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New to me Beretta 81!

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by cluttonfred, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. cluttonfred

    cluttonfred Member

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    Here are some pics of my newly-purchased Beretta Model 81 .32 ACP, the first pistol I have ever personally owned. It's an Italian police trade in and seems to have been carried some and shot hardly at all. There is some holster wear on the left side of the gun, particularly the grip screws, but it's in great shape. I spent some time cleaning it up (pic on paper towel is "before" and the rest are "after") but it was really just internal dust and crud, nothing more.

    All told it cost me a about $255 including the base price, hand select charge and shipping. Factor in the the transfer fee, namecheck fee, pistol case, cleaning kit, holster, and 100 rounds of Fiocchi 73 grain ball ammo (Italian, of course) and I am still under $400 all in. I hope to get to the range this weekend, and I suspect I am going to need a lot more ammo.... ;-)

    beretta 81 before.jpg beretta 81 after 1.jpg beretta 81 after 2.jpg beretta 81 after 3.jpg beretta 81 after 4.jpg
     
  2. jar

    jar Member

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    Once you buy a lot more ammo you will need tools to properly and safely dispose of it and there too Beretta can help you.

    standard.jpg
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  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    That is a fine first gun, hopefully the first of many as the years go by.
     
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  4. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Congratulations! I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine. In my personal experience, military surplus and police trade-ins tend to be very good deals.
     
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  5. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    They're tempting me. .32s make good suppressor hosts, and I've always liked the compact Berettas. Would sit nicely with my M71.

    But alas, I've dropped about 6 grand on tooling, equipment and material in the last 6 weeks, and I'm supposed to be picking up a Marlin .44 Mag and a S&W .44 mag for $600 total on Sunday. If that falls through, though, I'll probably order one of these.
     
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  6. cluttonfred

    cluttonfred Member

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    Good news, bad news on the Beretta. My 16-year-old son and I put about 70 rounds through it at the range, pleasant to shoot, no problems other than a couple of times I think he was limp-wristing, then...the rear sight almost fell out of the dovetail. No big deal, I know, I just need to get my local gunsmith to align it and stake it down. And I ordered more ammo...it goes fast! ;-)
     
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  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Loaded .32 ACP.JPG
     
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  8. cluttonfred

    cluttonfred Member

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    Hehe, I am not set up for reloading, but if I end up with multiple .32 ACP pistols then I might have to track down the right Lee Loader kit. Just out of curiosity, how much does it cost you to reload basic range loads in .32 ACP?
     
  9. GarrettJ

    GarrettJ Member

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    Using Berry’s bullets, I’m loading for around 9¢ ea.
     
  10. cluttonfred

    cluttonfred Member

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    Thanks, I just ordered 200 rounds for $65 including shipping, so about 33 cents each. Saving nearly a quarter per round would add up very quickly!

    It seems that Lee Loaders in .32 ACP are out of production and rarer than hen's teeth even second hand. :-(

    What would be the cheapest solution for getting started reloading .32 ACP without a large bench setup, something small and easy to take out and put away?
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    2 or 3 cents for a primer, add the cost of your bullet of choice, and powder is barely worth worrying with at under 3 Grs per. Over 2500 rounds per pound.
     
  12. cluttonfred

    cluttonfred Member

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    Actually, my question was more about simple equipment since the Lee Loader is no longer available in .32 ACP.
     
  13. swoter

    swoter Member

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    I just order from Aim Surplus, prices from 10 to 13 dollars a box. I don’t want to mess with reloading another caliber.
     
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  14. film495

    film495 Member

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    surplus pistols have a lot of character, I own a few different ones... all really good IMHO. you might be a little more likely to pop a spring just from age - I keep some of the common springs on hand, just so - if something goes I can go to my supply cabinet and replace without having to order anything, and sometimes - discontinued parts are unavailable. I had to make my own trigger spring for a CZ-70, wanted to shoot it and nobody, and I mean nobody had any available, still looking... actually buying the stock and making one was kind of cool to do …
     
  15. cluttonfred

    cluttonfred Member

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    For the film buffs among us, I stumbled across the fact that a Beretta 81 was the personal pistol of Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Scarface. See http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Scarface_(1983) Maybe I'll track down a set of Pachmayr grips.... ;-)

    800px-Scarface_Beretta_left.jpg
     
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  16. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Another board member got some Altamont wooden grips for his. I liked his so much that I ordered a set for myself. I liked them on my Model 81 so much that I bought a set for my Model 84, too. They make the grip area a bit larger, which is nice for my XXL hands.

    The pistol is dirty in the picture, because I had just finished shooting it.

     
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  17. Havok7416
    • Contributing Member

    Havok7416 Member

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    Yup, that was me. My grips came in a brighter Rosewood. For $35 they are worth the money IMO. 20190903_181255.jpg
     
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  18. lsudave

    lsudave Member

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    Really can't go wrong with these Berettas :)!

    Those Altamont grips are pretty, but I like the stock Beretta plastics too; mine came in not beaten up. Nice checkering and logo. I imagine there's a Turkish company or so that sells wooden replicas of the original, with the checkering and logo. I think those would be the ideal upgrade.
     
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  19. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Thanks again, Havok. Those grips are perfect for us large-handed folk, plus I always like the look of nice wooden grips. One day I will stop being lazy and post a pic of the matched set, 81 and 84.
     
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    No doubt.
     
  21. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    "Really can't go wrong with these Berettas :)!"


    I have six and a clone. They are all high quality.
     
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  22. JayZee

    JayZee Member

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    I was going to buy one 81BB but after seeing the wood grips....I might have to save up the few more dollars for TWO!!

    Two is one, one is none in my book. Plus as another user stated, 32 make good suppressor hosts. A threaded barrel, wood grips, and a stubby suppressor like Scarface had...such a cool gun.
    Now I can really say "Say hello to my little friend" and mean it. I mean 32ACP is a "little" friend in comparison to the 40MM..

    Always been a fan of 32 Auto. Hot loads can approach the 200ftlbs mark of 380. Fiocchi, S&B, Geco are the brand's I carry/own. WWB looked appealing. Given the truncated nose/better sectional density but wont feed a damn...least not in my Keltec. Plus the WWB is so "soft and wimpy" if you ask me.

    Since this barrel is longer, it will be easier.
    I always wanted one of these, the 380 version never appealed to me, and for the prices these are imported at. You'd be a fool not to get one.
     
  23. lsudave

    lsudave Member

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    First box of .32 I bought and shot, was WWB, in a CZ 27. Didn't feed at all, really crappy. And like you say, seems softer then the Fiocchi and the rest. I don't know if it feeds in the Beretta, and won't find out, as it was overpriced compared to the others too.
    PPU, btw, also shoots nicely, comparable to the Fiocchi in the guns I've shot. And a pretty neat feature of the PPU box: it has 2 trays of 25, instead of 1 tray of 50. The box itself is the size of the Fiocchi boxes, so you can swap out the trays if you like. I've kept a few, just for range convenience.
    My 4th Beretta, if you count the 92S that my gifted my son. First of this size. Also have a 21A, fairly recent purchase, probably 1st gen (cost about the same as the 81), fun little shooter as a subcompact .22.
    I definitely respect Beretta as a manufacturer, they've been excellent in every caliber I have of them, probably top tier in each. The 92's are, but since I have CZs and a Sig among others, it's not quite a standout, as much as it holds it's own. The 81 in .32 on the other hand, I find it to be a step above my others in that caliber. I'd kinda like to find a CZ 83 in .32 now, and see how they match up.
    The 21A, with the right ammo, is also quite good and reliable. Not as accurate as my Ruger mk II or High Standard, but then it's also about 1/4th the size. And it's plenty accurate enough for what it is.
     
  24. GarrettJ

    GarrettJ Member

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    My limited experience was that WWB would feed in my Beretta 81 with the factory mag. But they would not feed reliably from any of the converted Beretta 84 mags.
     
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  25. Milkmaster

    Milkmaster Member

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    Recent surplus 81 acquired. Inexpensive addition and nice shooter too.
    right.JPG
     
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