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center fire gun for small hand

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Gary Collette
WesG
BE Mike
james r chapman
RoyDean
LenV
zanemoseley
SteveT
Wobbley
john bickar
Jon Eulette
nreagen
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Post by nreagen 10/8/2021, 3:15 pm

Hi All,
I am relatively new to the Bullseye league at my club, and have shot rimfire with them. Just joined the center fire, but am having difficulty. So, my 1st question is, should I modify a gun that I have, (will list below) or can you recommend one better suited to target shooting, as am thinking of trading in the S&W
1. SIG P229 9mm
2. S&W M&P 40 PRO Series C.O.R.E
3. Kimber Eclipse Pro II 45
 
Second question, what red dot or reflex sight would you recommend, currently have a Buck Mark Reflex sight on my Ruger Mark IV, but have been looking at a lot of them with a great range of prices, very confusing, just needs to be tough, as I'm a bit clumsy Smile
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Post by Jon Eulette 10/8/2021, 3:45 pm

When you get more serious about a CF pistol, a 1911 45 can be downloaded and shoot very well. Also easier to load quality ammunition. I modify grips for smaller hands; cut the front strap thinner during checkering and recontour the grip safety, use thin grips and short trigger. 
Good luck!
Jon
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Post by john bickar 10/8/2021, 4:08 pm

I have pretty small hands (I refer to them as "teenaged-girl size hands"), and a standard 1911 with standard slab grips works pretty well for me, especially if you use the "Zins Grip." As Jon mentions, there are things you can do to slim it down further, if your hands are even smaller than mine.

I'm not familiar with the P229 or the M&P but those both look to be double-stack magazines. Those also aren't bullseye guns.

The Kimber also isn't a bullseye gun, but it looks to be single-stack.
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Post by Wobbley 10/8/2021, 5:21 pm

I “mentor” a group for intro to pistol shooting that gets about 1 or 2 “small handed” people per session.  The umbrella org that conducts these sessions insists that the minimum caliber is 9mm.  So I bring a 1911 in 9mm for these people with small hands.  It has a short trigger and straight slab grips.  So I’d just buy a 1911 in 45 and get the trigger guard “undercut” to allow you to bring your hand higher as well as using the thinnest grips I could find and thinning the front strap and back strap as much as I could.  Remember, the 1911 was designed when the average man was 5’8 and 160 pounds.  Drop 10 pounds and 4 inches and that is now just a hair above the 50th percentile woman.

 https://multisite.eos.ncsu.edu/www-ergocenter-ncsu-edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/18/2016/06/Anthropometric-Detailed-Data-Tables.pdf 

As for the “recoil” of the 45, with custom loads (185 and 160 grain bullets at 700 fps) it can be managed probably better than a 9mm.  

As for smiths, I’d start with Steve Huff at Accuracy X.  He understands Bullseye, builds very solid accurate pistols and may have other suggestions.
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Post by SteveT 10/8/2021, 8:02 pm

Yeah, 1911 is the way to go, but if you really want something smaller most of the Euro 32 pistols or a S&W 52 would be smaller. I've never heard of a S&W J frame being used as a target gun, but I bet some of the revolver gunsmiths could make one shoot.
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Post by zanemoseley 10/8/2021, 8:38 pm

I've got medium to large hands. 1911's are the best CF for smaller hands I've tried especially if you can find or make thin slabs. For my the 52 fits significantly worse than a 1911. If you like double stacks the CZ 75 fit great, in fact they're the only double stacks I like shooting one handed.

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Post by LenV 10/8/2021, 8:52 pm

center fire gun for small hand Screen11
Browning 1911 380?
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Post by RoyDean 10/9/2021, 12:08 am

Seems that you are using a Rugger Mk 4 with a Reflex sight for 22. Good. One of the advantages of the Mk 4 is that the very inexpensive Ruger sight rail screws right on and then you can fit almost any red dot sight you prefer, but your inexpensive Reflex is good enough to get you up the Classifications.

You have a Kimber Eclipse Pro II 45 - I guess that is a full size 1911 frame with a 4" barrel. Can you comfortably grip and shoot that gun one-handed Bullseye style? If the answer to that is YES, then you potentially have an entry level Centerfire gun right there. The shorter barrel is not ideal, but it might shoot OK with the right ammo. Looks like a Novak cut in the slide for the OEM rear sight. There are several brands of mounts that will fit that cut and allow you to add a Reflex or Aimpoint pattern red dot.

If you are wanting to get serious about Bullseye, my advice would be to sell all three of those guns and use the proceeds to buy a decent CF gun. If your hands are big enough to handle a full size 1911 45ACP, then that is the cheapest/easiest way to go. If a full size 1911 is not comfortable, then the choice becomes more complicated. Getting a competent gunsmith to "shave down" a 1911 is one possibility (as advised above by the very competent Jon Eulette), but that takes a lot of time - they are usually all very busy - Dave Salyer has a justifiable reputation for turning jobs around quickly, you can search the Forum for his current contact info - he might even be able to do something with your Kimber, but it is probably more cost and time effective to start with something better suited.

If your local league is Indoor or only shoots at 25 yards, then a European 32SWL gun is another option. You can get small grips (OEM or Rink are common) and the recoil is very soft. Hammerli, Walther and others are often offered for sale on this forum. Or possibly the small frame 380ACP suggested by LenV, but that caliber is not commonly used by BE shooters AFAIK.

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Post by nreagen 10/9/2021, 7:02 am

Hi RoyDean, found your advice most helpful! I think I will sell the S&W and Kimber. My SIG is what I use for self-defense. I love the Kimber, ( you are right in the specs) but my hands are quite small and have difficulty with the trigger, would like to take some time and get the right 1911. Been doing a lot of research, and would welcome any advice on which 1911 would be best suited. I consider myself a beginner in this discipline but don't mind spending a little money. Yes, our league is indoor, and will start with your advice on the Hammerli.
Thank you!
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Post by RoyDean 10/9/2021, 8:25 am

Happens that I have medium meaty hands, but shortish fingers. I am also a relative newbie and it has been an interesting learning curve with 1911's. It took a long time and a lot of advice and self analysis before I suddenly realised that I had not actually been taking a proper grip on the gun. I had my mentor/gunsmith install short triggers only to eventually discover that once I really got "into the gun" my finger reach was more than adequate for a standard length trigger. Slim aggressive grip plates make a big difference. I like Sharkskins best now, but Lava grips are also very good and not expensive.

So, my suggestion is this. Buy some really aggressive, thin lava grips and put them on your Kimber. Really work on your grip, ideally with an experienced mentor to check. You need to really get your hand up and into the gun - I think that the Zins videos also advocate this - there may be other tutorials here on the Forum - but it is one of those "Eureka" moments when you suddenly find that you have got a really solid, firm, comfortable, strong grip. You do not need big hands.

When you get the grip right it is a VERY different feel shooting the gun. No twisting or other movement, recoil impulse is much softer and easier to control in TF/RF.

Only then will you really know whether you need a "skinny" 1911.

For $30 it is worth trying it on your Kimber. But, please, please, don't be shooting factory 230grain ammo, you will learn nothing. You need to reload or beg/borrow some Bullseye short line LSWC ammo - 180 or 160 grain at about 720fps as mentioned by Wobbley. And you need the right spring in the gun to ensure reliable cycling.

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Post by nreagen 10/9/2021, 9:30 am

Ah!!! Thank you, I will take that advice, I do need work on my grip, and will seek out the tutorials. And I am using the wrong ammo. I have loads of 45 ammo but it is 230gr. 
Great! I have some work to do before Thursday night, off to look for some ammo! maybe I can trade for mine:)
I know that's not going to be easy! But there are a ton of shops around me.
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Post by james r chapman 10/9/2021, 10:59 am

Also many different 1911 trigger lengths available
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Post by nreagen 10/10/2021, 7:02 am

Thanks, Jim! I'm in the process of looking for a reliable gunsmith.
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Post by james r chapman 10/10/2021, 7:45 am

https://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=326808
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Post by BE Mike 10/10/2021, 8:42 am

I've seen quite a few ladies with small hands do very, very well in the sport with 1911's. Greg Derr in Mass. knows bullseye 1911's. He probably isn't too far from you. https://www.derrprecision.com
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Post by nreagen 10/10/2021, 8:45 am

Thanks! Checking out now!
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Post by WesG 10/10/2021, 12:16 pm

230's ... no no no!

I've thought of a J frame. Was fondling my Dad's M36 the other day. Thinking a 5 shot 32 cylinder and a 5 or 6" barrel. And even with my tiny hands it'd need much larger grips, cut to move my hand down quite a bit.

And what's the point, other than just to do something 'unique'.

As for the 380 1911, I wonder what it would cost to get KKM to make a barrel? Besides, I think I'd rather have a Llama to start with.

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Post by Gary Collette 10/11/2021, 7:51 am

I had Greg Derr work on my 45 trigger and he is a wealth of 
1911 information.
If there is a way to get a 1911 to fit your hand Greg will know about it and will be able to 
do the work.
Good guy.

G

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Post by nreagen 10/11/2021, 8:47 am

Thanks, i messaged him hope to hear soon!
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Post by Allgoodhits 10/11/2021, 9:23 am

1911, thin grips, short trigger really is the best CF option. Add a .22 conversion and you have that covered too, since it likely will be the needed future platform for .45. Otherwise a Pardini .32 with grips that work for you. Sooner or later, you will end up with 1911 in .45. The Brazos 160 grn .45 coated bullets can be loaded pretty soft and they still shoot great.
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Post by SingleActionAndrew 10/11/2021, 10:11 am

Part of the trouble here is going to be that nreagan doesn't sound to be a reloader. And it's a tough time to get into reloading, even if the interest is there. That said, if nreagan wants to try shooting the 4" Kimber Pro II mine cycles 4.2gr VV N310 with 185gr JHPs reliably with the stock spring.

A big long shot but nreagan if you can find ASYM or Atlanta Arms or Rose/Zero loaded ammunition those are bullseye accurate/adequate and should work in your Kimber as-is. But without target sights (or dot) you'll still be at significant disadvantage and it's really not a long term platform if you want to get serious about precision pistol.

That said - welcome to the sport!!
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Post by Wobbley 10/11/2021, 12:56 pm

Places like Loader Monkey ( https://www.facebook.com/loadermonkey/ ) will load ammo for you.  You’ll have to develop the load for yourself, but he’ll load it for you. He does load 185 JHP to the same level as Atlantic.

That said, I’m not sure that a 160 reduces the felt recoil that much.  A properly setup 1911 shooting 3.8 of Bullseye and 200 grain or 180 grain cast bullets can be very soft in perceived recoil.
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Post by james r chapman 10/11/2021, 1:38 pm

A 160 can only be loaded reasonably light with irons. Dots and rails generally need that 4.1-4.5 bump to cycle reliably
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Post by nreagen 10/11/2021, 7:26 pm

Thank you on the ammo recommendation, you're right I haven't gotten into the reloading, and I am having a hard time finding a lighter load. So, thanks for your suggestions, also am hoping to do some bartering with some of the guys that do reload.
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Post by Oleg G 10/12/2021, 8:41 am

ASYM has ammo in stock. What you need is:

.45 185 gr National Match JHP | ASYM Precision Ammunition (asymammo.com)

This ammo is expensive but try a couple of boxes to understand the difference between the standard 230 Gr ammo and Bullseye Match ammo. Also, please understand that regular Bullseye ammo for distances of 25 yards and less is loaded much milder than this ASYM ammo.

For less expensive options, contact Zero Bullet Company. Roze distribution is their retail outlet. The don't list any ammo in stock - it is always best to call them. I am amost positive that they will have a couple of boxes in stock for you to try. You will want to ask for their ammo with codes:

R710 - new 185 Gr lead bullets
R701 - reloads 185 Gr lead lead
R711 - new 200 Gr lead bullets
R703 - reload 200 Gr lead bullets
R723 - new 185 Gr JHP bullets
R724 - reload 185 Gr JHP bullets
R726 - new 185 Gr Lead hollow point bullets
R727 - reload 185 Gr lead hollow point pullets

Roze Distribution, Inc. - Zero Bullets and Ammunition

Best Regards,
Oleg.
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