I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

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I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by DavidR on Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:00 pm

Ive seen this typed here and hundreds of other places over the years as new comers ponder getting in the sport and what they should do to get started. Many say just buy anything you can then as you get better buy a better gun. Ive always said buy the best you can afford and here is where I developed my opinion. Its a good read, posted on the Bullseye Encyclopedia site by legendary bullseye gunsmith. Decide for yourself which you think is best.

Why a custom Bullseye gun is important.
First, let's get one thing straight. A custom gun isn't important for Bullseye shooting. An extremely accurate gun is. Unfortunately, it seems that the only way to get an extremely accurate gun that suits a Bullseye shooter's needs is to have one built.
Having said that, there's a simple answer with some complicated details to the "Why."
The simple answer is one word: "Competition."
"Competition" means this: You are no longer shooting just for fun (plinking). You are now shooting for score, no matter how casual the league or match may be. Against other shooters' scores and, most importantly, against your own previous scores (see figure 1).
Here are the complicated details:
Lots of folks say, "I'll use my stock gun, and when I can out-shoot IT, I'll get a custom." Well there is one thing right with this attitude, and three things wrong. The One Thing Right is, if you have absolutely no budget, at least you're participating in a great sport.
Wrong Thing #1: You will never be sure of how good you are when your equipment is questionable. How do you know when you are out-shooting your stock gun? When I test stock guns (all at 50 yards), they shoot groups from 4" (very rarely) to 14", most falling between 6" and 12". Let's say we put your stock gun into a Ransom Rest and find out it will group 8" at 50 yards.
 
Well, that's 8-ring accuracy (see figure 2). Now, in a match, if you shoot an 80, you may have just shot as well as a Ransom Rest (and, in counterpoint, with a good gun, you might have shot a 100-10x), or you may have just gotten lucky. There is no way to tell. In addition, most beginners have a decent wobble which, when added to the 8" capability of the gun, gives a very wide hit area. If you have an 8" wobble and a 8" gun, you have a theoretical group sizes of 16," which can put shots in the 5-ring or anything inside it (see figure 3). You can theoretically shoot a 50 or a 100-10x without any difference in your technique. However, if your gun shoots 2" and you have the same 8" wobble, that's a 10" group and you will score at least a 70 and most likely a 85 when you figure in the law of averages (you'd have to be really unlucky for all your shots to break only at the outside edges of your wobble) (see figure 4).
Wrong Thing #2: You can not develop the core skills you need using the wrong tools. You will never learn to throw a perfect spiral football pass using a tennis ball, no matter how much you practice. In theory, you can learn the perfect golf swing using lousy clubs, but you will never know you have the perfect swing because lousy clubs will spray the hits all over the golf course. The same with an inaccurate gun. With an 8" gun, even if you improve your wobble and reduce it to 6", you still have a theoretical spread of 14" and a score of from 60 to 100-10x. However, with a good gun, reducing your wobble like that would deliver at least a 90, and probably a 95, assuming your core skills are excellent.
That's another very important point to remember: A good gun will give you immediate feedback on your technique, good or bad. If you try, say, a different grip for your next target and shoot a 75 or a 95, that's instant, unquestionable feedback on the value of your change.
Wrong Thing #2a: You will develop bad habits with bad equipment. Only experts can pick up bad equipment and shoot it decently, and that's because they've already developed the core skills. How is a beginner going to learn proper trigger control with a 7-lb. trigger with a 1/4" of notchy travel? He or she will come up with strategies to compensate for bad equipment instead of improving their core skills.
Wrong Thing #3. You will become discouraged. No one can continue to shoot 20s and 30s next to people shooting 90s and 95s without a dip in morale, even with the nicest people next to you (and Bullseye shooters ARE the nicest people). Everyone needs reinforcement, and better scores are the best kind.
Bullseye is a great sport. Sure, go ahead and try it with a stock gun or -- better yet -- borrow a Bullseye gun (I guarantee you, if you show up at a club match and say you're interested in Bullseye but would like to try it first, someone there will lend you a good gun, good ammo and walk you through a match). But as soon as you decide you want to pursue this sport, figure out a way to upgrade your equipment

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by Jack H on Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:07 pm

I take kind of a middle ground, mostly depending though on the immediate goal of "learning to shoot" or "I gotta win, or I won't do it".  

I believe most any reasonable (let's not debate reasonable) pistol that can hit all black at 25 will do to "learn to shoot".  Fifty yards might not be reasonable for that pistol.  Take a Walther PPQ or Sig 228 or 220, or stock 92FS.  Learn it's and your capabilities and learn to shoot to them.  Check out what Joe L has been doing.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by Colt711 on Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:05 am

" A custom gun isn't important for Bullseye shooting. An extremely accurate gun is. "

We shouldn't lose sight that although Joe L. is not shooting a 1911 he is shooting an accurate gun.

Ron Habegger

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:57 am

American Rifleman had an excellent article in the 1980s written by a then-new champion in handgun silhouette (the NRA's different target, we won't adopt ANYONE's version of a shooting sport competition to IHMSA).

The key thesis and terminology was about how having an accurate handgun AND ammo combination, in effect, let you shoot at a larger target. The guy understood wobble area and explained it well.

IMO, when learning and training, being able to CALL every shot in both direction and distance from the X is a lot more important indicator of improvement than the score. In HP Rifle, I got fairly happy when I started shooting near-10-ring groups in RF, which let me start worrying about and working on getting a good zero.

The NRA article also recommended a full 30 shots to truly verify zero at each distance. There's some statistical validity to that approach (I remember something about the T-Test becoming a decent predictor of population stats at a sample size of 30).

For those who insist on starting out with a 9-ring gun chasing X-count scores, you will probably be ready for something better when more than three shots out of most strings are either 2 scoring rings worse, OR BETTER, than you called them. Assuming a decent zero and no flinching, of course.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:12 am

I'm really sick of the "you gotta buy a custom 1911 for $1800+" crowd.

Nobody is "chasing X-count scores", they are just shooting for scores, and I've shot long-line scores around 90 with a bone stock $300 GI Rock Island Armory gun.

Look, there just aren't enough guns that have been clamped into a ransom rest to know what's good and what's crap.

I just don't see the point in scaring away shooters that don't have the kind of gun that you think they should have.  If their gun shoots to call, and they are having fun, then it's all good.

Don't be gun snobs.  You all need to shoot more shots with "junk" and see just how good that stuff is.

If you usually shoot mid 80s in slow fire, you won't be able to tell if the gun is the problem anyway.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by Jack H on Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:37 am

I agree with Rob.  We all do not need an F1 car for grocery getting.

I think this is the point of the new NRA stuff.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by s1120 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:24 am

Rob Kovach wrote:I'm really sick of the "you gotta buy a custom 1911 for $1800+" crowd.

Nobody is "chasing X-count scores", they are just shooting for scores, and I've shot long-line scores around 90 with a bone stock $300 GI Rock Island Armory gun.

Look, there just aren't enough guns that have been clamped into a ransom rest to know what's good and what's crap.

I just don't see the point in scaring away shooters that don't have the kind of gun that you think they should have.  If their gun shoots to call, and they are having fun, then it's all good.

Don't be gun snobs.  You all need to shoot more shots with "junk" and see just how good that stuff is.

If you usually shoot mid 80s in slow fire, you won't be able to tell if the gun is the problem anyway.


I do agree. Im a new guy starting out and frankly if I was told that I cant compete unless I had a high end gun... well I would not even bother.  I have two kids that need a education, a house to payfor, and other bills. Shooting and bullseye is a hobby, and a way to meet people, and have fun. I just don't have the funds to eaven THINK about a high end, custom built BE gun. I would like to pickup a Springfield RO in the coming years.... but even that is a high dollar gun for me.  That being said... I DO understand that if your trying to be the best of the best, to realy kick some butt in the sport, ya, your going to have to pony up the green... but I belive...and maybe im off base here.. that most of us, want to have a good time, improve our selves, and ya, have a blast when you hit that next classification. Posting that you should not bother because you don't have a top end firearm, kinda defeats the purpose of trying to grow the sport.  Turns it into Nascar...  That being said, it does make sense that you should have the best, most accurate gun you can afford. but if it gets a guy out to the range, enjoying the sport, and building skill..what does it matter? Its the shooter that has to decide if he is being held back, and if he is happy where he is, and what he is shooting.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by SMBeyer on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:11 am

The equipment that you buy and shoot is solely up to you and the scores that you achieve with this equipment is relative.  Not everybody in this game has the same end goal.  Some guys are there just to get out of the house and have some interaction with others of the same interest.  Some guys just love to shoot and don't care what they are shooting as long as they are shooting something.  Some are there to move up to a higher class.  Some are content with staying in the marksmen class.  Therefore equipment means different things to different people.

If you are going to shoot 1-2 matches a year, not real concerned with being at the top of the score sheet and are there just to generally have a good time then buy and shoot that CZ, Sig, M&P, XD... whatever(or perhaps your goal is to see how well you can do with one of these?).  However the cost of the gun becomes insignificant if you shoot more.  If you figure in practice ammo, gas to go practice, range fees or club dues for a place to practice, travel to matches (we consider one of our close matches 2.5 hrs away and the further ones up to 5), food while your gone to these matches, match entry fees, wear and tear on your vehicle, etc.  The cost of the gun you are shooting is really a very small part of the equation.

The thought of this sport become an equipment race is kinda funny.  Isn't it already?  Not that the actual equipment even really means that much (remember relative) once you stand up and hold it in one hand.  Just look at this forum, it is all about equipment.  There are almost four times the amount of equipment/ammo posts than there are fundamentals posts.  Is this because equipment and ammo are so difficult to figure out and the fundamentals are such a breeze for everyone to figure out that it's just not necessary to discuss?  I'm pretty sure it's just the opposite.

I'm not knocking the guy who is shooting a $400 gun.  If that is what he can afford and he is on the line shooting like the rest of us then I will be glad to have him at one of my matches.  But I also don't think he is gonna stick with the sport for long.  The new shooters that I see stick with it either buy good guns suited for this game to start with or do so shortly after.

Scott

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by 243winxb on Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:11 pm

A GI Remington Rand 1911 for $90 got me started. Added Adj. Sights & barrel bushing. Later a series 70 Gold Cup. You got to start some where if funds are low. With different class levels to compete in, you may work you way up in class later.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by dronning on Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:35 pm

If you start out shooting a Ruger, Buckmark or other fairly accurate 22, using decent ammo, your 22 scores should dictate if it's time to consider that Springfield RO or better 45.  After shooting a few matches and you start shooting 200+ points higher in the 22 match than with the 45 it's more likely the gun than your technique.   Hard to do well or improve with a 6+ lb trigger or a gun that shoots a group the size of a dinner plate. 

Nothing more satisfying than to see the groups start to shrink and that occasional flyer disappear.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by Larry Lang on Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:37 pm

Jack H wrote:I agree with Rob.  We all do not need an F1 car for grocery getting.

I think this is the point of the new NRA stuff.
I am running a 3 gun 1800 (lunch break) and an NMC for "non-traditional handguns on Mar 1, in Puyallup, WA.
I've invited shooters from other disciplines to come after lunch and bring their DAs, striker-fires and Pythons and try out BE from 25 yards at a 50 yd center.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by sixftunda on Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:15 pm

I think that people are perceiving a gun snob mentality when it is not as prevalent as they might think.  
Your performance will be limited by the equipment (gun and ammo) you use and your consistent use of fundamentals.  That is what the article posted is trying to tell you. 

What the experienced shooters here are trying to tell new shooters is that you must understand the limitations of a gun that is not accurate combined with the limitations involved with poor execution of fundamentals. I know from my own experience that it is hard to help a shooter that wants help if their equipment is not accurate.  An accurate gun eliminates one of the variables.  

New shooters or those starting out in the Production category might get the feeling we are snobs but the truth is that the vast majority of us here don't have any experience with shooting a stock gun fifty yards.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by s1120 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:08 pm

243winxb wrote:A GI Remington Rand 1911 for $90  got me started. Added Adj. Sights & barrel bushing. Later a  series 70 Gold Cup. You got to start some where if funds are low.  With  different class levels to compete in, you may work you way up in class later.

sounds like what my dad did. i still have his old RR bullseye pistol

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by CR10X on Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:02 pm

I know, its another post from the old dude.  But I would like to say that this subject keeps coming up and I'd like to see if we can help shooters tackle this issue from another perspective.  

I think that the best thing a starting / returning / less experienced bullseye shooter can do is get a good .22 and shoot it until they can understand what it means to "see" the sight / dot, understand what their wobble area is, make a group (and I mean a 8 ring or less group), call the shots, and have fun by getting to be a better shot. That way, by they time they learn how to shoot well, they will have a better opinion of exactly what they want out of the sport and can make a better decision on what they want for centerfire / .45.  That will completely take out most of the "I need X'$s to compete".  If more shooters would just sink some money into a GOOD .22; then they will have to opportunity to learn faster, invest less money overall, have a better experience and get back darn near all their money if they decide bullseye ain't their cup of tea.  

I've seen more shooters not improve, slow their progress, or simply give up by trying to shoot centerfire / .45 too soon. Shooting a bigger gun is just going to make seeing that flinch / anticipation / jerk or whatever messed up the shot just that much harder to finally see so they can understand what's happening.  

I know everyone wants to shoot what everybody else is shooting or just get a .45, but the name of the game should be constant, consistent improvement.  I can't tell anybody what to do or not do, people will do what they think will make them happy.  But like a lot of golfers I see in the rough that will not take a lesson and learn the basics, they don't look like their having as much fun as they could.  Sometimes I just want to ask, "What would make you happier, shooting a 90 slow fire with a .22 or a 56 with 2 misses with a .45?"  If it's the latter, then most people seem to be on the path to happiness. 

Everytime I hear somebody say I'll start with a X .45 and shoot it until I need something else, I just see a long, long road ahead for most.  When I hear somebody say I'm going to shoot my Ruger until I'm consistently above 850, I'm probably looking at another High Master in the making. That guy will know exactly what .45 he will want when he gets there. 

Sorry to digress from the original path of this thread, but I'm in the middle of some thoughtful reflection on my shooting and learning process and this thread kinda started me reflecting on how I started to learn how to shoot bullseye.  (Not to imply that I have enough yet by any means.)  

Cecil


Last edited by CR10X on Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:05 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Still can't spell)

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:14 pm

Wow, I thought of writing chasing scores based on a 3.3 inch 10-ring, or something else with more words trying to convey that it's not the black bull we want to hit it's the center of the thing. X-whatever score chasing started a minor poop-storm or something.

It's been FOREVER since I bought a new gun, and I completely understand having higher priorities to spend one's money on. I longed for a 6-inch .357 for almost 10 years before I finally scored one. But the true point of what I'm trying to say is that if a shooter's pistol doesn't meet some level of reliable accuracy with the ammo of choice, then the shooter will probably NEVER KNOW whether he or she is reaching any point of improvement where a better firearm would be beneficial.

Breaking the shot on the edge of the black and getting an X, because of mechanical accuracy issues, is a false accomplishment. Breaking a shot in the X with a 9-ring capable gun and getting a 9 despite perfect execution of fundamentals could still provide useful feedback. And breaking a shot in the X with a 10-ring capable gun but getting a wide 9 because of poor technique is the same score if you are using ONLY that number to gauge improvement BUT provides GREAT feedback because the discrepancy between call and where the bullet went can be reliably laid at the feet of the shooter and no other factor.

So, if the handgun is not capable of holding the middle of the 9 ring at 50, I say the shooter who is improving won't have reliable indicators of improvement. On the other hand, a gun that will hold INSIDE the 10-ring at 25 yards could be good enough if the shooter doesn't use the long line for guidance. And a person honest enough with himself to acknowledge that the called 9 could go a full scoring ring in either direction would get the most benefit from "shoot what ya brung" despite less than 10-ring accuracy.

If the gun is too inaccurate, you'll just be trying to evaluate improvement with a coarse measuring stick, and will get stuck score-wise without knowing if it's you or the gun or the ammo.

All this is way, way less of a problem if the Masters class shooters make the newbie fire a SF string with their proven gun/ammo combination at least twice a year.  For the sake of egos, I recommend that over having the master shooter fire a string with the newbie's gun--at least very often.

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by james r chapman on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:41 pm

I like that idea....

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Re: I will start with a Stock 1911 then move up as i improve

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:58 pm

I also agree with that.  I'm betting that even the worst beginner's gun shoots only a handful of points lower in the hands of a master.

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