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Precision Pistol 2700 Strategy

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rburk
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Post by Jon Eulette 9/28/2023, 1:58 pm

Precision Pistol Shooting. It means something different to everyone who shoots it.
We have differing levels abilities, desire and equipment. I will break down into my three categories;
1)      Best pistol and best ammunition
2)      Decent pistol and decent ammunition
3)      Owns a bullseye pistol probably past its prime and uses either best ammunition or decent ammunition.
Yeah, that’s pretty generic, but keeping things really simple.
From this point forward the focus is on purely shooting the 2700. The 2700 is an endurance event. Typically takes 90 minutes per gun and a lunch break. So approximately 5-1/2 hours not including driving. At the beginning of the match we’ve got plenty of energy and gradually decline as the match progresses. We fatigue mentally, physically and diet or lack of plays a large part in maintaining energy and focus.
Yeah everyone knows this, so you bring a snack in an attempt to do your best. What else can you do?
So back to the guns and ammunition, let’s look at the 45. We have a couple ways that individuals approach the game. The gun is the gun, I’m just gonna leave that one alone. You have your pet bullseye pistols; quality not important for the rest of the conversation, it’s a bullseye level pistol.
What human factor is most affected from firing a 45 pistol? In my opinion recoil. I spend a lot of time discussing bullseye shooting and most of it regarding the 1911 45 pistol. I build them individually and try to address all the factors I can think of that affect the gun build.
One thing I routinely encounter is shooters who will always insist on shooting the most accurate ammunition available, whether factory or reloaded. Typically the most accurate ammunition uses larger powder charges to get the best accuracy.
What is minimum level of accuracy at 50 yards to be a competitive shooter at a match? Well we all like to say “my gun shoot 1.5” at 50 yards” and we use ammunition that will hold 1.5”. Is that the best answer to being competitive on the firing line? At what price does using the best ammunition really cost us?
So historically when we get a new bullseye shooter, and ammunition is discussed, the “old school” bullseye loads are usually given as ‘Gospel’ and further propagate the historic bullseye loads.
So we have the dyed in the wool who shoot the hot most accurate charge giving the best accuracy approach to bullseye shooting.
The argument against;
Effects of recoil; fatigue, flinching, etc.
So finally to my point, the 2700 is an endurance event. The late Jerry Keefer and myself have been proponents of shooting reduced loads that provided good accuracy and reduce fatigue. It’s a strategy to performing better for the duration of the match.
Recoil mostly affects gripping. Take 230 gr ball ammunition for example. Violent recoil that frequently causes over gripping and reduced trigger pull feel. There are some really good 45 wad gun shooters out there who shoot ball ammunition horribly. Zero, Atlanta Arms, Federal Factory ammunition all shoot excellent but at the price of more recoil.
If you shoot 4-5 days a week you condition your body to deal with the extra recoil so that it’s really not noticeable. But most shooters are lucky to shoot twice a week. These same twice a week shooters will shoot factory ammunition or reloads that are at factory velocities and their targets do not reflect the groups of high priced factory ammunition. In other words they are wasting money shooting the ‘good stuff’.
Most LSWC loads are generally being quoted at”4.0 gr Bullseye” or above. JHP nearing 4.5 gr range. Ok great. What scores are you shooting? Unfortunately most of these shooter are SS and below. And a lot of the experts are barely shooting solid expert scores. Masters might even be giving up some points shooting the warmer loads.
I can’t recommend enough reducing your loads. I’m a has been HM that shoots master scores with next to zero practice. The reduced loads really help.
99% of the 45’s out there have 16 twist barrels. I’ve found from many years of experimenting that the minimum charge to shoot 50 yards well from hand is 3.6-3.7 gr Bullseye with 180/200 LSWC bullets. I have shot a bunch of 98 and 99 targets with this load. Less powder is unforgiving at 50 yards.
3.3-3.4 gr Bullseye with 180/200 LSWC bullets for the 25 yard line works excellent. I have shot many 100-10X targets both TF and RF and a couple 200-18X scores using this load.
These loads do not recoil much in comparison to the factory charged loads. My grip is pretty consistent throughout the match. I never felt like I’ve given up points using these charges. They shoot on call.
Now we add fast twist barrels to the scene. I’ve mostly shot the 13 twist KKM barrel and have found I can shoot sub 3.4 gr Bullseye loads for both 50 and 25 yards. I’ve also shot 10 and 12 twist 45 barrels with the same results.
I regularly see someone commenting on how they’re stuck in a rut and asking for advice. Anytime we are in a rut we need to do something differently to get past it. Give reduced loads a chance.
So what is acceptable accuracy from reduced loads? I don’t use a RR very often. If I’m calling my shots spot on I don’t feel the need to RR. Some people live in a RR and that’s ok. Last time I RR 3.7 gr BE 200 LSWC I got 1.75” groups. I’m very pleased with those results. Chase Turner just tested my 230 gr JRN 3.8 gr Bullseye load and it held 10 ring from a barrel testing fixture. I’ve been using that load for years. Why the hell would I use 4.5 gr of BE if it shot tighter groups at the expense of making me work harder on my gripping pressure and potentially having worse trigger control? So I think 2.5-3" groups are acceptable to begin with. When you are upper end expert it's time to consider gun work and refined loads.
Time for many people to open their eyes to what they can do to improve their 2700 performance. Shooting the most accurate ammunition comes at a price and I’m not talking about money.
Give it an honest try. Everyone I’ve converted is shooting better because of it.

One more thing, trigger pulling error(s) is the number one cause of not shooting a good group. If you own an older tired pistol its not helping matters, but trigger pull is why guns don’t shoot 10’s. When I shoot older pistols I can still shoot 10 ring at 25 yards with low X counts. If you’re out of the 10 ring at 25 yards it’s your finger! Maybe reduced loads can help your finger out J
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Post by Centerline 9/28/2023, 2:16 pm

Thanks for this. Not mentioned is how physical fitness relates. I'd like to find some data on grip strength vs precision but I'm afraid there are too many factors to sort. I'm seeing quite a variation personally.

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Post by mbmshooter 9/28/2023, 2:54 pm

Jon,

Thank you for your comments and your experience shooting reduced .45 loads.  I am also one of those older shooters whose scores reflect a diminished strength and stamina.
If we wish to give your reduced loads a try, perhaps you could make some suggestions about how to modify the springing to accommodate these reduced loads while maintaining functionality.
Also, many of us use slide-mounted optics and some may even use the RRA rail with iron sight and optics slots.  How does that extra weight affect the operational reliability when using the reduced loads?

Mike

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Post by Jon Eulette 9/28/2023, 3:10 pm

mbmshooter wrote:Jon,

Thank you for your comments and your experience shooting reduced .45 loads.  I am also one of those older shooters whose scores reflect a diminished strength and stamina.
If we wish to give your reduced loads a try, perhaps you could make some suggestions about how to modify the springing to accommodate these reduced loads while maintaining functionality.
Also, many of us use slide-mounted optics and some may even use the RRA rail with iron sight and optics slots.  How does that extra weight affect the operational reliability when using the reduced loads?

Mike
Mike,

I've personally ran Aimpoint 9000 (8.4 oz) on slide mount down to 3.4 gr BE 200 lswc on rebarreled SA RO I built for a customer. I was in control of everything, so it's easy for me. Many pistols out there have timing issues that cause problems running lighter charges even when considered a loose pistol. 
I typically build new and rebarreled pistols to use 10# recoil spring; my lug fit governs this. The reduced charges with optics usually eject onto the bench.

I have several iron sighted pistols I've been shooting 3.3 gr BE with 10# recoil spring. Ejection is only a couple feet to the right.

So I would start with a 10# spring and see whether it cycles and if it does where its throwing the brass. Adjust spring up if necessary. 

I have found on pistols with poorly fit barrels (not locking up good) that light charges can shoot worse than a warmer load. I assume the higher pressures keep the barrel in battery longer.

So I recommend trial and error to the masses LOL

Jon
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Post by Jon Eulette 9/28/2023, 3:13 pm

Centerline wrote:Thanks for this. Not mentioned is how physical fitness relates. I'd like to find some data on grip strength vs precision but I'm afraid there are too many factors to sort. I'm seeing quite a variation personally.
When younger I used to apply gripping pressure to only the front and back strap of the pistol. As I've aged I discovered I needed to use more thumb heel pad pressure. I eventually switched to using fingers and thumb pressure. The thumb pressure assures that my heel pad is fully engaged in gripping. I grip firmly, but not too tight. Consistent pressure is the key.
Jon
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Post by Rush223 9/28/2023, 3:15 pm

I’m 70 and drive 3-1/2 hours to the match. My philosophy is to expend the minimum amount of energy on everything except the shot I’m trying to make.
Every time I talk with my coach his first question is how much I dry fire. That must be important.
I shoot light loads that shoot decently at 50 (3.9 BE/185 cast). I have a 13 twist gun coming that will shoot great with even lighter loads. A healthy lifestyle and staying active and physically fit is probably the most important thing to do. Then dry fire a lot

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Post by Rush223 9/28/2023, 3:36 pm

Just my take on springs for light loads, I’m not an expert so use at your own risk.
Swap out mainspring to the next lightest weight. If you have a misfire go back to the original. Get a recoil spring calibration pack (and keep track of which is which based on my mistakes). Install the 13 pound spring and shoot your load. If it functions you need to reduce your load. If it doesn’t eject go to the next lighter spring. Continue working down till the slide locks back every time and the brass lands close (3-5 ft before bouncing across the concrete). Later on if the slide doesn’t lock back it’s a warning before having a failure to eject. This is common when the temperature drops. Oil the gun with lighter oil or switch to a lighter spring. If you change loads repeat this process.

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Post by tomd999 9/28/2023, 4:06 pm

Jon,
Excellent posting, thank you. I too am wondering about functional reliability with heavy slides and reduced loads. I have a Bo-Mar rib SA custom shop special that is an alibis machine with anything lighter than a 16# spring and 170-up power factor loads. If I go to “light loads” (10# spring and loads that work fine in standard slide weight guns, 4.2 Tight Group/185 or 3.9/200g), the slide velocity is super slow, brass lands on the bench, there are failures to go into battery/eject and you can feel the entire feeding cycle. These heavy slide guns are all new to me, I come from the action pistol games of IPSC/USPSA/steel so light bullets, big charges of slow powders, big power factor, compensators, short lightened slides and super fast cycling is what I understand well.

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Post by Jon Eulette 9/28/2023, 4:22 pm

tomd999 wrote:Jon,
Excellent posting, thank you. I too am wondering about functional reliability with heavy slides and reduced loads. I have a Bo-Mar rib SA custom shop special that is an alibis machine with anything lighter than a 16# spring and 170-up power factor loads. If I go to “light loads” (10# spring and loads that work fine in standard slide weight guns, 4.2 Tight Group/185 or 3.9/200g), the slide velocity is super slow, brass lands on the bench, there are failures to go into battery/eject and you can feel the entire feeding cycle. These heavy slide guns are all new to me, I come from the action pistol games of IPSC/USPSA/steel so light bullets, big charges of slow powders, big power factor, compensators, short lightened slides and super fast cycling is what I understand well.
Most shooters use slide mounted Ultra Dot. They are hair over 4 oz. They typically will run on any pistol down to 3.4 BE provided everything is fit correctly on the pistol. Barrel links are all too often too short and will speed bump barrel lugs during cycling into battery. 
I build/fit my barrel lugs really tight but make sure everything is timed correctly for proper function. I have guns that are so tight you wouldn't believe they run a light load. 
Some pistols like the Baer 45's typically have wedge fit bottom lugs and links that are too short. Not conducive to light loads. So some guns might need some caressing to shoot the lighter loads. Also if feed ramps not correct (barrel set back) your cartridge could be speed bumping into battery during feeding. Will not be reliable pistol.

So several areas to check for proper function. 

Don't know til you try typically. SA Custom shop guns vary, SA has been known to farm out gun work so you really don't know who built the pistol.
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Post by Rush223 9/28/2023, 4:57 pm

Can you correct the Baer bottom lug fit without welding them up?

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Post by Jon Eulette 9/28/2023, 5:23 pm

Rush223 wrote:Can you correct the Baer bottom lug fit without welding them up?
If pistol has hard lock up going into and out of battery there might be enough lug left to do some fitting. If comes out of battery easy (check with no recoil spring)  most likely needs welded and  refit.
Jon
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Post by tomd999 9/28/2023, 5:51 pm

Jon,

Most likely this pistol has two strikes against it as Les was running the custom shop when this one was built.

The pistol feels “tight” but not in a good way, “binding” would be a better description and its functionality is not smooth, it’s “clunky”.

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Post by Jon Eulette 9/28/2023, 6:11 pm

tomd999 wrote:Jon,

Most likely this pistol has two strikes against it as Les was running the custom shop when this one was built.

The pistol feels “tight” but not in a good way, “binding” would be a better description and its functionality is not smooth, it’s “clunky”.
Les was never known for his barrel fitting skills......true story behind that. But damn good businessman/money maker!
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Post by Rush223 9/28/2023, 6:22 pm

What do you think about the Kart Xact barrel fit. Is the bottom lug cut to delay opening.

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Post by Jon Eulette 9/28/2023, 6:41 pm

Rush223 wrote:What do you think about the Kart Xact barrel fit. Is the bottom lug cut to delay opening.
Bottom lugs are the hardest part of fitting 1911 barrel. Kart guesstimated the lug height from known gun tolerances and came up with arrangement to prefit the bottom lugs and the installer of the barrel only had to fit the hood and then upper barrel lugs. Done deal and fast. I'm not a fan of that barrel, it's not good for all pistols. Pistols with closer tolerances will have decent fit. Pistols on the outer side of tolerances will have minimal upper lug engagement. More felt recoil from unlocking way too fast. Yes its better than a factory fit barrel, but the world I live and play in its not my idea of a good barrel fit. Guess you could say you get what you pay for. There are gunsmiths out there using that barrel charging $6000+ dollars for a gun build. Go figure?
Jon
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Post by Wobbley 9/28/2023, 7:15 pm

Jon:  I would agree in principal, but there a fly in the ointment.  If I’m like anyone else out there, I've always thought that I don’t need more dispersion from lower accuracy ammo adding to my poor performance.  I spent a year shooting slow fire on 25 yard centers to develop trigger control, grip, position, and accepting / reducing wobble.  I could shoot 96-97 with good x counts often enough to feel that my fundamentals are ok.  My practice drills in sustained fire gives me 85s.  I’m working on getting them better.  However, to that end, I’ll try down loading some and see.  My last batch of training ammo was loaded with 180 Brazos and 4.3 BE.  Stouter than most perhaps but I did that without testing my gun to see where the “minimum operating” load was.  I can only shoot about 3 times a month when I can get to the outdoor club here so that adds to the challenge.
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Post by Jon Eulette 9/28/2023, 7:37 pm

Ashley,
I base my thoughts and opinions on this from observations of all the shooting classifications. There are root causes for all of our shooting deficiencies. Tolerances stack.....pistols inherent accuracy, ammunition accuracy and shooter dynamic. Most shooters that do not shoot very often suffer from recoil and the sound of the shot firing. They also suffer from having poor trigger control from not shooting/practicing enough to maintain a skillset. Then we top it off with harsher recoil of more accurate loads. The pistol has a consistent performance level as well as the ammunition. The shooter is the weakest link when all three are added together. Basic conditioning, fatigue and performance that is either positively or negatively affected by the ammunition/recoil over the course of the 2700.
So a common error for right handed shooter is low left shots at 50 yards when forcing off a shot. As match progresses and fatigue sets in the shots start going everywhere as opposed to a consistent area. Fresh shooter shooting 10's and 9's and the occasional low left shots. The fatigue sets in and now you see lower left shots and more shots that are out of the 9 ring. Gripping fatigue affects the trigger pull. Trigger pull is number one error for most shooters. The hotter load increases the trigger pulling error.
So I try to be a realist. We have the shooters that shoot a lot! And those that shoot a little. It's kind of like running. Runners that train 4-5 days a week have a capacity to run further and faster. If you run once a week your really not a runner and cannot expect to perform like a runner who trains 4-5 days a week. I approach shooting the same way. I know from experience that I cannot handle the warmer charges for the duration of a match without giving up points from the fatigue. The ammunition is more than I can handle. I'm being honest with myself. If I shoot my softer loads I can perform at a higher level longer and shoot better scores.
Whenever we try something new, we need to give it a chance. I believe it takes 6 months to make a change and be comfortable with it. When I changed how I grip a pistol it took 6 months of really hard traning to finally get used to the change. I love the change, but it was truly an effort. I look at the red dot but tried looking at the target because Zins and Henderson look at the target. I gave it a year and went back to watching the dot. I gave it an honest effort.
So the way I see it, try it. You'll either stick with it or go back to what you've been doing. It can't hurt anything?
Jon


Last edited by Jon Eulette on 9/28/2023, 11:21 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by dsimmons 9/28/2023, 11:10 pm

Great insight on fatigue and trigger management!

Love that this wasn’t just “Hit more X’s”

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Post by rburk 9/29/2023, 12:42 am

Jon, I have been using a lighter load (3.8 gr WST, 180 LSWC) for the short line, and 4.0 gr with the same bullet at the long line.  I would like to go even lighter at the short line and for practice indoors.  Assuming I have my recoil spring set correctly for my short line load, will using the heavier long line loads damage my pistol?

This is a great topic and will hopefully help keep us older shooters going longer.

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Post by john bickar 9/29/2023, 1:16 am

TL;DR
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Post by john bickar 9/29/2023, 1:36 am

john bickar wrote:TL;DR

Kidding (mostly) but you did bury some good bits of advice in that wall o' text about reduced loads. (Sorry, I was re-watching that awesome Ohio State win over Notre Dame.)

The 2700 is an endurance event.

Truth, particularly the one-day 2700.

trigger pulling error(s) is the number one cause of not shooting a good group

Truth. That's also why low-recoil .45 loads won't take someone from MK to MA. Doing a ball-and-dummy drill with any MK will prove this.

If I’m calling my shots spot on I don’t feel the need to RR.

Truth. I very rarely Random Rest, and mostly when I do, it just disappoints me. The ability to Random Rest a gun successfully is an art, and may or may not have any correlation to the numbers you can put on the scoreboard.

But most shooters are lucky to shoot twice a week

I'm lucky if I shoot live fire once every two weeks.

There are some really good 45 wad gun shooters out there who shoot ball ammunition horribly.

AHEM

Give it an honest try

Well, I'm just about out of 452AA and need to work up a new standard load with different powder this off-season. I think I will.
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Post by Jon Eulette 9/29/2023, 9:49 am

rburk wrote:Jon, I have been using a lighter load (3.8 gr WST, 180 LSWC) for the short line, and 4.0 gr with the same bullet at the long line.  I would like to go even lighter at the short line and for practice indoors.  Assuming I have my recoil spring set correctly for my short line load, will using the heavier long line loads damage my pistol?

This is a great topic and will hopefully help keep us older shooters going longer.
Ray,
Your loads are close enough that the same recoil spring should be fine.
Brass should be landing in about the same spot on the ground.  With wad loads brass should not be traveling as far as  ball load brass. Should be about 5-6 ft to the right and 3 ft or so to the rear. If further try a 1# heavier spring. 
Jon
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Post by Jon Eulette 9/29/2023, 10:40 am

john bickar wrote:
john bickar wrote:TL;DR

Kidding (mostly) but you did bury some good bits of advice in that wall o' text about reduced loads. (Sorry, I was re-watching that awesome Ohio State win over Notre Dame.)

The 2700 is an endurance event.

Truth, particularly the one-day 2700.

trigger pulling error(s) is the number one cause of not shooting a good group

Truth. That's also why low-recoil .45 loads won't take someone from MK to MA. Doing a ball-and-dummy drill with any MK will prove this.

If I’m calling my shots spot on I don’t feel the need to RR.

Truth. I very rarely Random Rest, and mostly when I do, it just disappoints me. The ability to Random Rest a gun successfully is an art, and may or may not have any correlation to the numbers you can put on the scoreboard.

But most shooters are lucky to shoot twice a week

I'm lucky if I shoot live fire once every two weeks.

There are some really good 45 wad gun shooters out there who shoot ball ammunition horribly.

AHEM

Give it an honest try

Well, I'm just about out of 452AA and need to work up a new standard load with different powder this off-season. I think I will.
Senor Bickar, thank you for your input. I already learned something today (TL;DR  I had to look it up lmao) so I can now rest on my laurels for another 24 hours.

Appreciate your comments as always. I never did ball and dummy training yet somehow made master in 7 matches. Guess some steps can be skipped lol.

All kidding and truth aside, my intent is to provide another direction one can take that might help there overall grand aggregate.
  
Service Pistol matches are like scantron test. Some people excel at multiple guess and others choke. I can remember seeing a guy shoot 870+ 45 aggregate and then shoot a 230's EIC score with hardball. You remember being able to buy a ball gun cheap on those days lmao.

So no I didn't expect anyone to over night shoot PB (that's Personal Best....didn't want you to have to look that up), merely sharing what's worked for me.

For a guy who shoots 2.5x a month I applaud your successes. You must have a great dry firing plan that works well for you.

Bonuses; less powder charge equals more loaded ammunition per pound of powder. Too bad primers didn't work like that! Using lswc bullets much cheaper than jhp bullets. When shooting 2600+ go jhp for 50! Brass last longer and so does your gun.

Had a KKM 13 twist barrel tested in a barrel test fixture. With 3.0 gr BE and a home cast bullet (commercial bullets barely held 10 ring) put all shots in the X ring (622 fps).  A little evolution taking place here in a dying sport Wink

Enjoy your Kommiefornia day!

Jon
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Post by Jon Eulette 9/29/2023, 11:45 am

I should add that a 180 with reduced charge shoots softer than 160. 160 needs too much powder function in the first place.
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Post by Rush223 9/29/2023, 11:55 am

I have read the 200 gr bullets were softer shooting than 185. I’ve always shot 185 but just ordered several thousand 160s based on my gun builders recommendation (KKM 13 twist barrel).
Your thoughts.

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