911 smiths.

On Gunbroker, some sites are selling the Baer guns at very good prices...a PII for $1560 last I looked. You can shoot it with open sights for awhile then have a mount fitted by a good BE smith. Just a suggestion.

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