Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Last year, after stubbornly refusing to spend good money on a semi-automatic pistol, I was standing at a gun counter and a 1911 sounded the siren call. My current agency lets us carry a 1911 if we prove we are safe with them, so with the blessings of my department, I bought my first semiauto.

For years I had carried a revolver. It was a constant companion and I never felt undergunned with it. For some reason, the 1911 sang to me, and I brought it home and qualified with it.

Those of us who know law enforcement know that it isn't much of a stretch to qualify with a particular pistol. The course of fire is designed to weed out the incompetent, not challenge the hobbyists. Yeah, I was qualified with the pistol, but there was a lot about it I didn't like, like the sights. They were fixed and didn't sight where the gun was shooting. I had to fix that, so recently I went over to Brownells and bought a Novak adjustable rear sight to fit my pistol. Then I started playing with loads.

I tried a couple of different loads, trying to find one that woul shoot to the same point of aim that my duty ammo shoots. I wasn't happy with either of them, until today. I was looking in the material that came with the loading dies, and there was load data supplied by Lee Precision, and a little dipper. The load data said that if I would put one dipper of Bullseye powder under a 230 grain lead bullet, I would have a load that approximated my duty load. I loaded a couple of boxes and headed to the range.

Eureka. The pistol finally shoots where it looks.

This target at seven yards. That is fourteen rounds of ammo.

Then, I got out a qualification target and started playing around at various ranges. From 7 to 50 yards, I am able to make head shots. That target, for the record, is 2 shots at seven yards, two shots at 25 yards, and one shot at 50 yards.

The good thing about that load is that it shoots into the front sight. For those who don't understand that terminology, the front sight on my pistol mikes out at 0.125", and when I look at it from a normal shooting position, it is 32" from my eye. A little common geometry and we learn that the sight subtends 3.51 inches at 25 yards and 7.02 inches at 50 yards. The gun shoots into the width of the front sight, which is as close as a marksman can hold.

I've got that load recorded, and I'm through toying with loads for the 1911. It shoots. That load is easy to put together, it is inexpensive, and it feels right when I fire it. It uses the Lee TL452-230-2R bullet made of of throwaway wheelweight metal. I can get the components for this load anywhere in the civilized world.

While I carry factory ammo for duty purposes, it is nice to have a reliable reload I can use to save money. And, in a pinch, I bet that a 230 grain lead bullet traveling at something over 900 fps would give a goblin a headache.

1 comment:

Cowboy Blob said...

That's good shootin!