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Les baer opinions

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Larry2520
Jon Eulette
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Post by 1911a145 Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:08 am

Can anyone give me opinion on current les Baer models for bullsye shooting? Looking at getting a wadcutter and hardball. Any info appreciated

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Post by mikemyers Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:18 am

That's what I started with.  Not a very good choice.  Just to get it to shoot bullseye loads meant having Dave Salyer modify the barrel.  The gun was so tight I could barely operate it.  Save some money, buy something like a relatively inexpensive Springfield, and send it to Dave Salyer or one of the other bullseye gunsmiths to turn it into a Bullseye Gun.  It's a long story, and Dave can explain it better than I can, but Baer built the Premiere II for something other than Bullseye.  They do sell a gun specifically for bullseye, but how many Bullseye shooters do you see here using one?

In addition to Dave, look up Jon Eulette, and KC here in the forums, and check with them too.  I've now got two Salyer 45's, one with a Nelson kit up on top.  Talk to all of  them before you buy anything.  

If I had it to do over again, I'd never have spent the $2K for the Baer - the only good thing is they keep their value, and if I want, I can sell it for a good price.
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Post by Wobbley Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:25 am

For not much more than a Springfield RO you can get this.  It may not be available as the posting is getting old, but it would be a fine entry level gun and may actually be much much better.


https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t15347-colt-series-70-build
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Post by kjanracing Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:36 am

Look at Rock River Arms. Totally happy with mine.
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Post by mpolans Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:57 am

Generally, I think they're over-priced and Rock River Arms guns are usually a better deal. That said, one of my tightest fit guns right now (barrel to slide, slide to frame, etc) is a Les Baer wadgun with a frame mounted dot...go figure. Some of my other guns are a Rock River wadgun, a KC Customs wadgun, a Steve Woods-built 1911, a stock STI Range Master, and a couple stock STI Spartans.

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Post by radjag Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:35 am

Wobbley wrote:For not much more than a Springfield RO you can get this.  It may not be available as the posting is getting old, but it would be a fine entry level gun and may actually be much much better.


https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t15347-colt-series-70-build
I understand where Wobbley is coming from, but, AFAIK, the rib and extended front sight on the Colt 70 means that it does not comply with CMP Service Pistol Rules - so it is no good as a "hardball" gun as it stands. Most everyone would prefer an optic on a wad gun, so, again, the rib would need to be replaced with a rail. It is at a good price level if the rest of the gun is as listed, but I'm not qualified to make a judgement on better/not than a mildly worked on SARO.

I have a SARO which was upgraded last year by Roddy Toyota - it performs very well - certainly good enough to reach Master level if the person pulling the trigger is good enough Embarassed Embarassed

My first wad gun was a used Baer with frame mount. It was very picky about ammo and I quickly came to hate that frame mount, awkward to cycle the slide and a PITA when stripping for cleaning. IMHO.

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Post by john bickar Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:58 am

Wobbley wrote:For not much more than a Springfield RO you can get this.  It may not be available as the posting is getting old, but it would be a fine entry level gun and may actually be much much better.


https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t15347-colt-series-70-build
I tried to gobble that one up but the powers that be won't let me have it.
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Post by chiz1180 Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:06 pm

I shoot a Springfield range officer for ball/service pistol matches, I paid about $700 and it easily groups 3" at 50 yards from a ransom rest. Does it have the same cool factor as a les baer, probably not.

As far as a Wadgun is concerned, a frame mount is not my first choice. I find cleaning a gun with a frame mount a bit more time consuming. However you should more easily be able to shoot light loads with one. 

Several people I regularly shoot with shoot Les Baer guns and are very happy with them. Some people I shoot with don't like them at all.
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Post by dronning Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:28 pm

I have both the wad cutter and the hardball and 2 Premier II's.  3 of the 4 were great guns out of the box the 4th (one of the Premier's) needed some fitting before functioning.  After breaking it in my wad cutter shot a 50yd 7 shot group on a RR that fit under a quarter, it was a solid 2" gun. After about 5K rounds it opened up but is still under 3". I eventually upgraded to a KC built gun and if I had it to do over that's where I would start.  

No reason to buy the hardball gun get since a Premier II now qualifies for EIC matches.  The Springfield RO with a little smith work is the way to go.  Get 2 have a dot put on one and keep the irons on the other.  You will save 30-40% verses buying the LB.

- Dave
I think getting a well made LB is more of a crap shoot now verses years ago.
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Post by mikemyers Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:45 pm

Maybe I should have been a little less harsh in my first post.  In many ways I enjoyed, and still enjoy, the Baer Premiere II, after I shot enough full load ammo to loosen it up enough so I could rack the slide, and eventually I could even remove the barrel bushing.  The gun never liked bullseye ammo, especially my Magnus #801 ammo.  I took photos of the fired ammo and photos of the insides of the gun to show where it was hitting/binding, and then sent the barrel and slide stop to Dave Salyer who worked his usual magic on it, and now my PII feeds SWC ammo with no complaints.

I don't want to drill and tap the Baer slide for a rail so I'm still shooting the gun with steel sights.  Part of me wants to get rid of it, but a bigger part of me tells me I've got so much $$ and effort and time invested in it, I should keep it forever.  

The photo in my Profile box at the right is my Salyer Springfield.  I'm the third owner, and Dave tells me it is still tight, not in need of anything.  The previous owner was using it for practice while he built his own gun.  Everything with the Springfield is fine, but Dave tells me he never did some extra fitting he does to make it compatible with a 22 conversion.  With the Nelson on top, the hammer "follows" the slide, rather than staying back after each shot.  I could send it back to Dave for adjustment, but I took the easy way out, and put the Nelson Conversion on my Salyer Caspian wad gun instead.

If I had this all to do over again, I'd follow Dave's original advice, but a Springfield, and get it to Dave to make into a Wad gun, compatible with a 22 Conversion.


One more thing to add - that my Baer jammed up with my SWC ammo is NOT a fault in the Baer.  Baer built the Premier II for certain uses, which did NOT include Bullseye Competition.  In no way am I upset at Baer about this (.....although I hated how tight he made the gun - it took 2,000 rounds to start to get freed up).  For 230 grain Winchester White Box ammo, it was flawless.

As long as I'm saying this much I have one more "issue".  I've never learned the magic trick of how to re-install the slide stop.  Pachmayr made a tool that greatly simplified this, and after buying it, I was no longer as frustrated as before.  BUT, there is a simple thing that any gunsmith can do with a Slide Stop that makes it effortless to get back in place.  Dave did it for both my Wad Guns, and when I sent him my barrel for modification, I also sent the slide stop.  Now the Baer slide stop is effortless to re-install.     :-)
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Post by lakemurrayman Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:08 am

I have 2 Les Baer wadcutters,bought in 2013.The finish on the guns are not show room beautiful but I didn't buy them for that.I have not had one problem with either gun.I shoot one for centerfire and one in 45.There is no difference in the 2 guns.These 2 guns will not hold anyone back.I don't know how many rounds they have but 2 years ago i bought 35,000 wolf primers and i have 1,000 left.My opinion is that the Les Baers are wonderful.One last thing,the only magazines that have ever been in them are Wilsons.
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Post by 71firebird400 Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:51 pm

Have Baer P2, and absolutely love it. The gun has run since day 1, regardless of ammo. It'll cycle anything I load for it all the way down to super light 160 SWC's. There are a lot of good options out there for 1911's but nothing is more frustrating than when something isn't reliable.

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Post by Myke Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:51 pm

I have both a frame mount and a slide mount wadcutter guns. They will both hold sub 1 1/2" at 50 yards with Federal ammo out of a Ransom Rest. I have put thousands of rounds through the slide mount gun with zero problems or loss in accuracy. I will say that these are my 2nd and 3rd Baers - and everyone had the worst trigger on the planet right out of the box. I replaced the entire assembly, disconnector, bow, hammer, sear and was able to get a very crisp break. The overall guns are really nice - the triggers are terrible. JMO

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Post by Darrell Cox Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:44 am

I shot a Bullseye Model Les Barr for years. In fact, over 80,000 rounds. I had a barrel failure at 80,000, last shot fired was a 10 at 50 yards. I converted it from frame mount optics to slide mount. I made master with it.
Les Baer Guns (to me, my opinion) are hard fit and seem to be in a bind when locked up in battery. Although it works I don’t like it to be in a bind. I had to work over the trigger as it was over 4 pounds. Also, I’m not convinced the group guarantee is actually fired at 50 yards. Les Baer barrels are made by Kart. It’s a good gun and will work. But, not my first choice.
All that being said, I would look at a custom build or a Rock River. I ended up building my own 6” and now my Les Baer is my back up. If you want a Les Baer, buy one, it will hold its value. Sell it if you don’t like it and buy something else or have one built while you shoot the Baer.

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Post by Jon Eulette Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:13 am

Baer pistols are hit or miss from gunsmithing perspective. Majority (95%+) of them the bushing is not properly fit and causes barrel springing in battery. Bottom barrel lugs are either horribly fit or almost done right; very inconsistent. Barrel link typically too short. Triggers are either very crisp or almost soft crisp and occasionally have very short roll. Just recently saw two newer ones that were surprisingly well built.
And another perspective is they (new pistol) build into really nice pistols LOL.
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Post by Larry2520 Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:32 am

I'm not one to denigrate Les Baer guns. I'm sure they build some fine guns. However they're like a factory and some may make it past quality assurance. Guns made by them and rock river are very expensive and maybe not given the attention they deserve. My opinion is to buy something like a Springfield and have it worked by an independent smith who will give it the attention it deserves. After all they garner business by word of mouth.

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Post by Slamfire Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:45 am

Purchased my my Les Baer Wadcutter second hand in 2010. I have no idea of the age. Only started shooting Bullseye 2015, been shooting about two 2700 matches a month. Round count probably 5000 to 7000 rounds in matches, easily a thousand before I got into matches.

My Wad cutter will put them in the X ring at 50 yards if the dot is centered, the trigger pull right, and the follow through is right. I am slowly improving and the Les Baer shoots inside my hold, so I don't have any accuracy issues. I just run a 200 LSWC with 4.0 to 4.1 grains Bullseye. That is about 740 fps and it shoots well. , it is a classic 50 yard load. I tried 3.5 grs Bullseye for rapid fire, but that load was too light in cool weather. Les Baer told me not to shoot anything heavier than a 200 grain bullet with the slide mounted sight.

I have had no function problems, other than I epoxied the sight base to the slide. Screws came loose but I hope to have fixed that problem by gluing the whole base to the slide. My trigger is great. The barrel bushing is very tight but then that is why they make bushing wrenches. The slide to frame fit is tight, everything about  the gun is tight. I did buy an extra firing pin as the Wadcutter firing pin is a special Les Baer configuration. I would hate to break a firing pin and not have a spare. I have a number of vintage guns, and  I have learned, stock up on unique parts and magazines.

I bet there are a bunch of Bren 10 owners who wish they had purchased a couple extra magazines when they were available.

My Wadcutter has been a great gun and I am glad I got it when I did. They keep on increasing in cost.

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Post by mikemyers Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:16 pm

Slamfire wrote:....... I did buy an extra firing pin as the Wadcutter firing pin is a special Les Baer configuration. I would hate to break a firing pin and not have a spare. ......
Do you know what is different between that firing pin, and the standard Baer firing pins?  

Is this what you are referring to?  https://www.1911forum.com/threads/do-all-les-baer-45s-use-small-firing-pins.715665/
.....but this apparently applies to all Baer guns, not just the Wadcutter - ??
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Post by Two Shanks Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:25 am

Don't know why all the Baer hate. I had two I shot the heck out of. They take about 500 rounds before your'e supposed to field strip them. The premiere 2 is the best value out there. They are tight but they shoot well. Les makes a very good gun. Want more spend about 7or 8k on a full blown custom.

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Post by TampaTim Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:03 am

For of low cost bullseye gun it is hard to beat. I shot a 2648 with a stock Les Baer bullseye gun frame mount. Les Baer's words "It will shoot 1.5 inch groups for the first 5000 rounds it will open up to 2.5 to 3 inch in 20K to 25K rounds after that send it back to get rebarreled. This is a gun that does not alibi which is important to me.

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Post by Slamfire Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:42 am

mikemyers wrote:
Slamfire wrote:....... I did buy an extra firing pin as the Wadcutter firing pin is a special Les Baer configuration. I would hate to break a firing pin and not have a spare. ......
Do you know what is different between that firing pin, and the standard Baer firing pins?  

Is this what you are referring to?  https://www.1911forum.com/threads/do-all-les-baer-45s-use-small-firing-pins.715665/
.....but this apparently applies to all Baer guns, not just the Wadcutter - ??

I only have one Les Baer, but I would appreciate donations  santa

Les baer opinions OfZ3FcL

I have a number of 1911's, and all I can say, this firing pin is different from a series 80 or mil spec

Les baer opinions 733564

If you had looked at the Les Baer webpage, you would have seen this description:



[color:0bb7=333333]Baer Firing pin:  A precision made firing pin with .067 diameter that fits our own slides. Prevents the primer from flowing.

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Post by chiz1180 Wed Oct 21, 2020 2:17 am

slamfire,

same firing pin for a 9mm
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Post by mikemyers Wed Oct 21, 2020 4:34 am

Two Shanks wrote:Don't know why all the Baer hate. I had two I shot the heck out of. They take about 500 rounds before your'e supposed to field strip them. The premiere 2 is the best value out there. They are tight but they shoot well. Les makes a very good gun. Want more spend about 7or 8k on a full blown custom.
For me, it's a "love/hate" relationship.  I had no idea I needed to shoot thousands of rounds before my Premiere II would loosen up to allow me to rack the slide.  I bought it for Bullseye.  I didn't know much about Bullseye, but a good friend recommended it.  Someone else bought it, had problems (bulged barrel - ouch!!!), sent it back to Baer, and it was re-made "like new".  He never shot it again - he sold it to me just the way it was returned. 

Had I known anything about Jon, Dave, KC, and the other gunsmiths active here, I'd have bought a new gun from wherever, and had one of these guys turn it into a bullseye gun.  Back then, I knew nothing about any of this, or what bullseye smiths do to make a proper bullseye gun.  Specifically, I should have bought a brand new Range Officer, and sent it to Dave Salyer.  For a price I could afford, I'd have a brand new version of the Springfield I'm shooting with now.

Why I "hated" my Baer?  I was almost unable physically to rack the slide.  The bushing was so tight in the barrel it was almost impossible to remove.  Putting it together, and pushing the slide stop in place was incredibly frustrating, and if I put the slide stop in early, then re-assembled, even if I got the bushing started into the gun, it wouldn't go in, and then it was almost too tight to turn.  Plastic bushing wrenches got torn up, until I bought a special metal wrench.  When I tried to hold it up with one hand to shoot Bullseye style, I could barely hold it up!!!!  (Two hands, no problem, but I wasn't supposed to shoot that way.) Oh, and SWC ammo would not go through the gun without jamming.  Finally, shooting WWB ammo (Winchester White Box 230 grain) was way too hard on my body, and I soon had an uncontrollable flinch.  That made for awful targets.  If I had it in me to really "hate" a gun, it was my Baer.  But I am way, way, way too stubborn, and eventually every one of those "issues" was resolved.  (Meanwhile, my brother bought a Wilson, which was easy to work on, took no effort to rack the slide, the bushing went in and out effortlessly, and on and on.....    I looked at Ed Brown catalogs, and many others, but I was determined to "tame" my Baer, one way or another.

Why I "liked" my Baer - everything I've read, or been told about it, is that it's fantastic gun once it's broken in.  I didn't yet know about red dot sights, so steel sights were the only choice I considered.  One by one, the issues I described all got fixed.  After working with it for going on three years, mostly struggling with it, my problems went away.  Just like it said in The Pistol Shooter's Treasury, shooting a full box of hardball cured my flinch - I was so sore and tired, I no longer cared, so the flinching stopped.   In the meantime, I also bought a used Springfield Armory gun that Dave Salyer had built a hundred years earlier, which got me going in a new direction, with optics.  But I kept going back to the Baer, and by then it was behaving (more like I knew what to do, sort of).  

It cost me a little under $2,000.   If I knew what I was in for, I would have passed.  Nowadays, it's still "a challenge" because of the sights, but I like it and enjoy shooting it.   There have been maybe ten times that I considered selling it, but I couldn't get myself to actually put it up for sale.  Now I have new Metalform magazines for it, Dave had modified the barrel to work with SWC ammo, it comes apart and goes together easily, and with Dave having fixed the slide stop, it's easy to work on.  

It's been fun typing all the above.  Maybe this weekend I'll put all my other guns away, and take only the Baer to the range.  If I can get nice targets from my Model 52, I should be able to do the same with the Baer.        



To the person who posted this thread - summarizing the above, the problem was ME, not the Baer.  If I had any clue as to what I was doing, things would have been simpler.  I am in no way sorry I bought the Premiere II, and now that it's 2020, I'm glad I have it.  I had fun writing the above, but don't let it discourage you.  For Bullseye, there probably are better choices nowadays, but the Baer can do anything - put a heavy spring back in it, and I can start shooting the 45 ACP full loads again.  It's a very versatile gun, looks great, and is capable of excellent precision.  I just need to do my part properly.
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Post by Slamfire Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:04 pm

mikemyers wrote:
Two Shanks wrote:Don't know why all the Baer hate. I had two I shot the heck out of. They take about 500 rounds before your'e supposed to field strip them. The premiere 2 is the best value out there. They are tight but they shoot well. Les makes a very good gun. Want more spend about 7or 8k on a full blown custom.
For me, it's a "love/hate" relationship.  I had no idea I needed to shoot thousands of rounds before my Premiere II would loosen up to allow me to rack the slide.  I bought it for Bullseye. 

Not having an Ultra Dot on top may have been the problem. I can grab my optical sight and easily rack the slide.


The hell with irons anyway. Iron sights are going on the ash heap of history. It is like the transition from sail to steam. You can see early ships, full rigged, but with a steam engine. Then, some masts and sails, with a steam engine. And finally, no sails, all steam engine. Scope technology has gotten us to the point that rifles don't come with irons, or even drilled and tapped for irons. We are getting there for iron sights on pistols, and once those things are finally chunked, we will shoot better.  If you can see better, you will shoot better.

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Post by Tfurey66 Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:01 pm

I have to weigh in here. A couple of people here have mentioned Rock River. DONT DO IT!!! I bought one last year, have had nothing but problems with it. Tried numerous times to get help from them. The owner (thats who I was told I had to speak to) wont answer or return my calls. I could go into detail but don't want to hijack this thread.

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