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Old August 10, 2011, 09:57 AM   #1
longfellow
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Colt 45 acp Commander for target shooting

I have been hunting around for a standard (5 inch) 1911 to use for local club target competition (most any gun is acceptable and course of fire is not official) and stumbled on a Combat (steel frame) Commander, all original. I am new to pistol target shooting and wonder if there's a measurable disadvantage to the shorter barrel models. As litle as I know, they might be preferred so the question is a very general one; That is "How suitable is this model for "Entry-to-moderately competitive level competition?" I need to ask this because I intend only to buy one gun and keep it for as long as the gun itself surpasses my ability. Right now I could use my Blackhawk and still get some useful experience, but we all know how rapidly, the initial improvements come (assuming there are few bad habbits that need correction) and then more slowly thereafter. I don't want to discover a couple of years from now that I genuinely need to have another gun. Nor do I want to develop any additional bad habbits BECAUSE I started out with a four inch 1911. I am not opposed to some custom work down the road to enhance accuracy but they should not require a whole new base platform.
If your answers can be at all quantified or at least qualified (and I am speaking to those serious competitors I think), I would like your input.
Thanks,
Ed
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Old August 10, 2011, 11:17 AM   #2
RickB
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If, by "target competition" you mean bullseye style shooting where absolute precision is the goal, then the Commander is not a good choice. If you already had the gun, I'd say go ahead and shoot it, but you'd be better off with a full-sized gun. The extra sight radius and weight will make the gun easier to shoot well. For "practical" style competition, the shorter length and lighter weight of the Commander can speed-up draws and target transitions compared to a full-sized gun, but almost everyone shoots the biggest gun that's legal, so I'd recommend a full-sized 1911 for that, too.
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Old August 10, 2011, 11:25 AM   #3
mavracer
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The shorter sight radious will put you at a slight disadvantage for bullseye competition. The difference will show up with your "mistakes" you know the ones when you don't quite have the sights aligned perfectly.
I shoot in what sounds like a similar league and shooting a commander length gun will cost me a couple points. But I really only compete against myself as the league is more fun than competative.
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Old August 10, 2011, 03:13 PM   #4
g.willikers
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If you miss with the Commander, you would have missed with the full sized one, too.
And visa versie.
If you like it, get it.
The targets won't know the difference and neither should you.
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Old August 11, 2011, 07:34 AM   #5
longfellow
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45's for target (Bullseye) shooting

Thanks for the feedback guys. I am also the poster who was inquiring about the 38 Super and it looks like that's the direction to head. I also know of a full size Colt 38 Super which already has Bomar sights and two extra mags. It clearly has been fired but I doubt if I'll ever wear the thing out and it really is ready to go already. My only hesitation, other than not really knowing enough about where to look for excessive wear or "home gunsmithing," is that you folks here have pointed out that official Bullseye events, should I choose to enter them in the future, would require a 45 acp.
The Super is also an excellent deal and the price really doesn't recognize the great sights or extra mags so the money saved here could go to any pistolsmithing that the gun might need from being fired so much by the previous owner (clearly a target shooter because he also traded in another Colt which was built up with target modifications).
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Old August 11, 2011, 07:53 AM   #6
dahermit
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The difference between a Commander and full-size albeit minimal, gives a very different feel/balance (at least to me) that is way out of proportion to the actual difference in weight. For any competition, I would opt for the extra sight radius, the extra muzzle weight (where it makes the most difference), of a full-size even though I prefer my Commanders to the full-sizers.
Shoulder and look down the sights of a Kentucky rifle if you have the opportunity, and notice how the long barrel (so much weight forward) enables the sights just to hang steady in the off-hand position.
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Old August 11, 2011, 09:07 AM   #7
Jim Watson
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We still don't know what you do at this club level competition, or what you might expect to get into in the near and mid term future. The requirements for precision shooting at bullseye or metallic silhouette are different from the speed events like IDPA and IPSC or the numerous home grown variations.

Probably my most accurate centerfire auto is a heavily reworked .45 Combat Commander, edging out the P210 with the right ammo (Can you still get Winchester Super Match?). But that only shows up in a Ransom Rest, I shoot the full size gun better in my own hands.

A good .38 Super is a treat to shoot but there are some things you ought to know about it, assuming you haven't been told in another thread. It should have either a fairly recent (20 years, maybe) Colt barrel or an aftermarket barrel chambered for case mouth headspacing which gives substantially better accuracy. Older factory barrels depended on the semi-rim and were not nearly as consistent.
You should be aware of ammunition availability... which is not good compared to .45 or 9mm P. You would either have to handload and be good about picking up your empties or be prepared for a constant scrounging and ordering program for factory loads.
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Old August 11, 2011, 11:55 AM   #8
longfellow
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Answers

Sorry. You're right Jim. I don't know much about what events are available once I start contacting shooting clubs but I can say that I will not enter any that require movement ("Action" or whatever their various names are). Pure mastery of sight picture, trigger control, and breathing with no additional challenges to deal with, are the appealing features. So this means Bullseye (with respect to the added challenges for the rapid fire stage) or any of the various informal competitions that have the shooter is a static, standing position, shooting for score at a ringed target. I hope that helps.

Regarding the headspace issue, I might not be in good shape. The 38 Super is something called a Series 70 which I noticed was made prior to your twenty year cut off. So if it headspaces on the rim, I would have to at least be aware of this and maybe plan on an upgrade in the future.
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Old August 11, 2011, 01:26 PM   #9
Jim Watson
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That helps a lot.
Neither a Commander nor a middle aged .38 Super would be my first choice for precision shooting.

Frankly, you ought to start out with a good .22.
Accuracy is good to fantastic, recoil is nil, cost is moderate.
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Old August 19, 2011, 10:08 PM   #10
T. O'Heir
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"...once I start contacting shooting clubs..." Find a club first.
"...this means Bullseye..." Yep and shooting bullseye is just as much fun without all the running around as any of the shooting games. Like Jim says, start with a .22.
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