View Full Version : Bullseye Weapon

September 27, 2008, 04:02 PM
I am looking to get into bullseye shooting but have a few questions. I shoot more accurately with revolvers, but will I be at a disadvantage with a revolver over a pistol? If not, which caliber would you choose (.357 mag or .44 mag/spl)? Would there be a benefit to a single action revolver? :confused:


September 27, 2008, 04:42 PM
Never shot bullseye, but was seriously considering it. Right now, I prefer revolvers, too. I'm going waaaay out on a limb offering thoughts on something I've never shot, so I defer to those who have, but here's what I found to be the general consensus: No one shoots bullseye with a revolver in double action. Cocking the hammer to fire in SA is do-able in slow fire, but more difficult in timed fire. Plus, you end changing your grip with each cock of the hammer. Neither of these issues is overcome with a SA pistol. In addition, a .38/.357 or .44 might do for the centerfire, but you'll still need a .22 and a .45.

I decided if I were to shoot bullseye, I'd just suck it up and get a .22 semi-auto and a 1911. In the interim, money supply's finite, so I decided to stick to revolvers for now, practice marksmanship on my own, shoot IDPA and likely USPSA, and keep my eyes open for a PPC, ICORE, or silhouette match in the area.

September 27, 2008, 05:23 PM
what discipline of bullseye shooting do you want to do?

there is NRA Conventional Pistol which consists of the course of fire (10, 10 and 10) fired with a .22lr, a .45acp and any centerfire (of which nearly EVERYONE shoots the .45acp in the a.c. category because its one less platform to train and learn and load for)...

in CMP Excellence-In-Competition matches there is only service pistol which is either a 1911/1911A1 or M9. taurus m9 knock offs are NOT allowed because they have a different safety set up...

a revolver will be fine if you shoot 'out of competition' at most matches or if your local club/league lets you shoot what ya bring. in which case the lowest recoiling round would be best provided its above .32 caliber (again going with NRA rules)...

September 27, 2008, 06:41 PM
Okay, a .22lr and a .45 it is. I did some research, but I never came across this for some reason. What types of .45 acp guns are typically being used? My budget is $1,000 or less. I was looking around at the store the other day and noticed a Colt XSE 1911 and a Sig Sauer P220. Are these the types of weapons being used or am I way off base here? I'm in no hurry and am planning to do much more research before taking the plunge, so to speak.

September 27, 2008, 06:51 PM
but will I be at a disadvantage with a revolver over a pistol?

The added difficulty for revolver shooters comes during the sustained and rapid fire stages. It's not just the speed of your cocking action in SA, but also the fact that your grip will tend to shift. Some guys do shoot DA throughout, or a mix of SA and DA depending on the stage.

There have been very successful revolver shooters (e.g. Harry Reeves). This was the primary weapon for much of BE's history.

There's actually a new competition, based on the BE course of fire, for revolver shooters known as Distinguished Revolver which is shot w/ a 38spl. I've shot these w/ my Model 14.

Personally I'd look at a 38spl rather than .357 or 44 mag - the ability to load powder-puff WC's for the short line is a big advantage. For the 45 stage, you'll obviously need a 45 (e.g. a Model 25 ).

If you attend a match or two you'll get an idea of what's appropriate to use. Also you don't need to have guns for all of the stages, you can compete w/ what you have.

September 27, 2008, 08:41 PM
people use to shoot revolvers all the time in bullseye, some still do but not many.

You deffenantly dont want magnums, 38 WCs work best for center fire events. I load 148 WC's loaded with 2.7 grn of bullseye or 3 grns of 231.

45s are the most common, You shoot a 2700, 90 RDs of 22, 90 Rds center fire (some use 38s, some use their 45 gun) and 90 rds of 45.

Again you dont need hot loads for the 45, I load 4 grns of 231 pushing a cast 230 gn RNs bullet.

How ever, in EIC matches FMJ 230 grns RNs are mandentory. I use the above load with the FMJ bullets. Thats only 30 rounds, 10 Slow Fire, 10 Timed Fire, and 10 Rapid fire. So if you cast your bullets, even with buying a 100 rounds of 45 FMJ Bullets (you can shoot three EIC matchs a year with 90 rounds) you'll find Bullseye is about the cheapest shooting event you can shoot as far as ammo gos.

One thing I highy recommend for any one interested in shooting bullseye, wheather you are starting out or been doing it for years its the PISTOL MARKSMANSHIP GUIDE, put out by the USAMU. Best shooters in the world. This book covers everything you need to know about bullseye shooting and whats great ITS FREE.

I have the USAMU Pistol Marksmanship Guide on .pdf format. PM me with youre e-mail address and I'll send it to your. All I ask in return is you share the Guide with other interested pistol shooters. After all your tax dollars paid to produce the manuel, its up to use to use it.

October 1, 2008, 09:09 AM
This is a good place to start with questions on Bullseye:

and this site has a separate forum on Bullseye as well:

Most guys are starting out with a Ruger .22 and some sort of 1911 .45 ACP. If you take a std Springfield Armory 1911A1 and add good sights, trigger job, front strap stipling and set the trigger pull for 4 pounds, you can use it in any NRA match as well as the CMP EIC Leg matches. Most Kimbers, etc are not legal for Leg matches.

Rules for CMP matches can be downloaded from their website: www.odcmp.com. There's a chart in the rules that shows what is legal on a CMP pistol.

NRA Conventional Pistol rules can be downloaded from the NRA website. http://www.nra.org/ Once you get to the main page, click on Programs and it will take you to the competitions site.

As mentioned above, most guys load "target" loads for their .45. I'm still using the old std 3.5 grain Bullseye load with a 200 grain SWC bullet. I occasionally shoot a 1911 chambered for .38 Specials in the Centerfire portion of the match. One advantage is the trigger pull on a CF gun only has to be at least 2 and half pounds and the lighter recoil. An NRA legal .45 has to be set for at least 3 and half pounds which is different than the CMP requirement.

A good load for the CMP match is any 230 grain FMJ bullet with 4.5 to 5.0 grains of Bullseye. 5.0 of BE is an equivalent to the military "hardball" load.

Hope all this helps. I don't check this forum that often. If you have any questions, send me an email and I'll be glad to answer back.

October 1, 2008, 04:47 PM
Very refreshing to read about someone wanting to start in Conventional pistol.
There hasn't been a single bit of bad advice in this thread.
I started Conv. Pist with Ruger Gov't and shot only the rimfire stages in the 2700 (270 shot) matches. My first .45 was a series 80 Gold Cup Nat'l Match; that allowed me to shoot the other two stages. When I could afford it, I had the gun accurized. Then I found a used High Standard Victor, put on a Falcon match barrel and I was set. Never made Master, though, but I sure have fun. Have a gallery match this evening.

Citizen Carrier
October 2, 2008, 07:56 AM
There was a guy here a few weeks ago asking about getting started in bullseye with a budget of $600. The consensus ended up being that he could really only do a decent .22 for that money, not a .22 and .45 ACP.

A $1000 budget gives you better opportunity to make that happen.

The .45 you could go one of two ways. A hardball gun or a wadcutter gun.

The wadcutter gun would fullfil the .45 and Centerfire requirements of bullseye.

A hardball gun would allow you to shoot .45, Centerfire, and the CMP-sponsored matches like the National Trophy Individual, National Trophy Team, and President's Match.

What I would do is troll around on the internet. Look in buy/sell/trade forums, especially on bullseye related sites, and advertise that you want a wadcutter or hardball gun (used, obviously) and that you have this much money to spend.

Who knows? You might run across a guy who unwisely bought a house with a variable interest rate mortgage through Fannie Mae who all of sudden could use some cash.

Tim R
October 2, 2008, 05:24 PM
A 1911 has to be like a service pistol with no beaver tails, extended safety's or mag release. Most will have quality adjustable sights, a match barrel, bushing and link. They will have a crisp clean trigger at 4 1/2 lbs. The slide will be tight in the frame when in lock up. The pistol is going to hold a 3 inch group at 50 yards. A store bought 1911 like this will run $2500.00 or better. Add a few more dollars to a 1911 which will hold 2 inches at 50 yards. Using a stock 1911 is no different than trying compete in highpower rifle with a service grade M-1. No matter how good the rifleman is with his stock rifle, he is going to get beat.

What I would do is buy a good quality 1911. When it holds you back then send it to a good smith and have it brought up to match standards.

There are a couple of .22's which are not overly expensive which will shoot fine. Ruger's Mk2 and even a Buckmark 5.5 Target will hold it's own. The Smith 41 would use up your budget but it will last a life time.

T. O'Heir
October 2, 2008, 06:29 PM
Start with a .22 pistol. You won't be anywhere near competitive with a revolver. Forget the magnums too. Shooting a magnum of any kind will likely get you asked to leave.
Depending on the kind of bullseye shooting that's done near you(there are several courses of fire. NRA and ISSF mostly), a .22 target pistol and a .38 revolver using target loads will get you started.
And don't use the word 'weapon' around bullseye shooters. It's heavily frowned upon.

October 3, 2008, 06:17 PM
There is a great site on bullseye that also suggests pistols to start with:

But as the others posted, .22 semi-auto is the best way. I thought I new how to shoot "accurately" when I got into bullseye. I was very, very, very wrong. There is a lot to learn, and .22 is the best way to learn it. The good news is the skills carry into other shooting disciplines.

For what its worth, I have been shooting bullseye for about a year, practicing daily on airpistol and dryfire. But I only own a .22 and am only now shopping for an accurized .45. I did not even start borrowing other club members' .45s until a few months ago, I just shot the .22 leg of the match. This was not because of a lack of means, rather I saw that getting a .45 without really knowing what I wanted/needed was pointless.

In my opinion, bullseye will open your mind to aspects of shooting you didn't know existed. Particularly the importance of a gun that fits you anatomically, and who knows if at this stage you even know how to grip the gun correctly for bullseye (I didn't). There is a lot that goes into getting a 1911 that fits you right.

I could go on, but my point is there is something to be said for getting a .22 like a Ruger Mark II/III or S&W 41, then wait a few months before even thinking about a 1911 .45. The one exception is if you were positive you wanted to shoot a Marvel conversion on top of a 1911 lower.

Of course, the question becomes well what do you shoot in the centerfire and .45 stages? Easy, either borrow, or bow out of the scorecards and just shoot your .22 for practice in the next 2 stages.

I've never seen it, but the general advice is that moving to .45 too early in the bullseye shooter's development will ruin the shooter if he/she hasn't yet mastered the .22. If you want a goal, then I'd say 805-820 on the .22 leg is when you can say ok i'm good enough for a .45.

Remember, bullseye is a one-handed match.

Good luck...kep em in the x-ring!

October 3, 2008, 08:11 PM
+1 www.bullseyepistol.com :)

October 4, 2008, 03:09 AM
Just a link to distinguished shooters using revolvers:

In addition, it was referred to earlier in passing, there is "International" bullseye shooting. It is very similar in some ways but a quite different in others. The Free Pistol event as seen in the recent Olympics is one of the International events, as is the Rapid Fire Pistol competition (a real hoot to try) and Air Pistol.
There is a "Standard" pistol competition, kind of analogous to the Conventional .22 that we have been talking about, and a Centerfire match. No .45s.
Big differences are: iron sights only, different target than those used in Conventional shooting (the same target used for the precision and sustained fire stages), except for the Free pistol and Air pistol, all shooting is at 25 yds/meters. There are other differences.


Citizen Carrier
October 4, 2008, 09:48 AM
This summer I inspected a High Standard "Camp Perry National Match" M1911A1 at their tables on vendor's row.

The slide and frame is manufactured by Armscor, the filipino outfit that makes the Charles Daly and Rock Island Armory pistols.

What I saw was a very tightly fitted pistol. The slide to frame, barrel to slide, barrel to bushing and bushing to slide fit were all very, very tight. Just as a proper match pistol should be. There was no play in the barrel when I pressed down on it's hood. The bushing was tight enough to require a bushing wrench for disassembly. There was no lateral or vertical play between the slide and frame.

The men behind the table watched me test their product with satisfaction.

The trigger is the "three hole" adjustable type. And it was very crisp, light, and clean. Obvious care had been taken in it's fitting.

The rear sight was an adjustable unit similiar to a Bomar. The front sight was dovetailed in rather than staked, with the base of the sight beveled to match the rounded contour of the top of the slide. A nice touch.


They sell them there for about $100 cheaper than High Standard lists them on their website. Just under $800.


There's a picture of one of them from High Standard's website.

I came very near to buying this gun on sight. It appealed to me, but I already had a hardball gun and couldn't justify the expenditure.

Now here's the caveat. High Standard, the Texas one headed by Mr. Aronstein, has a spotty reputation for customer service. I seem to find evidence of this on whatever forum his company is mentioned on.

They built me a .22 pistol a few years back on a frame made by another company. I had no complaints, so I never had to put their "customer service" reputation to the test.

With the Camp Perry National Match model, I figured I would have any problems taken care of by a local Ohio gunsmith rather than send it back to Texas.

John McHenry
October 4, 2008, 01:39 PM
I started shooting bullseye pistol a year ago in our local gun club sponsered fall pistol league, and I have to say it's become a passion with me. As with most of you who are seasoned, experienced bullseye shooters most of our guys shoot semi auto pistols in both rimfire and center fire with .45 ACP being the prevelent caliber for center fire (they say it makes a bigger hole, and therefore increases their score seeing as how you don't have to be as close to the line to cut it). I didn't have a big budget, and therefore bought a used Smith 686 and shoot 38spl in it, and bought a Smith 617 .22 to go with it thinking they were very simular and would help me be more consistant. By the end of the second (spring) league, I was doing very well for a beginner, shooting consistantly in thelow to mid 500's (out of a possible 600) using two revolvers. I got around the grip issue by simply cocking the hammer using my left thumb which leaves my right hand grip unaltered. I'm sure this is probably not a revelation to alot of you, but maybe a good tip for other rookies like me.

October 5, 2008, 03:01 PM
John: "I got around the grip issue by simply cocking the hammer using my left thumb which leaves my right hand grip unaltered."
You are using your left hand (thumb) to cock the hammer. Is that correct?
If so, you must shoot in a very liberal match setting. Using a second hand to aid the shot, would get me disqualified. One hand only on the gun. (Rule 5.5 Firing Position - Standing, gun held in one hand only, the other hand being used in no way to support the gun...).

T. O'Heir
October 11, 2008, 12:53 AM
"...Using a second hand to aid the shot..." Hi, Pete. Cocking with the other hand isn't supporting the shooting hand at all. You're just cocking the hammer and putting the hand back in your pocket or whatever. It's not unusual in ISSF(it was ISU when I did it. Same thing.) Duello shooting. Doesn't take long to do with a bit of practice either.

October 11, 2008, 04:53 AM
Tim: I've been wondering about that idea, off and on, since I made the post. I haven't made any effort to pursue it further. Pretty obviously John did not get disqualified.
I have never seen anyone shoot a revolver this way in the sustained stages of Conventional pistol Bullseye. Doesn't mean that they don't or can't.
I have trouble envisioning explaining to a match official that I was not steadying the gun, I was merely cocking it. Then, again, maybe I would not have to explain.
Thanks for your input.

October 13, 2008, 07:15 AM
Using the non-shooting hand to cock a revolver in the timed or rapid fire stages would get you DQ'd at Camp Perry or any other match for that matter. If you check the NRA Conventional Pistol rule book, page 12, it shows the correct firing position with a pistol. The illustration shows the non-shooting hand and arm at the shooter's side so as to not interfere with his shooting hand. Unfortunately, the on-line version of the rule book does not include the illustrations.

October 13, 2008, 08:59 AM
CDRT: Thanks for that. I expected that to be so but since I don't know everything and the rule reads as it does, I was unsure. I did know that I'd get myself DQ'd if I did at any matches that I shoot.

October 14, 2008, 07:13 PM
It is possible to get a disability waiver to use the nonshooting hand. I know a friend who applied and recieved this waiver because of the limited rotation of his right thumb due to an injury. A permanent disability to his right hand. He is allowed to use the left hand to cock the revolver as other posters have described provided he displays the waiver to the line officers prior to shooting.

October 15, 2008, 11:21 AM
Properly referred to as a Bullseye "gun" or "tool".

"Weapon" is a word reserved for intent........inert objects require "intent" to become a "weapon".

I know, not very macho of me........

October 21, 2008, 05:05 AM
I received a note yesterday from Brian Zins who is in charge of pistol competitions for the NRA (and was 2007 Nat'l Pistol Champion).
Cocking the pistol with the non-shooting hand IS legal (Probably not news to John).
I'm trying to get a sense of how the shooter keeps the hand available for cocking without slowing down the shooting. A pic would be helpful. Maybe a video if anyone knows of one.

October 24, 2008, 05:41 PM
I'm trying to get a sense of how the shooter keeps the hand available for cocking without slowing down the shooting. A pic would be helpful. Maybe a video if anyone knows of one.

I'd also like to know how you can cock the revolver with one hand, while holding it and firing it with the other, and not have that construed as "artificial support", especially if you leave the non-firing hand up near the revolver so it's difficult for someone to see clearly what you are doing. I think it would give any line judge a headache trying to figure out if you did something illegal or not. In the ten second rapid fire, using the non-firing hand would be a hindrance and not a help.

Did Brian say if they were going to clarify the rules and make a change in the next rule book, or is this another "well a NRA guy told me this" type rule? We've had too many of those in the past and it just leads to confusion especially when it overlaps between NRA rules and CMP rules. Luckily the CMP does not have any revolver matches.

October 24, 2008, 07:00 PM
"Did Brian say if they were going to clarify the rules and make a change in the next rule book"
He wrote that the rules committee had discussed this idea just last week (two weeks ago now).
I have a similar view about the helping hand during the rapid strings. I'd really like to see how people go about it.
The big difficulty, Brian wrote, would be in the event that the shooter had alibi; the R.O. might easily see the second hand as an attempt to clear the gun.

Old Gaffer
October 24, 2008, 08:58 PM

Welcome to the deep end of the pool ;)

I've only been shooting BE pistol (or ANY pistol for that matter) for about 20 months, and I've learned a few things - just a few, mind you...

I strongly suggest you take the majority of your budget and buy a quality .22 pistol. My current pistol is a High Standard Victor, made in Texas. The Texas-made guns are reportedly "iffy" as to quality and are notorious for feeding problems, Mine works fine - I've heard that others have guns that won't shoot at all.

I suggest you start out with a Victor (or other military grip High Standard) made in either Hamden, Conn (first choice) or New Haven (2nd choice). Guns made in either location will outshoot you for the rest of your life, just as they have likely out shot their previous owners for theirs.

I made the "mistake", if you will, of starting off with an inexpensive 22 "just to see if I would stick with it". I bought a Browning Buckmark, and after several iterations of polishing this and tweaking that, I had a gun that I managed to shoot an 832/900 with. Not a bad score for someone shooting a year or so, but at that point, I was likely shooting at the upper limit of the gun. I'm now shooting closer to Master scores, and the fact that I don't is NOT my gun's fault, but mine. I trust my gun to hit point of aim every time, something I couldn't do with the Buckmark as I got better. I do keep the Buckmark in the range box for a loaner to new shooters - it's more than good enough for that.

So take the majority of your budget and get a good .22. Take the rest and get ammo and range time. BTW, I'm shooting Fiocchi, Eley Sport, and Federal 714 standard velocity ammo, none if which costs more than $3 a box and it all works great in my gun. You WILL have to go through several different ammos to find which one(s) your pistol likes, and once you do, buy it by the case so you don't have to worry about running out at the range, and I recommend NOT shooting high velocity ammo - the additional speed doesn't do anything for your accuracy, and can actually cause problems with some pistols.

All the best,

October 25, 2008, 04:14 PM
Brian and the others are also going to have to reconcile this rule for disabled shooters:

13.4 Adapted Shooting Position -
(a) In all single arm pistol events the non - shooting arm must be "at rest" on the competitor's lap. The non -shooting arm may not touch any part of the wheelchair. The non - shooting arm may not be used to provide added leverage by bracing against the opposite leg.

Reading this rule, disabled shooters cannot use the non-firing hand to cock the pistol. They probably forgot about this rule when they were discussing it, which is not surprising.