CF Pistol Options question - 1911 in .38 Special

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Post by Oleg G on Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:38 am

First topic message reminder :

Folks,

Looking for help to make a decision.
All this year I have been shooting a .22 conversion 1911 pistol with a 3.5 lb trigger. I am doing it for two reasons:

1. Get my fundamentals well developed and prepare myself to shooting a .45 and
2. Give myself time to recover from tendonitis in my elbow. I had a PRP procedure done at the end of last year and want to have the elbow heal properly.

A couple of weeks ago I took my .45 for a live ammo training session at the range. After shooting 90 rounds, my elbow felt uncomfortable. No pain, but something did not feel quite right. I don't yet know, if this is something that I will have to be mindful of for awhile, or whether I will be able to train with and shoot .45 in the matches.

Looking at the worst option, I can choose to either:
1. Resign to shooting .22-only and not even think  of picking up the .45 or,
2. Find a low-recoil option for CF and hope that my elbow will hold up to 90 rounds of .45 at a match and very limited live fire training with .45

For option 2, an additional factor is that I don't reload and have no plans to start reloading in a foreseeable future (for a variety of reasons). Therefore, I am looking at an auto-loader in .38 special. I can purchase the ammo from Zero and couple of other good brands for reasonable cost and the ammo is readily available. 

I am leaning towards a 1911 in .38 Special. From this forum and other shooters, I hear that model 52 is very difficult to shoot well - "unforgiving" is the word I keep coming across. Additionally, I can stay with the 1911 platform for all 3 guns in a 2700 match and don't have to learn different triggers, grips, etc.

Of course, the best option would be to shoot such a pistol and determine for myself how my elbow reacts and how I feel about shooting the pistol. Alas, these appear to be very rear and I don't know anyone with such a pistol. Therefore, I am asking the sages on the forum to validate my options or to offer different ones.

Thanks,
Oleg.
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Post by Oleg G on Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:51 pm

Mike,

I'm going to "ignore this response." Smile I dry fire 4-5 times per week. In my dry fire I use both my .22 pistol (conversion) and my .45 pistol. Both are 1911 platforms with approximately the same weight. Both have roll  triggers set to 3.5 lb. Both have exactly the same grips installed. I fire between 60 and 120 dry shot per session - depending on which elements of my shot process I am working on.
My elbow is fine.
Moreover, my elbow is fine after a full 2700 match, fired as .22-only with my conversion, and after 2-3 hour weekend range sessions, shooting the conversion with .22 ammo.
It is the recoil of the .45 that I am looking to minimize by introducing a 1911 pistol in .38 special.

Regards,
Oleg.
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Post by mikemyers on Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:09 pm

Just to check if I understand you correctly...   You're suggesting

  • a slight crease in the elbow (not locked), and 
  • lowering the shoulder a little, and
  • elbow crease pointing a little to the side, not upwards


Did I get that right?
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Post by straybrit on Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:49 pm

Kinda - I'll try to be clearer

1. Yes - elbow unlocked
2. Not so much lowering the shoulder as dropping the shoulder blade down and in towards the spine.
3. Just a little - it's still facing up.

These are not huge changes, which is what makes it so easy to revert. They do make a significant difference in how your body distributes the energy though.

I should emphasise that this is a 'recipe' that we derived for the elbow tendon issues that I was (and still am to an extent) dealing with.  I make no suppositions about how relevant they are to anyone else.  As a point of reference I couldn't lift and hold an empty 1911 in Jan 2018. In my first match back I shot a 198-14x last Saturday in TF and the 8 was me 'chasing' the turning target. All I can say is that it works for me.

Even with all that I still prefer the 38 to the 45. I suspect that this is a permanent 'feature'.

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Post by Oleg G on Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:51 pm

Derek,

This is very interesting. During my physical therapy, I also discussed this problem with my therapist. He is not a shooter but very knowledgeable about the what type of force would damage the tendons. He worked with me to help develop a stance, which would minimize bending of the elbow at the moment of the recoil. He was concerned about damage from elbow tendons sharply contracting when the arm is thrown up at the elbow during the recoil.
Based on that we developed a stance where upper back muscles help the shoulder keep the arm up. This stance, coupled with visualizing my arm as an unbending tree branch (not necessarily straight, but stiff) is what is helping me minimize the effects of recoil.

Oleg.
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Post by straybrit on Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:32 pm

Oleg

Different strokes for different folks as they say. The shoulder part sounds similar - where you are engaging the deltoids/lats to maintain stability and protect the rotator cuff. The elbow? Well I know that if I revert and lock out the elbow (as I was taught by an ex-AMU guy some years ago) it hurts. Enough to get my attention. It doesn't move much but it's not locked out.

I suspect that we're both searching for the 'sweet spot' where the tendon isn't transferring all the energy but isn't getting a violent contraction either. Along with the shoulder being a more controlled participant. All about energy dissipation.

Derek

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Post by Jon Eulette on Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:43 pm

I use 3.4gr BE with 185 and 200 lswc for shortline. Sometimes for 50 but you gotta hold extra tight. They shoot real soft. I've had elbow issues for decades and they don't bother me. You might consider soft loads like this.
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Post by oldsalt444 on Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:46 pm

Since the OP is concerned with recoil issues, how hard would it be to get a 1911 barrel in .380 ACP ?  Less recoil than a 9mm, and the only difference dimensionally from a 9mm is 2mm in case length.  The slide and mags would be the same as a 9mm.  Is there a reason this hasn't been done before or am I missing something?
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Post by straybrit on Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:54 pm

Jon

My short line load for the 45 is 3.5g BE with 185g LSWC. I don't want to shoot more than 90 of them. It hurts if I get it wrong.

2.9g Titegroup with 148g in the 38 is much nicer.

Derek

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Post by STEVE SAMELAK on Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:56 pm

I believe Browning is making a 1911 in 380 the question would be accuracy
38 super on the other hand....soft loads with fast twist barrels are making me smile at the moment
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Post by Jon Eulette on Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:37 pm

straybrit wrote:Jon

My short line load for the 45 is 3.5g BE with 185g LSWC. I don't want to shoot more than 90 of them. It hurts if I get it wrong.

2.9g Titegroup with 148g in the 38 is much nicer.
.

Derek


Hard fit barrel makes a huge difference. Most pistols come out of battery too fast and you don't get the full benefit of the lighter charge.
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Post by mikemyers on Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:55 pm

I have two questions, the first about what you guys wrote about muscles and tendons.

  • What do you do to prevent getting a rotator cuff injury?  Is it due to firing the gun (recoil) or the weight of the gun?  I assume you don't know anything is "wrong" until it becomes painful?  Does it always feel "painful" or does it ever just feel "sore"?  I assume where the pain seems to be coming from will immediately tell you if it's elbow or shoulder.
  • Also, regarding a "hard fit barrel", how can you tell if your gun has one or not?  Is there some way to test the gun when it's apart?  Can people tell this from photos of the parts?


And a question for me, is it normal to feel "sore" after a lot of dry-firing?  Does that mean you should do less, or do the same or maybe more to build up your muscles?

Not sure if this will "hijack" the thread, but it fits right in with what I've been leaning here today......
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Post by LenV on Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:34 pm

If you want to stick with a 1911 and want to keep recoil down there are a couple of lead loads for a 9mm that work pretty nice. I have converted my 9 to a 38 Super now but I did a lot of testing before I did. Three bullets in particular stand out as my favorites for the 9. Getting the perfect load does seem to be critical to accuracy but it didn't take long to find it with my RO. The 3 low recoil bullets were Penn 115gr LSWC, Magnus 130gr LSWC and their 147gr LFP. The 147 gr being the most versatile with accurate loads ranging from 3.6 to 4.6 gr of Bullseye. My most accurate loads were fired from a different pistol but needed to be a little hotter (952-2) If you go with a 9 or 38 Super I can post some results.

Len
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Post by fc60 on Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:34 pm

Greetings Len,

At what distance are the three test targets fired?

Sandbags or Random Rest?

9MM Luger, yes?

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by Oleg G on Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:53 pm

Mike,

I don't do anything special to prevent a rotator cuff injury. Other people may correct me, but I am not aware that precision shooting is a contributing factor or a cause of a repetitive stress injury to the shoulder. As I said earlier, working with my physical therapist, I developed a stance that engages pectoral and latissimus dorsi muscles (primarily) to support the stability of the shoulder and also dropping the shoulder lower to help that muscle group. This stance is aimed at minimizing the effect of the recoil on the elbow, which is definitely prone to a repetitive stress injury (tendonitis) caused by the type of one-handed shooting we do.

As far as feeling pain after a long dry firing session, you need to determine what sort of pain it is:
If it's simply a type of post-workout muscle soreness - welcome it and embrace it! Smile It means that you are exercising your muscles and they are growing!
If it is an acute pain in joints, tendons, nerves, etc. - consult a physician. You don't need an advice from shooters but that of a professional. And until you get a diagnosis, stop the pain-inducing activity before you cause more severe damage to yourself.

Oleg.
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Post by LenV on Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:07 pm

Luger Yes, 25yds for the three targets. The top two were shot from a sandbag but the bottom one (115gr) was shot standing if I remember correctly. Here is a 50 yd target from a Lee rest with the 147gr. Not X ring accurate but for Stock RO not bad either.

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Post by adminbot1911 on Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:00 am

mikemyers wrote:I have two questions, the first about what you guys wrote about muscles and tendons.

  • What do you do to prevent getting a rotator cuff injury?  Is it due to firing the gun (recoil) or the weight of the gun?  I assume you don't know anything is "wrong" until it becomes painful?  Does it always feel "painful" or does it ever just feel "sore"?  I assume where the pain seems to be coming from will immediately tell you if it's elbow or shoulder.
  • Also, regarding a "hard fit barrel", how can you tell if your gun has one or not?  Is there some way to test the gun when it's apart?  Can people tell this from photos of the parts?


And a question for me, is it normal to feel "sore" after a lot of dry-firing?  Does that mean you should do less, or do the same or maybe more to build up your muscles?

Not sure if this will "hijack" the thread, but it fits right in with what I've been leaning here today......

Regarding the rotator cuff.  I've paid a lot of attention to my shoulder including having multiple MRIs in the past 2 years due to the torn labrum. Last MRI showed partial-thickness tears in the supra and infraspinatus tendons as well as the subscapular tendon.  And a deteriorated AC joint.  But no arthritis, woo hoo!  Is this in part aggravated by competitive shooting?  Probably.  But is my overall shoulder girdle strengthened by the many reps I've taken?  Also, probably.


An extended period of dry fire or a full day of actual shooting (at least 360 lifts squeezes and holds) may leave me MUSCLE SORE for the next day or two.  This is normal and the same as the soreness I'd feel after going on a longer run for the first time in a while, or a long bike ride for the first time in a while.  Soreness.  Not pain.


Too much weight at arms length (heavy pistol with heavy scope) or too far forward (like the euro grip Benellis I had to sell) will leave me in deep-joint pain for several days.  Bad pain.  Kind of hard to give advice on this kind of thing since different people have wildly different pain thresholds but you should know the difference between muscle soreness and ligament/tendon pain.  But to answer the question, the pain is from weight, not recoil.  I think recoil has much more impact on the elbow than the shoulder - watching videos of myself shooting .45 ACP rapid fire you can see the recoil pulse moving through my arm and causing ripples in the fat and muscle of the triceps. 
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Post by adminbot1911 on Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:02 am

Regarding OP's question, I'd follow the advice given elsewhere and load a 1911 with soft shooting 147gr 9mm rounds.  Maybe Len will sell you his RO, that's really great accuracy at 50 for a stock gun.
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Post by mikemyers on Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:59 pm

Oleg G wrote:....................If it's simply a type of post-workout muscle soreness - welcome it and embrace it! Smile It means that you are exercising your muscles and they are growing!...........
I think I'll respond here, and later on start up a new thread about it, so I don't totally disrupt this one.

For me, there is never any pain.  What you wrote above describes it, a post-workout type of soreness, which comes and goes.  It has nothing to do with moving my arm up/down/whatever, and like I said, there is zero pain.  I didn't use to get this sore, but now I'm placing a lead-filled magazine into my 1911, and both holding, and dry-firing, it's more tiring than what I did before.  

What 'adminbot1911' wrote also applies to me:  
"An extended period of dry fire or a full day of actual shooting (at least 360 lifts squeezes and holds) may leave me MUSCLE SORE for the next day or two.  
This is normal and the same as the soreness I'd feel after going on a longer run for the first time in a while, or a long bike ride for the first time in a while.  Soreness.  Not pain."



It's strange, but for me, if I go to the range for an hour and shoot, there is never any soreness or discomfort.  When I do so for an hour at home, that occasionally  leaves me sore.....  but to be fair, it works - the more I dry-fire, the easier it gets, and the lighter the gun starts to feel when the weights are removed.  Then it feels like a plastic 1911.




Back to this thread.  When I was shooting Winchester White Box 230grain ammo, my hand, arm, and everything else eventually felt sore.  Shooting 50 rounds is about when the discomfort started.  By the time I have shot the last 50 rounds in a 100-round box, I feel like I ought to stop.


On the other hand, reloading rounds as people here suggested, currently 4.0 grains WST over Terry Labbe's Magnus #801 bullets, they are so easy to shoot it's hard to accept that they're really 45.  The recoil doesn't get to me, but if I shoot 100 rounds, I'm starting to get tired because of the weight.  This is true for my Springfield Armory that Salyer built, and even more true for my Caspian gun that Dave also built long ago, but the Caspian feels heavier.  


One more thing - the SINGLE biggest thing that seems to influence how I feel after shooting, is the weight of my red dot sight.  With one of the heavier sights, my arm gets worn out very fast.  With a lighter sight, I feel better.


If I get to the range over this weekend to practice, I might take my Les Baer, with the lighter recoil spring in it, and use my handholds.  Just something to consider.  All that weight, being held at arm's length, for as long as I end up holding it - that gets to me more than the recoil.


I'm certainly no expert at any of this, but I very much keep track of how I feel after shooting, and what leaves me feeling "better" or "worse".
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Post by straybrit on Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:21 pm

So with that I'd strongly suggest going to a good physical therapist, explaining the situation and getting a medically correct exercise program to alleviate the problem. Taking 'medical advice' from a bunch of yahoos on the internet is probably a sub-optimal course of action :-)

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Post by mikemyers on Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:41 pm

From Shooting Sports, USA:

"The procedure for determining the PF for any load is a simple mathematical formula: Multiply the bullet's weight by its velocity over a chronograph (which will be used at major matches) and divide the resulting figure by 1000."


Can anyone provide the data to compare the weight of Bullseye bullets and their speed and provide the 9mm bullets weight and speed, for the type of bullet's being suggested here? If that's what makes the difference between hurting one's elbow or not, I'm curious as to how big the difference is.


I guess there are lots of combinations for "bullseye loads"; I wonder if any of them get close to the comparable 9mm rounds.
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Post by Wobbley on Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:07 pm

Relatively simple

A 45 BE load shoots a 200 LSWC at 725 fps
A 38 WC load shoots a 148 HBWC at 775 fps

So the recoil impulses are

38 (148 x775)= 115,000
45. ( 200 x 725) = 145,000

So the 45 is about 26% more

A 9mm 115 at 1100 gives 126,000. In order to get the 9 to shoot softer than a 38, you need to get the velocity lower than 1000. The problem with that is a lot of 9s don’t run very well at these low velocities particularly with a slide mounted optic.
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Post by bruce martindale on Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:13 pm

It's Not just the velocity, but the snap or rate of acceleration. A shove or a snap can get the same velocity vith two totally different feels or effects on the elbow. Reloading with wst is popular for that reason....
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