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1911 Barrels

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Post by mikemyers 2/15/2023, 12:41 pm

Once again, I got an email from Dave Salyer, and spent a long time figuring out what he meant, then watching a YouTube video about barrel testing:

I thought special barrels for the best accuracy were made better than the standard barrels that come on most guns we buy.  If I understand this video correctly, they are essentially the same - but the custom barrels are made over-size, to be custom fitted to the gun at each end.  I already knew about barrel bushings, but not about how the other end of the gun is supported.

I figure a lot of you already know everything shown in this video.  Not me.  And even after selecting a good barrel, then there's the matter of selecting the ammunition (bullet and powder) to get the most out of it.

At 50 yards, I suspect all of this is extremely important.
At 25 yards, I'm not sure how important it still is.
At 15 yards, maybe the stock barrels that come with guns, and the over-the-counter ammo are all that's needed?

I used to wonder about things like the all the time, wondering if they were really important to >me<.  The realistic answer has to be "not yet".  If I ever get to where all my holes in the target are in the 10-ring, maybe then it will become important.  A lifetime ago, I wanted my shots to at least be on the target paper.  Then it took years before they were "in the black".  

On the other hand, if there are 100 shooters in a match, for every one of them, this might be helpful for placing them higher on the list.

I guess for all of you, this stuff is just basic information for bullseye shooting.  What I thought I understood was wrong.  It's maybe not a function of the "hardware" (the barrel), but rather a function of how well it is fitted into the gun (the gunsmith).

I wonder how many gunsmiths even have access to a barrel tester, like what was shown in the above video.  Until I got Dave's email, I didn't know such a thing even existed.  Then there's the matter of fitting it to the handgun where it will be used.  

Any advice or opinions on how to understand this, and how we can make use of it?

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Post by tovaert 2/15/2023, 3:03 pm

I'm not a gunsmith, but in my limited hobby-fitting and testing experience, barrel/bushing fit, lockup, barrel quality, barrel twist, and likely a bunch of other things I'm not mentioning, have everything to do with 50 yard accuracy, as does the ammunition you use. The video certainly suggests that, w/50 yard tests. It's a system, not a collection of independent components. You also have to factor in the target. At 15 yards, is *your* target a 6" steel plate (gong = X)? Is your 25 yard target the B-16 indoor slow fire 50' target, and score matters? What is it? Does recoil matter? I suspect there could be fast-twist .45 barrels becoming more available in the future that will spin-up the lighter 160 gr bullets for improved accuracy at 50 yards with less recoil than anything previous. In 9 mm you can already get 10 twist barrels that shoot the 147 gr bullets much softer with very good groups, say, compared to the 115 gr rounds through a 32 twist barrels at the higher MVs necessary to obtain good groups. Those are decisions you have to make. I made the decision that I wanted softer recoil, and 50 yard X-ring accuracy, on the NRA B-6 target. So with my 16 twist fitted .45 barrel, a 180 gr Zero at 700 to 750 fps is X-ring-ish accurate. So I don't have to shoot 200 or 230 gr rounds per our competition rules. In my 9 mm, a 10 twist fitted barrel shooting 147 gr XTPs at 900-925 fps is X-ring-ish accurate. I don't have to shoot (higher recoiling) 115 gr rounds at 1150 fps. I've decided that I'll pay extra $ for my decided selections...and I don't have to worry about accuracy inside of 50 yards. There is some simplicity to it.


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Post by Cmysix 2/15/2023, 4:55 pm

It’s easy my father said, when the barrel locks up, you want it to lock up in the same spot, does not matter what spot, just the same spot every time! Everything else can be adjusted with the sights.

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Post by Wobbley 2/15/2023, 8:23 pm

In my experience, at 25 yards from a bench or “random rest”, most 1911s built after 1960 and almost any other out-of-the-box pistol since (S&W, CZ, Glock, etc) will hold the 8 ring at 25 yards.  At 50, maybe the 6 ring.  So barrel fit to the slide comes in to play at 50.  Therefore at 25 fitup is still important, but the results are less dramatic.

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