Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

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Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by zanemoseley on 7/31/2016, 1:58 pm

I've been shooting bullseye with my Les Baer Concept III (stainless frame, blued slide) shooting with stock irons. I've been shooting my home cast 185 grain long nose SWC bullets, they look similar to a 200 grain H&G 68 profile. From a Random Rest my load groups 1.75-2.125 at 25 yards over 10 shots, not horrible but could be better. I've tried my buddies 185 button nose load but it doesn't feed well in my gun.

For next season I'd like to move to a red dot and try to shoot the 185 button nose bullets. I can't decide if I should spend the cash to add a sight base to my Les Baer and get it shooting button nose loads, possibly a bit of accurizing or if I should just sell it and keep an eye out for a gently used bullseye wad gun.

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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by AllAces on 7/31/2016, 2:14 pm

Sell the Les Baer and invest the money in a Range Officer based wad gun built by a bullseye gunsmith such as Dave Salyer.  I've known several shooters who spent big money on Les Baer's only to be consistently out scored by shooters with Range Officers.  With a RO built by someone such as Salyer you will get the springs matched to the ammo you shoot.  My RO will consistently group under 1.5 inches at 50 yards.
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by DavidR on 7/31/2016, 3:03 pm

Try using a metalform magazine, the les baers are shipped with mags made by Wilson and sometimes they don't feed short bullets that well or switch to a magnus or zero 185 lswc or even better the 185 fmj-hp they will feed and are more accurate than the button nose. Nothing wrong with the les baer they are miles ahead of a range officer. If you want just try a  dot, get the BME grip mount its about 60 bucks and works well.
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by Jon Eulette on 7/31/2016, 3:17 pm

I work on a lot of Les Baer pistols. They are outstanding when re-barreled. Most Baer barrels are not fit to well. If you are trying to do it for less money you can put a Kart in it and and slide mount. I know you tested at 25 yds; a good BE pistol will literally one hole 25 yds. I like the Baers once rebuilt.
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by zanemoseley on 7/31/2016, 5:39 pm

I just looked up a Kart barrel which runs about $200 with bushing and a Bar Sto barrel is about $230. That doesn't seem to be a big difference. Is there a much nicer barrel than a Bar Sto? I'm not sure I shoot better than my standard barrel, my best score is only about 2250, typically I shoot less than that. I'm still trying to overcome recoil anticipation. I shoot almost 800 in the 22 class so I have a bit more potential if I can get past the recoil. One thing I noticed while shooting by buddy's wad gun with red dot this weekend is that it had less recoil than my pistol. I think part of it is from the load but I think the red dot smooths out the slide a bit too.

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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by Jon Eulette on 7/31/2016, 6:04 pm

Bar-sto is extra proud of their barrels and arpe high priced in my opinion. They use SS and Kart uses chromoly steel. I personally prefer the Kart barrel. I hard fit my barrels and like how the Kart responds during fitting over the Bar-sto. I just fit my first Bar-sto barrel in several years and it reinforced my preference for the Kart. I won't say one shoots better than another, so in my opinion they're equals. The barrel fit is more important than the barrel you buy! Obviously a top brand barrel.
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by weber1b on 7/31/2016, 7:14 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:I work on a lot of Les Baer pistols. They are outstanding when re-barreled. Most Baer barrels are not fit to well. If you are trying to do it for less money you can put a Kart in it and and slide mount. I know you tested at 25 yds; a good BE pistol will literally one hole 25 yds. I like the Baers once rebuilt.
Jon
Sad statement that you have to re-work a pistol that costs as much as a Les Baer.

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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by Wobbley on 7/31/2016, 7:50 pm

In strict economic terms, it probably best to tune up the Baer.  For the price of a properly fitted barrel the gun will be competitive.  If you sell then buy a used gun you may end up doing as much.

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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by dronning on 7/31/2016, 8:25 pm

Jon Eulette wrote: Most Baer barrels are not fit to well. 

My LB wad gun was done correctly by LB, no need for any work.  It shot sub 2" groups out of the box.  I have picked up a couple of other LB that were great carry guns but would not cut it for precision shooting.

- Dave
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by Chris Miceli on 7/31/2016, 9:37 pm

I had Jon rebarrel a new to me Wadgun.  Here is a 50 yard slow fire from Perry shot from my hand factory zero 185jhp. The BE smiths on the forum will get your gun very accurate.

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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by BE Mike on 8/1/2016, 10:25 am

I never had a pistol that liked button nose 185's. They never seemed to group as well as long nosed bullets at 50 yds. and/ or they wouldn't feed reliably. Sometimes, if you can have a bullseye pistolsmith adjust the mags, they will feed. It would be more cost effective to have your Les Baer accurized than to buy a new accurized pistol. If I were in your shoes, and I have been at one time, I'd stick with Zero 185 gr. SWCHP or 200 gr. SWC swaged bullets or a good cast 200 gr. bullet from Magnus, et al, after the pistol is accurized. Some pistolsmiths will machine rest test the pistol with different loads for a small fee. This can aid you in loading an identical round to get maximum accuracy. BTW, I have never seen a good pistol that wouldn't shoot a Nosler 185 gr. JHP at the long line, with the right powder charge. I hear that the Zero 185 gr. JHP will also keep most of them in the X at 50 yds.
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by rich.tullo on 8/1/2016, 2:22 pm

From my experience, I would get a good used wad-gun from a local guy see how you like it, Once you are shooting that well and decided bulls eye is for you then get the Les Baer redone. My guess a 900 score in the 700 to 800 range is very possible with your les baer. 

I never had a bad les baer but I guess after 10,000 rounds some won't print. Getting a gun redone will cost +$1200 to $2000 depending on what you want. A used wadgun from Madore, Clark, Giles, ect can be found for less than $2000. Do not let looks influence you consideration. Most good guns will be battle worn. 

I bought a Madore for $1000 and had some work done (it did not need a barrel) and it cost me $1500 with shipping. with the right ammo it will shoot out the B6 X ring all day long. 

The wait to get you gun back from a top smith could be 2 to 6 months and that is something to consider. 

KC, Jon, or Rodey Toyota are the guys to get you started if you want a gun redone. 

There are only two BN that are any good, the Magnus 801 and Taurus Swagged 200gn BNWC if you can find them. 

I am a big fan of the ZERO 185gn hpswc , but a 200gn swc is hard to beat, I scored a guy that shot 2630 with them.
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by zanemoseley on 8/1/2016, 5:28 pm

Well last year when I was practicing more I shot a 743 with the Les Baer with home cast loads. I'm sure in the hands of someone skilled it would do a lot better. My best score with a .22 is just 793 which I believe to be my current potential when you take out my recoil anticipation from the 45. Honestly this is a tough decision because after I drill and tap the Les Baer the value will plummet so I'm kind of at a crossroads. I'm talking with Jon and KC to look at my options before I decide one way or the other.

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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by LenV on 8/1/2016, 5:58 pm

Tough call. I think you ought to trade it to me for my RO that I have set up to do wad. I guarantee that it will shoot master scores. On a serious note and not still trying to con you out of your LB why don't you take DavidR's advice and change magazines (and recoil spring) and give the LB a chance. They make some nice grip mounts to let you shoot dots on the pistol without drilling. When you start breaking 800 regularly and feel the pistol is holding you back then look at this issue again. Save some money over time (while getting better) then have a dedicated pistol made for you. This takes time. While your waiting for your new/built pistol you won't be without a 45 for all those months.

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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by rich.tullo on 8/1/2016, 8:16 pm

OldMaster66 wrote:Tough call. I think you ought to trade it to me for my RO that I have set up to do wad. I guarantee that it will shoot master scores. On a serious note and not still trying to con you out of your LB why don't you take DavidR's advice and change magazines (and recoil spring) and give the LB a chance. They make some nice grip mounts to let you shoot dots on the pistol without drilling. When you start breaking 800 regularly and feel the pistol is holding you back then look at this issue again. Save some money over time (while getting better) then have a dedicated pistol made for you. This takes time. While your waiting for your new/built pistol you won't be without a 45 for all those months.

Len
Agreed , and if your eyes are good you do not need a red dot. You will need a #19 main spring, a #14  recoil spring if you plan of shooting light loads. I like C&S sear springs adjusted to 3.5 to 4 lbs. 

If you are very careful with measuring you can order a EGW bushing and that may tighten up the 50 yard print
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by DavidR on 8/2/2016, 11:21 am

weber1b wrote:
Jon Eulette wrote:I work on a lot of Les Baer pistols. They are outstanding when re-barreled. Most Baer barrels are not fit to well. If you are trying to do it for less money you can put a Kart in it and and slide mount. I know you tested at 25 yds; a good BE pistol will literally one hole 25 yds. I like the Baers once rebuilt.
Jon
Sad statement that you have to re-work a pistol that costs as much as a Les Baer.
Everybody has their own opinions, here is mine on Les Baer guns... Ive personally owned many and still do, and as a FFL dealer for 27 years bought and sold a huge amount of Les Baer guns. ive  ransome tested dozens and all shot well under 3'' at 50 yds most were closer to 2'' with a multitude of hand loads. I  found none that were sub grade, compared to what you can buy at the 2k range nothing is better. The National Match barrels used are top notch every bit as good as any you can buy and made by a company many here rave about just not branded as Les ordered them that way. The only issue ive noticed is his trigger jobs are not as good as they once were. Now could you have gotten one that has a barrel issue sure, nothing mechanical built by humans is a 100% perfect every time, no matter who it is. Before I sent one anywhere for a rebuild I would have it checked with quality ammo known to produce good groups and also hand fired by someone who has good shooting ability. A story... I have seen this twice, at state match on practice day a friend was having a bad day, B.Zins and the marine team were there as well, Zins was sort of coaching us and my friend asked him to look at his gun, he told him it wouldn't group well anymore. Brian picked it up, no sight changes nothing and fired a 100 4x at 25 yds. So just because you cant get the groups you want, don't rule out yourself or your ammo as the issue and go throwing money at a gun that might be just fine before you check all the variables. Also if your gun has a true issue, call Les, In my experience they have always stood behind what they sell long as it hasn't been monkeyed around with by some one else.


Last edited by DavidR on 8/2/2016, 11:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by jmdavis on 8/2/2016, 11:35 am

DavidR wrote:Brian picked it up, no sight changes nothing and fired a 100 4x at 25 yds. 

I saw the same thing at a class where he shot a 50-5x with one mag with a gun that didn't appear to want to shoot a 70-0x with 10 shots.
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by rich.tullo on 8/2/2016, 3:08 pm

jmdavis wrote:
DavidR wrote:Brian picked it up, no sight changes nothing and fired a 100 4x at 25 yds. 

I saw the same thing at a class where he shot a 50-5x with one mag with a gun that didn't appear to want to shoot a 70-0x with 10 shots.


How big is the 10 ring at 50 25 yards? 3.4 inches? A gun that holds 4 inches in the hands of a high master should shoot in the mid 90's and yield a better than 50/50 probability that he will clean it if he shoots ten perfect shots.
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by zanemoseley on 8/4/2016, 7:49 pm

Its funny how things fall in your lap sometimes. I was going back and forth in my head about whether to work on my Baer or buy/build another gun. I was talking with Jon and almost had myself talked into having him build me a top notch custom pistol when a great buy fell into my lap. 

I live in a small city of about 50,000 and there's only a handful of bullseye shooters, in the 2 years I've shot bullseye I've yet to see a pistol for sale locally. Well yesterday one of my shooting buddies text me and said another guy was getting out of the sport due to arthritis in his hands which was a shame but he was selling his equipment. So I picked up a Les Baer Wad pistol in nice shape with 1.600" original target, les baer soft case, 7 magazines, custom RH grips which I'll sell being a LH shooter, Ultradot Matchdot 2, 750 Magnus 185 grain bullets and probably 1500 pieces of brass for $1600, I was pleased with the deal to say the least. I should be able to sell my Les Baer Concept III for about $1500 so the deal is almost a wash. 

I loaded some of the Magnus bullets with 3.6 WST which is what he said shot well (seemed a bit light to me) and went to the range today after work. I sighted it in and was amazed how well I was shooting, my best target on slowfire (25yd) was a 90, with my old gun my 45 slow fire average was probably in the low-mid 70's (been struggling with recoil on the 45). I can tell the red dot and reduced recoil of this load is going to help immensely. 

Jon was very responsive, informative and friendly over PM & email. He's definitely going to be the next smith to get business from me.

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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by zanemoseley on 8/4/2016, 7:56 pm

Here's the new (to me) pistol with the upgraded RH grips. I'm going to let a shooting buddy try the grips and see if he wants them, they may be up for sale shortly.



Got the grips swapped back to original, both my Baer's side by side. Its gonna be like giving up a child selling the one Baer though lol.



And here's the original test target from Baer.


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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by Allen Barnett on 8/4/2016, 8:16 pm

I was going to suggest you keep your Les Baer and find a wad gun.  lol seems as if you found your wad gun.  Now just hang on to your Les Baer and use it for/as a ball gun in EIC matches.  Funny how things sometimes work out.

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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by DavidR on 8/5/2016, 9:41 am

why sell the other, if you ever plan to shoot cmp matches its perfect now that the rules were relaxed, just load some zero 185 fmj-hp bullets with 4.6 of wst or 4.5 of bullseye and ready to go. Besides you always need a back up gun if you go to a lot of matches.
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by Jerry Keefer on 8/5/2016, 1:20 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:I work on a lot of Les Baer pistols. They are outstanding when re-barreled. Most Baer barrels are not fit to well. If you are trying to do it for less money you can put a Kart in it and and slide mount. I know you tested at 25 yds; a good BE pistol will literally one hole 25 yds. I like the Baers once rebuilt.
Jon
I stand with Jon on this... I was a staunch  fan in the early days, and  even built a number of record setters.. there are better options now.. The mass production company does not exist that can offer a bullseye quality gun that can match that of  a skilled smith.. I have also rebuilt my share.. and the barrel fit is a not work of art..  And I have more stories, but I'll leave it at that..
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by DavidR on 8/5/2016, 4:15 pm

Jerry Keefer wrote:
Jon Eulette wrote:I work on a lot of Les Baer pistols. They are outstanding when re-barreled. Most Baer barrels are not fit to well. If you are trying to do it for less money you can put a Kart in it and and slide mount. I know you tested at 25 yds; a good BE pistol will literally one hole 25 yds. I like the Baers once rebuilt.
Jon
I stand with Jon on this... I was a staunch  fan in the early days, and  even built a number of record setters.. there are better options now.. The mass production company does not exist that can offer a bullseye quality gun that can match that of  a skilled smith.. I have also rebuilt my share.. and the barrel fit is a not work of art..  And I have more stories, but I'll leave it at that..
Jerry what you and Jon say say is true, even if baer is built by a small crew and not a super mass produced factory like Taurus,SW Colt or others, and that a top gunsmith like either of you could better them in many ways. However please tell where the better option is? I think I can safely say neither one of you or KC or other top level gunsmith I know of will build a equal or better gun for someone  for 2 grand. If so I have never seen one. For the price point I stick by the fact the Les Baer beats all others in the 2k and below price range next would be Rock River at 2500.00. With all due respect everyone doesnt have 3500-6 grand to buy a wad gun and wait time from a top smith can be many months or years. Ive seen and tested many baer guns that will shoot right along side the best of them. Oh and I will throw this out there for the Range Officer fans myself included, the frame/slide and all internal parts of a baer gun are vastly superior to everything used to build the springfield RO, no offence meant , the fact is they could not sell one for 800.00 if it was
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

Post by Chris Miceli on 8/5/2016, 4:59 pm

my Springfield custom shop was cheaper than a Baer
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Re: Need pistol advice, fix up my Les Baer or buy used wad gun?

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