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Old November 2, 2008, 02:19 PM   #1
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Bullseye gun

I have been shooting .22 cal at the range and in club league for for a long while.

I have recently become interested in bullseye and have accumulated the funds for a "beginner" .45 cal so I can shoot the entire circuit.

I have shopped and run across the following used guns.

My question is are any of the following a good (great) starting place to build a bullseye worthy .45 cal.

1. S&W 1911 5-inch barrel - black
2. High Standard 1911 CAES - OD green
3. Springfield 1911A1 5FS - nickel
4. Dan Wesson PM7 1911 Pointman Match - Chrome, stainless, nickel?

Thanks for the help - Craig
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Old November 2, 2008, 02:54 PM   #2
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First thing I'd do is ask around in your league and see if anybody has a .45 they want to part with. You might find one already in match condition.

I'm pretty sure you aren't going to want a stainless steel gun as a basis for a bullseye gun. I believe the reason is that stainless frames and slides just don't respond well to the peening and squeezing a gunsmith must employ to tighten frame to slide fit. Chrome-moly steel is best for that.

Perhaps others can back me up on that. I'm pretty sure knowledgeable shooters pretty much panned Colt's stainless "Gold Cup National Match" pistols for this reason.

I wouldn't go with a nickel-plated either. My wadcutter gun IS nickel-plated, but it was plated after it had been built and fitted properly. The nickel-plating merely tightened tolerances a bit more.

Sooo, I guess where I would start in your situation is not with the gun precisely.

I'd start with finding a pistolsmith. I know of a few local ones in Ohio that are good for trigger jobs, barrel fitting, bushing fitting, slide to frame, etc. You don't need to send it to Clark's and wait for two years to get it back.

Once you find one, ask him what he'll work on. If he's fine with working on, say, a Rock Island Armory M1911, I'd go get one of those. I wouldn't spend much money on the base gun itself. Maybe a used Springfield Mil-spec, used Colt M1991A1. Something close to stock USGI. You're going to be replacing some of the parts anyway, so why spend money on a gun that has extended this or ambidextrous that?

Find a pistolsmith that can do the work and work your way up from there.

My advice, anyway...
Once you've got your sights adjusted to the ammunition you have, step away from the bench. In competition or the field...there are no benches.
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Old November 2, 2008, 04:05 PM   #3
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Bullseye gun

I'd go with the green. Everyone knows they are most accurate of all right out of the box.
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Old November 2, 2008, 04:09 PM   #4
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I'd look around for a used one that's already been accurized. If no one has one locally, try posting to the Bullseye-L mailing list, or TargetTalk's BE forum. They could also help you find an available pistol smith if you choose to go that way.

If you have someone build a BE gun for you, they're going to gut whatever you give them - so don't pay a premium for components.

Also CC is right, many smiths don't work on SS guns.

Of the guns you mention, the Springfield may be the best candidate - but it's nickle and I'm not sure of whether a nickle finish would hold-up to the bending and peening that goes into fitting the frame ( I didn't even know that Springfield made the GI in nickle).
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Old November 2, 2008, 04:12 PM   #5
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If you are getting into Bullseye, you are gonna want to shoot EIC matches. You will need a pistol that meets CMP Rules. Check with the members of your club for their recomendations for a EIC leagle 45 pistol or check the rules on the CMP website.
Kraig Stuart
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Old November 2, 2008, 08:10 PM   #6
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Bullseye gun

Another possiblity to explore does not include any of the above mentioned firearms. Since you are going to have what ever gun you get accurized, why not assmble the parts and have a competent smith build you one from scratch. Buy a Caspian frame or some such and a match barrel, etc.
Brownell's will have everything except the gunsmith.
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Old November 3, 2008, 09:05 AM   #7
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Probably one of the best platforms out there for building a Wad or EIC gun is Springfield's 1911A1 in either blue or parkerized finish. I used one of these for my EIC gun. I had a local pistolsmith add Bo-Mar sights, front strap stipling, trigger job, etc. I had a NM barrel and bushing laying around that I had him fit, but the barrel that came with the pistol was more than acceptable. All it would have needed was a fitted bushing since out-of-box it would keep shots in the ten ring at 25 yards.

I've also used it for regular NRA matches by changing out the recoil spring and shooting lighter loads. It will feed SWCs no problem.

Building a gun from the frame up is very expensive. Rather than go that route, you might as well buy a stock Les Baer or Clark Custom Guns pistol ( As you can see prices are getting up there for Bullseye pistols. Clark now wants $2695 for a .38 Special 1911; a far cry from the $400 it cost me back in 1982 to have one built on a Series 70 Colt. Total cost for my EIC gun was around $900.
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Old November 3, 2008, 11:19 AM   #8
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I've mentioned this gun in another thread, but it might be worth mentioning again.

I inspected a High Standard "Camp Perry Model" at Camp Perry this summer and came pretty close to buying it. The only thing that stopped me was the fact I already had a match-conditioned M92FS being delivered to me a day or two later.

High Standard seems to have a bad reputation for customer service on the internet. They built a red dot rimfire bull gun for me a few years ago and it worked fine, so I never had a chance to see what their customer service was like.

But the pistol I examined was very interesting.

The slide to frame, barrel to slide, bushing to slide, and barrel to bushing fit were all match-grade tight. They major components are from Armscor, the barrel is stamped "NM" and has a national match parts number. The bushing was also marked "NM" and would require a bushing wrench to remove and install.

Trigger pull was light and crisp. The front sight was a dovetailed number. The rear sight much like a Bomar. carries them. The one they picture appears to not be the actual Camp Perry Model, because the pictured one has a beavertail grip safety and commander hammer. The actual Camp Perry Model has a standard safety and hammer, as the regs require.

You might consider that.
Once you've got your sights adjusted to the ammunition you have, step away from the bench. In competition or the field...there are no benches.
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Old November 9, 2008, 10:09 PM   #9
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I agree with several of the previous posts, if you can get a used match gun, do it. But I would have it checked out by some one who knows .45 match guns, not just a general gunsmith, if possible. My first bullseye gun was a 70 series ball gun. I feel it made me a better shooter to use that for all the matches (centerfire, .45, and leg matches) because YOU still have to do the fundamentals (not the light trigger or the red dot). Plus you only need one type of round other than .22; not to mention you can shoot all the matches. If you get a high speed/low drag .45, you won't be able to shoot for distinguished points. And if you can get good with a ball gun, transitioning to a more match specific gun will be a breeze. When I did decide to have a match specific gun made, I selected my gunsmith first, and asked him what I should buy for him to build. That way I didn't buy a gun with goodies that got replaced anyway. I personally don't like "assembly line" match guns, they're always expensive, and I don't think thay shoot as well dollar for dollar with one made by a gunsmith you talk to that has his own shop.
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Old November 10, 2008, 05:48 AM   #10
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There has been a lot of tremendous advice here. That is what makes TFL great.

I plan to start shopping for a 'smith this week. I will report back, letting everyone know how it works out.


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Old November 10, 2008, 06:48 PM   #11
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1. I see you in Florida. Check out our private bullseye range and club in Hollywood
2. There are always bullseye .45's on the bullseye-l list. The list can be found on the bullseye encyclopedia.
3. I bought mine used from a club member, another club member spruced her up a little for me gratis. I saved a lot of money this way. I paid $600. My groups are as good as they were for me on a borrowed Les Baer. I'm still new to 45 but shooting 85's with it at 50 yards. $600. Be patient and you'll find one.
4. I know a guy who might have one still on the bullseye-l list. PM me your email and I'll send it to him.

If you are in Palm Beach County I know someone who is qualified to examine the used gun for you and/or make repairs. I cannot speak on his behalf but can pass your information to him if you decide to go that route. Only thing is he is out of town for 2 mos. right now.

IMHO building a gun is a waste of time/effort for a .45 novice. You don't know what you like yet, so how can you give specs you are 100% certain you won't want to change later? So buy used, figure out what you like, get better at .45 and re-evaluate in a few years.

If you want to buy new and be done with it, get a Les Baer, Wilson Combat, Springfield, etc. A new gun will hold a lot of value in resale or trade.

Lastly, not really OT...I would suggest you get a reloading press and supplies before getting the .45. You aren't going to want to run factory ammo through it. And unless you have a reliable source of bullseye handloads, its either going to get expensive or inconvenient fast.
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