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Bersa Thunder .380 Shooting Low

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by middy, Mar 27, 2004.

  1. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    Sorry about YABTTT (Yet Another Bersa Thunder Three-Eighty Thread) :D

    I'm pretty new to handguns. I recently bought a Bersa .380 and a Glock 19 (both NIB) and went out to my brother-in-law's farm to break them in and see how well I can shoot without training or practice (turns out I can hit the broad side of a barn!)

    To make a long story short:

    We put 200 rounds through the G19 without a hiccup. I was fairly accurate with it, putting all 10 rounds of a mag into an 8" target at about 15 yds, most of them near the center.

    I also put 50 rounds through the Bersa. Again, no failures, but it seemed to be hitting at least a foot directly below my POA! The rear sights appear to be adjustable for windage, but not height. My sight picture was with the tops of the sights even and just below my POA; I tried with the front-sight dot covering my POA and I was still way low! The single-action trigger is pretty sweet and I'm fairly sure it wasn't my fault, since I was shooting so well with the Glock.

    What could be the cause of this? I've heard that the Bersa is a pretty accurate piece. Horizontally it was pretty good, but it seems to be vertically-challenged. :)

    Maybe I can black out the dots and file the front sight down. :rolleyes:
  2. horge

    horge Well-Known Member

    1. What cartridges were you using and how far away was the target?
    I do understand that a foot's worth of trajectory drop is unnerving, but, I have to ask. I was (some time ago) whining about some idiot's reloads a local range had foisted on me --they were rather weakly charged and this led to:
    a. FTE's
    b. very low POI... about 9" at a distance of little over 30'

    2. The front sight is staked/bludgeoned/peened in place, and it's remotely possible this was not done properly. Can you measure the heighht of the front sight above the knurled plateau of the slide ---just so we can compare? Ill be home in a few hours, and I'll measure mine.

    3. Lastly, can you have someone watch the pistol from the side as you shoot it? It's easier for a second party to detect minor twitching or dipping during triggerpull, and even a minor bobble can result in great discrepancies over longer distances.

  3. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    I'd bet that the Bersa doesn't quite fit your hand. Small handguns tend not to fit quite right in the hand of normal sized people. Try changing grips. If you can get bigger grips. Plan 'B' is to aim higher. This doesn't help with point shooting. You could either build up the grip with a bit of epoxy to the bottom of the back strap or file down the front sight.
  4. middy

    middy Well-Known Member


    We were shooting Winchester 95 gr USA FMJ.

    My front-sight is about 3 mm high.
  5. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Well-Known Member

    Did you start shooting the Glock and then switch to the Bersa? I only ask because the Glock trigger system is very different from the Bersa. When I first started shooting Glocks, after a lifetime of shooting guns with "normal" triggers, I was consistantly shooting low because I wasn't using the two-stage trigger correctly. It was very frustrating. But then I figured out what I was doing--pulling the trigger back to the first stop and expecting it to fire, bracing for muzzle flip at the end of the first stage, then actually firing the gun after I had braced for muzzle flip. Once I got used to the trigger and pulling it back to the first stop before mentally preparing to fire, I found Glocks to be amazingly accurate guns.

    I have no trouble switching back to a standard SA/DA system like the Bersa since I have been shooting such guns for nearly 35 years, and if I haven't shot a Glock for a while I need to remind myself I'm shooting a Glock for the first magazine or two.

    Horge's suggestion number three should help you see if you are perhaps shooting the Bersa like a Glock.
  6. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    OK. I really don't think it's me, but I'll give it a try. I practice dry firing, keeping the sights motionless, and I'm pretty good about not anticipating, but you never know.

    This happened with both my brother-in-law and myself. Low with the Bersa, dead-on with the Glock.
  7. Murphster

    Murphster Well-Known Member

    Not to oversimplify the problem, but before you do anything drastic, I'd suggest trying different ammo with different weight bullets. As a reloader I've frequently (with small pistols) had to change bullet weight when a particular gun just didn't want to shoot to point of aim with a particular weight of bullet. A lighter or heavier bullet may solve the problem without monkeying with the gun or your shooting style.
  8. horge

    horge Well-Known Member

    1. I've shot Win 95gr FMJ without a problem at about 30 feet.
    I'll JUST presume the Thunder 380 was shooting at the same target the Glock was aiming at ...15 yards or 45 feet. There's no way I can reconcile the cartridge properties with a dip of 'at least a foot' at that range, so it has to be something else.

    2. About 3.0 to 3.2 mm is right for front sight height. That can't be it, then.

    3. Try shooting one-handed, or light-teacup grip, and se if th POI rises a bit.

    The weak hand can tend to reinforce (if not primarily cause) any downward trend in the muzzle. Remember that a Glock, with it's rather higher bore axis) can seem to generate more muzzle flip than a Thunder 380, and your weak hand could be overcompensating for a Glock's worth of perceived flip, leveraging the muzzle down upon triggerpull. This trend is worsened if the bottom of the rear strap winds up sitting in the loose hollow of the palm's heel.

    I'm sure you can understand under- and over-engagement of the trigger(and general grip), and how it all can bobble the muzzle low and left or low, or high and right, and so forth.


  9. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    Oops. Sorry, Horge. Yeah, we were shooting the Bersa at about 15 yards, too.

    I don't know what you mean about a Glock's bore axis. It seems to have less muzzle flip (the blowback design of the Bersa is pretty snappy). I thought that was one of the features of the Glock design...

    I'll try 1-handed and see if that improves things. I'll have someone mix some snap-caps into my mags to see if I'm anticipating.

    If nothing else, I'll take it back to the shop I got it at. They have an indoor range and an in-house gunsmith and should be able to make it right.

    Thanks for your help, everyone.

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