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Service Pistol advise

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Post by UnGe 4/11/2022, 1:36 pm

I am pretty new to anything above .22, and wanted to try something bigger, starting with CMP EIC (not really ready for going 2700 with current ammo prices and no desire to do reloading yet).
What would be a good beginner service pistol for a .22 SS? Based on factory ammo prices, probably 9mm, but I am open to other options.
I'd like to try something least expensive but still decent (mostly - more or less decent trigger out of the box, and adjustable sights)
Any advise?

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Post by Froneck 4/11/2022, 2:39 pm

Best gun for the new shooter will be the 1911 in 45ACP! Eventually you will have to shoot the .45 so start with it. 9mm gives you no advantage now that Service Pistol allows any jacketed round whereby it was 230gr full power (Military Ball) ammo. Simply put if you intend to shoot Service Pistol and I assume want to become Distinguished then start Reloading NOW! My choice would be a Dillon 550, probably can be found used. I had one and loved it, gave me great service for years and miss it since my son "borrowed" it. I have the 650 now with the case feeder, works great but is a pain to use if working-up a load. Otherwise the 650 reloads a lot of .45 ammo very fast. It's now a 750, I don't think the 650 is available any more from Dillon.
 For those that are looking to shoot service pistol and have a 1911 .45ACP then the 1911 in 9mm is a good choice. It's better than the 9mm Beretta!

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Post by chiz1180 4/11/2022, 4:27 pm

I personally would ignore any discussion relating to 230gr ball and M9's as it is 100% not relevant to the current rule book. Before you buy anything look at the current rule book.

One major considerations to make when looking at a service pistol, how often will you realistically be shooting it? If you plan on shooting it quite a bit, ammo (or component) availability should be considered. Right now I have to limit how much Service Pistol I shoot as 45 projectiles are not as readily available as 9mm. Right now I can buy match quality 9mm not so much in 45.

However, it is probably easier to find a reasonably accurate 45 than a 9mm. I have 3 different Range Officers in 45 that stock shot 3" or better at 50, If you can find one probably would be a good value for money proposition. I also have an XDm 5.25 in 9mm that shoots well enough for Service matches, but for me it require more adjustment than moving from one 1911 to another. 

Talk to shooters local to you and see what you can try. A 1911 in 45 that is suitable should be fairly easy to seek out and try before buying one.
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Post by SmokinNJokin 4/11/2022, 5:16 pm

Buy a springfield range officer .45 OR 9mm used. highly encourage 45 for many reasons ($600 ish)
Get a new oversized slide stop and proper fitting bushing ($100), details on the forum of how to do these.
Kensight sharkskin grips. replace mainspring, recoil spring, firing pin and firing pin spring ($100) to tune properly for bullseye loads. Lots of help here on the forum to DIY.
Get a marvel or nelson .22 conversion. ($500 ish) Pay alex hamilton of 10 ring precision to recrown the conversion barrel ($50).

BOOM. Done, you are good to grip and rip, should get you to expert at least.
And later down the road when you want to upgrade, you can get it rebarreled, trigger job, checkerering, red dot, whatever.

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Post by Froneck 4/11/2022, 5:19 pm

I didn't imply that Ball ammo be used. It's an old requirement. At one time ammo to shoot the match was issued and was required to be used. Not using issued ammo could get you disqualified. I'm not up on the rules but from what I recall any caliber from 9mm up to .45 was OK as long as it was jacketed. However if as I assume he intends to shoot 2700 since he has a SS classification he should select the 1911 in .45ACP because later on it will be required to shoot a 2700.


Last edited by Froneck on 4/11/2022, 5:25 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by UnGe 4/11/2022, 5:21 pm

SmokinNJokin wrote:Buy a springfield range officer .45 OR 9mm used. highly encourage 45 for many reasons ($600 ish)
Get a new oversized slide stop and proper fitting bushing ($100), details on the forum of how to do these.
Kensight sharkskin grips. replace mainspring, recoil spring, firing pin and firing pin spring ($100) to tune properly for bullseye loads. Lots of help here on the forum to DIY.
Get a marvel or nelson .22 conversion. ($500 ish) Pay alex hamilton of 10 ring precision to recrown the conversion barrel ($50).

BOOM. Done, you are good to grip and rip, should get you to expert at least.
And later down the road when you want to upgrade, you can get it rebarreled, trigger job, checkerering, red dot, whatever.

$600 ish seems overly optimistic Sad 
The lowest I saw on GB was gone for $750, others ask more

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Post by UnGe 4/11/2022, 5:23 pm

Froneck wrote:I didn't imply that Ball ammo be used. It's an old requirement. At one time ammo to shot the match was issued and was required to be used. Not using issued ammo could get you disqualified. I'm not up on the rules but from what I recall any caliber from 9mm up to .45 was OK as long as it was jacketed. However if as I assume he intends to shoot 2700 since is has a SS classification he should select the 1911 in .45ACP because later on it will be required to shoot a 2700.

TBH, I have big doubts I'll go for 2700 (at least anytime soon), but who knows....

With or without reloading, I probably can "sell" to my family idea of spending on ammo for EIC matches, but not 180 * x per match


Last edited by UnGe on 4/11/2022, 5:25 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by SmokinNJokin 4/11/2022, 5:25 pm

This forum has much better prices than GB. I bet a "WTB range officer" ad here would snap one up for a reasonable price.

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Post by Deerspy 4/11/2022, 6:29 pm

you don't have to buy a 600 dollar reloader you can get it done with a low cost lee single stage reloader it takes a little longer to load a box and you will be glad you got one down the road if you decide to go hole hog in to reloading.

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Post by UnGe 4/11/2022, 6:32 pm

Just to clarify, I was asking what gun can I buy on a budget, not what reloader Smile
For low volume EIC matches I can probably afford commercial ammo

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Post by Wobbley 4/11/2022, 6:39 pm

It isn’t matches that consumes ammo, it’s the practice and training required.  Count on 200-400 rounds per session and 2 sessions per week if serious about learning quickly.
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Post by Froneck 4/11/2022, 7:01 pm

Wobbley is correct, if you don't practice with the gun you are wasting your time. If you shoot competition you have to reload. That or have a big bank account. Shooting Service Pistol with the intent to getting Distinguished is going to take practice! Not only does score count but you have to be better than 10% of all the other shooters that are not Distinguished and then you only get points toward the Distinguished total of 30.
Yes it requires only 30 rounds to shoot service pistol. Plus your limited to the number of matches you can shoot. So practice, lot of practice is required! Or just be happy paying the entry fee so that the number of shooters is increased therefore possibly adding to the number of shooters earning points.

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Post by RoyDean 4/11/2022, 8:03 pm

I generally agree that a 45 is a good direction to head. SARO is proven best value path.

For match ammo ASYM is extremely good and readily available last time I looked, but it certainly is not cheap at about $1/round. Other factory match 45 ammo is at similar level, ZERO was a bit cheaper, but not currently available. Reloading obviously reduces that cost dramatically, particularly for training ammo, assuming that you can find primers and compliant bullets.

BUT, before you make a decision on a Service Gun, please understand that achieving Distinguished is quite a challenge. I would recommend working hard with your 22 (relatively economical ammo) and try to reach Expert Classification level with that.

Sorry if that sounds boring, and I totally understand that just shooting a bigger caliber gun is an enjoyment in itself, but if you get proficient with a 22 it will save a lot of time and money in the long run.

Just my 2c.

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Post by Allgoodhits 4/11/2022, 8:20 pm

Excellent advice by all. I concur, get a good basic 1911 with adjustable rear sight. I also concur that it should be a .45 if at all possible, but if not then a 9mm, or last .38 Super. Note that with .38 Super the ammo selection of the shelf is limited, and likely more costly. Forty five or 9mm is the way to go.

One of the absolute best training methods is also the least expensive. Definitely the least amount of fun. It is DRY FIRING. Proper dry firing will accelerate your learning curve faster than a pallet of ammunition, and it costs nothing. You save money on targets and pasters too.

My $.02
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Post by chiz1180 4/11/2022, 9:04 pm

Some additional thoughts...
I personally would recommend keeping your service gun a separate entity from what you shoot in a 2700. It is true that you can use the same gun for both events, but keeping them separate means you can more easily prepare for both 2700 type matches and Service matches.

The only benefit for shooting 45 over 9 is 0.096", if you have a well developed shot process, the only thing that should buy is possibly a higher x count.

Typical factory ammo (either 9 or 45) likely will not provide performance at 50. Getting set up to reload or a friend that can help reload is a huge benefit. Not the easiest thing right now, but worth it in the long run.

You can shoot 5 EIC matches per year (matches that qualify for leg points). Even if you can not make the points cut, for service pistol 250/300, shooting the match helps others work towards the goal of Distinguished. Nothing is more disappointing than going to an EIC match in which their are not enough participants for even a 6pt leg. Shooting EIC matches will make you better overall.

Not all 100% applicable to OP, but may help out others in a similar position.
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Post by CR10X 4/12/2022, 6:46 am

To the OP:

You didn't mention it, but are you Distinguished .22 yet?   If not, and with all the comments about costs, etc., why not do the CMP D22 first?  Then as economics improved, being able to take time to look for a decent deal on a .45, and getting set up to reload, you can compete.

And dryfire -- a LOT.

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Post by UnGe 4/12/2022, 10:08 am

CR10X wrote:To the OP:

You didn't mention it, but are you Distinguished .22 yet?   If not, and with all the comments about costs, etc., why not do the CMP D22 first?  Then as economics improved, being able to take time to look for a decent deal on a .45, and getting set up to reload, you can compete.

And dryfire -- a LOT.

CR
Main reason why I asked this question - I am going to start working on distinguished for 22, and matches are usually going together, so I'd rather stay for service pistol too (yes, being mostly just a crowd for somebody's else points). Most probably I'll be able to just borrow a gun for a match, but it is better to have my own.

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Post by orpheoet 4/12/2022, 11:33 am

My experience has been that 9mm can be a challenge as far as accurate gun/ammo. With .45 it's pretty easy to get good results at 50 yards. I tried a 9mm 1911 and a Beretta 92 that had been worked on by a very reputable Bullseye gunsmith. Was never able to get good results from either at 50 yards. .45 RO held the 10 ring out of the box.
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Post by jglenn21 4/12/2022, 3:41 pm

And yet the AMU uses ........ a 1911 in 9mm for it EIC pistol...115gr atlanta arms ammo. KKM barrel..

Word is they will out shoot the 45.. not by much but...
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Post by chiz1180 4/12/2022, 3:46 pm

jglenn21 wrote:And yet the AMU uses ........ a 1911 in 9mm for it EIC pistol...115gr atlanta arms ammo. KKM barrel..

Word is they will out shoot the 45.. not by much but...
Some of those guys were shooting M9s last year too, extremely well at that.
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Post by orpheoet 4/12/2022, 4:41 pm

jglenn21 wrote:And yet the AMU uses ........ a 1911 in 9mm for it EIC pistol...115gr atlanta arms ammo. KKM barrel..

Word is they will out shoot the 45.. not by much but...
I suspect the OP does not have ready access to an AMU gunsmith or unlimited premium ammo.
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Post by CR10X 4/12/2022, 5:19 pm

UnGe:

Any points yet with .22?   If not, then I would suggest concentrating until you get some points or start getting high expert scores with the .22.   A good (read really, really, really good) grounding on the basics of sight alignment and trigger control will go a long way towards making progress later with a .45 / CF / Distinguished Pistol gun.

Rushing can lead to slower improvement overall and can contribute to developing issues rather than helping develop proper technique and consistency (sights / grip / trigger).

If you have gotten some points, then it may be time to add another gun.  But don't spread yourself too thin.  Again, getting really good with the .22 will probably decrease the time need to get DP, DR, etc. later, rather than increase it.  May not seem like it now, but in the long run......

CR

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Post by Wobbley 4/12/2022, 5:22 pm

I seem to also recall that 9mm loading is “not as forgiving” as loading 45 ACP.  For example, shooting 45 with 3.8 to 4.2 gr Bullseye behind a good 200 gr will shoot about as well as one load to the other and I have targets with these groups overlapping in the 10 ring.  So zeros don’t move between batches, and you don’t need to be as precise in powder setup.  For 9mm, you need to be much more precise.
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Post by Jon Eulette 4/12/2022, 6:17 pm

I would go 45 99/100 unless factory match ammunition was supplied to me.
45 is forgiving to shoot and reload. I run jacketed ammo with 3.8-4.0 BE either 185 or 230. I rarely practice SP and average 280+ using this load. 45 brass can be mixed and multi fired and will still group.
9mm is more effort to load and more costly in my experience: need new brass.
I've also never been able to consistently shoot a 9 as good as 45. 
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Post by Wlw145s 4/13/2022, 9:08 pm

You may want to consider a sig P210a. Hella accurate from the factory and you could use factory ammo. Comments above about going 1911 in .45 are spot on, but will require hand loading. Getting my distinguished badge (and pres 100) required practice, practice, practice, practice…

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