.45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

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.45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by ChrisD46 on Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:34 am

New to .45ACP Bullseye - I understand the difference in ammunition but I am a little confused about the application / usage of each . Are there different Bullseye events / matches for Wad Pistols vs. Hard Ball Pistols ?

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by BE Mike on Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:17 am

Generally speaking, the wad guns are used in NRA approved and registered tournaments, i.e. outdoor 2700's, 1800's and indoor 1800's etc. The modifications to the pistol for these matches allow things like a 3.5# trigger, scope, beavertail safety, etc. The ammo used in these matches, usually includes a 185 grain to 200 grain semi-wadcutter bullet, hence "wad" gun. Hard Ball ammo and 230 grain full metal jacketed bullets may be used in these competition, because they meet the NRA equipment rules.

Hard ball guns and ammo are used for matches which are run by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The NRA and CMP are completely separate organizations. The matches are generally referred to as "leg" matches, hardball matches, or excellence-in-competition matches. These are just different names for the same match. These matches usually accompany registered NRA matches, i.e. state, regional, sectional or national matches. The CMP leg matches are shot as separate matches. They are 30 shot matches (ten shots slow fire; ten shots timed fire and ten shots rapid fire). The top 10% of non-distinguished (haven't earned the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge) earn points towards the badge. The pistol used must have the outward appearance of an issued 1911 pistol or Beretta M-9 pistol with certain exceptions (like adjustable iron sights). No telescopic sights or red dots are allowed. The minimum trigger pull must not be less than 4#. The pistol may be internally accurized to include a match barrel, etc. The ammunition used must have a full metal jacketed bullet of a prescribed weight (230 grains for the .45 ACP).

If your goal to earn a Distinguished Pistol Shot badge, which is highly coveted, you must get a pistol which meets the rules and shoot the leg matches. At the same time, you can use that pistol and ammo to shoot the NRA matches. OTOH, if your goal is to become a 2600 shooter or high master, you can get a .22 pistol and wad gun and go for it.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by ChrisD46 on Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:34 am

Thanks BE Mike ! I very much apopreciate the explaination - now I have a reason to aspire for not one but two .45ACP 1911's Smile

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by DavidR on Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:57 am

Your chance's to shoot a CMP leg match will be limited mostly at a State or Regional match and Camp Perry Nationals, plus you are only allowed to shoot in a total of 3 per year + camp Perry, so your best bet is to get the wad gun then latter add a ball gun.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by jakuda on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:59 pm

If you do get interested in EIC/Distinguished matches, make sure to download the rule book from the CMP website and check the equipment portion of the book for pistols. There is an easy table there that lists the allowable modifications/grips. Something as benign as unmatched grip panels will DQ you unless you swap them out.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Toz35m on Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:13 pm

I have a 45 set up so i can swap back and forth between the 2.

I have a second spring to change the trigger weight back and forth but I just keep it on the 4# and mostly shoot iron sights. I do have a shortened rib I can attach to my slide so i do not have to remove the rear sight and this allows me to mount a dot.

If you are starting out and have good eyes I would highly recommend not shooting a dot to early. It will help your scores in the near term but if you shoot irons you will learn more and your scores will end up higher in the end.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by sixftunda on Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:09 pm

Toz35m

Could you post a pic of the rib you use and tell us where you got it from. I am very interested in it.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by jakuda on Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:03 am

Perhaps it's just a cut rib to allow the rear sight to remain at the expense of fewer screws to hold it in place? Just a guess.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Toz35m on Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:07 pm

I will try and post a pic this weekend. Lucky for me I live in Oregon and have access to Mel Makin and Roddy Toyota some great gunsmiths.

What Mel did was cut the rear of the rib off completely so it stopped in front of the rear sight. Then he cut a slot to go around the front sight. Only 3 screws hold it down which he used the next size of screw up from what is standard. I do not remember what size he use.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Toz35m on Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:40 pm


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maybe this is a new topic

Post by tenx9 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:47 pm

I've been out of bullseye for quite some time. I was reluctant to have a ball gun made in .45 simply because of the added expense of having one built, the amount of matches in my area (not many) and frankly the recoil and heavy trigger of such a gun. We had to use military ammo in those days. Now I hear you can reload your own amd shoot a 9mm besides. Obviously, not the same challenge. Question is: what is the best way go these days? I've never shot the new nines. Do they have decent triggers? Or is that the problem. Because obviously, 9mm recoil is the way to go. If it is, then what gunsmith is the guy whose building the nines? Thanks for your input

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by DavidR on Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:56 pm

A 9mm has to be pushed hard to be accurate at 50 yards, recoil is not much if any lighter with good match ammo. The Beretta 9mm needs plenty of work to be competition ready so they really are no cheaper to build than a 1911. A stock Beretta will need a match grade barrel, a set of adjustable sights, trigger job at minimum to compete, plus getting 9mm reloads to be accurate at 50 requires more work than 45 loads. These are just my opinions from my experience building and loading for both type guns for CMP matches. 1911 is the better choice. IMO

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by tenx9 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:06 pm

thanks for the input. Will search a few more forums, get some more opinions and make my decision.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Rob Kovach on Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:27 am

Here is my ball gun with my rail mounted on it. I used a flat file to give enough space for the rear sight and filed a notch into the rail for the front sight. I don't mind the extra weight on the trigger. I'm sure it takes a few points away but I can still shoot in the 90's in slow fire so it must not be too bad. I use it for wadcutters at 25yds and indoors 50' and it works good w/ JHP's at 50yds.


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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by davekp on Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:07 am

Rob Kovach wrote:Here is my ball gun with my rail mounted on it. I used a flat file to give enough space for the rear sight and filed a notch into the rail for the front sight. I don't mind the extra weight on the trigger. I'm sure it takes a few points away but I can still shoot in the 90's in slow fire so it must not be too bad. I use it for wadcutters at 25yds and indoors 50' and it works good w/ JHP's at 50yds.

But what you have here is a ball gun adapted for use as a wad gun, that is no longer legal for hardball. Not the optimun way to get a wad gun.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Jack H on Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:47 pm

If you take the scope and rail off, the remaining holes do not disqualify it as a ball gun.
"Holes, filled or unfilled, that are drilled in the slide to facilitate optical sightmounting are not considered external alterations and are permitted."

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by davekp on Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:08 pm

Jack H wrote:If you take the scope and rail off, the remaining holes do not disqualify it as a ball gun.
"Holes, filled or unfilled, that are drilled in the slide to facilitate optical sightmounting are not considered external alterations and are permitted."

True, but to what end?

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Jack H on Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:16 pm

I am not sure what point yours is. Nowadays you can scope a hardball 45, and you can beavertail one. Take those thing back off and if everything else is ok, it's a hardball 45.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Rob Kovach on Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:54 am

Dave,

Jack is right. It takes me just a few seconds to take my rail off, and when I put it back on, my zero is still right on, or darn close to it. I shot a 94 slow fire with it in a match today, and shot an 86 slow in the National Pistol Individual Match at Camp Perry this summer. My gun was one that got inspected on the line in that match and it passed inspection.

To what end? I can shoot in a leg match, and help another shooter get his leg. What better reason is there?

I think every bullseye shooter should have 1 CMP legal gun in their box for that same reason. I'd say that my gun shows how easy it is to have a CMP legal gun that serves as a great Wad Gun too.

I find shooting well in a leg match is very pleasing to me. For those who haven't tried it, I recommend it very much.

Oh, and by the way, that gun is a converted beaver tailed, ambi safety, gun that had a skeletonized hammer, and a solid recoil spring guide rod. It's not hard to convert one either.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by davekp on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:18 am

For me, I think taking the rail off and putting it back on is too much work and chance for screw-ups, especially if it is a 1 or 2 day match. Do you change the recoil spring as well? I think a dedicated wad gun and seperate dedicated ball gun is best, but I see the reasoning for one, if money is a big concern.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Rob Kovach on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:52 pm

Yes, I change the recoil spring--but that's normal for an ammo change.

Removing and reinstalling the rail is not hard work and I can't think of a way to screw it up. All of the Ball matches that I have shot come after the NRA match, so I just take the rail off, and I don't have to put it back on until after I get home.

My point is that it is easy and possible to own 1 gun that does both, and does both very well. Sure a dedicated wad gun and a separate dedicated ball gun is "best" but if everyone in this game did what was "best" we would all have $5000 customs. Let's try to keep the posts focused on what is working instead of criticizing how others are doing it.


Last edited by Rob Kovach on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:05 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Rob Kovach on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:58 pm

Here's another view of my rail around the rear sight: I just used a flat file to provide enough room for it. It was designed for 3 screws. I use blue lock tite stick to prep the threads for each use, and I've never had any trouble with the off and on, and it doesn't come loose.

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ok I give up.

Post by tenx9 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:24 am

Im guessing no one uses a 9mm hardball gun. No insult sir, but converting your wad gun, is frankly not the way to go. If you can shoot in the 90's slowfire with iron sights, a 4lb trigger shooting 230g ball ammo as a sharpshooter you definately got a huge future in bullseye. And frankly, it doesnt matter what you shoot. For us mortals any edge is a good edge. I just figured the 9mm was the way to go. Good luck to you.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by Rob Kovach on Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:37 am

Rob Kovach wrote:
Let's try to keep the posts focused on what is working instead of criticizing how others are doing it.

tenx9, the OP is about the difference between .45ACP Wadguns and Ball guns. My posts are about how you can shoot in both NRA (Wad gun) matches, and CMP (Ball Gun) Matches with the same gun. I even said it's not optimal but we don't need to rip on it.

BE Mike wrote:
If your goal to earn a Distinguished Pistol Shot badge, which is highly coveted, you must get a pistol which meets the rules and shoot the leg matches. At the same time, you can use that pistol and ammo to shoot the NRA matches. OTOH, if your goal is to become a 2600 shooter or high master, you can get a .22 pistol and wad gun and go for it.

My goal is to earn a Distinguished Pistol Badge. That's why I shoot a CMP legal gun. Until I earn my DP, I am going to keep shooting the 4lb trigger.

Meanwhile, I'm not going to tell you that shooting a hardball M9 isn't the way to go. It's the way to go if that's what you enjoy and it's the gun you need to do to reach your goal.

All of the military teams have guys shooting 9mm Hardball guns. Start a new post that is just about 9mm ball guns with your specific questions. I know there are some members that have your answers.

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

Post by tenx9 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:16 am

oh boy....I was clearly misunderstood and I apologize if you thought that was a negative comment. I did in fact applaud your ability. I've seen master shooters barely break into the 260's and those scores are far beyond my ability the few times I borrowed a hardball gun. So just ignore my post, I'll just read...have a terrific holiday season......

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Re: .45ACP Wad Pistol vs. Hardball Pistol

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